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Kelly Kelly

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Kelly Kelly
A close-up photo of a young, Caucasian blonde woman, who is smiling at the camera. Men in camouflage uniforms are visible in the background.
Kelly during the Tribute to the Troops show in December 2008
Birth nameBarbara Jean Blank[1]
Born (1987-01-15) January 15, 1987 (age 31)[2]
Jacksonville, Florida, United States[2][3]
ResidenceManhattan Beach, California, United States[4]
Spouse(s)
Sheldon Souray
(m. 2016; separated 2017)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Barbie Blank
Kelly Kelly
Billed height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)[5]
Billed weight108 lb (49 kg)[5]
Billed fromJacksonville, Florida[6]
Trained byOhio Valley Wrestling[5]
DebutJune 13, 2006[5]

Barbara Jean Blank (born January 15, 1987) is an American model, reality television personality, and professional wrestler, better known professionally as Barbie Blank and by her ring name Kelly Kelly.

Blank has a background in gymnastics and cheerleading, and worked as a model for Venus Swimwear and Hawaiian Tropic. In 2006, Blank was signed to a contract by WWE and, after training in Ohio Valley Wrestling, she debuted on the ECW brand in June 2006 as 'Kelly Kelly'. Primarily appearing in non-wrestling role, she was a member of Extreme Exposé with Layla and Brooke Adams. Beginning in late 2007, she began participating in more wrestling matches, and unsuccessfully challenged for both the WWE Divas Championship and the WWE Women's Championship on multiple occasions. In June 2011, she won the WWE Divas Championship, commencing a four-month reign. She left WWE in 2012, but has since returned for occasional appearances.

Blank has also appeared on a number of television shows, and is a main cast member of the reality television program WAGS.

Early life[edit]

Blank was born in Jacksonville, Florida to a Jewish father and Christian mother.[2][7] Blank was a fan of professional wrestling as a child, and cites Stone Cold Steve Austin as her favorite wrestler.[8] While growing up, Blank participated in gymnastics for ten years, before she was forced to quit due to an injury.[2] She later took up cheerleading.[2] She attended University Christian School and graduated from Englewood High School.[9] Blank attended Florida Community College at Jacksonville,[9] where she studied broadcast journalism, hoping to become a television anchor.[2][10] She was also a Hawaiian Tropic and Venus Swimwear bikini model before she entered professional wrestling.[2][10]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE[edit]

Developmental territories (2006–2007)[edit]

In 2006, while working as a model, Blank was seen by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) official John Laurinaitis, who was interested in signing her to a contract.[2] As a result, WWE contacted her modeling agency and invited her to their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), for a tryout. Despite having no previous wrestling experience she was offered a contract, which she signed in May 2006.[5][2][10] Even after being called up to the main roster she continued to fly back and forth to OVW's base city Louisville, Kentucky once a week to work shows; first as a ring announcer and referee, then as a wrestler.[11] One of her first matches took place at the September 6 television tapings where she participated in a Women's battle royal won by ODB.[2][11] In late 2007, she also made an appearance in Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE's new developmental territory.[5]

ECW and Extreme Expose (2006–2008)[edit]

Matt Striker (left) talking down to Kelly Kelly at an ECW live event.

Blank debuted for the ECW brand as Kelly Kelly. Originally, she was to be named just 'Kelly', but her ring name was expanded to 'Kelly Kelly' by WWE CEO Vince McMahon.[12] She made her debut on the first episode of the weekly television program on June 13, 2006, becoming the youngest Diva on the WWE roster, aged 19.[1][3][13] Her character, an exhibitionist, was introduced performing a striptease for the crowd.[10][13] The next week, while performing another striptease, Kelly was interrupted by her on-screen boyfriend, Mike Knox, who came to the stage and covered her with a towel before dragging her backstage.[10][14] Her stripping became a weekly segment known as Kelly's Exposé and usually followed the same routine; Kelly would dance and strip until she was interrupted by Knox who was upset by her exhibitionism.[15][16] Knox began forcing Kelly to accompany him to ringside so he could keep an eye on her, making her his de facto valet.[15] As a result, she found herself involved in the feud developing between Knox, his tag team partner Test and Tommy Dreamer and his partner The Sandman. Her involvement included being inadvertently hit with a cane by Sandman when Knox used her as a shield.[17] She made her ECW in-ring debut on the August 22 episode as part of a six-person mixed tag team match, in which she, Knox, and Test lost to Dreamer, Sandman, and Torrie Wilson, ending the storyline.[18]

