The Women of the Year 2011: Michelle McCool (#13)

A la TIME’s Person of the Year list, Diva Dirt has compiled a countdown of the women we feel have best embodied the zeitgeist of the year in women’s wrestling. To compile this list, the Diva Dirt team have tracked the headlines here at Diva Dirt over the past 12 months, followed the lively fan debate on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, considered the impact that the women have made within the industry, and taken into account personal achievements as well. More information on the Women of the Year list here.

Going Out on Top

It’s so rare in the wrestling industry, particularly WWE, to see females going out on their own terms and leaving at the top of their game, but in 2011, that is exactly what Michelle McCool did.

Perhaps the only other example of a Diva going out on top is Trish Stratus, who in 2006, retired atop the women’s division. Fast forward five years and it was Michelle McCool who decided to hang up her boots and left with one last hurrah where so many go out in a whimper.

In many ways, Michelle McCool has helped define the current era of Divas, rising from Diva Search contestant to respected in-ring athlete. Over the years, we’ve seen her growth in the ring to the point where Michelle has been relied upon to have great matches with almost everyone she stepped into the ring with. She’s also become one of the most accomplished Divas in history by becoming the first ever Divas Champion, the first woman to hold both the Divas and Women’s Championships, and the woman to unify the two belts.

In 2011, right up until her retirement match at the end of April, Michelle continued to stay in the forefront, appearing at all four pay per views in the first part of the year, and main eventing SmackDown along with Layla, Kelly Kelly, Dolph Ziggler and Edge.

Following a buzzy WrestleMania match that featured reality television star, Snooki, the moment we’d all been waiting for finally happened: LayCool broke up. In an emotionally charged “Loser Leaves WWE” match, Michelle and Layla left it all on the mat, and ultimately, Michelle left the WWE and gave her BFF a big rub on the way out.

Michelle knew when to say “stop”, and she is one of the few women in history who can truly say she left at the top of her game. For that, she has our utmost respect, and we feel she deserves the acknowledgement of placing highly in our Women of the Year list.

Controversial to her last moment, fans have hotly debated Michelle’s merits and will no doubt continue to, even in retirement.

Although she may no longer be on our screens, Michelle McCool will remain forever flawless.

The Women of the Year 2011: Maxine (#14)

Click here for the full Women of the Year countdown

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  • moogle

    A brilliant choice Diva Dirt!

    I loved Michelle, even when her and Layla weren’t in the running for the championships, they still always remained relevant and in a high place in the divas division!

    I love them both, her and Layla practically ran the PPVs for the divas before she left

  • adifferentsame

    Michelle McCool developed into one of those wrestlers you could watch for hours in the ring. She was an outstanding athlete and really “got” wrestling, even if she wasn’t quite the polished all round performer. I certainly miss her tenacity and presence.

  • seasons-of-love

    I will never, ever be able to buy into Michelle McCool as a top star. A solid wrestler? Yes. But that’s about it. Certainly not deserving of the never-ending push she received over several more worthy women, and certainly not ‘flawless’.

    If there’s one good thing to be said about Michelle this year it’s that in leaving she put over Kharma and Layla, but that’s about it. Enjoy retirement.

    • AdrianRay


    • Jhonmarco

      How’d I miss your comment? lol spot-on though! :)

    • art

      seasons-of-love exactly….

    • Litawasrobbed

      Agree 100%

    • Future-Knockout/Diva

      100% Agreed

    • Lily

      More worthy women like who? Beth, Natalya, Gail and Melina? WWE was never going to put a title on Gail. Beth was injured through out 2010. Natalya was actually being pushed because of LayCool. As for Melina, she was really sloppy in the ring after her injury and wasn’t the same heel so she wasn’t all that different from McCool except McCool was actually solid!

      • seasons-of-love

        Michelle McCool was heavily pushed non-stop from 2008 onwards. She never had an ounce of charisma regardless of how hard the WWE tried to make her happen, and yet they insisted on feeding women with far more potential to her in spite of that.

