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Wrestling / Michelle McCool

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Michelle Leigh Calaway (née McCool, born January 25, 1980) is an American professional wrestler who is best known for her time with WWE, where she performed under her real name as Michelle McCool. She is a former two-time WWE Divas Champion, two-time WWE Women's Champion, and one-half of LayCool.

McCool originally worked as a middle school teacher in Palatka, Florida. She joined WWE in 2004 after participating in the 2004 WWE Diva Search. In her initial on-screen role, she acted primarily as a personal trainer and occasional wrestler. She also acted as the manager to the team of K. C. James and Idol Stevens, collectively known as the Teacher's Pets, in 2006 after changing her on-screen character to that of a teacher. At The Great American Bash in 2008, McCool became the inaugural WWE Divas Champion, holding the title for approximately five months. She then won the WWE Women's Championship at The Bash in 2009, becoming the first female wrestler to have held both titles. At Night of Champions in 2010, she unified both titles becoming the first WWE Unified Divas Champion. McCool has held both titles on two occasions, which makes her a four-time champion overall.



  • Action Mom: She has a daughter born in 2012 and competed in the Women's Royal Rumble and Evolution in 2018. By the time she made another return in the 2022 Women's Rumble match, she and The Undertaker had adopted their son, Kolt - though she jokingly noted she wouldn't be able to move for a few days after the Rumble.
  • Alliterative Name: Michelle McCool. Perhaps, for this reason, she was never renamed.
  • Alpha Bitch: Oh god yes. She was a straight-up Jerkass to everyone, Layla included in the end.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Of AJ Styles. Both wear hooded robes to the ring and Michelle began using the Styles Clash as her finisher (renaming it the Faith Breaker), after her heel turn at the end of 2008. Both are also devout Christians in Real Life.
  • Amazonian Beauty: ranked her number 20 out of the top 25 best abs in WWE history, in a list that included both male and female Superstars.
  • Arch-Enemy: The entire Divas' division, really. But a few stand out.
    • Dawn Marie never liked Michelle, stemming from Dawn trashing talking the contestants of the Rookie Diva of the Year, and Michelle being the one to stand up for them.
    • Melina and Michelle were always against each other, Michelle even being Melina's opponent in the latter's first match. The two were the respective Lancers to Mickie James and Beth Phoenix in 2008 and feuded bitterly over the Women's Championship in 2009 and the Divas' in 2010.
    • Mickie James threatened Michelle's status as the top Diva, as she had tied Michelle's record of having held both the Women's and Divas' Championships. Michelle and Layla went out of their way to drive her off Smackdown.
    • Beth Phoenix had no love for Michelle and even defeated her in the first ever Women's Champion vs Divas' Champion match. When Beth was moved to Smackdown, her ire was mainly out of a want to become champion again, but Michelle took it personally.
    • Maryse. Even after Michelle turned heel, they still didn't like each other.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Just for Pun. Booker T even once called her 'Miss Cool' on commentary.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Commentators would often talk about her abs.
  • The Bus Came Back: She returned in the 2018 Women's Royal Rumble and eliminated most women from the match.
  • Cerebus Retcon: LayCool's feud with Mickie James was basically just them cracking fat jokes at her every week and Matt Striker making fun of the whole thing on commentary. Then came a certain in-ring promo to hype up their match at the Royal Rumble...and the feud became a lot more powerful.
  • Clothing Damage: Variation, Michelle and Layla broke into Mickie's locker during her match with Natalya and made her watch them cut holes in all the clothes she had kept in there while unable to stop them due to being locked in the sharpshooter. Natalya none the wiser, due to the nature of the move, thought Mickie was crying because it hurt.
  • Combat Stilettos: Defied, she removed her heels if she had enough time when surprised by an upcoming fight (with an emphasis on 'enough time' if the heels were boots).
  • Comically Missing the Point: Natalya told LayCool their combined IQ was lower than their non-existent waist size. They took that as a compliment meaning they were skinny.
  • Composite Character: In her return at the 2018 Royal Rumble, she wore camouflage gear with long pants reminiscent of her 2008 face run - and also wore the rhinestone hood with 'Flawless' on it from her LayCool phase (and did the LayCool entrance pose).
  • Continuity Nod: Even after their feud with Kelly Kelly was over, whenever they faced her in matches they would mime that there was a bad smell in the air, referencing what their feud was about.
  • The Corrupter: Arguably this to her former bestie, who always had a nasty side to her, but was also fun-loving and goofy enough that she typically ranged between a typical heel and actually being endearing. It was only when teaming with Michelle that Layla truly showed a sadistic side, and the team's breakup actually produced a genuine Heel–Face Turn for Layla.
  • Creepyl Crosses: On her ring attire, though she was creepier before LayCool's formation she did not display any of the good behavior you would associate with it.
  • Dark Action Girl: As a heel. She bordered on Blood Knight sometimes too.
