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   September 18, 2014



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Kelly Kelly

WWE diva Kelly Kelly appeared as a SUNshine Girl in the Toronto SUN newspapers on Friday, December 19, 2008, to the WWE SuperShow at the Air Canada Centre on Monday. (Mark O'Neill, Toronto Sun Photo)

Kelly Kelly Photo Gallery

REAL NAME: BARBARA JEAN BLANK
NICKNAMES: Barbie Blank, Kelly Kelly
SIZE: 5-foot-5, 108-pounds
BORN: January 15, 1987
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, Florida

Few could have predicted early in her life that Barbara Blank would one day become the exhibitionist pro wrestling Diva Kelly Kelly for the WWE.

Growing up, she'd been in gymnastics for 10 years until an injury forced her to the sidelines. But she soon took up cheerleading, and upon high school graduation, she aspired to become a journalist. She studied broadcast journalism, hoping to one day become a TV anchor. But it was through modelling, which she did on the side, that she eventually got on TV. But certainly not in the way she had originally intended.

Kelly was a bikini model for Hawaiian Tropic and Venus Swimwear when John Laurinaitis, who at the time worked as WWE's vice-president of talent relations, spotted her. He contacted her through her modelling agency, offered her an opportunity and she took it, heading down to Atlanta, Georgia to work out and train. After a week there, she got a job offer. Kelly signed a developmental contract with WWE in May 2006, and was sent down to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), one of WWE's then-developmental territories, to train.

She rocketed onto WWE programming, appearing in mid-June 2006 on ECW. She started out doing stripteases in a segment called "Kelly's Expose," and became the valet for on-screen "boyfriend" Mike Knox, who would also jealously come out to cover her up during her performances. She would mostly participate in bikini and best body contests for a few months while she trained at OVW. Her first real match happened there, when she wrestled in a Battle Royal (won by ODB) for the Women's Championship.

Kelly's rocky relationship with Knox deteriorated as she developed a crush on CM Punk. She even cheered for Punk in his match against Knox, which earned her his wrath. At December to Dismember, Knox abandoned Kelly in their mixed tag match against Kevin Thorn and Ariel, leaving her to get pummeled. At the following ECW taping, Kelly defeated Ariel with a surprise schoolboy. A suit-attired Knox then arrived with roses, and begged for forgiveness. Just as Kelly seemed ready to take him back, he threw the flowers at her and hit her with his downward spiral-like finisher.

It took nearly a month-and-a-half for her return in mid-January 2007. For the next few months, Kelly did a dance routine with Layla El and Brooke Adams known as "Extreme Expose." They eventually broke up when Kelly took a shine to Balls Mahoney, which made her something of a pariah to the other girls who were following The Miz.

With Adams getting released, that left Kelly and El to hash out their differences. They would face each other in numerous tag matches and their feud lasted months and involved pretty much all the Divas, with the heel side being led by Beth Phoenix. Kelly got into some singles matches against The Glamazon, losing to her in their first two contests, but then beating her twice in non-title matches. Kelly was moving up in the ranks, and even scored a win over Victoria on SmackDown. And at Survivor Series, Kelly was on the winning side as Team Raw defeated Team SmackDown in an Elimination match. (Phoenix survived.)

Kelly would make her first in-ring WrestleMania appearance at WrestleMania 25, participating in a 25-Diva "Miss WrestleMania" Battle Royal that was eventually won by Santino Marella dressed in drag. Another first would be a title shot several weeks later. Kelly won a #1 Contender Divas Battle Royal on Raw after Champion Maryse Ouellet interfered, which caused Mickie James to fall out of the ring. The next week on Raw, she'd face Ouellet, who retained by disqualification after pushing Kelly over the announce table. Kelly would get a rematch, but Ouellet held onto her title with a pinfall victory.

-- compiled by Richard Kamchen

RELATED LINKS

  • Kelly Kelly Photo Gallery