It was just yesterday afternoon that we caught wind of our first Diva departure of 2014. It was a surprising one too; just a week away from the one year anniversary of winning her first Divas’ title, Kaitlyn called it quits with WWE. And much like the woman she retired last year, it appears to be on her own terms. Kaitlyn had been with the company since getting signed in 2010 – but got a real boost in exposure when she was the last minute replacement for Isis The Amazon on NXT Season 3. She won the contest and became a semi-regular fixture on WWE TV for the next three years. Here are five of her best segments and ten of her best matches – The WWE Highlights of Kaitlyn.
And The Winner Is… – NXT 2010:
Well of course a highlight of Kaitlyn’s career comes right at the beginning. As said above, she was a last-minute replacement for NXT Season 3. She appeared on the contest with minimal training and her first match was literally on television. Despite having one or two dreadful performances, she showed a surprising flair for someone so green. She was able to connect with the fans and they voted her the winner. Watching this back, it is quite cute that she’s still trying to be funny and goofy but her real emotions seep through somewhat. I was critical of her at the time (Naomi all the way!) but I warmed to her eventually – so I can now look back on this moment fondly.
The Intervention – NXT Redemption 2012:
Before Kaitlyn got a push on the main roster, she graced our screens on NXT Redemption. The show allowed her to work on her character and mic skills in front of a live audience, as well as giving her actual storylines. This one in question saw her strike up a friendship with Derrick Bateman – who was currently under the thumb of the Ice Queen Maxine. Sensing the problems in their relationship (read: Maxine was EVIL), Kaitlyn called together a random collection of people to stage an intervention for Bateman. As you’d expect, this led to Kaitlyn and Bateman smooching – with some hilarious sound effects from Alicia Fox in the background.
Best Friends For Never – Smackdown 2012:
In late 2012 Eve Torres was still the top heel Diva in WWE. But another girl had recently made the switch to the dark side. AJ Lee had just turned heel and allied herself with Dolph Ziggler. Her path crossed with her former friend on one episode where Kaitlyn was to challenge Eve for the Divas’ Championship. This was the first of many brutal fights between the two and it sparked the interest in an AJ/Kaitlyn feud. With AJ suddenly being a heel and Kaitlyn getting pushed for the title, a program between them instantly became a hot topic. While we didn’t get an actual feud until about four months after this segment, it did serve as a good indication of what was to come. Though somewhere a Forever Friends teddy bear was weeping.
The Secret Admirer – Raw 2013:
Kaitlyn was enjoying her first reign as Divas’ Champion when she suddenly received attention of a different sort. Somebody was sending her messages and presents, claiming to be an admirer. Someone who shared the same taste in movies and television that she did. Other Divas on the roster grew suspicious and Kaitlyn ended up alienating most of them. It turned out they had good reason to be suspicious, when the admirer eventually revealed himself. Big E Langston appeared with a bouquet of flowers and got ready to smooch Kaitlyn…before dropping her right on her back. It had all been a ruse by AJ Lee – with this segment she crossed the line from crazy bitch into outright evil cow. And in doing so, she and Kaitlyn got people talking.
The Contract Signing – Smackdown 2013:
Kaitlyn achieved a good deal in her WWE career. One odd thing she can also claim for fame is that she was in the first ever contract signing for a women’s match. Given how heated her rivalry with AJ had become since losing the title at Payback, a segment like this was called for. AJ took the opportunity to read out loud several texts she had sent her admirer insulting other Divas on the roster. As you’d expect, this resulted in a wild brawl and Kaitlyn eventually spearing AJ. Although she lost the rematch, she remained in the spotlight around SummerSlam and enjoyed a big surge in popularity with fans.
