Ring of Honor star Mike Bennett joins Spencer Love to discuss his return to ROH, the promotion’s response to the pandemic, Matt Taven, maintaining a positive mindset, the ROH bubble, Brodie Lee, and more.
On proving himself as a pro wrestler:
MB: “To me, that’s the most exciting part right now is I have a chip on my shoulder. I do. And people can take that any way they want, but that’s what motivates me, that’s what fuels me, and that’s what drives me. I’m determined to show people that the last three years isn’t what determines what people remember. That’s not my legacy. It also sucks, too, because some of my favorite matches I’ve ever had were on 205 and nobody saw them. And nobody watched them. Like I had – my match with I had a No DQ match with Tozawa that I absolutely love and I adore. I have – one of my favorite matches ever was against Rockstar Spud, or Drake Maverick, sorry. Some of those matches were my favorite, but it’s like nobody saw them. So now, I’m actually in a company where they’re putting me at the forefront. They’re allowing me to be myself, they’re giving me this opportunity, and I’m determined to show people that I want to be considered one of the best wrestlers. When people say, ‘oh, who’s the best wrestler that you [can] think,’ like if there’s a list, I want to be on that list. Some people can call it [and] say, ‘oh, that’s crazy. You’ll never be there,’ and that’s fine. But like, I didn’t get to where I am now by not believing in crazy things. You know, if I was like, ‘oh,’ you know, when I was 15 and I told my mom I was going to be a pro wrestler, everyone told me that was crazy then, and if I listened to them, I would probably be doing something I didn’t like right now. So yeah, I just, I set huge expectations for myself and I put the pressure on myself to achieve them. I’m happy that Ring of Honor has given me that platform to try to achieve it.”
Public speaking endeavours
MB: “Yeah, I just – you know, it’s funny. I had a talk recently with my wife when we were driving home. We were just kind of talking about my career and stuff, and we started talking [and] she’s like, ‘you genuinely like to help people.’ And I was like, ‘I do.’ Again, it makes me feel good. I enjoy it! It’s the most selfish, unselfish thing I do. Because I genuinely enjoy helping people. That’s why when you asked me ‘how did you feel about Tavan winning?’ Like, I was responsible in helping train Taven and, you know, we would travel to shows, and he would pick my brain and all this stuff. So to see that someone I helped achieve success, that makes me happy. My wife is the same way. We need more of that. We need more of that in life. There’s just, there’s so much animosity, and so much negativity, and for what? We’re all out to do the same thing. We’re all just trying to be good people, provide for our families, and survive. At the end of the day, that’s all we are. To me, I look at it and I’m like, we’re all just imperfect people trying to survive at the end of the day. Once you break it down like that, it’s like, I enjoy it. If you need help, I’ll help you. I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy – to me when someone comes up to me and says like, when you say to me ‘you’ve helped me with your story,’ and this and that, that means more to me than any world title I’ll ever win. I had a guy come up to me in Arizona one time at the Royal Rumble, and he was like this big jacked-up, dude, all tatted up, and I was like, ‘okay, what’s this guy gonna say to me?’ He came up and he was super nice and super soft-spoken. But then, he started – he broke down in front of me and started crying. He was just like ‘I just need to tell you this, because I didn’t think I’d see you here.’ He’s like, ‘but your story helped get me through my divorce. My divorce was my toughest time in my entire life.’ And he’s like ‘and you [and] your story helped me get through it.’ And I just – to this day, that was like two and a half years ago, but it moves me. I get goosebumps thinking about it to know that I can have that kind of effect. Knowing that I have a platform that reaches people. To me not using it in a positive way seems irresponsible.”