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Name: Michelle Leigh McCool From: Palatka, Florida DOB: January 25, 1980 WWE Debut: July 19th, 2004 Mini-Bio: Fans first saw Michelle McCool during 2004’s Diva Search. Seeing a mix of beauty and love for sports-entertainment, she was brought to SmackDown. But there’s so much more behind the beautiful face; there is strength, determination and inspiration.
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The Dearest Friend: “I absolutely love her to death. She’s like a sister to me. I think she is so beautiful, inside and out. We clicked right away; she was on SmackDown the whole time that I was. We became instant friends — we just hit it off since day one and our friendship just grew from there.” King Booker & Queen Sharmell: “She’s a great actress [...] I remember just being in awe: I was watching a backstage segment between she and King Booker at the time, and they were hilarious on screen as it is — I’ve always enjoyed watching them. But, I remember the camera counting down: 3… 2… 1… and her just going into her character. I was truly in amazement! I was like: “Wow! She’s good, and I wish I was half as good as her.” [...] She is a true entertainer, great in all forms of the word. I think she brought a lot to Booker’s character at the time, and they just fed off each other so well.” Long Live the Queen: “I love her to death. I can’t say enough kind things about her. She’s one of the smartest, most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my entire life. Love her and her entire family dearly.” Let Them Eat Cake: “She’s just one of those people that you could trust with your life, and I have. She was always there when you needed her: when you needed to laugh, when you needed an ear — whatever you needed! I know I can always count on her. For that, I will be eternally grateful. She has just blessed the world by being here and that amazing of a person. I love her, love, love, love with all my heart.”
oming Up:“I guess Melina and I came in around the same time, because her guys are the ones that put me out with their finisher so that I could train at Deep South [Wrestling] for a little bit longer. We’ve started around the same time in WWE, but obviously she’s been in the business longer.” Melina’s Reputation: “Throughout her career, she may have had some run-ins or problems with a lot of people backstage. Personally, I was never one of them. All of the things that she supposedly had done or whatever issues were going on, I was not a part of that. So, I didn’t have a problem with her. That’s not my business — I try to stay out of people’s business, if it doesn’t personally affect me, then I don’t really need to get into the drama!” Working with Melina: “So, I never actually had a problem with Melina and we worked a lot together. When she came to SmackDown, we worked a program together. We had a match at the Pay-Per-View, Night of Champions. There, we put a mark on things — we totally got in trouble!” Punished For Being Good: “We got in trouble for our match at Night of Champions. We got in trouble for our match being quote-on-quote “too good… for girls.” So, I don’t care how much I get in trouble if that’s what I’m getting in trouble for. It started where I dropped kicked her on her slipt-entrance to the mat — crazy, crazy bump — which she was always game for. The crazier, the better! We always worked well with each other, always wanted to come up with something different; some new way to come out of her moves, get into one of my moves, something you don’t always see the girls do.” Pushing the Envelope: “It was that day [Night of Champions] I was like: “could you not tell anybody, but do you think we could do a DDT on the barricade?” And she was like: “Ohhhh! Yeah!!!” — Not even thinking twice about it. We kind of hid it all day, even though we did ask our agent for approval, I think it was Fit — which is no secret that he was always fighting for the girls. We just made sure that we can stand up and get our balance, but we never actually did the bump. She was the one who was going to take the huge bump, and there was no doubt, no hesitation, that she would make it look ridiculous — and it did! [During the match] She finally takes the bump, it looks sick, pops off — up to that point, that was the best match I’ve ever had. We had the pay-per-view, we had time, I was really proud of that match.” Big Time Trouble: “The next day, one of the agents came up to us and was like: “I can’t believe y’all did that! You have no idea! We were all backstage, scared to death!” We were like: “…What? We know how to safely bump. We wouldn’t do anything that would put either one of us at risk. We’re totally fine! If the men can do it, why can’t we do it?” He said: “It looked too good! You can’t go out there throwing punches like that, or taking bumps like that — that looks better than some of the guys! You can’t do that!” Finally, I remember Chris Jericho, who was by the ring, hears all of this going on. He said: “Look, if the guys can’t follow what the girls are doing, then the guys need to step it up! I thought it was awesome. They did great. And it’s not their problem that it looked that great!” I was like… “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” Because out of respect, we can’t say anything, and here comes one of the boys — Jericho, of all people, sticking up for us!” Trouble before: “Off topic, But Lisa [Tara/Victoria] and I got in trouble before, too. After finishing our match, Lisa comes into the locker room, and I’ve already changed, I’m in my business/casual, ready to leave the arena, and she comes in and says: “Get dressed! We have to go out there and do the match again!” I’m like: “What?! You’re always joking, always ribbing…” She goes: “No!! I swear!! The punches we threw on the turnbuckle, we can’t throw them — they look too good!” So, we went out and we had to re-do our whole entire match. That’s just like me and Melina getting in trouble.” OK. One Backstage Altercation: “I’ve never personally had a problem with her, but towards the end of my career, there was one little incident. People wanna know: this is the “juicy, juicy details” of the Michelle and Melina problem! We were in the locker room and it was one of those Halloween deals. All of the girls were dressed, and literally ten minutes before we’re all going out, nobody has a clue what is going on. Nobody is giving us finishers, nobody has no idea what is going on. So, we’re bouncing ideas, and I remember it was me, The Bellas, and Melina… I can’t remember who may or may have not been in there. I do remember throwing an idea out there and it was Brie or Nicole who said, “Yeah. That sounds like a cool idea,” then there’s Melina, who just kind of rolls her eyes and huffs. Her back is to me, but I’m like: “Melina, if you don’t like the idea, just tell me what you want to do — I’ll do it. I don’t care.” She says: “Nope. That’s fine.” So I say: “Well, we’re in a room full of mirrors. The next time you want to roll your eyes, you might want to kinda not do it in a room full of mirrors.” That’s the biggest problem I’ve ever had with Melina! Isn’t that just awful?! …I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice. It’s the silliest thing ever, obviously. We got over it, but it was kind of humorous. So, that was my only Melina run-in right there. Honest to God, nothing else between us… but a bunch of good matches.”
In General:“I don’t have one bad thing to say about her — she’s great! All the years that we were there together, which was pretty much both our entire careers on the road, not one altercation. Not one difference. We just got along. That all started through the Diva Search. Obviously, neither one of us won, but I remember watching RAW a few weeks after the Diva Search ended, and King was on commentary. He mentioned that one of the cast offs was going to be making their debut on RAW, then they opened up a magazine — and it was Maria! I got so excited for her, because her dream was coming true. She was one of the few [contestants] that actually followed wrestling, and she made no qualms about wanting to be an announcer. I just thought that was awesome.” Life’s A Ditz: “She ended up with the ditzy gimmick for a while, but people don’t realize that she’s not ditzy — she’s actually extremely smart. Business-wise: she’s very savvy, and I admire that about her.” Working with Maria: “She was on RAW for most of the time when I was on SmackDown, but there were several cross-over shows where we did get to work together — before she eventually moved to SmackDown when she got drafted. She was a fun babyface to work against; she can sell like crazy and the fans always got behind her. She was that underdog, and she was cool. She was all about business. She got it: she was willing to make sacrifices. She understood what some people can’t always understand; she understood that as a babyface, she was going to get beat up. She’d end up being able to return the favor, but she was never one to be like: “All I’m doing is getting beat up!” So, she was fun to work. I really enjoyed working her.” Maria The Wrestler: “Everyone always said that she wasn’t a wrestler, and that she shouldn’t do this or that. I think it’s all about working together and working on people’s strengths — instead of trying to expose their weaknesses. I think that’s just what you have to do.” [...] “We didn’t have a long stint together, but she was really cool. She was a good worker, a hard worker… she was committed, and I was sad to see her go. I don’t know that we’ve seen the last of her, and I hope to see her again. I miss her — I think she’s going to do big things.” Making The Transition: “I turned heel on Maria, and when I turned, I gave her a pretty good beating. She took it like a champ, an absolute champ! I remember Arn Anderson always used to say: “You can’t be a heel! I don’t want it, why are they turning you; I don’t want you as a heel!” Then, he ended up coming back to me and saying: “Why were you ever a babyface — you should have always been a heel!” Maria helped in that. You always want that one person that if you’re gonna make a turn, you’re gonna want to make the biggest impact possible — which, at the time, beating down Maria was making the biggest impact possible.” Diva Search And Beyond: “I knew I liked her in the Diva Search, but then I remember watching her in the DVD, I don’t remember which one it was, but anyway, she ended up giving me a shout out. She was saying something about my body, and how cool she thought I was, and I was like: “Alright, I knew I liked this girl.” The friendship formed and the friendship hasn’t ended. I don’t think that it ever will.”