        Mickie James received her fair share of airtime, but merited that based on sheer popularity and star quality. She was pushed into the background SO many times, and yet forced the WWE to keep using her because the fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Likewise with Melina Pérez, who was just as capable in the ring as Michelle (if not more so, in that she actually *entertained*) and bore the ability to get the audience to care about her, something that Michelle never achieved.

        These two women had the endure time away from the spotlight in spite of their skill and respective fanbases, and were ultimately just thrown to the wayside as though they were worth nothing. Natalya was doing perfectly well last year before being pushed into the background after just a few months. Gail Kim just never got the opportunity despite her being a much better wrestler than Michelle. None of these women got the opportunity Michelle did, who simply never had a break from the spotlight.

        Trying to dress Michelle up as some kind of star (which didn’t have ftr) didn’t benefit the division; it affected it adversely, because building an entire division around someone who the 99.9% of the fans regard as irrelevant in turn gives off the statement that the division itself is irrelevant. It’s no wonder that it’s essentially been dead in the water since mid-2008. WWE missed out when they failed to give Mickie and Melina the placements in the company that they truly merited. Both were giving quite a few titles, but for the most part they were used as placeholders while Michelle was involved in every segment going. Had they taken full advantage of Mickie’s clear appeal to the general fanbase or Melina’s potential within the Latin-American market then both women could have easily achieved Trish Stratus-like status. Instead the chose someone who the audience – the very thing that keeps the company going – didn’t want, and now they’re being left to pick up the pieces.

        It’s just wrestling I know, but I care about it, and I hate that the biggest company in the world seems so oblivious to what their audience actually wants. It’s essentially just a case of, “Oh, they’re only women. We can do any old thing with them. Who cares?”


        • GailKimFan09e

          i agree until you said Michelle Mccool was Heavily pushed and she only was because unlike certain divas she was reliable as far as getting someone else over, her matches and her promos (near the end run), she rarely was injured (only once i can think of) and like i said was able to make anyone she went up against a star in the match just like her,which is something the divas division really needs, i honestly will never understand the Hate for michelle, sure she wasn’t an all around star like Trish was but she was deserving of her pushes, and she also made her opponent shine as well, and lets not forget she was one haft of Laycool which was the last time in a while that wwe actually worked and respected the Divas and gave them something, Michelle does deserve some type of respect for her hard work like it or not.

    • mariah.

      Ouch! Kind of agree with you though, not gonna lie.

  • Jordan

    Michelle McCool will always be one of my favorite divas. While, she wasn’t the best talker, she always had a ring presence. She looked like a wrestler in the ring and she improved so much during her time. She is a prime example of a model turned wrestler.

    As a face, she knew how to get the crowd going, and as a heel, she shined as well. I hope she does return at some point, but what an athlete.

    I also appreciate that she put over Layla and Kharma on her last night.

    • Mike in Like

      Michelle was never a model for the record – though I understand what your saying. Because Michelle was a good looking woman coming in with no experience she had that notion on her that she would never grasp the sport. If we are going off of talent and beauty alone… Michelle is probably right there behind Trish Stratus. Personally, I never liked Michelle much as her promos were always stale. However towards the end with LayCool I felt she improved ten fold and become one of my favorites at the time.

      All in all Michelle earned what she got with hard work inside the ring. Is she an over-all mega star like Trish or Lita? No.

  • SteveSteve

    Aww. I love michelle (:

  • Teri

    Michelle was probably the only female wrestler (after 2006) that I truly enjoyed watching in the ring. I’ll never forget the wicked matches she was a part of during early 2009 – mid 2009, when she showed such an incredible level of aggressiveness in the ring. As “adifferentsame” stated earlier, I could watch this girl wrestle for hours. Most definitely one of my all time favorites – up there with Madusa and Jacqueline.

    • Megumi

      If she’s the only female wrestler you’ve enjoyed watching since 2006, you must not get around much past WWE and possibly TNA.

