Melina Perez

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Melina Perez
Melina5.jpg
Melina at a Raw house show in 2007
Born (1979-03-09) March 9, 1979 (age 35)[1]
High Desert, California[2]
Resides Los Angeles, California[3]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kyra[2]
Melina[4]
Melina Perez[4]
Billed height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[2]
Billed weight 120 lb (54 kg)[2]
Billed from Los Angeles, California[5]
Hollywood, California[6]
Trained by Jesse Hernandez[4]
School of Hard Knocks[2]
Dave Finlay
Debut 2001[4]

Melina Perez[4] (born March 9, 1979) is an American model, professional wrestler, valet, former WWE Diva and actress. She is best known for her time with World Wrestling Entertainment under the ring name Melina.

Perez started her career as a beauty pageant contestant, winning Miss Hawiaiian Tropics Anaheim. In Perez's modelling career, she has won many modelling competitions such as the Group USA Bridal Show, Group USA Fashion Show, and Ms. California Belleza Latina.[7][unreliable source?]

In 2000, Perez began her professional wrestling career signing with the independent circuit, where she began her training at Jesse Hernandez's School of Hard Knocks in San Bernardino, California, and made her official wrestling debut in 2002.[8] In late 2002, Perez auditioned for World Wrestling Entertainment's reality show Tough Enough III, but was eliminated in first round,[5][9][10][11] and was afterwards inspired by Al Snow to continue pursuing her wrestling career.[12] In March 2004, Perez signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment, and was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), WWE's developmental territory,[4] where she began managing Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury, later naming the tag team MNM.[4] In November 2004, Perez managed the team to victory to become the OVW Southern Tag Team Champions.[13] In April 2005, Perez alongside MNM, made their debut to the main roster as part of the SmackDown! brand, where she managed the team to three reigns as WWE Tag Team Champions,[14] as well as Johnny Nitro to two reigns as WWE Intercontinental Champion.[15][16] Perez was in WWE until 2011, when she was released from her contract. She is a three-time WWE Women's Champion,[17][18] and a two-time WWE Divas Champion.[19][20] After winning her second WWE Divas Championship, Perez became the first woman in WWE history to become a multiple-time champion with both the Women's, and Divas titles. [21] Famed for her flexibility, utilized during her entrance and in her in-ring maneuvers, Perez has been cited by WWE as having "perhaps the most impressive arsenal of offensive maneuvers in Diva history." [22]

Modelling career[edit]

Perez began her career as a beauty pageant contestant, winning Miss Hawaiian Tropics Anaheim. In Perez modelling career she has won many modelling competition such as Group USA Bridal Show, Group USA Fashion Show, Ms. California Belleza Latina.[7][unreliable source?] Melina was body painted by artist Mark Greenawalt for a modeling photo shoot in 2007 where she posed with her championship belt.[23]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

She started training at Jesse Hernandez's School of Hard Knocks in San Bernardino, California and made her professional debut in April 2002.[8] Many EWF officials stated that she had the most natural ability of any woman who came through their school.[9] In late 2002, Perez auditioned for World Wrestling Entertainment's reality show Tough Enough III, making it through to the final twenty-one before being eliminated from the competition in the final cut of the first episode.[5][9][10][11] After she was eliminated from the contest, trainer Al Snow pulled her aside and encouraged her to keep trying to pursue her dream as a wrestler.[12]

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2004)[edit]

Perez debuted in WWE's former developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in March 2004, being placed in a storyline as John Hennigan's ex-girlfriend. The storyline had Matt Cappotelli introduce her to the ring as a way to taunt Hennigan.[4] Melina, however, turned on Cappotelli and aligned herself with Hennigan, who later changed his ring name to Johnny Nitro.[4] Soon after, the duo began teaming with Joey Matthews, later known as Joey Mercury.[4] The trio became known as MNM and on November 10, Melina managed Mercury and Nitro to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship, holding it for over two months.[13][24] During her time in OVW, Melina, Nitro, and Steven Adkins came up with Melina's trademark split ring entrance.[25]

Melina made her first Raw appearance on November 29, 2004, when Randy Orton was the guest General Manager and hosted a Diva lingerie fashion show.[26] She made another Raw appearance in December, participating in a limbo contest when Chris Jericho was General Manager for the night.[27]

MNM (2005–2006)[edit]

MNM made their debut in WWE as a villainous tag team on the April 14, 2005, episode of SmackDown!.[28] The team interrupted the first ever Carlito's Cabana interview segment, where one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Rey Mysterio, was a guest.[28] Melina insulted Mysterio and had Mercury and Nitro attack him, leading to MNM's in-ring debut the next week on SmackDown! in a title match. The team won the match against Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero, starting their first WWE Tag Team Title reign.[29]

Melina (center) with Johnny Nitro (left) and Joey Mercury (right) in 2006.