A photo of a blonde Caucasian female, who is posing on the second turnbuckle of a wrestling ring with blue ropes. She has one hand extended into the air, and is pointing upwards with her index finger, while the other hand rests on her waist, and is wearing a green crop top and green trousers. A second blonde woman in visible in the background, wearing a blue crop top and trousers.
Kelly Kelly during a house show in June 2008

Kelly and Knox progressed into a storyline with CM Punk in September, in which Kelly developed a liking for Punk and Knox became increasingly protective and jealous.[19] During the next month, Kelly continuously flirted with Punk and was shown watching his matches from the crowd, until Knox stopped her.[20][21] Subsequently, Kelly's character dressed as Punk for ECW's Halloween Costume Contest, enraging Knox and leading to a match between Knox and Punk, during which Kelly cheered for Punk.[22][23] At December to Dismember, Kelly and Knox took on the team of Ariel and Kevin Thorn in a mixed tag team match, during which Knox refused to tag in before abandoning Kelly, leaving her to be beaten badly by Ariel.[24] On the following episode of ECW, Kelly defeated Ariel with a roll-up in her first singles match. Afterwards, Knox made his way to the ring with flowers, but ended up throwing them at her and performing his signature swinging reverse STO on her, ending their relationship and giving her a scripted injury—removing her from the program for six weeks.[2][25]

She returned to television on January 16, 2007, and cut a promo announcing she was newly single and bringing back Kelly's Exposé.[26] The following week, she joined forces with Layla and Brooke to form Extreme Exposé.[27] The trio performed a weekly dance segment on ECW for the next several months, as a successor to Kelly's Exposé segment.[5] In June 2007, The Miz was moved to the brand, prompting a storyline in which all three members of Extreme Exposé were attracted to him.[5][28][29] When Kelly shifted her attentions towards Balls Mahoney, Layla, Brooke, and The Miz openly mocked her, and The Miz later prevented her from going on a date with Mahoney, stating that he owned her contract and would fire her if she did so.[30][31][32] On November 1, Brooke was released from her WWE contract, and Extreme Exposé dissolved as a group.[33] This left Kelly and Layla to enter an ongoing rivalry with more active wrestling roles.[10] On the October 29 episode of Raw, Kelly won a battle royal to earn a match against the WWE Women's Champion, Beth Phoenix. After the match however, Kelly was attacked by Phoenix and lost the subsequent match between the two the following week on Raw.[34][35] Kelly continued to feud with Layla, and they were on opposite sides of a 10-Diva tag team match at Survivor Series, which Kelly's team won.[2][36] In December, Layla formed an alliance with Victoria, which expanded to include Lena Yada in January 2008, and Kelly continued to feud with the trio.[5][37][38] At WrestleMania XXIV, Kelly was a 'lumberjill' for the Divas' tag team lumberjill match.[5] The following month, Kelly was part of the losing team in a five-on-five Divas match at the Backlash pay-per-view.[39]

Various storylines (2008–2011)[edit]

In July, Kelly was moved to the Raw brand and debuted for the brand by teaming with Mickie James to defeat Layla and Jillian Hall.[40] She quickly became involved in a feud with Beth Phoenix, facing her on multiple occasions in both singles and tag team matches with a variety of partners, including Mickie James and Candice Michelle.[5][41][42] During this time, Phoenix was aligned with Hall, and in late September Kelly transitioned into a feud with Hall.[43][44][45] At the Survivor Series pay-per-view in November, Kelly was part of the victorious Raw Diva team which defeated the SmackDown Divas in a five-on-five elimination match. During the match, she eliminated Victoria, before being eliminated by Maryse.[46] The following month at Armageddon, Kelly teamed with Maria, Michelle McCool, and James in a winning effort against Hall, Maryse, Victoria, and Natalya.[47]

A blonde woman poses on the turnbuckles, while pointing forwards with one hand. She is wearing a black and pink crop top, and black shorts with a pink belt.
Kelly posing on the turnbuckles in 2008

