Maria Kanellis Comments on Multitude of Divas Leaving WWE, WWE Holding Back Divas

Former WWE Diva and current Ring of Honor star Maria Kanellis has commented on the large number of WWE Divas who have chosen to leave the company and pursue other passions.

In recent years, we’ve seen a growing number of women opt to walk away from the company including Michelle McCool, Gail Kim, the Bella Twins and more.

Speaking to, Maria says she feels that women in WWE are realizing the restrictions imposed on the Divas and are looking to fulfill their passions elsewhere.

She says:

After I left, it was me and then it was Mickie [James]. Soon after Mickie, it was Michelle and she left on her own. Then, soon after than, it was Melina and then Jillian. Maryse just recently left. Then it was the Bella Twins. Gail Kim — oh, my gosh. Maxine… I didn’t really know her I was really there. And, I think that every one of the girls that I’ve mentioned had something else in their life that made them realize that since WWE wasn’t going to allow them the time or the place to do something that they’re passionate about, they were going to go out and fulfill that passion elsewhere.

Mickie had music. Jillian had recently gotten married. Michelle got married. Melina got released, but you go down the list — The Bella Twins have all these opportunities in acting. Maryse has modeling, she been a huge star in Canada. But, you go down the list and WWE could have used all these talents that these girls have and make their product even better. But, they want to ignore that these women are tremendous and can be tremendously successful and use their mainstream impact within the company. I find that extremely stupid.

Who in their right mind does not use the extra eyes that could be on these girls within their own company? It’s an ego trip and I am not a fan of ego trips.

Maria also adds that she feels AJ, who has been in the main event spotlight on Raw recently, has done a “tremendous job”.

Kanellis says she hopes that what “they do with AJ is the same thing they continue to do in the future with other girls.”

Read the full interview here.

Thoughts: I definitely agree with Maria here. With Maxine‘s recent departure adding to the mix, it seems like a lot of women are taking their careers into their own hands after realizing the grass isn’t always greener just because you have a WWE contract. Frankly, I applaud those women for taking the risk. Even women who were fired rather than leaving on their own accord seem to be happy in hindsight — such as Maria.

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  • The Krupy

    Maryse and Bellas used WWE, for more media attention. They are not real wrestlers, they are just models. These girls never loved wrestling business. Thank god for some young generation of FEMALE WRESTLERS, not models….like Paige, Sofia Cortez, Raquel Diaz etc…

  • melon2617

    While yes, the Divas need to be pushed better, if you don’t want to be there, you don’t want to be there and no amount of pushes will make it better.

    I think we need to look @ the flipside of why some of these women left the company. Mickie was misused but there were quite a few reports claiming she had a bad attitude, was habitually late and was quite demanding during contract negotiations. Jillian wanted to have another child. Michelle got married, was chronically injured and is reportedly pregnant with her first child, Maryse has been very upfront that she no longer had any desire to wrestle and wants to do other things. The only ones where an argument could be made for “misuse” are The Bella Twins, Melina, & Maxine.

    The Bellas definitely could have been used more than they did, but I’ve often wondered if only one of them really wants to compete. Nikki always seemed to have more joy for wrestling than Brie, and when all is said & done, the gimmick requires both of them.I think they may be back sooner than later and maybe just wanted a break from travel. Vince apparently loved them, so if that is the case, they’ll return when ready.

    Maxine seems to have some self entitlement issues, where she expected a mega push right out of the gate when she wasn’t all that special. Vince knows he can replace her with 10 other Maxines. Melina’s rumoured backstage behaviour may have been her downfall too.

    It’s easy to just say “WWE treats the Divas like crap” and they do, don’t get me wrong, but we also can’t say that all of these women are really invested in wrestling or are perfect angels. There’s two sides to every story and we’re only hearing the one. Seeing as some columnists online have said that Divas enhance storylines and are interchangeable, WWE’s logic when it comes to them may be what some fans actually think and we may be the minority. I hope not, but it’s a possibility.

    • norisclouds

      You basically said everything I was going to say. Honestly I just think Maria is generating hits for ROH. These comments of hers seem very out of touch with the actual reasons behind why a lot of these women were released or chose to leave.

