Back in mid-August Mike Kanellis publicly requested his release from the WWE. Despite signing a new five-year contract alongside his wife Maria earlier in the year, Kanellis wrote at the time, "I re-signed with the company back in June because I thought it was what was best for my family, and maybe from a financial standpoint it was.But I quickly realized that bringing my work frustrations and misery home with me, is not good for my family and I no longer want my daughter to constantly see me come home defeated, sad and angry. It's not fair to her or my wife."
However WWE never granted Kanellis his release, and the former WWE 24/7 Champion hasn't wrestled a WWE match since September. During a recent appearance on Smarks and Stripes, Kanellis commented on WWE's decision to keep him under contract.
"As far as not giving me my release, I think it's like anywhere," Kanellis said (h/t WrestleTalk for transcript). "Like, the Patriots aren't going to trade or release a player that they think the Jets are going to pick up. And I think we have to think of it like that. It's not a negative, it's just how it works. It works in sports, it works in wrestling."
After former stars like Jon Moxley, Shawn Spears and Dustin Rhodes started popping up on the AEW roster, the WWE opted to lock down many of its top wrestlers with lucrative new multi-year contracts. The company has also chosen to reject many recent release requests, though Jordan Myles (and reportedly Oney Lorcan) was an exception.
Triple H recently spoke about wrestlers publicly asking for their releases during a media conference call.
"If you have an issue, talk to us," Hunter said. "If you think 'oh, I'm gonna go put that on the media' that's not a way to go about doing your business. If I had a complaint with a talent, I don't go on Twitter and complain to them, I speak to them. So I've never understood that process.
"But there's a silliness to it, to me there's a maturity issue of it's not how you handle business," he later added. "Anybody that's out there that is serious about it that's talking on the internet, that ain't the place to do it. We all have phones, we all have cell phones, you handle your business like a professional.
Everybody likes to think we don't stick to the word and everybody likes to say professional wrestlers, the key word in front of that — professional. That's what we're trying to change about the business and make people more professional."