On April 5, 2009, Kelly competed in a Divas Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXV, but the match was won by Santina Marella.[48] On the May 18 episode of Raw, Kelly won a battle royal to become the number one contender to the WWE Divas Championship.[49] The following week, she challenged Maryse for the championship and won by disqualification, allowing Maryse to retain.[50] Kelly lost a subsequent rematch by pinfall two weeks later on June 8.[51] Three weeks later, she competed in a fatal four-way match to determine the number one contender, but the match was won by James.[52] Throughout the remainder of mid-2009, Kelly unsuccessfully competed in several number one contender matches.[53][54] At the Bragging Rights pay-per-view in October, Kelly, Gail Kim, and Melina comprised Team Raw, but lost to Team SmackDown (Phoenix, Natalya, and McCool).[55] The following month at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Kelly participated in a five-on-five elimination match, which her team won. She eliminated Layla before being eliminated by Phoenix.[56]

In January 2010, Kelly participated in the tournament to determine a new Divas Champion, after Melina was forced to vacate the championship due to injury. She was eliminated by Alicia Fox in the first round.[57] Throughout early 2010, Kelly was involved in several backstage segments with the guest hosts of Raw.[5] At WrestleMania XXVI, Kelly teamed with Phoenix, Kim, James, and Eve Torres in a losing effort to McCool, Layla, Maryse, Fox, and Vickie Guerrero.[58] The following night on Raw, the teams faced off in a rematch with the opposite result.[59] The following week, Kelly took part in a 10-Diva Dress To Impress battle royal, to determine the number one contender for Maryse's Divas Championship, but the match was won by Torres.[60]

A blonde, Caucasian woman smiles while raising both her hands above her head. She is wearing a red and white dress with a white fur trim.
Kelly at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops show

During the 2010 WWE Draft on April 26, Kelly was drafted to the SmackDown brand.[61] She made her debut on the April 30 episode of SmackDown by teaming with Beth Phoenix to defeat LayCool (Michelle McCool and Layla).[62] She went on to feud with LayCool, gaining an ally in Tiffany. Over the next several weeks, Kelly and Tiffany faced LayCool in tag team matches, with LayCool winning on both occasions.[63][64] On the June 4 episode of SmackDown, Kelly made her singles debut for the brand, defeating Rosa Mendes, despite being distracted by Layla and McCool.[65] After defeating both Layla and McCool in singles matches, she received a Women's Championship match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July, but was unsuccessful.[66][67][68] On August 31, Kelly announced that she would be a mentor on season three of NXT, with Naomi as her rookie.[69] Throughout the second half of 2010, Kelly continued to feud with LayCool, and gained an ally in Natalya in October.[70][71][72] In November, Kelly's NXT rookie, Naomi was named runner-up to the winner, Kaitlyn during the season finale.[73]

In December, Kelly started a storyline with Drew McIntyre who had developed an on-screen romantic interest in her.[5] She rebuffed his advances on several occasions, stating he was too aggressive and vindictive.[74][75][76] On January 30, 2011, at the Royal Rumble, Kelly prevented the Acting General Manager Vickie Guerrero from interfering in the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Dolph Ziggler.[77] On the following SmackDown, Kelly and Edge defeated LayCool and Ziggler in a two-on-three handicap match to retain Edge's World Heavyweight Championship. Following the match, Guerrero fired Kelly in storyline.[78] At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view later that month, Kelly was re-hired by SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long, and made her return by attacking Guerrero. She was stopped by LayCool, who were in turn stopped by Trish Stratus.[79] On the following episode of SmackDown, Kelly gained revenge on Guerrero when Kelly and Edge defeated Guerrero and McIntyre in a mixed tag team match, causing Guerrero to be fired in storyline per the pre-match stipulation.[80]

Divas Champion (2011–2012)[edit]

Kelly (back) and Maria Menounos (front) celebrate their victory at WrestleMania XXVIII

On April 26, Kelly was drafted back to the Raw brand as part of the 2011 supplemental draft.[81] On May 22 at the Over the Limit pay-per-view, Kelly unsuccessfully challenged Brie Bella for the WWE Divas Championship.[82] The following month, on the Power to the People special edition of Raw on June 20, Kelly won a fan vote to determine the challenger for the Divas Championship that night. Kelly went on to win her first WWE Divas Championship by defeating Bella.[83][84] Her win later garnered her a Slammy Award for Divalicious Moment of the Year.[85][86] At the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July, Kelly made her first title defense, successfully defeating Bella in a rematch.[87] On August 1, Phoenix won a battle royal to become the number one contender to Kelly's championship, and afterward attacked Kelly to provoke a feud.[88] Kelly went on to successfully defend her championship against Phoenix at both SummerSlam and Night of Champions.[89] Kelly lost the championship to her at Hell in a Cell in October.[90][91] In subsequent rematches on SmackDown and at Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Kelly failed to regain the title.[92][93]