      • Teri

        Simply because Michelle McCool (aka the face of mainstream womens wrestling) is one of my absolute favorites doesn’t necessarily mean that i’m totally oblivious to other talent and other promotions. I’ve gotten a taste of what’s out there, and at the end of the day it’s a matter of personal preference, nothing more than that.

      • Teri

        Perhaps I should throw in a bunch of wsu and shimmer names for the sake of throwing in a bunch of wsu and shimmer names?

    • Ryan

      Megumi..mind you TNA didnt have a Knockouts division until late 2007 TNA used to be an hour long show before. and before the Official KOs division Gail Kim Jackie n Traci had to squeeze in what little they could into the show..whether a Brawl a match a segment..whatever time was a REAL issue then. Plus in 2006 and up until late 2007 divas werent much a big deal..Raw had ur usual Mickie Torrie Candice Melina stuff and Michelle on Smackdown was growing rapidly she totally would own Jillian hall and eventually Michelle started taking on Tara and growing bigger n better matches everytime so really Michelle was a big shot name at the time just not as over as Torrie Candice Michelle Mickie or Melina..

      So teri no harm done..Michelle rocks in the ring! Since 2005 and I was a big follower of hers!

    • Faye

      Yes, gurl! Tell it like it is. It may not be a popular opinion, but no one, as bored as they were by Michelle, can deny that she was a genius in that ring.

      • mariah.

        Without question! Props where it is due.

  • Jhonmarco

    While she never won me over with her personality at all, her wrestling was always top-notch. Definitely showed that non-wrestlers can become good workers. My favorite wrestler diva type, but not my favorite diva overall. Was she deserving of all ehr pushes for 3 years? IMO no, she took away from women who could have benefited from it much more. The fact that no one cared about Michelle/Layla in May (crowd reaction wise) after 2 years of segments, promos, matches together shows how she failed as a personality. She ahs given us slobberknocker matches though with Melina, Layla, Beth, Mickie, Tiffany, Gail, etc.

    • GlamSlamFan

      Completely agree. IMO, I think one reason why I personally never could get behind her, was because after a while I was on “Michelle McCool overload”. You sometimes couldn’t see a segment about the divas w/o her being in it. After a while when I would hear “You’re not enough for me” (particularly after the Natalya/Melina Divas championship match) I would cringe. Not because I HATED McCool/LayCool but because I was like “Ugh… them again? This isn’t even about them!” But I do admit, not that she’s gone, I kinda miss her! I’m especially itching to see Layla return!

    • Ryan

      Totally understand you Marco, I personally enjoyed the McCool overload..except that one time they went to raw and took over the Commentary booth..THAT was annoying as hell but beats listening to Cole’s sorry ass…AND that one time with the Headsets in the ring Fail but hey its a working process =D
      Now we know NO HEADSETS to LayCool!!

      While I found it kind of disrespectful to break the Womens Championship in half like a BFF charm…DAMN THAT WAS FUNNY! =D
      I could go on but meh we all remember lol

      Sucks she wasnt over with the fans but meh oh well I still love that woman

    • mariah.

      I agree wholeheartedly. I thinks that’s one thing no one can take away from Michelle… she was a beast in the ring.

  • EveLover

    Well deserved spot. I dont know what it was about her but I loved everything she did ,from her promos to he wrestling ,just everything ….She kinda reminds me of eve ,not her looks but just her ,how she is. I think she was great as a face and even better as a heel. I loved how much she improved in the ring ,she proved that she was one of the best ever. And to be completly honest ,I feel like she did deserve her ‘never ending’ push …but that just might be because I enjoyed watching her .

  • WweLitafan4ever

    i like michelle mccool.shes a good wrestler.
    i just dislike how they pushed her so much even though she wasnt over with the fans. other than that,i enjoyed her work & think shes talented & entertaining.

