1-time Divas’ Champion, Slammy Award Winner, biggest target for Smark Bait
And now the WWE Highlights piece everyone has been waiting for… this will certainly be the most controversial so far. Possibly no Diva divides fans like Kelly Kelly (Profile) has done. Personally, I’ve never really been much of a wrestling purist, so I tend to roll my eyes at her naysayers. I was never the biggest fan of K2, but I have followed her career extensively, and I was surprised it took her so long to become Divas’ Champion. Her release was announced just a few hours ago and already the internet is exploding. So let’s get this K2 love-fest going.
Hey, Mr Sandman – ECW 2006:
Kelly started out on ECW as the exhibitionist girlfriend to Mike Knox who was the first of many in WWE to make tears fall from those baby blue eyes. Kelly was always known for her willingness to take big bumps and get physical in the ring so here was quite a shocking moment when the blonde bikini model got hit in the face with the Sandman’s kendo stick. And that makes Kelly one of the few Divas to get a “holy s***” chant from the fans. Fast forward to about 6:36 to see Kelly get her free nose job.
Too Weird For Springer – Raw 2009:
Now doesn’t everyone just love funny and random wrestling stuff? It was everywhere when I was watching WWE growing up. WWE might have tried too hard to go in that direction with their Guest Host idea but here was one segment that I got a real kick out of for the pure randomness of it. Jerry Springer hosts a talk show segment on Raw which prompts Kells to drop the bombshells that she’s pregnant and has no idea who the father is, before getting into a catfight with Eve and revealing a potential thing for leprechauns. Watching the entire thing gives the sensation of channel surfing without even picking up the remote.
Witch With A Capital B – Smackdown 2011:
Unfortunately the above line is the main thing I remember about this little promo which was otherwise very good. Again it just shows the lack of effort the writing team can put into promos. Having Kelly say something like “there’s a word for you, Vickie, if you want to hear it then take a walk down to the kennel” could have helped a lot. Kelly got the opportunity of a lifetime on Smackdown in the days before Eve got to kick Zack Ryder in the balls and AJ sent CM Punk crashing through a table. Kelly getting access to a microphone and speaking her mind against one of the most hated heels was astonishing for a Diva just only a year ago. And she got to slap the #1 contender in the face for good measure. Kelly must have felt like she was on planet Mars the whole day.
Remember Me, Vickie? – Elimination Chamber 2011:
There was no Divas’ match announced for last year’s Elimination Chamber and fans expected something to get added last minute. But what we did get was so much better. First of all, Vickie Guerrero came down to the ring to beg Teddy Long to hire Dolph Ziggler back. Teddy responded he was in a hiring mood, cue “Holler Holler” and Kelly waltzing out to a thunderous pop. Her second catfight with Vickie on PPV and this time she got attacked by LayCool and then saved by Trish Stratus who had shown up earlier in the night to plug Tough Enough. This really would have been the makings of a great WrestleMania match that Kelly was unfortunately robbed of in favour of Jersey Shore’s Snooki. Could we have perhaps seen that Kelly-Go-Round a year early?
Diva of the Year – The 2011 Slammys:
The award may have had the ludicrous title “Divalicious Moment Of the Year” but the above caption was what it really meant. Kelly Kelly really did have a whirlwind of a year in 2011 with her main eventing Smackdown twice, defending the World Heavyweight Championship, winning her first Divas’ Championship and having four solid PPV bouts with Beth Phoenix. This was a nice way to acknowledge those accomplishments since she certainly wouldn’t get anything like that from any wrestling websites. And to top it off we get to see her, Beth and Natalya sharing the stage with Lita. Kelly got to interact with Trish earlier in the year and then she got Lita too.
10) vs Layla – Superstars 2010:
Layla and Kelly were certainly not strangers to each other and they had a year-long feud on ECWwith matches that ranged from decent to gouge-your-eyes-out painful to watch. When they feuded over the Women’s title, the matches weren’t much better. But on an episode of Superstars which coincidentally also featured another rematch from a lacklustre SummerSlam, Kelly and Layla got to put on a good match. Not a single headscissors, hurricanrana or handspring elbow from Kelly and some nice back and forth action. Nothing like PPV quality but still a solid effort from both of them.
9) with Tiffany vs LayCool – Superstars 2010:
One of Michelle’s best matches is also one of Kelly’s. LayCool, Kelly and Tiffany are four Divas that saw quite a lot of each other on Smackdown during the Summer of 2010 since they were pretty much the entire women’s division over there. I credit the move to Smackdown as really helping Kelly get out of the rut she’d been in on Raw for over a year. She really got a chance to grow and develop some sort of ring presence. I was very impressed with how she herself acted in this match. She came across as natural and believable, making this match feel like a big deal (and it was the main event if you want to get technical). Once again not a single headscissors, hurricanrana or handspring elbow from her at all. Plus some great height on that Thesz Press.
8) vs Gail Kim vs Beth Phoenix vs Alicia Fox – Raw 2009:
A #1 contender’s match to decide who would face Mickie James next week happened to be one of the sleeper Diva matches of the year. All four women really knew what to do to get the crowd involved as they were really into this match, which made it all the better. Kelly in particular held her own and was quite impressive with a nice bit of storytelling, her trying to fight off the heels when she was left alone, and more of her risky bumps. She does a crossbody off the apron to both Gail and Alicia and then takes a nasty fall to the outside when she unsuccessfully tries to springboard back into the ring. Plus I believe that’s the best handspring elbow I’ve ever seen her hit.
