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Michelle McCool

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Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg
McCool in April 2016 at WrestleMania Axxess
Birth name Michelle Leigh McCool
Born (1980-01-25) January 25, 1980 (age 37)[1][2]
Palatka, Florida, United States[1][2]
Residence Austin, Texas, U.S.[2]
Alma mater Florida State University
Spouse(s) Jeremy Alexander (m. 2001; div. 2006)
The Undertaker (m. 2010)[2]
Children 1
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Michelle McCool
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[3][1][2]
Billed weight 128 lb (58 kg)[1][2]
Billed from Palatka, Florida[3][2]
Trained by Deep South Wrestling[1]
Ohio Valley Wrestling[1][2]
Dave Finlay
Debut November 18, 2004[2]
Retired May 1, 2011

Michelle Leigh Calaway (neè McCool and formerly Alexander) (born January 25, 1980) is an American retired professional wrestler who is best known for her time with WWE on its SmackDown brand. She is also an inaugural, former two-time WWE Divas Champion and a two-time WWE Women's Champion and a one-time Diva of the Year.

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, McCool 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 female wrestler to have held both titles. At Night of Champions in 2010, she unified both titles becoming the first and only WWE Unified Divas Champion. McCool has held both titles on two occasions, which makes her a four-time champion overall. In November 2010, she was ranked No. 1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Female 50 in 2010.

Early life[edit]

Both of McCool's parents also work in education; her mother, Mary, is a teacher and her father, Terry, is a superintendent.[4] She has an older brother who played football at the University of Cincinnati.[5] Growing up, McCool was an avid wrestling fan, going as far as knowing how to do Ric Flair's signature maneuver, the figure-four leglock, by age seven. Before and during high school, McCool played softball, basketball and volleyball.[5] She also played first base at Pasco-Hernando State College.[4] McCool later received her Master's degree in Educational leadership from Florida State University.[4] Before becoming involved in professional wrestling, she taught seventh grade science for four years in her hometown of Palatka, Florida.[1][4] She also competed in National Physique Committee fitness contests, taught gymnastics and kickboxing, and worked as a personal trainer.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE[edit]

Early appearances and developmental territories (2004–2006)[edit]

In Summer 2004, the 24-year-old McCool, participated in the Raw Diva Search contest, becoming one of the finalists, but placed 7th when she was eliminated on August 16; the winner of the contest was Christy Hemme. However, McCool and other Diva Search contestants were later signed by WWE.

On November 18, 2004, McCool debuted on SmackDown! as a fan favorite, portraying a fitness trainer, teaching Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio some stretches. On November 25, McCool helped Miss Jackie stretch and discussed the rumors of Charlie Haas cheating on her. On December 2, McCool helped Booker T and Eddie Guerrero stretch and sort out their "negative vibes". On January 6, McCool participated in her first in-ring segment during the John Cena vs. Kenzo Suzuki BattleRap. McCool caught the eye of Suzuki, resulting in Hiroko attacking McCool. On January 10, McCool, Miss Jackie, Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie participated in a "Miss SmackDown! Contest", which Wilson won.

McCool, Miss Jackie, Torrie Wilson, Dawn Marie, Joy Giovanni, Rochelle Loewen and Lauren Jones participated in a "Best Body Contest" on February 21, 2005, which was again won by Wilson. McCool made her in-ring debut on March 3, where The Big Show and McCool defeated René Duprée and Dawn Marie in a mixed tag team match, with Big Show pinning Duprée.[6] Dawn Marie then attacked McCool as they were posing for St. Patrick's Day photos with fans on March 17. After that, McCool made her singles debut match on March 24, losing to Marie.[2] McCool, Miss Jackie, Torrie Wilson, Dawn Marie, Joy Giovanni and Lauren Jones participated in a "Viva Las Vegas Bikini Contest" on April 7, which Wilson won. McCool then competed in a losing effort against Torrie Wilson on May 28, where McCool attempted to feign an injury. On June 16, McCool became involved in a feud between MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) and Heidenreich, when she defended Heidenreich against MNM's manager Melina's verbal attacks, and attacked Melina.[1] McCool attacked Melina again during a match between Joey Mercury and Heidenreich on June 23. The feud between McCool and Melina concluded in a match on June 30, where Melina defeated McCool.[1] After the match, Mercury and Nitro performed their finisher, the Snapshot, before they were chased away by Heidenreich.[1]

McCool was then assigned to WWE's then-developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling (DSW).[1] McCool made her in-ring debut for DSW on September 8, losing to Angel Williams.[2] In October, McCool was legitimately hospitalized for over eight days after suffering a bad reaction to Ibuprofen after a CT scan. On January 19, 2006, Trenesha Biggers and Angel Williams attacked Kristal Marshall during the intermission, but Tracy Tailor and McCool made the save, and brawled with Biggers and Williams. On February 9, McCool, Williams, Tailor, Biggers and Marshall participated in a "Bikini Contest", but no winner was declared when Palmer Canon interrupted and said that he did not want bikini contests on his network. McCool, Tailor and Marshall later accompanied Tommy Dreamer to a match against Palmer Canon, who had Trenesha Biggers and Angel Williams as his managers, but Dreamer lost the match. On March 9, McCool defeated Tracy Tailor, winning her first match in DSW.

