To celebrate Women’s History Month Diva Dirt will be highlighting some of wrestling’s greatest unsung heroes. These individuals for some reason or another don’t get the recognition, respect, and status they deserve. These retrospectives will occur throughout the month of March.
Here at Diva Dirt, we have already touched based on several who we feel are unsung heroes in the industry. Starting with the 1980s and 1990s we are now working through the 2000s. Here is who we have gone over so far. You can click on their names to go to their respective articles.
Next up we head into the Divas Era. A term that is now deemed disrespectful and met with disdain. However, despite the circumstances, there were a number of women that ran the misogynistic gauntlet and pathed the way for all who came after. One such wrestler is the painfully overlooked, Kaitlyn.
Celeste Bonin was a very successful bodybuilder and fitness model, winning awards throughout her career until she was signed to WWE Development deal in 2010.
After a brief stint in FCW, Kaitlyn was hot-shotted onto the scene and literally had to learn on the fly while taking part in season 3 of NXT with Vickie Guerrero as her Pro. Kaitlyn and Vickie’s relationship quickly became strained as Vickie would treat Kaitlyn terribly and ridicule her constantly. The dysfunctional relationship would be the best thing about the season and would be the launching pad for Kaitlyn’s career as she would win season 3 of NXT to be crowned the “Breakout Diva.”
Following her victory in NXT, Kaitlyn was signed to SmackDown, where she would form the tag team known as “The Chickbusters” with AJ Lee under the tutelage of Natalya and would feud with Alicia Fox, Tamina and Rosa Mendes.
Kaitlyn’s big break would come in an unconventional way when on the Aug 20, 2012, edition of RAW Kaitlyn would accidentally win the Divas Battle Royal to become the number one contender for Layla‘s WWE Diva’s Championship. The accident happened at the end of the match when her and Eve Torres would “botch” a spot causing the intended victor, Torres to slip from the ring apron and be eliminated from the match. Genuinely fearing for her job, Kaitlyn was praised backstage for the way she handled the situation on live TV and the accident would lead to an interesting and more storyline based angle to get the title off Layla and onto Torres.
The storyline would involve Kaitlyn becoming SmackDown General Manager, Booker T’s Assistant, however, Torres would remove her from this position when she would win a match in which the job was on the line. From there Kaitlyn would begin to be regularly attacked by a mystery masked assailant, who injured Kaitlyn and forced her to relinquish her title shot to Eve Torres. It was then revealed that the attacker was Aksana who was in fact hired by Torres, which would escalate the tension between the two and they would continue to feud for the title.
On the Jan 13, 2013, 20th Anniversary edition of RAW, Kaitlyn would capture the WWE Diva’s Championship from Eve Torres for her first and only time. The title win came during a sea change in the women’s division. Not only as Eve Torres and Beth Pheonix both left the company placing a huge amount of responsibility on Kaitlyn’s shoulders but also because it came at a time when the division was beginning to be taken more seriously.
Kaitlyn would defend the title against Tamina and Natalya before entering into a feud with long-time friend and enemy, AJ Lee. Kaitlyn and AJ’s heated rivalry was the first legitimate feud the Divas division seen in years and was instrumental in bringing a new perception of women’s wrestling.
Kaitlyn would face AJ Lee at Payback for the title in a match that was a passionate, hard-hitting, and intense affair that was not only Kaitlyn’s best match but also the best women’s match the company had put on in years.
Kaitlyn would leave WWE in 2014 and retire from wrestling completely to concentrate on her new clothing range. Since her retirement, Kaitlyn’s name and accomplishments are hardly, if ever, spoken about when it comes to her efforts in moulding the women’s division into what it would become.
Kaitlyn would gain some respect and recognition when she returned to WWE in 2018 for the second Mae Young Classic tournament. She would defeat Kevita Devi in the first round but lose to Mia Yim in the second. During these appearances, Kaitlyn would receive a very warm welcome from the Full Sail crowd, chanted “welcome back” and “you still got it” throughout her matches.
In just four short years, in which she would go from a legitimate rookie, who was literally learning the ropes as she went along to WWE Divas champion is nothing short of amazing. Kaitlyn, along with AJ Lee, helped usher in a new wave of women’s wrestling in a women’s division that would ultimately go on to become the best in the world. Yet despite this passion and determination to bring more substance to the division, the period in which she wrestled was not the brightest in the division’s history and therefore mostly disregarded.
Kaitlyn’s look and size made her stand out from the crowd and while her in-ring ability may not have been the greatest she constantly strived to better herself both in and out of the ring. Her work with AJ Lee propelled the women’s division to be taken more seriously and for that Kaitlyn should be applauded.
What are your thoughts on Kaitlyn’s career and do you think she ever truly got the right recognition for her services to wrestling? Let us know below and stay tuned to Diva Dirt for more unsung heroes as we celebrate Women’s History Month.