  • bromero329

    Wow michelle looks sexy and fierce in that pic. Great choice. She had a good half year this year. She did so much and it was sad to see her leave so soon. :( I miss her and laycool. They were the highlight of the division since it started. 2009 – 2011. I miss her and she did give us great matches.

  • Ryan

    I been a big fan of McCool since 2005. She truely loves this biz, her matches were really amazing and solid! And she brought out the BEST in every woman she got in the ring with. Top star? Why not! She wasnt as over as like Natalya Beth or Mickie James..hell even Kelly is more over than McCool or Eve Torres..but really who cares about that? I rather see a great match than a crappy match with cheering only happening in the entrance and then dieing off once the actual match starts like in the case of Maryse. Gail Kim was one of the best so was Melina and their matches were pretty quiet..LayCool made big stars out of Beth n Natalya and brought out the best in Melina in 2009..i wasnt a fan of Melina until then! I miss her a LOT and her presence is a void..but i rather she retire and relax and enjoy her vacation than have to be stuck in 2 min matches..

    Great job Michelle ur one of the best out there!!

    • Ryan

      Also Im a HUGE Michelle McCool fan…but why is she up so high????
      She didnt do much this year at all..she did put Awesome Kong Layla Trish Stratus and snookie over but thats it..she didnt even do much promos or anything

  • Lily

    I’m so sick and tired of people going on and on about McCool’s never ending push but it’s time for me to speak out my opinion.

    Yes, McCool recieved so many pushes but was it that bad? Look at who has won the title so far this year … Eve, Brie, and K2. Last time i checked those girls were on the down low with fans and no one ever wanted to see them win the title. I for one rather see McCool and her never ending reign than to see those 3 with a title, at least it’s someone with some talent and some type of power!

    With McCool there was a match at every PPV, enough time, great matches, enough exposure on RAW/SD, and STORY BUILDING! Now do we get all of that? NO!

    Feuds that WWE actually cared for and pushed ..

    Melina vs. McCool (2009)
    LayCool vs. Natalya & Beth (2010)
    LayCool vs. Mickie (2009) one of the best Diva feuds/storylines ever.
    McCool vs. Layla could have been a great feud with plenty of build-up but McCool left but still it lasted 2 weeks and it was getting pushed so much in just little time! The tension was great between the two and their acting was believable.

    See McCool being pushed down our throats wasn’t even all that bad. Yes her voice got annoying from time to time but it was all worth it! She also had character as a heel.

    • FrankNFurter

      I couldn’t agree more. I would say, “I couldn’t have said it better myself” but I already posted my sentiments before I saw this. I honestly think they’re a little bitter.

    • Teri

      Agreed 100%

      • GailKimFan09e

        Thank you!! And its funny how everyone said that Michelle was always in the spotlight but never said a damn thing when Mickie or Melina were in their title reigns, or now in days its the same divas Beth/Kelly/Nattie and Eve featuring Alicia, not to take anything away from the all these divas but i’m getting a bit tired of DoD and kelly,eve, alicia every week but to be honestly Laycool never bored me and had me Dieing during there promos.

  • FrankNFurter

    Whether she ‘deserved’ to be pushed over other women or not, she still produced a plethora of great matches and segments. What other diva(s) could management give a mega push and have them actually make a difference in the division? Let’s see…

    Melina? Refer to her release
    Gail Kim? HA!
    Beth Phoenix? Refer to the current state of the divas division
    Natalya? Refer to the latter
    Kelly? Beautiful, over with the crowd but wait…WWE didn’t do anything with her title reign.

    This is not a knock on the women above, I’m aware management and writers have to actually care and have a vision but let’s be honest, Michelle McCool (and Layla) took the ball and sprinted with it…damn near ran a marathon. I’m grateful she graced the women’s division of WWE and congrats to her for making the list.

    • Ryan

      Imma knock Maryse here even tho I like her a lot..but when WWE was high on Maryse and made her champion..anyone remember how long Maryse’s matches were? pretty decent time yet she did poorly in the ring and rather taunt her opponents in a very crappy and boring match…best thing about her was how hot she was and her personality! But ringwise she was awful and didnt make any of the divas shine for a 7 month long reign until Vince and the writters got bored with her and brought in someone else.