10) vs Maxine – NXT Redemption 2011:
When Kaitlyn took on a wrestling role in 2011, she either jobbed to Beth Phoenix and Natalya or played Ricky Morton in tag matches. In late 2011, her Chick Busters buddy AJ had gotten time to wrestle on NXT Redemption. So it was only a matter of time before Kaitlyn got a shot as well. This was Kaitlyn’s first long form singles match in ages and she did quite well. It was certainly an indication of how far she had come in only a year – as well as how far she would be going in WWE. Displaying some nice moves, Kaitlyn stuck up for her friend in need with an impressive finisher – a Full Nelson bomb into a Lotus Lock. She and Maxine would see a lot of each other on NXT and this was the start of a beautiful…erm…enemy-ship hehe.
9) vs Tamina Snuka – NXT 2012:
When FCW closed down and became rebranded as the new NXT, Kaitlyn showed up for a few episodes. This was the first of those matches and her fans got a surprise they weren’t expecting. Kaitlyn worked as a heel for her three matches there. There had been plans to turn her heel in 2011 and join the Divas of Doom but they were eventually scrapped. The match here gave Kaitlyn’s fans a chance to see her in a heel role and how she fared. In my opinion, she did really well. I found this to be my favourite encounter in the Kaitlyn/Tamina saga. Kaitlyn showed some impressive submission skill – with a Russian Leg Sweep into a grounded Octopus Stretch. Who knows what Kaitlyn could have done with a heel run on the main roster?
8) vs Maxine – NXT Redemption 2012:
The Intervention for Derrick Bateman mentioned above happened to precede this very match. If my memory is to be trusted, it was the third in the Kaitlyn/Maxine saga. But it was another little highlight for Kaitlyn’s career; it was the first Divas match to main event NXT Redemption. Of course it’s not Raw or Smackdown but it was another little feather in the cap for both ladies. This match did showcase their chemistry very well, with Maxine doing her dirty best to punish Kaitlyn for stealing her man. Ultimately though Kaitlyn hit her Full Nelson Bomb but turned it into a pin rather than a submission – nonetheless it still got her a win for true love.
7) with AJ Lee vs the Bella Twins – Superstars 2011:
Of course when Kaitlyn was still very green in 2011, she appeared mostly in tag team matches. This was back in the dark days of the Divas division where a match was lucky to get two minutes. Thus whenever the girls appeared on Superstars, it was like Christmas for them. This was sadly the only full length match AJ and Kaitlyn ever got as a tag team. They showed some very nice chemistry as a team and worked well as a unit early on – until eventually being outsmarted by the heels. Unusually for this kind of tandem, Kaitlyn played the face in peril even if she was the bigger girl. She also worked very well with the Bellas, which not everyone did back in those days. Although she and AJ put up a good fight, it was the Bellas who got the win with something other than Twin Magic. In those days that was rarer than Maggie Simpson talking.
6) vs Layla vs Eve Torres – Hell In A Cell 2012:
After NXT Redemption folded, Kaitlyn saw herself return to prominence on the main roster instead. She found herself cheated out of a championship match when a mysterious attacker broke her ankle backstage. After Eve was eventually revealed to be the orchestrator of the whole plan, both Kaitlyn and the former champion Layla got what they wanted. It was also Kaitlyn’s first proper PPV match and she was one of two possible weak links – Eve being the other as she was still adjusting to working as a heel. The girls thankfully weren’t weak links and delivered a fun and fiery triple threat. Kaitlyn found her ankle targeted by Eve yet again but was able to shake that off and not fade into the background. She even busted out a Stratusfaction in homage to one of her favourite Divas. However it was Eve who got the sneaky win and retained her title. But of course it wasn’t the last Kaitlyn and Eve would see of each other.
5) vs AJ Lee – Money In The Bank 2013:
And it’s another match following one of Kaitlyn’s top segments; she had lost the Divas’ Championship to AJ at Payback and this was her rematch. In the weeks between the two PPVs, lots of mind games had been played on both parts. After spearing AJ in a fit of rage at the contract signing, Kaitlyn had hurt her shoulder a little. Naturally it was the body part that AJ targeted during the match. The girls put a lot on the line out there and delivered a respectable follow-up to their match at Payback. However even if Kaitlyn had Layla at ringside for support, it was Big E Langston who took the award for most helpful manager that night. He saved AJ from hitting the floor late in the match – and his distraction led to Kaitlyn tapping out to her former friend for the second time.