While managing the Tag Team Champions, Melina's character was developed to be more egotistical as she declared herself "the most-dominant Diva in WWE".[5] She made her official WWE in-ring debut on June 30 against Michelle McCool and had her first pay-per-view match against Torrie Wilson at The Great American Bash in a Bra and panties match, winning both matches.[30][31] In the same night, MNM dropped their championship to the Legion of Doom, prompting a new storyline where Melina hired Jillian Hall, a "fixer", to assist them.[31][32] MNM regained the title on October 28 in a Fatal Four-Way tag team match.[33] On the Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show Melina won an interpromotional Divas battle royal by eliminating Women's Champion Trish Stratus.[34] The next week, as a part of the new storyline, MNM kidnapped Stratus, tied her up and gagged her for Melina who challenged her to a match for the Women's Championship.[35] The two fought at Survivor Series, with Melina losing to Stratus with the help of Mickie James.[36]

During this time, MNM defended their title against Rey Mysterio and the World Heavyweight Champion Batista. Melina was placed in a storyline where she tried to make Batista call off the match by visiting him in his locker room and attempting to seduce him. The storyline had the two engage in sexual intercourse, after which he simply thanked her for the "warm-up" before leaving to take part in the match, where he and Mysterio defeated MNM for the title.[37] The storyline played over to the next episode of SmackDown! when, before MNM invoked their rematch clause, Melina held a press conference in the ring where she claimed that Batista had sexually harassed her. During the tag team match, Mark Henry aided MNM in winning back the WWE Tag Team Championship.[38] The storyline with Henry continued into the next year. On the first SmackDown! of 2006, Melina announced that Henry was her personal protection against Batista. He accompanied her and aided the other members of MNM in matches against Batista and Mysterio.[39]

At Judgment Day on May 21, 2006, MNM lost their Tag Team Championship to Paul London and Brian Kendrick.[40] After the match, Melina and Nitro, as part of the storyline, attacked Mercury, blaming him for the loss.[40] Later that night, Melina lost a singles match against Jillian Hall and after slapping General Manager Theodore Long in anger, she and Nitro were fired from the SmackDown! brand.[41] The team was broken up because off-screen, Nitro and Mercury did not get along, and WWE management decided to send Nitro and Melina to the Raw brand.[42] Melina and Nitro made their way to Raw on May 29, with Nitro losing to WWE Champion John Cena.[43] Melina continued to manage Nitro during his successful hunt for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, and in another storyline with Trish Stratus.[44][45] The storyline turned into a tag team feud when Carlito teamed with Stratus after he saved her from the attacks of Melina and Nitro.[46] At Saturday Night's Main Event on July 15, Melina and Nitro lost to Carlito and Stratus in a mixed tag team match.[47]

Singles competition and Women's Champion (2006–2009)[edit]

Melina as the Women's Champion

After Melina's arrival on Raw, Mick Foley began to mention her in promos and on his WWE.com columns, playing on their real-life friendship, and they soon formed an on-screen friendship.[48][49] At SummerSlam, Melina was involved in Foley's "I Quit" match against Ric Flair when Flair threatened to hit her with a barbed wire baseball bat, causing Foley to quit the match to save her.[50] The next night on Raw, the storyline had Vince McMahon order Foley to join the Kiss My Ass club. After begging Foley not to go through with it, Foley "joined the club" to save Melina's job, only to have her suddenly turn on him by delivering a low blow and firing him at the behest of McMahon.[51] The storyline was concocted by Foley to refresh the idea of the Kiss My Ass club.[51][52] It was also around this time that Melina added another characteristic to her gimmick: screaming loudly at ringside while managing or in tag team action, which became known as the "primal scream".[53]

Melina wrestling Mickie James at a Raw house show in June 2007.

On January 29, 2007, Melina became the number one contender for the WWE Women's Championship.[54] On the February 5 episode of Raw, Melina was unsuccessful in her title match against Mickie James.[55] The following week on Raw, Melina pinned James in a mixed tag team match and was granted a rematch for the title.[56] On February 19, as part of her first major singles push, Melina successfully pinned James to win the WWE Women's Championship. She then retained the title in a rematch during the first ever Women's Falls Count Anywhere match in WWE history.[57][58]

In March, Melina was placed in an angle where she became jealous of SmackDown! Diva Ashley Massaro, who was receiving attention because of her appearance in Playboy.[59] The angle had Melina claim in her blogs that no Playboy cover models were capable of fighting her.[60] This resulted in scheduled matches against former Playboy cover girls Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle, with both women losing to Melina.[61][62] The storyline came to a close at WrestleMania 23, where Melina pinned Ashley in a Lumberjill match to retain her Women's Championship.[63] After WrestleMania, Melina organized a photo op with the Women's Title belt in the ring but was interrupted by Mickie James, resulting in another storyline feud between the two Divas.[64] On April 24, at a house show in Paris, France, Melina lost the Women's Championship in a Triple Threat match to James when James pinned Victoria, but on the orders of Jonathan Coachman she was entitled to a rematch on the same night, where she pinned James by putting her hands on the ropes to regain the title and become a two-time WWE Women's Champion.[17]

