American model, reality TV star, and a WWE Diva, Kelly Kelly is a face you cannot forget. The wrestler began her professional career with modeling and was eventually scouted by WWE to feature on their shows. Kelly Kelly lost one of her very first battles, which was a Divas Royal Rumble. However, she is not praised too much for her wrestling abilities but rather for her antics, such as Kelly’s Expose in the ring for which she received quite a lot of flak from her then-boyfriend. Barbara Jean Blank or Kelly was known as an exhibitionist and performed a striptease in front of the crowd. In 2007, she was reintroduced in the form of Extreme Expose, another striptease segment on WWE. In 2011, Barbara Jean Blank got the first big wrestling title of her career in the form of Divas championship, which she snatched up from Brie Bella. Kelly’s rivalry started with Beth Phoenix over the title and after defending her title quite a few times, the wrestler lost it in a Hell in a Cell battle. A few more feuds later, Kelly Kelly started getting in and out of WWE due to several reasons (we name them on this list) As an actress, Kelly has appeared on a number of TV shows as well. Well, with all that said, let’s get down to some interesting things you didn’t know about the wrestler.
Kelly Kelly: Most Interesting Facts
Kelly’s real name is actually Barbie Blank or Barbara Jean Blank, which WWE refused to let her keep when she joined the main roster, apparently feeling it was too unrealistic of a name (um…and Kelly Kelly is?)
Barbara Jean Blank was a bikini model when Johnny Ace signed her as Kelly Kelly (and Alicia Fox) to developmental contracts in 2006. Kelly knew little of wrestling and was not a fan.
Childhood & Early Life
Kelly Kelly came into this world as Barbara Jean Blank in Florida on 15th January 1987 to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. The future star spent most part of childhood in Jacksonville. As a child, she was inclined towards athletics and took up gymnastics and wrestling, and spent a good part of her early days in these sports. The future star was also a cheerleader in high school and initially wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
Most people don’t know that the wrestler first studied Broadcast journalism in college.
Kelly Kelly also did modelling for swimwear brands, which encouraged her to further take her modelling career seriously. One of those fateful, modelling days WWE contacted her to become a member and despite her zero experience in professional wrestling, Kelly joined WWE and bid goodbye to her journalism career.
Kelly Kelly’s Extreme Expose
She was not praised too much for her wrestling abilities but rather for her antics when Kelly Kelly entered the WWE. This was 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 becoming depreciated, as Kelly made her way into the company in 2006.
Long story short, her character on the ECW brand was a rather controversial one, as she served mainly as eye candy in segments that wouldn’t exactly qualify as good material in today’s PG environment which characterizes the world of pro-wrestling and sports-entertainment. Her dance segments were highlighted as Kelly’s Expose–given the nature of her on-screen character–and were rather portrayed in a rather risque manner, so to speak.
The WWE pro wrestler would subsequently go on to form a faction with Layla and Brooke (former TNA Knockouts Brooke Adams aka Miss Tessmacher)–known as Extreme Expose. This process enjoyed a relatively decent run in terms of character-work and Kelly 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…Even if 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 displaying a given character on TV.
One of the Most Polarizing Female Performers
Former WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly aka Barbie Blank was a polarizing female performer in WWE’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.
The WWE pro wrestler began her career in 2006 and kept going until her departure from the promotion in 2012 (we explain why Kelly Kelly left in this article)
Regardless of 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. Even if 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.
Kelly Kelly is an incredible powerhouse who has extensively participated in the sports games all through her growing years. Tracing back her history, the 5’5″ WWE personality competed as a gymnast for around 12 years before her career was cut short due to injury issues.
In her childhood, Kelly continued trucking forward in the world of sporting competition, as she eventually decided to make the transition to the world of cheerleading. But she was such a physically-gifted performer that she was always known to have been amazingly competitive all through school as well as college.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, 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 activities as a ring announcer and referee early on in her professional wrestling career, the future WWE star’s physical talent caught the eye of the WWE higher-ups as they started using her to open up the opportunities which were required for the then-19-year-old athlete to excel inside the squared circle.
What Got Her In? People Power Ofcourse!
The man who famously used the catchphrase “People Power” is the person 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 the female wrestler was 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, John Laurinaitis told her the truth – give it a shot! After giving it a go -Barbie Blank aka Kelly Kelly beautifully evolved into the woman whom the WWE Universe would come to be acquainted with as Kelly Kelly.
In terms of a contract to solidify her stay, she reported to WWE’s then-developmental territory OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) and thoroughly impressed the company’s higher-ups and was signed to a deal by WWE in May of 2006.
What Was The 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 brand brought her back in 2017 as an ambassador for the brand during WrestleMania 33 weekend.
On top of that, Kelly also became a part of the female WWE legends who were honoured on the 25th-anniversary season of Monday Night RAW. The former WWE Divas Champion also battled it out in the inaugural WWE Women’s Royal Rumble fight which went down gloriously.
So why did Kelly decide to leave the WWE in 2012? Well, after being released from her contract by the WWE on September 28th–in the weeks that ensued–Kelly admitted to the fact that she’d suffered a neck injury. We also learnt that during her school years, she suffered another serious injury as well.
Furthermore, the wrestler noted her plans of returning to the modelling industry (given her injury history) which in turn contributed to her quitting WWE.
Did You Know She Is A 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 prowess in fitness and having top-notch lifestyle quirks, Kelly is an animal-lover who can always be seen partaking in social causes to contribute towards animal welfare.
It’s always true when they say not to judge the cover of a book because looking at her on-screen character of “Kelly Kelly” being that of an airhead, the woman behind is, in fact, a highly-intelligent individual. Tracing her schooling, the wrestler attended Florida Community College in her native of Jacksonville, Florida–a learning centre where she pursued broadcast journalism! No wonder she was good outside the ring as well!
In fact, Kelly had her sights set on becoming a TV anchor, apart from also pursuing a career in the modelling realm. Fortunately for her own fate and destiny, luck prevailed which helped her 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.