  • Deep South: Strangely, the wrestlers WWE gets from Florida usually do not have the accent or mannerism, a partner in crime Alicia Fox for example. Although, she spent her break time from WWE with a company called Deep South Wrestling until it went under so it might have been picked up. There were internet reports that she had to learn to downplay her accent when she was first in development.
  • Denser and Wackier: Her 2009 heel work was quite serious and ruthless - vowing to break Melina's jaw and trying to break her leg. Her 2010 heel work saw her becoming a girly Alpha Bitch who mocked the other Divas for their looks and often got more slapsticky comeuppance. Showing that Tropes Are Not Bad, was still at the top of the division.
  • The Ditz: Layla more so than Michelle but both of them fit. Became apparent one night while they were doing commentary. After spending months insulting every person in their path, they actually asked, "Why doesn't anyone like us?"
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Michelle's departure seemed really rushed. They began to show cracks a while ago, but aside from a couple of sneak attacks and a couple of matches, there wasn't much of a payoff for it, especially in comparisons to other current feuds such as Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler. It's especially bad since Michelle and Layla are a couple of WWE's better Divas and LayCool was one of the things that made Women's wrestling a little more enjoyable to watch (since WWE's writers tend to forget storyline most of the time and turn the Divas into a PG-rated Jiggle Show.)
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Heavily irl. She has expressed many times how little credit she gets for her impact in Women's wrestling and is only credited as "The Undertaker's wife."
  • Epic Fail: Michelle once appeared on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? She did badly, which is embarrassing, considering that she actually used to be a school teacher. Mickie made fun of her for it on Smackdown.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She and Layla genuinely cared for each other, getting each other matching BFF necklaces and being concerned for the other's well being. Commentators even felt sad when the two split up. They also seemed to care for Kaval as well, being unambiguously happy when he won NXT.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Switched from long tights to shorts after turning heel.
  • Finishing Move: Her first one was a spinning sidewalk slam. She then moved on to Wings of Love (modified King Kong Buster), then a Brazilian heel hook. She settled on the Faithbreaker (also known as AJ Styles's Styles Clash) in 2009. She would also sometimes win with a big boot or superkick.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Michelle's heel hook was named "MAD-T" - Made A Diva Tap.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: As a heel she had a love for breaking other wrestlers' heels and or ankle tendons. In the time leading up to her shot at the title Michelle made a concentrated effort to break Melina's jaw whenever they met and recruited Alicia Fox to help in the task.
  • Groin Attack: She liked to counter sunset flips with a baseball slide and sometimes aimed a little...low. Her most notable use though was a baseball slide she gave to Melina during her famous dropping split entrance. Being the athlete she is, Melina would simply lift herself above over the sliding McCool on subsequent attempts but still, ouch.
  • Happily Married: To The Undertaker since June 2010.
  • Halloween Episode: They've actually gone past two Halloween specials on Smackdown. See the Shout-Out below for 2010's example. In 2009 Michelle dressed up as a devil and Layla as Michael Jackson.
  • Heel: She was a face for most of her early career, but Michelle was more well-known, and arguably better, as a heel. She comments on Arn Anderson once telling her she could never be a heel. But after he saw her No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Maria, he immediately took it back.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Happened when LayCool were mentoring Kaval on NXT since he was a face.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She and Layla even got each other necklaces each shaped like half a heart so that when they were put together they spelled "Best Friends".
  • Hot Teacher: Her jobs before WWE, school teacher and kick boxing teacher. She re-debuted in 2006 with a sexy teacher gimmick, and managed a tag team of KC James and Idol Stevens - known as The Teacher's Pets.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Despite being a Statuesque Stunner, she's the Tiny Girl to Undertaker's Huge Guy.
  • It's All About Me: Even at their friendliest, Michelle always used Layla to make herself look better, and Layla, not being particularly bright, was none the wiser. When Layla said she thought the two of them were equals, Michelle decided she had enough and turned against her.
  • Jerkass: Michelle was a major bitch to everyone, and in the final weeks of LayCool turned against Layla, cementing the latter's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Kick Chick: Michelle frequently used big boots and superkicks.
  • Kick The Bitch: Considering that she just lost a Loser Leaves WWE Match, it really wasn't all that necessary or required for Kharma to pretty much kill Michelle... but DAMN if it wasn't cathartic.
  • Light Is Not Good: Many of her moves have a religious connotation, but she does not live up to those standards. Which is Fridge Brilliance considering who she's married to.
  • Lighter and Softer: Before LayCool, she was out to cause as much damage to the rest of the roster as possible. Compare her prior efforts of breaking jaws by smashing her knee into people's heads against the ringside barricade or leaving opponents unable to walk because she refused to release her heel hook, with her later dumping punch on Mickie or smearing makeup on Beth. Some of her old sadism did show through on occasion, such as when she ordered Layla to break Melina's back, but overall she was a lot less threatening in LayCool.