In March 2006, McCool was sent to another developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), for a gimmick tryout with Amish Roadkill and Kasey James, also continued her training. While in OVW, she began managing the duo of Amish Roadkill and Kasey James.[1] On May 3, Roadkill and Kasey James, accompanied by McCool, defeated The Untouchables (Deuce and Domino), who were accompanied by Cherry Pie. On May 5, Roadkill and James, with McCool at ringside, lost a dark match on SmackDown against William Regal and Sylvan.

Teacher and All-American Diva (2006–2008)[edit]

McCool returned to SmackDown! on June 2, 2006, this time as a villainous character with a "sexy teacher" gimmick, pulling on her real life experiences as a teacher, and warning the Divas that she was "gonna take them to school".[1] On June 9, McCool, Jillian Hall, Kristal and Ashley participated in a "Bikini Contest", which Massaro won. Hall, Kristal and Ashley stripped down, but McCool rejected, saying she had too much class, and walked out of the ring. McCool appeared in a backstage segment with Ashley on June 16, where Ashley wanted to have a 1-on-1 "Bikini Contest" with her, but McCool declined. McCool and Kristal had a catfight backstage with Jillian Hall and Ashley on July 14, which prompted a feud between the four Divas. On July 15, McCool and Victoria reached the finals of a Divas Mechanical Bull Riding Contest, which McCool won.[1] On July 21, McCool and Kristal lost a tag team match against Hall and Ashley, after Ashley pinned Kristal. This led to a Fatal Four-Way Bra and Panties match at The Great American Bash on July 23, which Ashley won after eliminating Marshall.[7] McCool won her first singles match in WWE on July 28, defeating Jillian Hall.[8]

Soon after, she began acting as the valet for K. C. James and Idol Stevens, who, because of her association with them, were nicknamed as "The Teacher's Pets".[1][9] On August 4, 2006, The Teacher's Pets, with McCool at ringside, defeated Scotty 2 Hotty and Sho Funaki. In August, the trio began feuding with Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and their valet Ashley, for the WWE Tag Team Championship.[1] The Teachers Pets lost a match against Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Ashley on September 8, and Ashley attacked McCool after the match. On September 29, The Teacher's Pets defeated The Pitbulls (Kid Kash and Jamie Noble). On October 6, McCool took her revenge on Ashley in a singles match, which McCool won. The Teacher's Pets lost a WWE Tag Team Championship match against London and Kendrick at No Mercy on October 8, and Ashley attacked McCool again.[10]

On October 20, The Miz hosted a Diva's "Dance Off Contest" with the SmackDown! Divas, McCool, Jillian Hall, Kristal, Ashley and Layla, who were judged by Nick and Aaron Carter, with the chosen winner being Layla. On October 27, McCool, Hall, Kristal, Ashley and Layla participated in a Diva's "Trick-Or-Treat Battle Royal" with The Miz as the special guest referee. McCool eliminated Hall, and also took her revenge on Ashley by eliminating her, but Kristal was declared the winner after Miz helped her win. On November 3, The Teacher's Pets lost a championship match against London and Kendrick, and after the match, their feud with London and Kendrick and also The Teacher's Pets tag team alliance ended. On November 10, K.C. James, with McCool, lost a match against then-WWE United States Champion Chris Benoit. On November 28, McCool was hospitalized with an enlarged kidney, a broken sternum, and an electrolyte imbalance.1[11] She was released from the hospital on December 2, 2006.[12]

McCool during a WWE house show in June 2007.

