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Kevin Foote (May 9, 1967) is an American professional wrestling manager, pundit, sportscaster and ring announcer, better known by his ring name, Kevin Kelly. He is perhaps best known for his appearances with World Wrestling Entertainment between June 1996 and March 2003, and is currently an announcer for Ring of Honor.
Kelly was born in New York City, New York, but his family relocated to Stuart, Florida when he was ten. He graduated from Florida State University in January 1990. Kelly first became involved in broadcasting when he began working as a disc jockey, playing music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Kelly received a try-out with the World Wrestling Federation as a ring announcer due to the intervention of fellow IWF alumnus Billy Gunn. He was hired by the WWF in June 1996. In 1997, Kelly, alongside Michael Cole and Jim Ross, served as the commentator for Raw is War, the flagship television program of the WWF. In 1999, Kelly began serving as an interviewer on Raw is War and SmackDown!.
As an interviewer, Kelly was involved in numerous angles. The most publicized was the controversial "Pillman's got a gun" angle, which took place on the November 4, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw, which was filmed in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The angle was set against the backdrop of an ongoing feud between Brian Pillman and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Throughout the broadcast of Monday Night Raw, live footage was shown of Kelly interviewing Pillman in his home in Walton, Kentucky alongside Pillman's wife Melanie. After Dok Hendrix informed Monday Night Raw announcer Vince McMahon that Austin was supposedly traveling to Pillman's home, Pillman, upon being appraised of this development, produced and loaded a 9 mm Glock pistol and stated that he would "blast [Austin's] sorry ass straight to hell!" A frightened Kelly delivered the line "Pillman's got a gun!"
In the course of the interview, Austin arrived at Pillman's home and, after fighting off several of Pillman's friends who had surrounded the house to protect him, broke into the house and advanced on Pillman. Pillman responded by pointing his pistol at Austin, with the live camera feed subsequently fading to black as Kelly and Melanie Pillman screamed. When the camera feed returned, Pillman was being restrained by his friends, and Kelly informed McMahon that there had been two "explosions", but no-one had been injured. At that point, Austin re-entered the house, with Pillman's friends forcing him out again as Pillman pointed his pistol at Austin while screaming obscenities and threats. Kelly shouted for someone to "call the police" as Monday Night Raw color commentator Jerry Lawler instructed him to "get the gun". The broadcast ended with Austin being driven from the house as Melanie Pillman cried. The WWF and Pillman would later apologize for the segment.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Kelly would frequently be mocked by The Rock during interviews, with The Rock labeling him a hermaphrodite and nicknaming him "Hermie". At Unforgiven on September 24, 2000, Kelly was "attacked" by the returning Stone Cold Steve Austin while attempting to interview him.
Kelly would later begin hosting the weekly WWF webcast Byte This!. In addition to his on-screen roles, Kelly served as a WWF talent scout, monitoring wrestlers in the Heartland Wrestling Association, Memphis Championship Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling and Urban Wrestling Alliance developmental territories. Kelly was responsible for watching and evaluating tapes of matches sent to the WWF by prospective employees. Kelly also had a minor degree of influence on the creative direction of the WWF, and was the creator of the storyline that saw Stephanie McMahon marry Triple H, creating the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. In addition, Kelly produced Confidential.
In November 1999, Kelly debuted in the Delaware-based East Coast Wrestling Association as a manager, forming several heel stables. On April 7, 2001 in Wilmington, Delaware, Kelly defeated Cheetah Master for the ECWA Heavyweight Championship with the help of Billy Fives and Rick Fuller, members of Kelly's Alliance of Defiance stable. He was stripped of the title on May 5, 2001, with Scoot Andrews defeating Billy Fives for the vacant title. On December 3, 2005, Kelly was inducted into the ECWA Hall of Fame.
On March 21, 2003, Kelly was released by the WWF (renamed World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002) as part of a series of budget cuts. He went on to work for the short-lived Major League Wrestling promotion. Since his release, Kelly has criticized the corporate policies and creative direction of his former employer.
Kelly once hosted a segment named Plan B on the Voice of Wrestling Internet radio program. He continues to appear on the independent circuit with promotions such as Eastern Pro Wrestling. In August 2007, Kelly started his own show on the Wrestling Radio Network called The Kevin Kelly Show. Kelly also hosts "The Big Picture" audio show on ClubWWI.com
On April 7, 2009 it was rumored that Kevin Kelly was returning to WWE. DirecTV listed Kevin Kelly as the host of WWE Superstars. Kelly debunked the rumor, stating Direct TV was using an old promo, as he once hosted WWE Superstars. That same week, Kelly returned to "Voice of Wrestling". He further discussed this rumor with VOW, whom asked if he wished he was working for WWE again. Kelly stated he was "horrified at the thought of coming back." He also stated "it was so nerve-wracking working there because you never knew where you stood. Just the idea of putting myself back in that situation would be the ultimate act of selfish stupidity. I'm thankful for the experience that I had but it was just so miserable that I couldn't ever imagine going back. And I knew instantly what the mistake was."
Kelly is married with two children.
Championships and accomplishments
- East Coast Wrestling Association