Barbie Blank aka former WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly is quite possibly one of the most polarizing female performers in the company's storied history. While Kelly initially partook in a minimal number of physical spots on WWE programming, she eventually transitioned to full-time in-ring competition.
Kelly Kelly wrestled for the WWE from 2006 until her departure from the promotion in 2012--and despite having performed for the organization during the oft-derided 'Divas' era, Kelly has carved out a unique and rather loyal fan-base for herself with her work over the past several years. Regardless, as is the case with most talents in the professional wrestling business, certain uncharted facts from their past or present lives, remain under wraps from the general public.
While most fans may recollect Kelly as little more than a 'pretty face' during the Divas era in the WWE; that very fact couldn't be further from the truth. Today, we are going to be looking at the 5 things you did not know about Kelly Kelly...
#5 Accomplished athlete
Kelly Kelly is an incredible athlete, who has extensively participated in the sports realm all through her growing years. The 5'5" long and rangy WWE personality competed as a gymnast for about a decade before her career was cut short due to injury issues...Nevertheless, Kelly continued trucking forward in the world of sporting competition, as she eventually decided to make the transition to the world of cheerleading.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, this physically-gifted performer is said to have had a keen interest in sports and was always known to have been amazingly competitive all through school as well as college. She went through the motions of academic education at the University Christian School as well as the Englewood High School--the latter being where she graduated from.
Despite being involved in largely non-wrestling angles as a ring announcer and referee early on in her professional wrestling career, Kelly Kelly's physical talent caught the eye of the WWE higher-ups as they began according to her the opportunities which were required for the then-19-year-old athlete to excel inside the squared circle...
#4 People Power!
That's right. The man who popularized the catchphrase "People Power" is the one who was responsible for roping in Kelly Kelly to work for the WWE. Former professional wrestler and current senior producer in WWE, John Laurinaitis, scouted Kelly during the latter's modelling career.
While Kelly is said to have initially had her doubts as to whether or not she'll be able to deal with the rigours of the professional wrestling business, Laurinaitis convinced her to give the proverbial wrestling boots a shot. The rest, as they say, is history--Barbie Blank beautifully evolved into the woman whom the WWE Universe would come to be acquainted with as Kelly Kelly.
After reporting to WWE's then-developmental territory OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling), Kelly thoroughly impressed the company's higher-ups and was signed to a deal by WWE in May of 2006...
#3 Kelly Kelly's Extreme Expose
Well, long story short, Kelly Kelly entered the WWE at a time when professional wrestling as a whole was within touching distance of a huge transitional phase. The adult content which ruled the Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression era were very soon going to be left behind, as Kelly made her way into the company in 2006.
Her character on the ECW brand was a rather controversial one, as she served primarily as eye candy in segments that wouldn't exactly qualify as permissible in today's PG environment which characterizes the world pro-wrestling and sports-entertainment. Her dance segments were promoted as Kelly's Expose--given the nature of her on-screen character--and were rather portrayed in a rather risque manner, so to speak.
Kelly would subsequently go on to form a faction with Layla and Brooke (former TNA Knockouts Brooke Adams aka Miss Tessmacher)--known as Extreme Expose. While the notoriously popular stable enjoyed a relatively decent run in terms of character-work, Kelly pulled off perhaps one of the most smooth transitions from that of a risque character to a PG, child-friendly babyface after the WWE adopted the PG norms in 2008...Irrespective of whether you loved or hated her on-screen character, it'd be hard to deny that Kelly was and still is a master at the art of shifting gears when it comes to portraying a given character on TV...
#2 Real reason behind WWE departure
Kelly Kelly earned a ton of praise over the course of her professional wrestling career for being one of the most thorough professionals in the business and serving as a true company woman for the WWE during her time as an active in-ring competitor. In fact, the WWE brought back Kelly in 2017 as an ambassador for the company during WrestleMania 33 weekend.
Additionally, Kelly also appeared as a part of the female WWE legends who were honoured on the 25th-anniversary episode of Monday Night RAW earlier this year. The former WWE Divas Champion also participated in the inaugural WWE Women's Royal Rumble match which went down in January of this year.
Why then, did she choose to leave the WWE in 2012? Well, after being released from her deal by the WWE on September 28th--in the weeks that ensued--Kelly confirmed the fact that she'd suffered a neck injury. Furthermore, she noted her plans of returning to the modelling industry, which in turn contributed to her quitting WWE...
#1 Highly-educated model citizen
Apart from literally having worked as a model--for several brands such as Hawaiian Tropic as well as Venus Swimwear--Kelly Kelly is undoubtedly a model citizen as well (pun intended). In fact, despite being well-known for her excellent fitness and top-notch lifestyle quirks, Kelly is an animal-lover who can always be seen partaking in social causes to contribute towards animal welfare.
Besides, despite her on-screen character of "Kelly Kelly" being that of an airhead, the woman behind said character, Barbie Blank, is, in fact, a highly-intelligent individual. Kelly went to Florida Community College in her native of Jacksonville, Florida--a learning centre where she pursued broadcast journalism.
In fact, Kelly had her sights set on becoming a TV anchor, apart from also pursuing a career in the modelling realm. Fortunately for us, she chose to refrain from letting her athletic ability go to waste and instead passed on the television anchor gigs in favour of the wrestling tights and bright lights.
Kelly Kelly has lately asserted that she'd love to return to the WWE, potentially for a match with Charlotte Flair--and that is something that we eagerly await!