Melina: Farewell to the Greatest Woman's Wrestler in the World Today
There's so much I want to say and not enough time in the world to say it. I guess I should start from the beginning, where all great tales in the world begin.
Around 2002 (probably earlier), a Latina lovely by the name of Melina Perez began to endeavor a career in wrestling. This career soon developed into a dream. And that dream was to pave a path in the world's biggest wrestling promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment.
Melina would pursue her dream by auditioning for the third season of the TV series Tough Enough. She would go on to make the final 25 before being cut.
Al Snow, one of the trainers on the show, saw potential in the young Latina. He pulled her aside and told her to continue pursuing her dream of being a wrestler.
Melina did just that.
For the next two years, Melina gave all of herself to wrestling, working on the Indy Scene trying to make a name for herself. Finally, after giving her blood, sweat, and burning tears to all of her craft, her dream was realized, in a sense.
I say in a sense because Melina was signed to a developmental deal, not a full television contract.
But she made the most of it.
On the training grounds of OVW Melina quickly aligned herself with real-life boyfriend John Morrison, then Johnny Nitro. The duo later teamed up with Joey Mercury and became known as the trio of MNM.
They brought glamour and talent to OVW, proving themselves every single time they performed as top contenders in their division.
Soon and unsurprisingly, the trio won the OVW Tag Team Championships.
It wasn't long before the head honchos at WWE Headquarters started to take notice of the group.
On April 14, 2005, MNM made their WWE debut on the Smackdown brand. No one realized how special this moment was in wrestling, or what it meant for the WWE.
The trio alone revived the tag team division in the company after winning the belts in their debut match and in only their second appearance for the company.
They brought importance and grandeur to the decaying Tag Team Championships.
And Melina made a name for herself.
The Latina firecracker constantly interfered in her team's matches, often being the reason for their wins. She did what she had to do for her team to get the win. Whether it was distracting the ref, illegally attacking her opponents or even just shrieking, she did what she had to do.
Melina became the best manager, male or female, the WWE had seen in years. She was gorgeous, avant garde, and bursting at the seams with unbelievably personality!
Talking and selling her character came completely natural to her. So natural in fact, that people began to mistake her character for who she really was as a person.
Thanks to Melina, MNM reigned supreme over Smackdown for well over a year. They dominated the tag team scene, winning the belts three times in the short time they'd been in the WWE.
Apparently Nitro and Mercury did not get along backstage, which is why the infamous implosion of the group came at Judgement Day, 2006.
Mercury was pinned which caused the team to lose their belts to London and Kendrick. This didn't go over well with Melina and Nitro as they would blame the loss completely on him.
Melina took the lead role, slapping the taste out of Mercury's mouth at one point. This prompted Joey to grab Melina's hand in opposition and then Nitro to attack Mercury.
A brawl ensued which ended with one official getting kicked in the genitals thanks to Melina, and others coming out to try and break it up. Later on in the night, Melina lost to Jillian Hall and this led to an argument with the then general manager Teddy Long backstage. Melina lost her temper and slapped Teddy clear across the face.
This earned both her and Nitro a firing.
And thus an era ended. The era of MNM and great tag team wrestling in the WWE came to a close.
Melina would soon branch out into singles competition. She developed a feud with the Women's Champion Mickie James that was gritty, brutal, and extremely reminiscent of their predecessors Lita and Trish Stratus' feud.
The two battle back and forth for weeks, before Melina realized her lifelong dream of winning the WWE Women's Championship on Feb. 19, 2007. In the process she made history by becoming the first woman of Mexican heritage to hold the Women's Championship.
Melina and Mickie feuded a while after, competing in two of the most high profile women's matches of the decade. One was their Falls Count Anywhere match - the only one involving women in the history of the WWE.
The other was their match at Backlash of 2007, which was highly technical and mat-based.
In my honest opinion, that match at Backlash was the best of this era in women's wrestling. It caught your attention from beginning to end, and the two women involved completely turned the dial up on their dislike of one another.
But the difference between this match and the others they'd had was that they settled their differences in an honest, respectable, one on one match.
Melina's character transformed from lucky jezebel to true in-ring competitor. In that moment you could feel the importance of being WWE Women's Champion.
It wasn't a game or fabricated. It was real.
Melina went on to win the title two more times. Once from Mickie James again and another time from Beth Phoenix.
Beth and Melina previously had a feud in 2008 that rekindled women's wrestling in the WWE for a short while. The basis of the feud was that the two were best friends turned bitter enemies.
A very good premise.
The animosity between the two was unseen since Melina's feud with Mickie James, and it all peaked in what is highly regarded as one of, if not the best women's wrestling match of this era. That match is their I Quit Match at the One Night Stand pay per view.
The two thrashed each other about, working over several body parts. But it was Beth Phoenix who won out in the end. The feud would've continued had Melina not gotten injured, but they just picked up where they left off when Melina returned to the company in November of that same year.
After Wrestlemania that same year Melina was drafted to the Smackdown brand and entered a program with another former Diva, Michelle McCool.
The two both hit a peak as wrestlers, and the reason it was a change for women's wrestling in the WWE was that every week we were guaranteed a good match for the women in the company. They weren't the longest, most enigmatic matches ever.
But they were quite entertaining.