  • Loser Leaves Town: Layla defeated Michelle, forcing her to leave WWE. Just to make sure it stuck, Kharma also debuted that night and proceeded to kill the bitch dead.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: On the second season of NXT when LayCool were Kaval's pros. They were still bitchy but seemed to genuinely care about Kaval and were unambiguously happy when he won.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain
    • After they attacked Alicia Fox, who had just came to their aid. Alicia was Michelle's former heel partner and Laycool's last theoretical ally. From that point on rest of the locker room took an active stance against them.
    • Before that, Michelle's rundown of Mickie James got Mickie a temporary ally when it turned out a lot of what she said applied to Beth Phoenix. Beth quickly decided she still hated Mickie more but turned on Laycool again when they ripped the women's championship belt in half so they could keep playing "Co-champions".
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Piggy James, Smelly Kelly, The Glama-Man, The Underfed Redhead, The Belly Twins, Lady Wawa, oh, she and Layla were used to this.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • She befriended the socially challenged Cherry, being a frequent manager and tag partner of hers, despite being not too different from the women who usually picked on her. This was just off of being an interfering manager though, before McCool became a sadist.
    • She and Layla with the serious, no-nonsense Kaval, especially considering that LayCool were heels while he was a face. Despite having him hold their Women's Championship belts and not treating him with much respect, they did care about him and were genuinely happy when he won NXT Season 2. Kaval reciprocated and was protective of them.
  • Oh, Crap!: The sheer look of absolute terror Michelle had on her face before getting crushed by Kharma almost made you forget she was the biggest heel in the Divas' division. Almost.
  • One Head Taller: If you buy into the Les Yay. Michelle's 5'10". Layla's 5'2".
  • Pretty in Mink: Goes with her gimmick.
  • Put on a Bus: Michelle retired from in-ring competition after her match with Layla, leaving the latter on her own.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Her theme "Not Man Enough For Me" was previously used by Torrie Wilson from 2005-2006.
  • She-Fu: As a face, flipping to an excessive degree at first.
  • Ship Tease: With Layla. During their break-up angle, they even started attending Couple's Counseling.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Became much more serious (as she had been before teaming with Layla) when it was clear the duo was going to split.
  • Shout-Out: For Halloween LayCool dressed up as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.
  • Signature Move: Belly-to-belly Suplex, Big Boot, Russian Leg Sweep.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Her initial heel gimmick after winning the women's title from Melina was akin to Harley Race's(NWA Race not WWF), claiming to be the best ever and proclaiming after every successful title defense how it proved she was better than all the "so called divas" who came before her.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Michelle was the biggest Heel in the Divas' division before she was forced to leave WWE by Layla. Kharma, who seemed to be her replacement in this regard, is more intimidating.
  • Spot Monkey: During her first few WWE matches it is pretty apparent(Molly Holly or Jillian Hall may have hand sprung into moves but McCool would handspring, then do something unrelated). She moved beyond the spot monkey period quickly but even then her offense often came off as Awesome, but Impractical since most of the other Diva Search contestants were not keeping up with her growth as a performer or her actions in the ring. She would do some kind of twisting takedown or flipping arm lock, only to be slapped or shoved by Maryse, as if they were equal actions. Michelle's matches were better with the likes of Gail Kim, who could more than match her moves. Naturally, once she turned heel, this was downplayed.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: On Smackdown and eventually the entire Diva's division. Between the two of them Layla was the Women's Champion but Michelle was on the champion's profile picture and defended the belt in Layla's steed during their "co-champions" gimmick. This came back to bite Michelle in the ass when she pushed Layla out of the way to fight Trish Stratus - and got her ass handed to her by the latter, and then got pinned by Snooki of Jersey Shore.
  • Squee: Their understandable reaction to learning Kaval was the rookie they were paired up with on NXT, though it turned out they weren't happy for the reasons everyone expected them to be.
  • Statuesque Stunner: At 5'10", she was almost always the tallest woman on the roster during her run.
  • Tag Team: With Layla as part of LayCool. Previously she partnered up with Alicia Fox.
  • Tears of Joy: When Kaval won NXT Season 2.
  • Those Two Girls: When they weren't the center of the division nor having internal disputes.
  • Tomboy: Described herself as a natural tomboy, with even the Diva Search playing that up - she scored the most eliminations in the Divas Dodgeball game. Interestingly enough, the times she became more feminine were when she was a heel; first as the sexy teacher, and then as part of LayCool.
  • Villain Song: McCool was a face, initially, but that didn't last, making "You're not enough for me..."
  • Villain Team-Up: Besides Layla? With Beth Phoenix, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. It was doomed to fail with Beth because she would inevitably pursue their championships while Dolph and Vickie blamed them for losing at Wrestlemania.
  • Wham Line: "The Harts don't belong in the Hall of Fame."
  • Wild Card: In the 2018 Royal Rumble, she didn't appear to slot into either a face or heel role. She eliminated mostly heel wrestlers and didn't team with Vickie Guerrero, but she also took it to the faces and didn't pander to the crowd.