In May 7, 2007, Melina began feuding with playboy cover girl Candice Michelle after she was defeated in a tag team match alongside Victoria against Candice Michelle and Mickie James after being pinned by Michelle.[65] Melina continued to lose to Candice in various tag team matches, as well as in non-title bouts over the next few weeks.[66][67][68] At Vengeance, Melina lost the Women's Championship to Candice and failed to recapture the title at The Great American Bash.[69][70]

Melina in her third reign as Women's Champion.

In April 2008, Melina along with then-ally Beth Phoenix, competed at the WrestleMania XXIV pay-per-view in a tag team match defeating Maria and Ashley.[71] On the May 5 episode of Raw!, Melina unintentionally attacked Phoenix with her boot during a lumberjill match with Mickie James.[72] The following week, Phoenix walked out on Melina during a tag match against James and Maria when Melina accidentally bumped Phoenix off the apron. Melina was then attacked by Phoenix during a backstage segment following the match, leading to her turning into a fan favorite for the first time in her WWE career..[73] On the May 19 episode of Raw, Melina sat on commentary during Beth Phoenix's match against Maria, which Phoenix won, and Melina would afterwards attack Phoenix with her boot before being thrown onto the entrance ramp by Phoenix.[74] At the One Night Stand pay-per-view, Melina competed in the first ever in women's history "I Quit" match against Beth Phoenix, but was unsuccessful in winning the match. The next night on Raw, Melina teamed with former rival Mickie James in a tag team match against Beth Phoenix and Katie Lea in a losing effort after James was pinned by Lea.[75] On June 23, 2008, Perez injured her heel after falling from the turnbuckles during a tag team match with Mickie James against Natalya and Victoria.[76]

Perez returned to WWE television on the November 24 episode of Raw, teaming with former rivals Mickie James and Candice Michelle to defeat Phoenix, Jillian Hall, and Katie Lea Burchill.[77] The following week, she made her singles return by defeating Hall. Following the match, Melina stated her intentions to take the WWE Women's Championship from Beth Phoenix.[78] On December 29, Melina won a six-woman battle royal to become the number one contender for the Championship. After the match, Melina and Phoenix engaged in a confrontation over a fan of Phoenix's named Rosa Mendes, who had attacked Melina.[79] On January 25, 2009, Melina won her third WWE Women's Championship at the Royal Rumble by defeating Phoenix.[18] She retained her championship against Beth Phoenix on February 16 episode of Raw,[80] and again during a dark match at No Way Out.[81]

Divas Champion and departure (2009–2011)[edit]

Melina as the Divas Champion

On the April 13, 2009 episode of Raw, Melina was drafted back to SmackDown as part of the 2009 WWE Draft, thus making the WWE Women's Championship exclusive to the brand.[82] She began a feud with Michelle McCool, who was named as the number one contender to the title.[83] McCool attacked Melina after her victory over Alicia Fox on the June 19 episode of SmackDown.[84] Melina dropped the Women's Championship to McCool at The Bash after an interference from Alicia Fox and failed to regain the championship at Night of Champions[85][86] During a "Lumberjill" match on the October 2 episode of SmackDown, Melina failed to regain the title.

On October 12, Melina was traded back to the Raw brand for Raw's Beth Phoenix in a tri-branded trade that was announced by the night's guest host Nancy O'Dell of Access Hollywood and went on to win the WWE Divas Championship from the new Divas Champion Jillian Hall, who had won the belt from Mickie James only a few minutes earlier.[19] After defending the Championship in Hall's contractual rematch, Melina went on to feud with new number one contender Alicia Fox, again successfully retaining her title. On the November 23 episode of Raw, Melina teamed up with Mickie James and Kelly Kelly to defeat Jillian Hall and LayCool. After the match, The Gobbledy Gooker was revealed as Maryse by attacking Melina.[87] The following week, Melina was pinned by Maryse in a tag team match.[88] On the December 7 episode of Raw, Maryse defeated Gail Kim, following the match, Maryse proceed to attack Kelly Kelly but was stopped by Melina.[4] However the feud was cut short due to Melina sustaining an injury.[4] On December 29, at a WWE live event at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, Melina tore her ACL during a six-woman tag team match; she relinquished the Divas Championship on January 4 due to her injury.[4]

