Michelle McCool, one of the prime stars from the Diva Era of WWE, had an illustrious career, winning several championships and other accolades. She was at the forefront of the Diva’s Division back in the late 2000s and retired a few years prior to the Women’s Revolution in the company.
Here are some of the interesting tidbits about Michelle McCool, who has continued to make appearances for WWE despite retiring a decade ago from in-ring competition.
Michelle McCool Quick Facts:
Real Name: Michelle Leigh McCool
Born: January 25, 1980, Palatka, FL
Spouse: Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) (m. 2010)
Children: Kaia Faith Calaway
Parents: Jenny and Terry McCool
Siblings: Jeff McCool
Height: 5 Feet 10 Inches (1.78m)
1. A Native of Florida
Michelle McCool was born as Michelle Leigh McCool in Palatka, Florida, to a superintendent and a school teacher. She has an older brother who played football at the University of Cincinnati. Despite both her parents being employed in non-sporting fields, the future Divas and Women’s Champion had a keen interest in several sports while growing up.
2. Early Affinity for Wrestling
While McCool was just seven years old, she was able to apply the Figure Four lock. The iconic maneuver, which was then used by Ric Flair, was McCool’s first foray into wrestling. Although she started out early on the mat, it wasn’t until a long time later that she stepped into the squared circle as a superstar.
3. High School Sports
McCool had a very athletic profile during her high-school days. However, none of the sports she participated, included wrestling. McCool dabbled in softball, basketball, and volleyball, and played first base in Pasco-Hernando State College. She didn’t pursue a professional career in any of those sports and chose to focus on her education instead.
4. Masters Degree, Science Teacher, Personal Trainer
McCool enrolled in Florida State University for her Master’s Degree and received one in Educational Leadership. After completing her education, McCool moved back to her hometown of Palatka, Florida, where she worked as a seventh-grade science teacher for a few years. Apart from the teaching profession, McCool also worked as a personal trainer, teaching gymnastics and kickboxing. She participated in National Physique Committee fitness contests as well, with her strong athletic background playing into her side gigs.
5. The Diva Search
In 2004, Michelle McCool arrived in WWE, taking part in the Diva Search competition at the onset of the Ruthless Aggression Era. The second season of the Diva Search saw McCool finish as the runner-up, behind Christy Hemme. Despite her loss, she was awarded a contract by WWE. She received a three-year deal in November 2004 and quickly made her debut on WWE television. McCool was joined by another future WWE star, Maria Kanellis in this season of Diva Search.
6. Backstage Segments and the “Sexy Teacher”
Her former experiences as a fitness trainer and teacher came into play in her initial gimmicks in WWE. She started out in backstage segments as a trainer, teaching various stretching activities to wrestlers. After a short stay in the main roster, she was sent to developmental for a while. Her next foray on the main brand saw the debut of the ‘sexy teacher’ gimmick, which continued for a few months until she got injured and was out of action for several months.
7. The First Diva
McCool was repackaged as the All American Diva and subsequently won the brand new Diva’s Championship, becoming the inaugural holder of the title. McCool defeated Natalya at the Great American Bash 2008 to win her first title in WWE. She would go on to hold the title for a few months, and the title itself became synonymous with WWE’s female division for the next eight years.
Michelle McCool hit the peak of her career in WWE when she partnered with Layla at the onset of the decade and won the Women’s Championship together. The duo split the title in half and started referring to themselves as co-champions, and enjoyed considerable success for several months. Eventually, McCool decided to leave the company a year later and did so after a “Loser Leaves WWE” match against her former partner and co-champion, Layla.
McCool and Layla laid the foundations for the Tag Division in WWE, taking part in the first-ever doubles Tables Match against Natalya and Beth Phoenix.
9. Reality Show Star
During her time on top of WWE, McCool appeared in several side projects from time-to-time.
In 2007, McCool appeared on six episodes of Family Feud along with a few other stars from the company. A year later, McCool and a few other Divas took part in the reality show Project Runway. As the top star of the Diva’s Division, McCool partnered with John Cena (the top male star at that time) on The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
Maryse and Eve Torres accompanied McCool on Muscle of Fitness in early 2009. McCool also took part in the hit reality show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, during a special WWE edition of the show.
10. Mentor in NXT
During the reality show format of NXT, Team LayCool served as the mentors in Season 2. Their protegee, Kaval, went on to win the season under their guidance. The duo became the first female stars to get a spot on the mentor table and was also the first tag-team in the group. Kaval didn’t have a great deal of success on the main roster though and was fired a few years later.
11. Mrs. Undertaker
In 2010, Michelle McCool tied the knot with Mark Calaway, famously known in the professional wrestling industry as The Undertaker. This was McCool’s second marriage after she married her high school sweetheart Jeremy Louis Alexander in 2001. The couple divorced in 2006 and didn’t have any kids together.
Undertaker and McCool performed together on Smackdown for a long time during the initial brand split leading to their marriage. Their daughter Kaia was born in 2012. McCool is also the step-mother for three of Undertaker’s children from his previous two marriages.
12. A Late Return
Michelle McCool has appeared in WWE from time-to-time, with two of her memorable appearances coming in 2018. She participated in the Women’s Royal Rumble debut edition in 2018, giving an impressive performance despite being away for seven years. She held the record for most eliminations at five. Later that year, she appeared on WWE’s first all-women PPV, Evolution, where she took part in a Battle Royal.
13. Undertaker’s First Fourth-Wall Break
Michelle McCool was part of the first-ever character break by The Undertaker. After his loss to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33 in 2017, the Deadman put down his ring attire, had a moment in the ring, and proceeded to kiss McCool at ringside. This was the first time their relationship was mentioned on WWE programming, and it signaled the end of the line for the Phenom. However, he eventually returned next year, taking on John Cena at Wrestlemania 34. The Deadman later proceeded to appear in several WWE packages without his character.
14. McCool vs Charlotte Flair
Although McCool is now 40 and wishes to be closer to her family, she has expressed a desire to fight Charlotte Flair. McCool was the first star to hold the Divas Title, while Flair was the last one to hold it before it got renamed to the Women’s Championship. Charlotte faced Trish Stratus at Summerslam 2019, and a possible matchup against McCool cannot be ruled out.
15. Several Health Issues
McCool had several health issues during her career. She retired from WWE in 2011 and disclosed that she had wrestled for the last few months of her career with a broken toe, torn joint capsules, and a torn MCL. McCool had several other issues in the past as well, and revealed in 2019, that she faced several infertility issues along with miscarriages.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with Skin Cancer and underwent successful treatment for the deadly disease.
Hopefully, we will see more Michelle McCool cameos in the coming years.