Despite speculation that they were on their way out of WWE, Mike and Maria Kanellis ended up signing new long-term deals to stay with the company.
The news had to come as a surprise to many. Near the end of May, Maria tweeted out that their contracts were running up in June. Last week, Mike sent out a tweet with a waving goodbye emoticon, suggesting that the popular wrestling couple were done in WWE for good.
So what convinced Mike and Maria to stay? According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com), the duo are probably earning significant pay raises on their new deals.
It was also noted that WWE is offering large amounts of money in order to retain as many of their superstars as possible, in hopes that they won't end up signing with another promotion. This explains why the company is willingly handing out five-year offers to superstars now.
WrestlingInc.com was able to confirm that the contracts Mike and Maria received were each for five years. This is the same term that WWE gave to Kevin Owens last year, and it was recently reported that The Revival received five-year offers worth $500,000 annually.
Mike and Maria joined WWE in 2017 after successful stints together in the TNA/Impact Wrestling promotion. However, WWE didn't give either of them a major push, and Mike was moved down to the 205 Live roster. Despite not receiving the big pushes they received in TNA, Mike and Maria were obviously pleased enough with WWE's last offer.
It was reported back in January that Mike and Maria, along with The Revival, asked to be released form WWE. Meltzer recently added that many other talents in the company "are counting the days" until their contracts expire, and that some of them want to head over to AEW. Well, you can take Mike and Maria off the list of WWE talents that are closing in on a move to AEw.
What This Means
It'll be interesting to see how many superstars WWE can retain by simply offering money and term. Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley in AEW) rejected a new contract and chose opportunity over AEW. We'll just have to wait and see which superstars decide to take WWE's big money offers, and which ones opt to follow Moxley's footsteps by simply going to the place that will be best for their wrestling careers.