7) vs Beth Phoenix – Raw 2008:
In 2008 Kelly was just Torrie Wilson version 2 who had just been moved to Raw because there were no other girls on ECW. In matches against anyone not named Layla, Kelly had played the ragdoll jobber who existed for the heel to quickly dispatch and look dominant. This time however, Kelly gave Beth a run for her money. Three years before they’d eventually feud, the two Divas showed a taste of their nice chemistry with Kelly looking quite solid. This match was expected to be a quick squash for Beth but quickly turned into a proper underdog battle for Kelly. You might want to watch this one on mute though since you’re in for a barrage of orgasm-like sounds coming from K2.
6) vs Natalya – Smackdown 2011:
Kelly and Natalya never actually feuded so we didn’t get to see as many matches as with Kelly/Beth. Most of the matches they did have was either one squashing the other in two minutes. However about two weeks before Kelly was to defend her title against Beth for the second time, she had Nattie to deal with first. This is one of my favourite Kelly matches because it shows just how good Natalya is at bringing the best out of her opponents. It’s a shame Kelly and Nattie never got a PPV match because if this is any indication then they very well could have brought it like Kelly and Beth did.
5) vs Beth Phoenix – SummerSlam 2011:
And we’re at Beth once again. Beth and Kelly had a very funny relationship in their WWE careers. Kelly was first the go-to girl for making Beth look dominant (see number 7 above) and then they were tag team partners (4 matches together and undefeated to boot) and then came the “Pipe Bomb” storyline for the summer of last year. This match was built around Beth thinking Kelly would be an easy win and Kelly using the opening minutes to wipe the smirk off Beth’s face with her hit-and-run tactics. It’s exactly my favourite type of match with the David trying to use Waif-Fu to take down the big Goliath, which is pretty much my strategy whenever I have to face a guy twice my weight. And the crowd were really into it as well which is always a bonus.
4) vs Gail Kim – Superstars 2009:
The year 2009 was where Kelly really hit a rock. She had improved in 2008 but had nothing to be challenged with. Thus she fell into a routine of five moves of doom and repetitive spots. However when she was pit against an opponent as quick on her feet as Gail Kim, these flaws didn’t seem so apparent. Whenever Kelly was given someone to challenge her she usually delivered. There were a couple of vague hints of a possible program between Kelly and Gail but it never amounted to anything beyond this match. I always felt her Kelly Killer finisher was pretty underrated to be honest.
3) vs Michelle McCool – Superstars 2010:
This was a match I had highly anticipated when Kelly was drafted to Smackdown. After all if there was any Diva who could get a good match out of her, it was Michelle. They had a couple of short ones on Smackdown but of course we were all waiting for the confrontation to happen on the B-show. Here we have a very predator and prey story going on with Michelle channelling her inner Randy Orton and really working over Kelly’s arm. Kelly in turn played to her strengths and sold it really well, making me feel a little disturbed when I was watching this match. Again much like with Natalya, it’s a shame Kelly and Michelle never made it to PPV when this is what they were capable of.
2) with Edge vs Dolph Ziggler & LayCool – Smackdown 2011:
And here it is – the night Kelly Kelly really became a star. It was the night I really hopped on the K2 band wagon anyway. Kelly for no reason at all decided to interfere in Edge’s match at the Royal Rumble to help him retain and Vickie Guerrero decided to punish her by booking a mixed tag match for Smackdown where the World Heavyweight Championship would be on the line. I got chills when Josh Mathews said “Kelly Kelly is defending the world title”. Not an amazing match but still a real high point of Kelly’s career and the emotions were running high.
1) vs Beth Phoenix – Night of Champions 2011:
While anyone who was Genre Savvy would have guessed that Kelly would retain at SummerSlam, when it came to the second PPV match everything was up in the air. For the second PPV in a row, these two showed the best chemistry of any other Divas in the past year with Kelly giving Beth half her moveset in the opening minutes. Adding to the big fight feel was the incredibly vocal Buffalo crowd who turned on Kelly and were clamouring for their hometown Glamazon to win. Adding even more to that was another move that is rarely seen in a WWE women’s match – a superplex. Kelly sure took her lumps in this match and ultimately came out on top again by the skin of her teeth. It was a match that felt epic to me and one that told me WWE was serious about Kelly Kelly as Divas’ Champion and for a moment the division was getting people talking.
So with Kelly gone and Beth supposedly on her way as well, that’s a lot of Divas we’ve had to say goodbye to this year. It seems when it came to Kelly, a lot of fans had their own standards that she continuously failed to live up to. She hits a great Molly-Go-Round at WrestleMania and people claimed it was botched yet Beth might hit an iffy looking Glam Slam and nobody will say anything. People called her the female John Cena and yet forget she spent most of her career as the ragdoll face jobber – it was her that had to take Vickie Guerrero’s “Cougar Splash” after all – and didn’t regularly start winning until her Divas’ title push last year. Like her or not her Divas’ title reign built the belt up a little and she was the best booked champion we’d seen since LayCool. WWE is always going to have Divas like Kelly and often they can surprise you. So, Barbara Blank, here’s to a unique six years on our TV screens. Love her or hate her, she’s going to leave one hell of a void.
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