      • Kim099

        But u don’y know the real reaon why the divas left they lost interst when wwe stop using them so of course they wan’t to leave I would u train and train and travel and they give u crappy 45 sec matches and want u to prance off thats like saying there the piss break so hurry up ofcourse they will wan’t to leave

        • norisclouds

          And Maria knows?

          Many of these women had legitimate reasons for leaving that had more to do with what they wanted for their professional careers. What is WWE supposed to do, “Sure you can go model and do x and keep all of the money from your projects.” What employer would do that? They are the reason why anyone knows who they are in the first place. Why should they pay you to show up half the time to do some other project that you’re interested in when you don’t generate a lot of money in the first place?

          If the Rock couldn’t even get WWE to write him a more lenient contract back in 2003, these divas who aren’t headliners actually expect to get contracts where they have rights to this work outside of WWE when the company is the entire reason why anyone knows who they are in the first place?

          Let’s be realistic here, they would be lucky extremely lucky if any of that happened, and the company has no good reason to give any of that benefit.

          Again, the Rock couldn’t do it. So…let’s just say Kelly is very very lucky that she is getting this extended leave of absence at all.

    • VarsityBaseDude

      I think Gail and Jillian were tragically misused. Either one could have had a great run with the title and show case their talents more. The other girls mentioned actually had pushes, but late in their tenor with WWE, they were misused. This is usually the case with all talent in WWE. Once they are close to the end of their contracts, they often go way of the plank.

      • cyndi r

        how the hell was Melina misused it seemed to me her whole what 6 yrs there she was in major storylines like Michelle and held the women’s title 3 times and Diva’s title Twice and she was misused?

        • redsandman99

          I think they mean she was misused towards the end of her career there.

        • GlamSlamFan

          @CYNDI R

          VARSITYBASEDUDE clearly said “late in their tenor with WWE, they were misused” not their whole time with the company, and it’s pretty much true.
          Melina lost the Divas Championship in 2010 at NoC in September and was released my WWE in August of 2011.
          Besides her heel turn, can you name me one accomplishment she made within those 10-11 months?

    • TheJoJoIsCrazy

      I just wanted to tell you how much a I appreciate how you always compose yourself on this threads. That’s a rarity. for arguements sake, you stole what I was gonna say just you put it more eloquently. =[

  • wweandtnadivafan

    This is just foolish of WWE, lord knows when beth will finally realize she isnt used to her fool potential. The only “sign” of hope is Kharma but lets face it we are diva fans… First we are all excited about something and then when we get divas on TV we just complain and complain.

    • VarsityBaseDude

      AJ is doing a great job, but other than Eve, there is no one really at her level anymore in terms of screen time and push. If Michelle McCool came back, she would be a major opponent for AJ as she was the best pushed of any Diva in history.

  • She-Wolf

    I’m going to throw out a bold statement here and say that the current crop of divas signed by WWE are the best the company has ever had, even better than the divas from the golden era. They’re just not being utilised properly. Seriously look at the roster; Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Kharma, Sara Del Rey, AJ, Ivelisse Vélez, Britani Knight, Buggy Nova & Tenille Tayla not to mention the ‘models’ that have shown promise such as Eve & Naomi.
    That is a dream roster, but they need to focus less on signing big names and focus more on the development of their characters & coming up with actual story lines.
    Not every member of the writing team is a bumberclart, they’ve done a wonderful job with AJ as of late.

  • perceval

    Wasn’t Maria the one who kept implying that the Bellas slept their way into their spot, going on about Johnny Ace in a hot tub with twins? Granted, she didn’t name names, and it could have been any pair of Diva twins she was talking about…

    • norisclouds

      She also said a lot of stuff about Melina and Kelly Kelly.

      I’m sure all of those women she’s selflessly championing now really appreciate that…I’m sorry but I think she’s two-faced and catty.

      There I said it. People will just agree with her because they think the same way she does on this issue, but I don’t really get behind the source in this case.

  • bromero329

    did she say it with the grammatical errors?????

