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McCool originally worked as a middle school teacher in Palatka, Florida. She joined WWE in 2004 after participating in the 2004 WWE Diva Search. In her initial on-screen role, she acted primarily as a personal trainer and occasional wrestler. She also acted as the manager to the team of K. C. James and Idol Stevens, collectively known as The Teacher's Pets, in 2006 after changing her on-screen character to that of a teacher. At The Great American Bash in 2008, she became the inaugural WWE Divas Champion, holding the title for approximately five months. She then won the WWE Women's Championship at The Bash in 2009, becoming the first person to have held both titles. At Night of Champions in 2010, she unified both titles becoming the first WWE Unified Divas Champion. She has held both titles on two occasions which makes her a four time champion overall.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Diva Search and training (2004–2006)
McCool first came to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a competitor in the 2004 WWE Diva Search, losing to Christy Hemme. Although she was eliminated, WWE signed her to a three-year deal in November. Despite not winning the contest, she later debuted on SmackDown! as a fan favorite with a "Personal Trainer" gimmick. She wrestled in her first SmackDown! match, teaming with The Big Show to defeat Dawn Marie and René Duprée on March 3, 2005. A few months later, McCool became a part of the feud between MNM and Heidenreich when she defended Heidenreich against MNM's manager Melina's verbal attacks. In a match on June 30, Melina defeated McCool by pinning her with the illegal aid of the ring ropes as leverage. After the match, MNM performed their finisher, the Snapshot, on McCool.
McCool was then sent to WWE's developmental facility, Deep South Wrestling (DSW), where she wrestled, performed interviews, hosted segments, and provided color commentary. While in DSW, she was hospitalized after having an allergic reaction to a prescribed medication and was temporarily sidelined to recover. Eventually, she started to train in WWE's other developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). While in OVW, she began managing the duo of Amish Roadkill and K.C. James.
The Teacher's Pets (2006–2007)
She returned to SmackDown! on June 2, 2006, this time working as a villainess with a "sexy teacher" gimmick, pulling on her real life experiences. Upon her arrival, she aligned with the evil Kristal Marshall to feud with Jillian Hall and Ashley Massaro. This feud led to a Fatal Four-Way Bra and Panties match at The Great American Bash, which Massaro won. She won her first singles match on the July 28 edition of SmackDown!, defeating Hall by illegally using the ropes as leverage. Soon after, she began acting as valet for the team of K. C. James and Idol Stevens, who, because of her association with them, were nicknamed The Teacher's Pets. The trio began feuding with Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and their valet Massaro, for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but never won the title. The feud ended when London and Kendrick won a match against them at No Mercy in October. On November 28, McCool was hospitalized with an enlarged kidney, a broken sternum, and an electrolyte imbalance. She was released from the hospital on December 2.
All–American Diva; Divas Champion (2007–2008)
McCool returned on the March 30, 2007 edition of SmackDown!, where she participated in a 10-Diva tag team match. On the April 13 edition of SmackDown!, McCool became a fan favorite once again when she came to the aid of Ashley Massaro after she was attacked by Jillian Hall backstage. On the May 28 edition of Raw, McCool won the Memorial Day Bikini Beach Splash Battle Royal by eliminating Melina. Subsequently, a series of matches took place between Victoria and McCool, including a Mixed Tag Team match where Victoria and Kenny Dykstra defeated McCool and Chuck Palumbo. McCool even made the save of Torrie Wilson who was attacked after a match against Victoria, on the August 10 edition of SmackDown!. That would lead to the last match between the two, with Michelle getting the victory.
McCool then became caught in the middle of a feud between the villainous Jamie Noble and her on-screen friend Chuck Palumbo. After a series of matches between the men, Noble won a date with McCool by defeating Palumbo in a match. In the storyline, Palumbo accidentally elbowed McCool during a match, causing her to suffer a concussion. The partnership was dissolved when McCool refused to accept his apology. She then went on to compete in a series of contests with Victoria, Eve Torres, Maryse and Cherry to determine SmackDown!'s top Diva, subsequently winning the title. At The Great American Bash on July 20, 2008, McCool defeated Natalya Neidhart to become the inaugural WWE Divas Champion.
On the July 25th episode of SmackDown!, McCool defeated Maryse in a non-title match. On the August 8 episode of SmackDown!, Michelle teamed up with Maria and Cherry in a losing effort to Maryse, Victoria and Natalya. The following week, McCool teamed up with Maria in losing effort to Maryse and Natalya after Maryse pinned Michelle. She successfully defended her Divas Championship against Maryse at Unforgiven and on the September 19 edition of SmackDown!. On the September 23rd episode of ECW, McCool was defeated by Maryse in a non-title singles match.
Heel Turn; Team Lay-Cool (2008–2011)
On the November 14th episode of SmackDown!, McCool successfully retained her Divas Championship against Maria. McCool began turning villainous after losing to Maria in a non-title singles match on the December 5 episode of SmackDown. After the match, the evil McCool attacked Maria backstage. On the December 19th episode of SmackDown!, Maryse became the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship after Maryse defeated Maria with McCool at ringside. On the December 26, 2008 episode of SmackDown!, McCool lost the Divas Championship to Maryse. After the match, McCool blamed Maria, the special guest referee of the match, for her loss and attacked her, establishing herself as a villainess.