  • Faye

    Ah, Michelle McCool. A lot can be said about the consequences of her mega-push on the Diva’s Division, but now that she’s retired, I can only remember wonderful things. In hindsight, her development as a top-player in the division was unexpected, to say the least. To see someone with absolutely no wrestling background become such an outstanding figure in the ring is one of the best experiences as a fan of this business. Some of my favourites came in with nothing but a willingness to learn the craft and make a name for themselves. Michelle McCool did exactly that!
    Also, many of the best (WWE) matches in the last few years have headlined McCool. As much as she is attributed to the current stank in the division, she was instrumental in putting over Layla, as well as helping her fellow Divas improve in the ring.
    For me, it’s one of those, “you don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone” situations. I didn’t appreciate her enough when she was wowing the crap out of us, but looking back at how things have regressed, I can truly say, this woman knew how to work! Did she possess a fascinating personality? No. But Michelle McCool as a heel kicked pure ass! It would have been great if she’d formed a connection with the audience. But, that’s fine. Not everybody is going to be the total package….perhaps her lack of charisma didn’t warrant such a huge backing from management. Whatever, she was a pleasure to watch, nonetheless.
    Anyway, It’s great to see Michelle McCool on this list.

  • TheGamergirl22

    Mccool made the division interesting I know the never ending push but she made it work she took the ball and ran and ran until Layla and Kharma made her drop it ,I mean you need a good heel that everyone hates for the right reasons (to want to see the mget their ass beat) which is why Nattie and Beth got huge pops back at 2010.

    But I also blame mostly the creative for the current state. They should have instead of Laycool 2.0 book them like Mark Henry, They never gave the Diva of Dooms or any diva the ball in the first place. If you think K2 got the ball why does the WWE hardly let her talk, or not have at least win by the K2.

    • TheGamergirl22

      to see them get I mean

    • perceval

      No need to book them like Mark Henry when there’s examples from the Golden Era of Divas to use as examples of how to book a dominant heel: Victoria 2002-03 & Trish 2004-05. They were established as destructive and dominant by… oh, being genuinely destructive and dominant. In the ring, backstage, even during someone else’s promo, they tore through everything in their path.

      It’s not as hard as the current writers seem to think it is.

  • Ryan

    Damn Michelle is a controversial one o.0

    • mariah.

      Always was, always will be. I think it helps her more than it hurts her.

      • Ryan

        Thats true..but she will always be my favorite since she did that Rookie Bikini contest in 2005 =D

        Love McCool!


    Michelle to me was the best in ring in regards to every Diva since Lita and Trish’s arrival. She would have been more effective as a heel if she didn’t go all girly with Layla (My opinion) – The Michelle I really enjoyed was when she turned on Maria, she wasn’t all about the talking at that point, just the stares she gave the other Divas was good enough. She was more vicious and far more serious. Then they turned her into a bloody poser.. Still she did what she could with the Laycool gimmick and it worked imo. The lack kf crowd reaction I think was due to the characters. Had she stayed that ‘Silent but violant type’ she’d have been more over as a legit heel. Not every heel has to speak and get great reactions. Her action did all the talking for her. Best ever character of all.time

    • SAEGAN

      Aww damn phone, didn’t get to finish my post.

      What I was going to finish the comment off with was this: Best ever character of all time? No, but a damn near great entertainer. Another good example is Goldberg, he didnt’t have any charisma, but look at the impact he made. She deserves this spot. What a beast in that ring. Some divas had good characters and good wrestling ability, but Michelles in ring skills were by far my fave. Hats off to the women.

      • Teri

        Absolutely. I would cringe everytime Michelle would cut a promo, but ultimately, I couldn’t care any less. Why? Because her matches spoke volumes and entertained me more than any 5 minute diva promo ever could. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Michelle was one of the few women who could genuinely entertain me in the ring, without having to say a word or perform a taunt. It’s a shame that Vinnie and Co. overpushed her.

