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Michelle McCool Talks Leaving The WWE & Diva Jealousy

Michelle McCool left the WWE in 2011Michelle McCool was the latest WWE superstar to walk away from the big show in the midst of the biggest push of her career. McCool recently walked away from LayCool in favor of retirement. The former WWE Diva recently opened up about the reasons behind her decision and future plans.

It is really a rare, yet not unprecedented move to see a WWE superstar walk away from the business at the height of their career due to choice and not injury. Chris Jericho, Dave Batista, Trish Stratus, and of course The Rock are the first ones to come to mind. Michelle McCool was never in their class of stardom, but she certainly walked away right at a time where she arguably became the biggest WWE Diva in the company.

What made her career decision a little different than Jericho, Batista, The Rock, or even Trish is that she didn’t have a lengthy run at the top. Yes she was a champion three years ago but it wasn’t until she hit her stride with Layla and LayCool that she ascended to her biggest success. After six long years from the Diva Search to the All American, McCool was not only just a featured act, but a featured star across both brands.

So it definitely take a lot of WWE fans by surprise when word got out that the former middle school teacher turned body slammer was entering retirement at the age of 31. She just came off the biggest exposure of her life wrestling a match against Snooki at WrestleMania 27. McCool probably could have hung around for at least another two years and cashed in big time as a featured act with LayCool and later a lengthy babyface run against Layla, Kharma, and fellow WWE Divas yet she opted to walk away at the top of her game.

It didn’t take McCool long to open up about exactly why she chose to walk away now as opposed to waiting those two years or even longer. McCool appeared on the AfterBuzzTV Tough Enough post game show. McCool was interviewed by former WWE Diva Torrie Wilson and former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia. The personal connection between McCool and the interviewers certainly made for a great interview and allowed McCool to really open up in a comfortable setting about her time in the WWE.

At the top of the show, Torrie Wilson and Lilian Garcia mention that Michelle McCool will be their special guest and remind their listeners that this is Michelle’s first interview since leaving WWE. When Michelle’s segment comes up, they’re having a bit of technical difficulties getting Michelle on the line. Three minutes later, the former WWE Divas are ready. The ladies chit chats with Michelle as she jokingly says that it’s getting late on her end, and that she’s been struggling to stay up for the interview.

Lilian: Why did you leave on top?
Michelle: “You know, it’s nothing that has culminated overnight. That’s for sure. I mean, I’m going on six years, and you know- I mean, Lilian, Torrie, you know- six years is really a long time for one of the girls. I do a lot, and I’m thankful for that. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and in a man’s world, too. It’s just a fight, every single week, this job. I was in it to win it. I did fight, stand my ground. Add to that, these past couple of years has definitely been the most fun I’ve had in my career. But again, it’s not something that has culminated overnight. It’s something that I’ve actually been thinking about for a while. Something that I even thought about doing earlier than Extreme Rules, but I wanted to go out in the right way, and I wanted to do what was right for Layla. We’ve worked together as a team these past few years, and she’s done so much for me, for each other, that I wanted to go out doing the right thing. Working a program with Layla, while short, it was fun. I also kind of wanted [my exit] to be unexpected to the fans, and actually to some of the Superstars. I wanted to give them something unexpected. I wanted them to expect the unexpected, and hopefully we did that.”

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Torrie: Do you feel like the more you went up the ladder, getting the belts and being on television and had all these great things happening, do you feel like you had to work harder to prove yourself to the women? Did you see a lot of clawing and backstabbing, or was it… helpful?
Michelle: “Oh, gosh. No. You know the answer to that question! (laughs) The higher you climb the ladder, everyone is going to have a reason as to why you’re there, why you’re on TV, and they don’t want to believe the fact you’re in the working hard, fighting for storylines. Instead of complaining about only have two or three minutes on TV, you want to make those two or three minutes mean something, so that you can go somewhere the next week, and the next month, and then the next three months. And that’s what Layla and I did. And, yeah. A lot of people just didn’t want to believe that; I just think that’s the easy route. I think that they did, in their hearts, know that. The backstabbing, the clawing, it’s always there. It definitely comes up more when you’re on TV a little more often. And I can laugh. A prime example, Layla and I. We pitched an idea when we were going back and forth between RAW and SmackDown. We did a pre-tape on RAW when we got kicked off: so, we show up at RAW and get kicked out of the building. Two weeks later, they call us up to be on RAW again. It’s like, dang! Of course, all of the girls are complaining. We’re just like, ‘hey, we tried to get kicked off the show. It’s not our fault. Sorry we’re here.’ But you know, it’s like. Somebody else step it up! And I know that sounds horrible, but that’s what it is.”

Torrie: Do you feel like that contributed to you wanting to step away or not? Because it was getting to be… too much?
Michelle: “Yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s hard. Torrie, you know. You’re the same way. I think we have a lot in common, as far as our hearts go. It’s just hard when you’re not that kind of person. When you don’t want to be miserable, when you don’t want to have that drama and… the drama just follows you. All due to the situation or the position that you’re in. It wears on you, as much as you’d like to say ‘I don’t care what the girls think!’ or ‘I don’t care what they’re saying!’ – I just want to go out there and do my job! It got harder each and every single week, just because it hurt me as a person. The kind of person that I am. You don’t want to feel that way.”

I don’t think that anyone would be surprised to hear that McCool experienced jealousy and resentment from her Diva peers with her big LayCool push. Even someone as respected as Trish Stratus recently experienced the same thing from John Morrison and Melina with her appearance at WrestleMania 27. Although to be fair, Michelle and the girls did leave out a very key story in regards to the last year of her career that certainly opened her up to criticism in the WWE locker room.

Michelle McCool married The Undertaker in June of 2010. McCool and The Undertaker were rumored to have been dating while The Undertaker was still married, although some do believe that The Undertaker and his wife were separated at the time. So immediately McCool was seen as a home wrecker (she was also married to until 2006). In an even more controversial move among the troops, The Undertaker reportedly used his stroke to secure special favors for McCool. At one point McCool was appointed as something of an unofficial head Diva thanks to the Dead Man. McCool and Natalya reportedly had a falling out over this when McCool as “head Diva” tried to tell Natalya how to wrestle.

Most controversial of all was the reduced scheduled McCool received from the WWE. McCool was given off from most house shows and weekends to attend to The Undertaker, has been suffering badly from nagging injuries and surgeries. Nobody but The Undertaker and Triple H have that kind of schedule, so McCool got heat for this. Many in the locker room had a hard time accepting that someone with as little experience and success as McCool received such desirable company perks.

I bring this up not to degrade McCool because personally, I don’t think anyone has a right to be mad at her for this. The anger should really be directed at the company for giving her the schedule, not McCool for taking it. I just think it is only fair to bring these points up if McCool is going to address jealousy in the locker room and attribute it directly to her big push which I don’t think was necessarily the case at all.

You can read the entire Michelle McCool interview transcript at http://michellemccool.net.


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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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