McCool returned on the March 30, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, where she participated in a 10-Diva tag team match with Victoria, Melina, Kristal, and Jillian Hall in a losing effort.[13] On the April 13 episode of SmackDown!, McCool became a fan favorite again, when she came to the aid of Ashley after she was attacked by Jillian Hall backstage.[14] Subsequently, a series of matches took place between Victoria and McCool,[15] including a mixed tag team match where Victoria and Kenny Dykstra defeated McCool and Chuck Palumbo.[16] On the November 13 episode of ECW, McCool formed an alliance with Kelly Kelly, and the duo were defeated Melina and Layla. On the December 12 episode of ECW, McCool saved Kelly from an attack by Victoria and Layla.[17]

McCool was then repackaged as "The All-American Diva", where she began accompanying her on-screen friend Chuck Palumbo during matches against Jamie Noble.[1] After a series of matches between the men, Noble won a date with McCool by defeating Palumbo.[1] In the storyline, Palumbo accidentally elbowed McCool during a match,[1] causing her to suffer a concussion.[18] The partnership was dissolved when McCool refused to accept his apology.[1] She then went on to compete in a series of matches with Victoria, Eve Torres, Maryse and Cherry to determine SmackDown!'s top Diva, with McCool winning title.[3] On the March 28 episode of SmackDown!, McCool teamed up with Cherry to defeat Victoria and Maryse in a "Wet and Wild" match.[2] On the January 28 episode of SmackDown!, McCool defeated ECW's Layla in a singles match.[2] On the April 11 episode of SmackDown!, McCool was defeated Victoria after interference from Natalya.[2] On the May 2 episode of SmackDown!, McCool teamed up with Cherry in losing effort to Victoria and Natalya.[2]

Inaugural Divas Champion (2008–2009)[edit]

McCool after becoming the inaugural WWE Divas Champion in July 2008.

On the July 4, 2008 episode of SmackDown!, McCool won a Golden Dreams match to face Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship at the The Great American Bash. At the event on July 20, McCool defeated Natalya to become the inaugural Divas Champion.[19] With this win,Michelle Mccool created history. On the July 25 episode of SmackDown!, McCool defeated Maryse in a non-title match.[2] She successfully defended her championship against Maryse at Unforgiven, and in a rematch on the September 19 episode of SmackDown.[2]

On the September 23 episode of ECW, McCool was defeated by Maryse in non-title match.[2] On the November 14 episode of SmackDown!, McCool successfully retained her Divas Championship against Maria, but lost to her in a non-title match on the December 5 episode of SmackDown!. After the match, McCool began showing signs of a heel turn, and attacked Maria backstage.[2] On the December 19 episode of SmackDown!, Maryse became the number one contender for Divas Championship after Maryse defeated Maria, with McCool at ringside.[2] On the December 26 episode of SmackDown, McCool lost the Divas Championship to Maryse, ending her reign at 155 days.[20] After the match, McCool blamed Maria, the special guest referee of the match, for her loss, and attacked her, establishing herself as a villain.[20]

On the January 2, 2009 episode of SmackDown!, McCool attacked Eve Torres in an in-ring segment.[2][21] The following week on an episode of SmackDown!, McCool teamed up with Victoria in a losing effort to The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella), and after the match, McCool attacked Victoria.[2] On the January 16 episode of SmackDown!, McCool defeated Victoria in the latter's retirement match.[2] On the January 23 episode of SmackDown!, McCool teamed up with Natalya in a no-contest to The Bella Twins, after Maria attacked McCool during the match.[2] On the February 6 episode of SmackDown!, McCool defeated Eve Torres in the latter's debut match.[22] On the February 13 episode of SmackDown!, McCool was defeated by Maria after an interference from Torres.[2]

McCool then defeated Gail Kim on the May 22 episode of SmackDown! to become the number-one contender for the WWE Women's Championship, which she would win a month later, on June 28, at The Bash by defeating Melina. With the win, McCool became the first woman in WWE history to hold both the Diva's and Women's titles and hence created history again.[1][23] She retained the championship against Melina in a rematch on July 26 at Night of Champions,[24] and also in a Lumberjill match on the October 2 episode of SmackDown!.[25]

LayCool and retirement (2009–2011)[edit]

Main article: LayCool
Two Caucasian women in matching outfits walk in front of two men in military uniforms. Both wearing black tops and red skirts with thigh-high black stockings, the woman on the left has dark brown hair and her hood up, while the blonde woman on the right is pointing to the left.
McCool (right) with Layla as LayCool at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops event in Fort Hood, Texas.

McCool then allied with Layla to form LayCool, and the duo entered a controversial feud with Mickie James, in which LayCool bullied James and made fun of her weight. The feud resulted in a five-on-five elimination tag team match at Survivor Series, which James' team won, when Melina pinned McCool.[26] James then became the number-one contender for McCool's WWE Women's Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, where McCool successfully retained the championship after interference from Layla.[27][28][29] McCool, however, lost the Women's Championship to James at the Royal Rumble, although she regained it on the February 26, 2010 episode of SmackDown! when special guest referee Vickie Guerrero interfered, to become a two-time Women's Champion.[30] On the April 23 episode of SmackDown!, McCool and Layla defeated Beth Phoenix and Mickie James, and attacked Phoenix with hairspray and a table. The attack led to McCool losing the championship to Phoenix in an "Extreme Makeover" match at Extreme Rules. On the May 14 episode of SmackDown!, McCool and Layla faced Phoenix in a Women's Championship two–on–one handicap match, in which Layla pinned Phoenix to win the championship. Despite Layla's win, McCool and Layla cut the Women's Championship in half, and the duo were unofficially referred to as the "co-champions".