  • charleshp

    Well I hope Maria understands the odds of ROH existing as a functioning company past Christmas are rather slim. She might want to think about that resume of hers and consider who she’s addressing.

  • fahkyooh

    She is right. They don’t even need to invest a huge storyline for the Divas. Just give them 5-6 minutes on Raw and Smackdown. Is that really asking for much?!

  • TaraFan19

    I really hope Kelly leaves WWE because by their ‘Golden Diva’ leaving it will hopefully show WWE that how they treat their Divas just makes all of them want to leave and will hopefully make them change but…..this is just wishful thinking

  • TheFallenAngela

    I hate how wwe “Listens” to the fans when in actuality they don’t the divas are mised used or not used at all. They put all their energy into one girl what happens if that girl doesn’t want it anymore do they ever think about it what are they going to do fire her or offer her more money. It sickens me that my favorite diva is barely on tv they give so much attention to the guys and forget about the girls. It’s funny because so many of them has taken the issue to twitter mentioning how they feel about it and when they do get fired they’re not upset you tend to find them happy or relieved. Let’s face it WWE YOU DON’T CARE FOR THE DIVAS. WHAT YOU WANT IS MONEY AND POPULARITY AND WHEN THE TIME COMES YOU’RE GOING TO APPRECIATE THE WOMEN MORE THEN YOU DID BEFORE!!!!! SO STOP BEING DUMB ASSES AND GIVE THE DIVAS A CHANCE AND THEN YOU WILL REALISE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING WRONG ALL THIS TIME!!!!!!

  • art

    Because the divas who leave/released know no matter how much money they make its not enough to travel the world & get less then two minutes in the ring…..

    if vince cared we’d be seeing an awesome divas division….

  • lucky1now

    The women are getting tired of the treatment some would never leave on their own and others want to attention or they will go else where

  • Firewalker

    I like Maryse but she is in no way a huge star here in Canada.

  • Bethinho

    i fully agree with Maria but she´s stating what every Diva fan is saying for a long time.
    but the fact is that i don´t know for how long divas like Beth and Natalya(that are in the company for years) will realize that they won´t be used to their full potential……..unless of course the paycheck they receive is big enough to counter this aspect,but then that would mean that they have been living in another reality and they´ve been hoping unecessarily and foolishingly or their´re willing to trade their supposed passion for wrestling for a passion for the money…
    let´s see if with AJ´s push,Kharma´s return,the signing of Sara del Rey can mean a whole change,but….

    • TheFallenAngela

      no dis respect once so ever but…I can’t help but notice that when it comes to beth and natalya you have nothing positive to say…i get you hae your personal opinion and you are allowed to but saying their passion for wrestling can be traded for money is a little far these girls love wrestling they grew up around it Natalya NEIDHART you know daughter of Jim the anvil NEIDHART niece of Bret the hitman HART she has it in her blood and no amount of money will change that also Beth has loved wreslting since she was a little girl which is why she chose to wrestle in high school then later on went to multiple wrestling companies honestly if they were staying there for money and not wrestling why were they both Divas champion and one a womens champion 3 time….you chose the wrong girls as a example

  • Dayvid

    Im not being sexist here, trust me. But it seems that it’s mostly the girls that leave because they want more from the company and i think a lot of this stems from the fact a fair number of girls (NOT ALL) don’t care too much about wrestling and see this as a job.

    Look at all the guys who don’t get used or have a crappy spot on the roster. But yet they stay for years and rarely do you hear them complain. Because most of the guys LOVE wrestling from a young age and this is their dream job, used well or not.

    Like i said, this does not count for all the girls but divas like Maxine and the Bellas, it seems the case that they see something better and leave WWE simply because it isn’t their life-long dream like the majority of the guys and some girls.

    • melon2617

      I think the thing with the Bellas was that they were tired from travelling. I follow them on Twitter and they’re not really working on anything right now, it’s a lot of dinners with family and vacations with their brother and sister in law and catching up with girlfriends. Not a lot of talk of other projects, mainly just catching up with family and friends. I can honestly see them back in the company. Road burn out happens to even the most passionate. I’m not saying they are the most passionate about the business, but it’s clear that they loved wrestling, but obviously wanted time home.