In the following weeks, McCool also attacked Eve Torres, resulting in Eve's debut match, which McCool won. McCool then defeated Gail Kim on the May 22 taping of SmackDown to become the number one contender for the WWE Women's Championship, which she would win a month later at The Bash by defeating Melina. She retained the championship against Melina during a rematch on July 26 at Night of Champions.
McCool then formed an alliance with Layla, and entered into a feud with Mickie James, which resulted in a five-on-five Elimination match at Survivor Series, which James' team won. James then became the number one contender for McCool's championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, where McCool successfully retained the championship. However, McCool lost the WWE Women's Championship to James at the 2010 Royal Rumble, though she regained it on the February 26 edition of SmackDown when special guest referee Vickie Guerrero interfered, costing James the Championship. On the April 23 edition of SmackDown, she and Layla attacked Beth Phoenix with a spray and table. The attack was a reference to the upcoming Extreme Makeover WWE Women's Championship match between McCool and Phoenix at the 2010 Extreme Rules, which McCool lost. On May 14, 2010, McCool and Layla faced the then-WWE Women's Champion Phoenix in a two–on–one handicap match, in which Layla pinned Phoenix and won the WWE Women's Championship.
On the July 20 edition of SmackDown, McCool took the place of Layla in her WWE Women's Championship match against Tiffany, defeating her and retaining the title. At Night of Champions McCool defeated Melina to unify the WWE Women's Championship and the WWE Divas Championship, thus becoming the first ever WWE Unified Divas Champion. At Survivor Series on November 21, she lost the Divas Championship when Natalya defeated McCool and Layla in a two-on-one handicap match. At TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, she and Layla were defeated in the first ever Divas tag team tables match by Natalya and Beth Phoenix.
At WrestleMania XXVII on April 3, 2011, McCool, Layla and Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero) lost to Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Trish Stratus, and John Morrison in a 6-person mixed tag team match after Snooki pinned McCool.
LayCool Split and Departure (2011)
On the April 8th edition of Smackdown, LayCool began to fall out again after being defeated by Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly after Michelle refused to tag in Layla. The next week on Smackdown saw Layla lose to Kelly despite McCool's help. After match, McCool scolded and brutally shoved Layla. On the April 22nd edition of SmackDown LayCool attended another couples therapy session. As Layla started to get emotional, McCool hugged her and apologized. When Layla went to thank the therapist, Michelle brutally attacked her, thus ending LayCool. On the April 25th WWE Draft on Raw, Layla lost a match to Eve Torres and attacked McCool for costing her the match.
Layla & McCool decided to go against each other for a "Loser Leaves WWE" match at Extreme Rules.
McCool failed to win the match which costing her to leave WWE.
Before McCool left WWE Kharma (The newest diva at WWE) gave McCool an implant buster
During the week of November 5, 2007, she appeared on five episodes of Family Feud with several other WWE wrestlers and Divas. She also appeared on the February 6, 2008 episode of Project Runway with Maria Kanellis, Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, Kristal Marshall, and Layla El. On June 3, 2008, she appeared on the Best Damn Sports Show Period with John Cena. In addition, McCool appeared in the January 2009 edition of Muscle & Fitness, along with Eve Torres and Maryse.
Before and during high school, McCool played softball. She also played first base at Pasco-Hernando Community College. McCool later received her master's degree in Educational leadership from Florida State University. Before becoming involved in professional wrestling, she taught seventh grade science for four years in Palatka, Florida. She also competed in National Physique Committee fitness contests. Both of her parents also work in education; her mother is a teacher and her father is a superintendent. She has an older brother who played football at the University of Cincinnati.
McCool was married to Jeremy Louis Alexander, whom she began dating in high school. The couple divorced in 2006. She married fellow wrestler Mark Calaway, known professionally as The Undertaker, on June 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas. On August 1, 2012 it was announced that they were expecting their first child. Kaia Faith Calaway was born on August 29, 2012 and is Calaway's fourth child and McCool's first.
McCool is a Christian. Her wrestling outfits incorporate Christian crosses. She has had several wrestling-related injuries; in November 2007, she fractured her nose during an overseas WWE tour after Victoria's clothesline hit her in the face. She has been hospitalized twice, had two broken ribs, a broken sternum, and a broken xiphoid process. When she chose to leave the WWE, she mentioned that her foot had been injured for two months with a broken toe, torn joint capsules and a torn MCL.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Wrestlers managed
- Tag teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards
- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (2009) Exploiting Mickie James' weight issues
|WWE Diva Search contestants|
|Amy Weber • Camille Anderson • Carmella DeCesare • Chandra Costello • Christy Hemme • Joy Giovanni • Julia Costello • Maria Kanellis • Michelle McCool • Tracie Wright|
|Alexis Ondrade • Ashley Massaro • Cameron Haven • Elisabeth Rouffaer • Kristal Marshall • Leyla Milani • Simona Fusco • Summer DeLin|
|Amy Zidian • Erica Chevillar • Jen England • J.T. Tinney • Layla El • Maryse Ouellet • Milena Roucka • Rebecca DiPietro|
|Brooke Gilbertson • Eve Torres • J. Kim • Jessica Hatch • Lena Yada • Lyndy Frieson • Naomi Kirk • Taryn Terrell|