Almost a decade of entertaining storylines and action-packed matches in the squared ring is what Layla gave us during her WWE tenure. From the moment she stepped onto the scene until the time she left the industry, the British beauty had garnered an immense fan following, which is the reason why many were left baffled when she stopped making appearances in WWE. If you are her fan, just like many others, you might be trying to figure out the reasons behind her retirement and know what she’s been up to lately. Luckily for you, we have all the information you are looking for; let’s dive right into it!
Why Did Layla Leave WWE?
Born in London, England, on June 25, 1977, Layla El AKA Layla started as a professional dancer, being a crucial member of the Miami Heat dance squad. This even gave her the opportunity to share the stage as one of the dancers for John Legend, P. Diddy, and Kanye West. Upon the suggestion of her trainer, she participated in the 2006 Diva Search contest and ended up winning the entire thing, earning a life-changing opportunity to appear in WWE. After making her debut appearance at the 2006 SummerSlam pay-per-view, Layla made her in-ring debut in a Diva’s battle royal in October 2006.
At the beginning of the following year, in January 2007, Layla took her dance and wrestling moves to ECW, joining Brooke and Kelly Kelly to form the Extreme Exposé. The next alliance she formed was with Michelle McCool in 2009, namely Lay-Cool. Together, the flawless duo got into a feud with Mickie James, before facing Beth Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match in SmackDown in May 2010. In the match, Layla pinned Beth Phoenix and became the first-ever British Women’s Champion, calling her partner McCool a co–Women’s Champion.
Soon after enjoying much success together, things started unraveling between LayCool, leading to a lot of back-and-forth attacks. This resulted in them facing each other in a Loser Leaves WWE Match at Extreme Rules in May 2011, which Layla ended up winning. Following the victory, it was reported that the British diva had legitimately torn both her Anterior cruciate and Medial collateral ligaments, keeping her sidelined for several months. In Extreme Rules 2012, she returned from her injury and defeated Nikki Bella to win the WWE Divas Championship, proving that she was still as ambitious and determined as ever.
However, Layla lost the title to Eve Torres at Night of Champions 2012, but the former kept her sights on regaining the title. She then got into feuds with other divas, including Emma and Santino Marella, amidst her brief fling with Fandango, and even betrayed her friend Kaitlyn to team up with AJ Lee. In January 2015, she reportedly underwent surgery for unknown reasons but returned in April to defeat Emma in a singles match. This ended up being her retirement match as WWE announced her departure from the industry in July 2015.
In an April 2021 interview with Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Layla explained in detail the reasons for her retirement from WWE. She opened up, “I was getting older. I’m mid-life right now. Those days are gone. You get to a point as a woman, it’s really hard to age in the public eye. It really is. I didn’t want that for myself, I didn’t want to go out there. I stayed too long, I think I should have maybe retired three years before I did. That was the thought process for me. I didn’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want to get injured. In my head, I was kind of nervous. My time was gone. I loved it. I appreciated it, but my time has passed. You have to accept that and move on.”
Where is Layla Now?
A few months after retiring from WWE, in December, she tied the knot with former WWE Superstar Ricky Ortiz at Christ Temple in Glendale, Arizona. She had quite a few ideas about her future, such as getting into the television business in the US or her native England and going back to her roots — dancing and choreography. Apart from this and leading a happy life with her family, she even pushed women’s wrestling and inspired other women to keep following their dreams. Since she has kept her personal life private since early 2022, we can’t say for sure what she’s been up to lately. All we can do is wish her and her family well for the coming future!
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