On the July 30 episode of SmackDown!, McCool took Layla's place in her Women's Championship match against Tiffany, defeating her and retaining the title.[31] At Night of Champions, McCool defeated Melina to unify the WWE Women's Championship with the WWE Divas Championship, thus becoming the first ever WWE Unified Divas Champion, and both McCool and Layla carried their own separate championship belts. At Survivor Series on November 21, she lost the Divas Championship when Natalya defeated McCool and Layla in a two-on-one handicap match.[32] At TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, McCool and Layla were defeated in the first-ever Divas tag team tables match by Natalya and Beth Phoenix. LayCool invoked their rematch clause in January 2011, prompting the scheduling of a two-on-one handicap match at the Royal Rumble. At the event, however, the match was altered to a Fatal Four-Way by the Anonymous Raw General Manager, and Eve Torres was added to the match. Torres went on to pin Layla to capture the Divas Championship, despite the fact McCool had Natalya pinned at the same time.[33]

On the March 14, 2011 episode of Raw, LayCool helped Vickie Guerrero defeat Trish Stratus in a no disqualification match, to get a job on Raw. After the match, LayCool were attacked by Stratus and special guest star Snooki.[2] On the following episode of Raw, LayCool teamed up with Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero, defeating Stratus and John Morrison in a 3-on-2 handicap mixed tag team match.[2] At WrestleMania XXVII on April 3, LayCool and Ziggler lost to Snooki, Stratus, and Morrison in a six-person mixed tag team match after Snooki pinned McCool.[34]

On the April 8 episode of SmackDown!, dissension began to show between McCool and Layla after they were defeated by Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly, due to McCool avoiding being tagged in by Layla, citing a back injury.[35] After more arguing and unsuccessful couples therapy sessions in the following weeks, LayCool officially disbanded.[36] On the April 29 episode of SmackDown, McCool faced Layla in a singles match, which ended in a double count-out after the two began brawling. After the match, Layla challenged McCool to a no disqualification and no count-out match at Extreme Rules. McCool accepted under one condition, which was that the loser leaves WWE.[37] At Extreme Rules, McCool was pinned by Layla, forcing her to leave WWE. Afterwards, she was attacked by the debuting Kharma to write her out. In reality, McCool had decided to retire from professional wrestling.[38]

Other media[edit]

During the week of November 5, 2007, she appeared on six episodes of Family Feud with several other WWE wrestlers and Divas.[39] She also appeared on the February 6, 2008 episode of Project Runway with Maria Kanellis, Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, Kristal Marshall, and Layla El.[40] On June 3, 2008, she appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period with John Cena.[41] In addition, McCool appeared in the January 2009 edition of Muscle & Fitness, along with Eve Torres and Maryse.[42][43] She also appeared on a special WWE edition of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.[44] In 2012, McCool appeared on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition along with Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres.

Personal life[edit]

McCool was married to Jeremy Louis Alexander, whom she began dating in high school.[1][45][46] The couple divorced in 2006.[1] She married fellow wrestler Mark Calaway, known professionally as The Undertaker, on June 26, 2010, in Houston, Texas.[47][48] On August 1, 2012, it was announced that they were expecting their first child.[49] Kaia Faith Calaway was born on August 29, 2012, and is Calaway's fourth child and McCool's first.[50]

McCool is a devout Christian,[51] and she incorporated Christian crosses on her wrestling attire.[52] 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.[53] She has been hospitalized twice, had two broken ribs, a broken sternum, and a broken xiphoid process.[54] 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.[55]

McCool is a practitioner of Krav Maga.[56]

In 2016, McCool was diagnosed with skin cancer. It was stated on her Instagram page that she hadn’t worn enough sun screen to protect her body, and is now having holes cut out of her skin to save her life.[57]

In wrestling[edit]

McCool setting up to perform the Wings of Love on Victoria.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Michelle McCool walking towards the ring with the WWE Women's Championship belt over her shoulder.
McCool at a Puerto Rico house show with the WWE Women's Championship

Luchas de Apuestas record[edit]

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Layla (contract) Michelle McCool (contract) Tampa, Florida Extreme Rules May 1, 2011


1 McCool originally injured her back during a WWE European tour. Because of pain in her back, she was unaware of the sternum injury until she went to the hospital for treatment. Tests also revealed that she had an enlarged kidney.[73]


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External links[edit]