Michelle defeated Melina for the Women's Championship at The Bash pay per view, another match that is held in high regard by wrestling fans. For the next few months there was still not much character development or storytelling for the feud between Melina and Michelle, but the wrestling remained as entertaining as before.
One of the matches that fans cite as the best of this era came when Melina and Michelle faced off yet again at the Night of Champions pay per view that year. The two pulled out all the stops, hitting maneuvers we'd never even seen in their arsenals before.
In the end it was Michelle who retained the Women's Championship, but Melina proved to be the best woman's wrestler of the year, bar none.
Soon Melina was drafted to Raw, defeating real-life close friend, and major talent, Jillian Hall. This earned Melina her first Divas Championship, and she made history then as the first Divas Champion of Mexian heritage.
In December of that same year Melina tragically suffered the injury that would send her career into a downward spiral. A torn ACL.
She returned in August of 2010, soon defeating Alicia Fox for the Divas Championship. The spark was still there, but the trust of the WWE wasn't.
Later on Melina faced Michelle McCool in a pay per view rematch at Night of Champions. The match was to unify the Women's and Divas Titles, which Melina unfortunately lost.
Melina was turned heel, but the faith WWE once had in her was no longer there.
They did nothing with the change, simply thrusting her into the background among other Divas. Melina tried taking matters into her own hands by producing somewhat of a feud with Diva Gail Kim, but WWE ignored it.
I'm going to be completely honest.
When Melina was released I wasn't sad in the least. I was actually quite happy. She is my favorite women's wrestler, which is why I was happy.
To me it meant Melina would finally be free of the confines of being a WWE Diva. Finally she'd be able to truly showcase her talent. Finally she could do what she wanted. Finally she could live.
Melina's paved a career in the WWE that many will try to imitate, but never, ever duplicate. Many will try to mirror her successes in the company, but they will never do what she has done. With her ring entrance alone she's made her mark on the company.
No one before Melina had done the splits to enter the ring.
That is fact.
And no one probably will.
Melina has not only had a standout career in the company, but she's helped so many others along the way. Just look at how many people she's helped.
Melina was the one who got Candice Michelle completely over. If it wasn't for her, Candice probably wouldn't have been such a successful Women's Champion!
Melina was the one who somehow managed to get Ashley through a decent Wrestlemania match.
And let's not forget the fact that Melina was the one who got fans interested in Michelle McCool's matches.
Do you think that's all coincidence? You think Melina just so happened to be involved in all of that? Well you're wrong.
Melina's the only Diva who truly ate, slept, and breathed WWE.
Her life was her job as a WWE Diva. That was what defined her. She didn't care what it took to do it, she just did it. And it is not an easy job by any means! These women wrestle 250-plus days a year, constantly dealing with the aches and pains from the never-ending brutality of the wrestling ring.
There's only a select few who choose to go the extra mile and bend over backwards to do the best they can do in the corporation.
And guess who one of those people was? That's right!
Which are of course:
-vs Beth Phoenix (One Night Stand), (Royal Rumble)
-vs Michelle McCool (The Bash), (Night of Champions)
-vs Mickie James (Falls Count Anywhere), (Backlash)
Wrestling legends like Mick Foley and Bret Hart have praised her, and for good reason!
There's an intangible magic about Melina. A certain spark. This enigmatic, inexplicable, absolutely encapsulating quality about her that makes you want to watch her!
She's one of the greatest wrestlers ever, period.
The impact she's had on people all over the world is so unbelievably strong. People want to grow up and be like this woman. They've changed their whole life plans because that's how much her wrestling has affected them.
To say that changing someone's life isn't a feat is ludicrous.
What is Melina's best match in the WWE?
Many like to think of Mickie James as this era's Trish Stratus. And normally I go into a rant about how Melina is this era's Trish Stratus. But I'm not going to do that this time. Because doing that would be a massive slap in the face of the talent that is Melina Perez.
She isn't Trish Stratus. She never will be. And she doesn't need to be.
Because she is the one and only Melina Nava Perez.
There is no one like her and no one that will ever be like her, because she is a unique entity that has graced us with her presence for the past six years.
I find it to be blasphemy that because of unfounded, unrealistic Internet rumors people actually lost sight of the talent Melina is. They actually started to hate her because of pathetic stories people have made up about her over the years.
No one ever stops to think how much Melina has contributed not only to their lives, but to the representation of 'Diva.' If anyone has epitomized what a WWE 'Diva' is, it's Melina.
The woman can do it all.
Is Melina Hall of Fame worthy?
I hope to God that Melina is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
I really do.
She has accomplished more in six years than many in ten. Her spot in the company will forever be solidified as one of the best in history. Many of the younger talents on the roster like The Bella Twins and Maryse cite her as one of the best already.
The Bellas posted this on their Twitter account when Melina was released:
Not happy about @RealMelina… Truly the best female wrestler ever! She taught us so much! We’re gonna miss you third amigo! Besos! B&N
Maryse posted this:
@realmelina you will ALWAYS be my favorite diva! i love you!!!!
That speaks volumes of the effect Melina has had on the company!
There's no getting around it, no loopholes. She is and icon. You can even search up the definition of 'icon' if you want, because Melina fits perfectly into it.
I have no doubt that if Melina continues to wrestle she will only become an even bigger star and name in the wrestling world.
No matter how much controversy surrounds her, Melina has left her stamp on the world of wrestling, like it or not.
She is the one, the only, and the best, Paparazzi Princess.
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