Formation of LayCool:“It all just kind of happened. They randomly put Layla and I together in some match, and we were pretty good friends at this point, but we weren’t near as close as how we ended up before I left. When we went out there on camera, Vince just saw something that he liked. He liked the dynamic of us together and that literally was it. As far as coming up with the name, it was just during the time the media was joining everybody’s names together, like Brangelina. So we thought: why not? We’re just as cool as these other celebrities, or so we thought in our own minds of course, so we said “let’s come up with something!” We spit them in half, came up with a bunch of different combinations and ultimately ended up with LayCool.” LayCool Chemistry: “So, they kept putting us on camera together and somehow I guess you just have a connection with certain people; we just fed off of one another. We couldn’t be completely different: she was this cute little petite fireball, full of energy, funny as can be — and then you have me: this amazon, this more serious, more athletic character. It was where opposites attract. I can’t tell you how happy I am for them putting us together; to not only build this character, but to build this bond — this friendship.” Growing Together: “When we got together, she had just come off dancing on ECW with Kelly and Brooke, and didn’t really do much in the ring. You all know how much she’s grown as an in-ring competitor. She grew, as we both did. I give her all the glory in the world for helping me with my character and mic skills, and all of our promos. I’m just so thankful for her.” Backstage Animosity: “It can be a pretty stressful environment backstage, there is a lot of drama that goes on when it comes to the girls working together, especially fighting for storylines. With our character, it was already controversial to begin with, so that was a touchy subject. You never knew what they were going to give us, feelings would get hurt — obviously, we didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but that was our character on TV.” Art Imitates Life: “I can’t tell you how many times we’d be sitting around backstage doing something stupid, and then we’d make a storyline out of it. We’d be like: “Oh! We could use this!” We just bounced off each other, and that’s where our best work came from. We were given bullet points not scripts, per se, and we could just do whatever we wanted.” LayCool vs. Piggie James: “We were always trying to think of something where it could backfire on us and make us look foolish. You know we’d sit here and dish out all of this stuff — but somebody’s got to stick it to us! I think what put us on the map was, sadly enough, the Piggie James storyline. I’ve said it a gazillion times: I give all the credit in the world to Mickie James. True professional. She was a true professional in the ring, in the pre-tapes… so many times we’d get the script and I’d get a pit in my stomach. We didn’t want to say the stuff, so we’d apologize beforehand. But, she always sucked it up — and I know it was hard. Even though those things aren’t true, obviously, she’s beautiful and not overweight by any stretch of the imagination. But despite all of those things: we all still have feelings. That was really tough, but Vince loved it, the writers loved it — and that was all because of her. I don’t think anybody else could have pulled that off. All the credit in the world to her.” Last Match: “My last match; going out against her in the loser leaves. I wouldn’t want to do it, at that time, with anybody else. It was hard! You’re sitting here trying to be serious, but you have all of these emotions inside that are just ready to out. I was thinking: “Man, this is my last match. Here I am with my best friend.” It was tough. But that is definitely a day I’ll never forget.” A Lifetime of Layla: “She’s just funny. She’s always chipper, she’s crazy — she’d be the first to tell you that I’d be the first to tell her that she is legitimately nutso half the time. But that’s why I love her. She was always who she was, I was always who I am. We just clicked. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for that girl. We’re still dear friends to this day, and that is a friendship that I can honestly say will last a lifetime. I wish her nothing but the best. Y’all keep cheering her on because she deserves every ounce of it.”