WWE Diva Dominance: Layla Versus Michelle McCool
This was the article that was written by Chris Freeman and myself for the NTWWC Cycle 1 contest.
The WWE Divas division is a subject of much debate among many fans. Some argue that the division is not what it once was, when the likes of Trish Stratus, Victoria and Lita practically ruled supreme. Others claim that the Divas are being misused, most notably Gail Kim.
Being a dominant Diva is a lot of work, especially these days with the diminishing popularity of the Divas division as a whole. Long gone are the days where being a Diva meant you killed it in the ring as well as on the mic, were easy on the eyes and made it all look effortless. These days, it seems one Diva will dominate in the ring but tank in the personality department or vice versa. There are few Divas that have the total package, hence, the disarray of the division.
A bright spot amongst the wreckage as of late has been the mean-spirited “Flawless” tag team LayCool, consisting of Michelle McCool (age 30) and Layla El (age 32). These rude, obnoxious and more often than not infuriating Divas have reigned supreme since Layla won the Women’s title back in May, which Michelle quickly claimed by declaring herself “Co-Champion.”
Things escalated to new heights for the “Flawless Ones” when Michelle McCool defeated Melina at Night of Champions to become the first-ever Unified Divas Champion. Like Michelle before her, Layla is now “Co-Champion.” Like them or not, LayCool seems to be on a roll that will only stop when one inevitably betrays the other.
The IWC has been rampant with rumors for months about a possible LayCool break up, speculating on what would happen to the Championship and which Diva would emerge as the dominant one. Well, let’s take a look:
Michelle McCool began her adult life as a middle school teacher, before catching a break and joining the WWE during the 2004 Divas Search competition. She began her career on Smackdown as a “personal trainer” character. This stint didn’t last long, as she was sent to Deep South Wrestling, where she remained until her return to the main roster in 2006.
She debuted a teacher gimmick, until she was hospitalized for multiple injuries. Upon her return, she debuted yet another new gimmick, an All-American Diva, and became the Inaugural Divas Champion during the Great American Bash on July 20, 2008.
Upon losing her first championship, McCool turned heel for the first time since her return by attacking the special referee, Maria. Upon winning her first Women’s Championship, McCool began an alliance with Layla, which we all came to know as “LayCool.” Michelle is now the first Unified Divas Champion and LayCool is still going strong. She has held a total of four titles (I assume you count the "co-championship").
As far as careers go, McCool has the more impressive of the two. She consistently stayed involved in matches, unlike her “Flawless” colleague Layla. McCool also shows an impressive move set while in the ring, including a finisher that was taken from AJ Styles on TNA.
Layla is not as impressive in the ring, but she has the mic skills that help LayCool receive such heat, as McCool can’t seem to draw heat on her own (example, they gave her Vickie Guerrero as a friend, who in turns generates the heat the WWE wants McCool to have).
At the moment, Michelle McCool seems to be the hands-down winner. She has the in-ring skills that enable her to create great matches, depending on her opponent, and better yet (for her) she has the Undertaker as a husband, guaranteeing that she’ll always have a surefire way to generate heat.
While no one can argue McCool’s in-ring ability and that Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked her the No. 1 women’s wrestler, when it comes to Diva dominance Layla holds her own.
Once a professional dancer, dancing for many such acts as P. Diddy and Kanye West, Layla El entered into the $250,000 Divas Search competition after advice from her personal trainer, and she was victorious. She did not initially receive much time on TV, but did have a small feud with the Miz, in which she often embarrassed him or tricked him.
She was moved to ECW in 2007, where she became a part of Extreme Expose with Kelly Kelly and Brooke. After the release of Brooke, Kelly Kelly and Layla entered into a rivalry, thus disbanding the faction. Afterward, she became a manager for Jamie Noble and then William Regal. After finally being moved to the Smackdown brand, Layla entered into her long-standing alliance with McCool and has since held two titles, if you count the current Divas title run.
Sure, her in-ring skills are not as polished, but what she lacks in the ring she more than makes up for with personality and likability. She is a firecracker, and with McCool’s somewhat flat affect, Layla really shines through on promos. LayCool works because of Layla and her feistiness.
That’s not to say Layla is all mic skills. After all, she won the Women’s Championship. Layla has going for her what I like to call the trifecta: decent in ring work, mic skills and beauty. All the makings of Dominant Diva. McCool is beautiful and she is great to watch in-ring, but her mic skills leave a lot to be desired and she is not as over with the fans.
Some speculate that McCool’s part in LayCool and her sudden push, coincided with her being married in real life to The Undertaker, makes her more dominant. While this may be true, in my opinion those things don't makes her more dominant than Layla, just more fortunate. While Michelle seemed to get her success overnight, Layla has shown growth and promise, and has steadily became a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s face it, LayCool can’t stay together forever. Eventually, one will turn on the other, which will produce a match to determine who is truly the better Diva of the two. This will lead the Divas into their first few matches as truly “solo” competitors.
Here is where, I believe, Layla will start to get better in the ring. With her natural “mean girl” attitude, she could become a dominant heel Diva if she develops the right in-ring skills.
McCool, on the other hand, will have to find another way to generate heat, or find a way to do so on her own. She will struggle to do so, but the WWE will keep pushing her in the same way they always have. During these moments, Layla will become better than McCool, at least in the eyes of the fans.
Unfortunately for Layla, McCool will always be better than her in the eyes of the WWE.
Winner: Michelle McCool
(Cue cheers…or boos. Or nothing like she’s used to hearing alone.)
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