Kelly spent early 2012 participating in several tag team matches.[5] At WrestleMania XXVIII in April, Kelly and Extra correspondent Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve in a tag team match.[94] In June, WWE granted Kelly a period of time off, and she returned on Raw on August 6, defeating Eve in singles match.[95][96] On September 28, Blank was released from her contract.[97] In a December 2012 interview, Blank stated she needed time off to heal a neck injury, and had plans to model.[98]

Independent circuit (2012, 2018)[edit]

Blank was set to appear at her first independent wrestling show in Waterbury, Connecticut at a North East Wrestling event on November 4, 2012, followed by a house show event on November 5, but her appearances were canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.[99] Blank eventually made her first appearance for North East Wrestling on December 4.[99] At House of Hardcore 43 in May 2018, Blank made a surprise appearance and helped Chelsea Green defeat Paredyse by tripping his valet, Rebel, off the ring apron.[100]

WWE appearances (2017–present)[edit]

Kelly returned to WWE by being featured in a backstage interview for WWE's official website during the February 13, 2017, episode of Raw.[101][102] She later appeared during WrestleMania weekend, including at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and appeared on an episode of the WWE Network exclusive Table for 3.[103] On January 22, 2018, Kelly appeared at the Raw 25 Years special, being honored as one of the historic women of WWE.[104] A few days later, on January 28 at the Royal Rumble event, Kelly competed in the first women's royal rumble match, where she entered at number 19, and was eliminated by Nia Jax.[105] Kelly also took part in the WWE Evolution event as an entrant in the battle royal for an opportunity to compete for a women's championship only to be eliminated by Mandy Rose.

Media appearances and acting roles[edit]

In April 2007, Blank, along with Ashley Massaro, Layla El, Brooke Adams, Torrie Wilson, and Maryse Ouellet, appeared in a music video for the Timbaland song "Throw It on Me", featuring The Hives.[106]

On April 11, 2008, Blank along with Mickie James, Melina Perez, and Layla El appeared in an episode of Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp as trainers.[107] Six days later, she appeared as a "Soccerette" on the British football show Soccer AM.[108] She appeared a second time on Soccer AM in 2009.[109] On June 14, 2011, Kelly and The Bella Twins appeared on an episode of The Price Is Right.[110] Blank was nominated as "Favorite Butt Kicker" for the 2012 Kids' Choice Awards.

In August 2007, all three members of Extreme Exposé took part in a photo-shoot for FHM Online.[111] In 2011, Blank was ranked number 82 in Maxim's Hot 100.[112] Blank was later featured on both the front and back covers of Maxim in December 2011.[12] In 2012, Blank ranked number 38 in Maxim's Hot 100.[113][114][115]

Blank is one of the cast members of the E! reality television series WAGS, which began airing in August 2015 and features a look into the personal lives of the wives and girlfriends of sportsmen.[116]

Blank made her acting debut on the January 30, 2017, episode of Days of Our Lives, appearing in a scene as a waitress who gives information to one of the show's main characters.[117]

TV roles and appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Throw It on Me Herself Music video
2008 Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp Herself/Trainer April 11, 2008
2008–2009 Soccer AM Herself/Soccerette Two Episodes (British TV)
2011 WWE Tough Enough Herself/Kelly Kelly May 16, 2011
2011 The Price Is Right Herself/Kelly Kelly June 14, 2011
2012 2012 Kids' Choice Awards Herself/Kelly Kelly March 31, 2012
2015–2017 WAGs LA Herself Main role (28 episodes)
2017 Days of Our Lives Waitress with information Episode: January 30, 2017

Personal life[edit]

While training at OVW, Blank lived in Kentucky.[8] Following this, Blank lived in Tampa, Florida prior to moving to Miami. She then returned to living in Tampa in 2010.[3]

Blank was in a two-and-a-half year relationship with wrestler Andrew Martin, that had ended prior to his death in March 2009.[118][119] In 2011, Blank met ice hockey player Sheldon Souray at a Maxim party, and the pair began dating.[9] They got married in Mexico on February 27, 2016, and split time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.[9][120][121] The couple separated in 2017.[122][123]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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