Throwback Thursday: Layla El (WWE Diva Search, Extreme Expose, Team LayCool)

layla

Layla, the English born dancer, model and Diva recently announced her retirement. She may not have been everyone’s favorite but she accomplish quite a bit in her run with WWE.

El’s first venture into wrestling was when her trainer suggested she try out for the $250,000 WWWE Diva Search in 2006. She was selected as a finalist and would go on to win immunity after completing Sgt. Slaughter’s “Diva Boot Camp” course. She was named the winner of the Diva Search on August 16, 2006.

She was the recipient of hazing at the 2006 Summerslam when she was spanked in the shower by other Divas and, after interviewing with the Miz the next week she was off television for nearly a month before confronting Kristal and Jillian Hall.  Next, she would form Extreme Expose with Kelly Kelly and Brooke Adams, a group of beautiful dancing women, essentially.

As part of the 2008 Supplemental Draft in late June, Layla was drafted to the Raw brand and soon entered a storyline with Jamie Noble in which Noble attempted to impress her with his matches, only to lose, everytime. On September 1, 2008 Noble was able to defeat William Regal, which impressed Layla. The following week however, when Noble lost the rematch to William Regal she left Noble and his losing streak behind and began managing Regal. O April 5th Layla competed in a Divas battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, but the match was won by Santina Marella (Santino Marella in drag.)

The following year she was drafted, yet again, to Smackdown where she forme an alliance with Michelle McCool, later called Team LayCool. Team LayCool began a scripted rivalry with Mickie James in October, making fun of her weight and vowing to make her leave SmackDown just after her debut for the brand however, at Survivor Series pay-per-view, McCool’s team lost to James’ team. As part of LayCool Layla had many important victories and would later become WWE Women’s Champion when she pinned Beth Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match. This victory made her the first British woman to hold the title.

Following her win, Team LayCool began calling themselves the co-Women’s Champions, a gimmick that would carry throughout their partnership. In September, Layla and McCool challenged WWE Divas Champion Melina to a championship unification match at Night of Champions. McCool participated in the match and won with Layla’s help to unify both championships into the WWE Unified Divas Championship, Layla unofficially became the co-champion. At the Royal Rumble however, the anonymous Raw General Manager changed the match to a fatal four-way, also involving Eve. Eve went on to pin Layla and become the new Divas Champion.

LayCool began to fall out following the loss of the Divas Championship, and appeared in a series of vignettes in which they were attending couples therapy and on April 22nd McCool attacked Layla during one of their storyline therapy sessions. During the 2011 WWE Draft on 25 April, Layla lost a match to Eve and was attacked afterward by McCool, but was able to fight her off, turning face in the process. On April 29th, the pair faced each other in a match, which ended in a double countout. As a result, the pair faced each off in a no countout, no disqualification, loser leaves WWE match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on 1 May, which Layla won.

Layla announced that she had suffered a knee injury at Extreme Rules on SmackDown and was interrupted and attacked by Kharma to write her off television. Later that month, it was confirmed that Layla had legitimately torn both her Anterior cruciate and Medial collateral ligaments and required surgery.

Divas Champion (2012–2013)

Layla wrestling Natalya during a WWE house show in May 2012.

Layla made her in-ring return at a Florida Championship Wrestling event on 22 March 2012. She returned to the main WWE roster at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on 29 April, replacing Beth Phoenix, who was not medically cleared to compete, in a match for the WWE Divas Championship. Despite interference from Brie Bella, Layla defeated Nikki Bella to win the WWE Divas Championship for the first time. The following night on Raw, she successfully defended the championship against both Nikki and Brie in a triple threat match, and retained twice against Beth Phoenix at the Over the Limit and No Way Out pay-per-views in May and June respectively. On 20 August episode of Raw, Kaitlyn won a battle royal to become the number one contender to Layla’s Divas Championship. At Night of Champions, Kaitlyn was removed from the championship match following a storyline injury and replaced with Eve Torres. Torres would go on to defeat Layla for the Divas Championship, ending her reign at 140 days.

Layla defeated Torres in a non-title match on Superstars to earn a shot at the Divas Championship. She received her title match on 15 October, but was unsuccessful, and failed again to regain the championship in a three-way match at Hell in a Cell that also involved Kaitlyn. On 12 November, on Raw, Layla was defeated by Kaitlyn in a number one contenders match for the championship. On 16 December at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Layla competed in a number one contender’s “Santa’s Little Helpers” battle royal to face Torres for the championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the match.

Layla would go on to be involved in several sporadic story lines, including one where she rivaled with Summer Rae for Fandango’s affections. The divas would turn on Fandango and team up against him to distract him and force him to lose matches.

 

Layla at WrestleMania Axxess in March 2015.

 

On the 13th June episode of Superstars, Layla lost to Paige, in what would be her final televised match. On 29 July, WWE announced that Layla had decided to retire from professional wrestling.

 

 

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