WWE, which stands for World Wrestling Entertainment, is a globally renowned professional wrestling organization and entertainment company. WWE produces and presents professional wrestling events and scripted storylines that feature a diverse roster of male and female wrestlers, known as “Superstars.” These Superstars engage in predetermined rivalries and matches, often involving dramatic narratives and feuds.
The organization has a rich history and has showcased some of the most iconic wrestling legends and one of them is Michelle McCool. She went on to become a pioneer of female participation in wrestling, but it has been a long time since she retired. If you want to know more about the reason for her retirement and what she is up to these days, you need not look further as we have got all the information you would need. Let’s get started!
Why Did Michelle McCool Leave WWE?
Michelle McCool, now Michelle Leigh Calaway, a former seventh-grade science teacher in her hometown of Palatka, Florida, made a career pivot by entering the 2004 WWE Diva Search. Her diverse background included participation in National Physique Committee fitness competitions, teaching gymnastics and kickboxing, and working as a personal trainer. Despite not winning the Diva Search competition, her talents caught the attention of WWE producers, leading to a three-year contract signed in November 2004.
McCool’s WWE journey commenced with appearances in backstage segments, culminating in her first ‘SmackDown!’ match on March 3, 2005, as part of a team bout. Shortly thereafter, on March 24, she made her debut as a solo wrestler. Her next step involved training at WWE’s developmental facility, Deep South Wrestling (DSW), followed by further development in Ohio Valley Wrestling. During this developmental phase, she took on a managerial role, overseeing the duo of Amish Roadkill and K.C. James.
Michelle McCool made her return to ‘SmackDown!’ on June 2, 2006, adopting a heel persona with a “sexy teacher” gimmick. In 2008, she underwent a character revamp and was reintroduced as “The All-American Diva.” Her career reached a significant milestone on July 4, 2008, when she competed against Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship at The Great American Bash and emerged victorious as the inaugural ‘WWE Divas Champion.’ Continuing her ascent, on May 22, 2009, McCool earned the status of the number one contender for the WWE Women’s Championship.
Just a month later, she achieved a remarkable feat by capturing the Women’s Championship, becoming the first Diva to hold both the WWE Divas and Women’s Championships. Michelle McCool’s career was marked by numerous accolades and achievements. In 2010, she earned the prestigious title of “Woman of the Year” and was also ranked as the No. 1 female wrestler in the PWI Female 50 rankings. Additionally, she claimed the “Diva of The Year” award in the same year. In 2009, McCool allied with another Diva, Layla, to create Laycool.
However, their partnership took a bitter turn by April 2011. Following a ‘SmackDown!’ match on April 29, 2011, Layla challenged McCool to a no-disqualification and no-countout match. McCool accepted the challenge, but under the condition that the loser would have to leave WWE. Ultimately, Layla emerged victorious by pinning McCool, marking the end of McCool’s WWE career. Following her departure from WWE, Michelle McCool shared the true reasons behind her decision to retire.
Michelle McCool explained that she had suffered various injuries, including a torn MCL, and had also given birth to her child during that year. In an interview on Lillian Garcia’s ‘Chasing Glory’ podcast, which aired in 2016, McCool said, “It was tough just leaving in itself was tough because it got to a point where I was dealing with so much again mostly being Undertaker’s girlfriend and why I was on TV…So making that decision to leave was as hard as it is, but more than wanting to be in WWE or be a champion I’ve always wanted to be a mom.”
She also came on Busted Open Radio in early 2023 and added that the female wrestlers had to fight for screen time and claw their way up for every opportunity. She said that even though she loved fighting for what she wanted to do, it got tiring for her at that time. She reiterated her stance and said, “I grew up loving the business, and when you love something so much, and then you start not enjoying it as much because of whether it’s, you know, obviously I married a top guy, right? So clearly, I got everything because of who my husband is and not the hard work that I put in. There’s that aspect of it.”
Where is Michelle McCool Now?
After retiring from professional wrestling, Michelle McCool shifted her focus to her family and children. She is married to the legendary wrestler Mark Calaway, known as The Undertaker, and they tied the knot on June 26, 2010, in Houston, Texas. The couple welcomed their first daughter, Kaia, in August 2012 and later adopted a younger son named Kolt. While she stepped away from the wrestling scene, McCool made unexpected appearances in WWE. In 2018, she was honored during the WWE Raw 25 Years special episode. Her WWE comeback included participating in the 2022 Royal Rumble at number 10.
Additionally, in January 2023, McCool surprised fans by sitting front row at the 2023 Royal Rumble with her children and eventually jumping into the ring to become one of the final 10 women in the match. Michelle McCool is undoubtedly a powerful woman who has faced various personal challenges throughout her life. In 2016, she confronted a skin cancer diagnosis and underwent successful treatment, emerging victorious over the disease. Her openness about her life extended to 2019 when she candidly discussed fertility issues and the multiple miscarriages she had endured.
Throughout her career, McCool consistently challenged stereotypes and continues to be an inspiring figure. Her journey showcases her ability to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger from each experience. With a long and fulfilling life ahead of her, she celebrated her 13th anniversary with her husband in June 2023. We extend our best wishes to them and hope they find success in all their future endeavors.