4) vs Natalya – NXT Redemption 2012:
Back at the start of 2012, Kaitlyn and Maxine were essentially the only Divas on the show. So it became a welcome change to see her wrestling somebody else. When that somebody else is none other than Natalya, you know you’re in for a treat. Throughout her WWE career, Kaitlyn showed a certain fondness for the technical mat-based grappling wrestling style. Whenever she was put against a worker like Natalya, she got to show off a bit more. Indeed we see Kaitlyn forgo her usual power moves in this match for more emphasis on holds, transitions and reversals. And it’s a side of Kaitlyn I’ve always enjoyed seeing. As in those days Natalya was the one-woman JOB Squad, Kaitlyn picked up the win with a pin reversal. I urge you to watch the video on mute though, so as not to be offended.
3) vs Eve Torres – Raw 2013:
After Eve escaped with her title at Hell In A Cell, Kaitlyn continued to pursue her. This title hunt went on for longer than most Diva programs ever had. It took from October until January for Kaitlyn to finally get Eve where she wanted her. The road there was marred by intentional DQs and count-outs on the part of the Divas’ Champion. Finally on the 20th Anniversary of Raw, Eve had nowhere to run or hide. The stipulation said that if she were to be counted out or disqualified, she would still lose the title. Kaitlyn however won things the old fashioned way. She debuted the Spear as a finisher and relieved Eve of the title, in front of her hometown crowd of Houston, Texas.
2) vs Natalya – NXT Road To WrestleMania Special 2013:
Natalya and Kaitlyn certainly saw a lot of each other throughout the latter’s career. Natalya was mostly there when Kaitlyn was still new and working her way up. They crossed paths again now that Kaitlyn was Divas’ Champion and at the top of her game. I mentioned earlier about Kaitlyn’s flair for the mat-based grappling. Well here she was with Natalya again, one year later with a lot more experience – not to mention a longer time slot. It’s one of Natalya’s best matches of her own career, as well as Kaitlyn’s. She didn’t have the best reign as Divas’ Champion but Kaitlyn came out of this match looking a lot more like a top Diva. And her ring gear was a nice homage to Trish Stratus.
1) vs AJ Lee – Payback 2013:
Was it going to be any other match? Kaitlyn and AJ became a hot possible feud as soon as AJ turned heel at the end of 2012. We had all hoped it would be there for WrestleMania but of course that never happened. However the bookers couldn’t keep AJ and Kaitlyn apart forever. Continuing the tradition in this entry about matches following best segments, this of course followed the Secret Admirer fiasco. Have there been better wrestled matches in the past? Of course. But the emotions in this match were something else. It was everything we could have wanted from a Kaitlyn/AJ encounter and so much more. In the end it was AJ’s mind games that prevailed and Kaitlyn as good as ‘kissed’ her title goodbye.
So there you have it. Kaitlyn may only have been with the company for roughly three or four years – but her career was surprisingly full. There have been so many Divas that have languished away backstage, praying for TV time. But Kaitlyn always seemed to be around. When she wasn’t on Smackdown, she was getting plenty of focus on NXT. When that ended, she became one of the regulars on the main roster. She held the title for a respectable period and got some good matches under her belt. She even got action figures, video games, t-shirts and other merchandise. She even got personally requested for the Make A Wish Foundation. Despite all of this, Kaitlyn was really only at the top of the division for around a year. It almost feels like she was with us longer. For whatever reason, her heart wasn’t in wrestling any more. But she got to leave on her own terms. And we can still look back on her career and say that she was indeed successful. So the 8th Militia may be disbanding but Celeste Bonin will always be the Hybrid Diva to us all.