        And with respect to Michelle aligning with Layla, I totally agree. I would have preferred if she had remained the aggressive, Randy Orton-esque type heel that she once was (early ’09 – mid ’09). No over the top gimmicks, no stables, no nothing. Just pure aggressive, badass heel.

  • Jhonmarco

    I will never understand why people want McCool back, if she was back the division would revolve around her. I’d rather have a shitty division, than a good division that revolved around one woman. People say Michelle took the ball & ran with it, beg to differ. Great matches, but she was horrid on the mic. She didn’t connect with the crowd. After 3 years of being pushed at Extreme Rules no one cared about her. I’d be interested to see how other women would be if they had a 3 year push including promos, backstage segments, longer matches etc.

  • McCoolFan32

    I may look like a Michelle mark with my username, but IMO, Michelle was the highlight of the Divas division from about 2008-2011. I don’t understand why people complain about her being used so much due to the fact she wasn’t over with the crowd. Why does that matter? Look at the Divas lately who have been over with the crowd. Divas like Kelly Kelly, Maria…Hell even Ashley was over! Does that mean WWE should use them more? No cos they just produce sloppy matches. Michelle worked hard to prove that she was a good wrestler and she did that well. Without LayCool, Layla wouldn’t have gotten where she got to. Michelle is definitely deserving to be in this list, she worked her ass off and deserved to go out on top. I know she was constantly put in storylines towards the end of her run but at least the WWE actually cared then! LayCool vs Mickie was great with the whole Piggie James thing. Since Laycool broke up and Michelle has gone (aswell as Melina & Mickie), the Divas division has gone way down hill.

    • Ryan

      Melina was awesome when she fueded with McCruel..soon as she was drafted back to Raw Melina took it easy matches were like WHO CARES..
      I didnt like the Piggie James thing but I did love those crazy LayCool promos, remember?
      “Your a 10 Shell, NO! Your a 10 Lay,…We’re 20s!!! YEEEY!!” lmao
      I liked that! =)
      Its a goofy side to Michelle I never thought id see glad she had fun with it. Plus her Layla and Low Ki were awesome together. And yeah her pure wrestling ability spoke for itself! I was entertained by her and Taylor Wilde who just like McCool was all about wrestling, but not good at the mic, yet her matches were ALSO entertaining as hell but like always pple didnt like her either for same good they were how hard they worked and Michelle was incredibly physical and tough like taylor..obviously Taylor being in TNA matches were much more..Knockout Style!! Same thing with Taylor pple said maybe not HERE on DD but overal bashing Taylor saying things like WHY IS SHE SHOVED DOWN OUR THROATS??!


      I enjoy women’s wrestling because of how good they kick ass in the ring! Whether Good guy or Bad guy! I dont care for promos or mannerisms thats just cherry on top YA FEELZ ME!! =D
      As hot as Maryse is id pick McCool over that hot bitch any day! McCool was almost Universal in the ring! Like Trish n Molly! No matter Who, it was always great unlike with how useless Maryse was

      Velvet Sky vs McCool would be an Awesome match id garantee it!!

  • FrankNFurter

    Excuse me, let me make my comments clear, “This is NOT a knock on the women above”. My comments were not about in-ring skill/ability, I was simply implying that WWE management didn’t seem to be interested in pushing or investing in any of the women I mentioned. Therefore, giving Michelle an opportunity in which she gave us fans solid, hard-hitting matches and noteworthy segments.

    Just for the record, I adore Melina and genuinely believe she is one of the few divas to actually express her passion in the ring and outside of the ring.

    Do you really need an explanation as to why Gail got a “Ha!”? Just look at how the WWE treated Gail during her time with the company. They did not have any intention on giving her a shot. (Which I believed she deserved) And again, Gail is perhaps my favorite wrestler currently, I’ve been a fan of hers since she step foot in the WWE.