Mike Bennett on using his real-life story as a way to help people, not a storyline
“I had gone to [WWE] and told them I was willing to use my real-life story to try and use it as—I viewed it as a vehicle to help people more than as a story to get over. Personally, my story of sobriety and overcoming addiction can help people. I didn’t want to use it as a “storyline” to push myself. I wanted it to be where WWE could use it and say ‘this is where he started and look how he turned his life around’ and just use it as a feel-good story. I never wanted to exploit it, I just wanted to use it to help people.
“I had asked them if I could go out on speaking engagements and do stuff like that, but I don’t feel like it’s the right time or the right place. I feel like that’s maybe a topic they didn’t want to touch at the moment. It’s still a touchy subject. It’s hard to get people to talk about the fact that there’s an opioid crisis or addiction problem. I can understand why a major corporation might not want to go that route right away, but to me it’s important. I just wanted to use it as a way to say ‘this can affect everybody, but even though it can, there’s a way out. If you feel like there’s not a light at the end of the tunnel, look at this person who accomplished it and overcome it.’ That was my main goal.”