Celeste Bonin, AKA Kaitlyn, has had a career full of ups and downs.
The former bodybuilder’s WWE run got off to a great start in 2010 when she won the all-female season three of NXT, beating out heavy favourite Naomi.
During her time on the show she also feuded with top heel Vickie Guererro, which served to heighten her profile greatly.
So, with her good looks, new-found fame and willingness to learn, she was all set to be the company’s next top Diva, right?
Well, not exactly.
After her victory on NXT, Kaitlyn was sent to SmackDown where for the most part she floundered, becoming simply another under-used and ignored Diva on the roster.
There was potential in her tag team with AJ Lee (collectively known as “The Chickbusters”) but this duo was short-lived after management decided to move AJ on to bigger and better things.
Eventually Kaitlyn found herself demoted to NXT again for the seemingly never-ending NXT: Redemption season, where she participated in a love triangle storyline with Maxine and Derrick Batemen. This was a great and at times hilarious angle, but one couldn’t help but feel Kaitlyn was meant for better things in the company. (Indeed, the considerable talents of Bateman were also wasted on a little-watched, Internet-only show.)
Maybe someone at WWE agreed because the star made her official return to Raw earlier this summer, becoming embroiled in the Divas Championship scene.
In recent times she’s found herself feuding with Divas champion Eve Torres. The two women are set to clash at Survivor Series (Kaitlyn beat Layla in a short and pretty awful No. 1 contendership match on Raw two weeks ago).This is Kaitlyn’s first singles match for the title on pay-per-view.
She was, of course, meant to get a bout against then-Divas champion Layla at Night of Champions, until a mystery attacker took her out backstage and Eve was given the shot instead. (Per the storyline, virtually everyone knows Eve was responsible for the assault, although SmackDown GM Booker T refuses to accept it despite an alarming amount of evidence).
So, can the former NXT star gain revenge and win the Divas Championship at Survivor Series?
Well, for one thing, WWE desperately needs to make some new female stars—they’ve lost an astonishing amount of Divas over the past two years—and a title victory might be just the thing that will kick-start Kaitlyn’s career. Certainly, if she falls to Eve on Sunday, it will be difficult for the WWE Universe to ever get truly behind her again.
However, it should be noted that Kaitlyn still struggles in the ring and her wrestling ability isn’t quite what you would want out of a championship contender. Indeed, most of the time she looks completely lost in there.
There’s also the nagging feeling that she’s only getting this shot in the first place because there is, quite literally, no one else. Layla/Eve has been done to death, Rosa Mendes doesn’t wrestle, Alicia Fox and Natalya have fallen so far into irrelevance that many fans could be forgiven for totally forgetting about them…etc. As F4Wonline (via Wrestlinginc.com) has noted, WWE knows how bad things are in the division and is planning to call up new girls soon.
So, frankly, Kaitlyn’s title shot at Survivor Series may not be a ringing endorsement from WWE at all—she may just be a time-filler until the NXT girls get called up.
Can Kaitlyn prove the naysayers wrong at Survivor Series and win the title, or is she destined to be yet another failed model-turned-wrestler who couldn’t capture WWE gold? We’ll have to wait and see. Certainly her flawed in-ring ability casts a lot of doubt upon her leaving with the championship.
But, regardless of what happens, it is nice to see the company giving someone new a chance to shine for once.