She made her return on the August 2 episode of Raw, attacking WWE Divas Champion Alicia Fox after a six-woman tag team match in which she, Jillian Hall, and Tamina defeated Eve Torres, Gail Kim, and Natalya.[89] At SummerSlam, Melina defeated Fox to capture the WWE Divas Championship for the second time in her career. After the match she was attacked by Michelle McCool and WWE Women's Champion Layla.[20] At the 900th episode of Raw, after winning a match, she was challenged by either Layla or McCool to a match at Night of Champions, to unify the WWE Women's and WWE Divas Championships.[90] At Night of Champions, Melina dropped the Divas Championship to McCool after she was attacked by Layla during the match.[91] On the December 20 episode of Raw, Melina became the number one contender for the WWE Divas Championship and turned into a villain in the process when she slapped Natalya, who had attempted to congratulate her following her victory.[4] When the two fought for the WWE Divas Championship on January 24, 2011 on Raw, Melina was defeated.[4] On the June 2 episode of Superstars, the villainous Melina was defeated by Gail Kim in a singles match. She started a feud with Kim, claiming that Kim was a horrible friend.[4] On the June 23 episode of Superstars, Melina lost again to Kim in a singles match.[4] On the July 11 episode of Raw, Melina was defeated by Divas champion Kelly Kelly.[4] On the July 25, 2011 episode of Raw, Melina teamed up with Maryse in a losing effort to Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres.[4] On the August 1 episode of Raw, Perez participated in a #1 Contender's Divas Battle Royal and was the first participant eliminated but it was won by Beth Phoenix. This would be her final match with WWE as she was released later that week.[92][93]

Independent circuit and international tour (2011–2012)[edit]

Melina Perez at a live wrestling event in March of 2012

On August 12, it was announced that Melina will compete at the Women Superstars Uncensored's pay-per-view on November 19, in a match against fellow former WWE Diva Serena Deeb, which Melina later confirmed on her YouTube channel, as well as her official website.[94] In November 2011, Perez wrestled her first match outside of the WWE by defeating Lexxus (replacing Serena) at the Women Superstars Uncensored November 19 pay-per-view.

Perez appeared on the World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX) Champions Showcase Tour in Manila, Philippines on February 4, 2012, where she wrestled under her real name.[95] On February 5, 2012 episode of WWFX, Melina defeated former WWE Diva Jillian Hall.[96]

Melina appeared at the Family Wrestling Entertainment event, signing autographs and serving as Eric Young's valet as he became the new FWE Heavyweight Champion. At the Empire City Showdown, on August 20, Melina made her debut for Family Wrestling Entertainment in a segment with Charlie and Jackie Haas. On April 28 edition of FWE Television, Melina was defeated by Winter with Lita as the special guest referee to retain the FWE Women's Championship.[97]

From June 30 to July 2, 2012, Melina took part in World Wrestling Council's (WWC) Anniversario weekend in Puerto Rico. On the first two nights, she defeated Velvet Sky in singles matches and, on the final night, she and Davey Richards were defeated in a mixed tag team match by Sky and Xix Savant.[98]

Other media[edit]

On April 13, 2008, she appeared in an episode of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp along with Mickie James, Layla, and Kelly Kelly.[99]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Film Role Notes
2011 Serial Buddies Devin Film Debut
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2008 Pop Stars 2 Control Auditioner
2008 Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp Herself 1 episode
2010 Undateable Episode: "Hour 1–5"
2011 Cake Boss
2012 Bad Girls Club After Buzz Show

Personal life[edit]

Perez was born in High Desert but was raised in Los Angeles, California.[2][4][5] Perez is Mexican American.[1][4][5] She speaks both English and Spanish fluently.

In early and mid-2007, Perez had a real-life feud with fellow Diva Candice Michelle in their WWE.com blogs.[100] The feud began when Candice accused Perez of stealing one of her signature moves in the ring.[101] Perez responded to Candice's accusation in her blog by posting a picture of herself performing that move during an independent wrestling show in 2003, proving that she has been using the same move long before she joined WWE and before Candice began her professional wrestling career.[102] She then wrote a blog in April of that year that WWE.com would not publish due to the feelings she expressed towards Perez.[100] Candice took exception to Perez claiming that she had a "spare tire" during an episode of Raw, and in retaliation, Candice claimed Perez was just jealous.[100] The off-screen fighting between the duo was eventually turned into an on-screen storyline. Candice would go on to defeat Melina in various matches, and eventually captured the WWE Women's Championship from her as well.

She is in a long term, on-off relationship with John Hennigan, previously known as Johnny Nitro and John Morrison, whom she managed on-screen.[16][43][103] The pair met during auditions for Tough Enough III, although she did not make the show.[104]

In wrestling[edit]

Melina performing a Sunset Split on Alicia Fox.
Melina performing her split entrance.
Melina as WWE Divas Champion.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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  • "Pro Wrestling Illustrated presents: 2007 Wrestling almanac & book of facts". "Wrestling’s historical cards" (Kappa Publishing). 2007. 
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