BIOGRAPHY - LEYLA EL

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Wrestler: Layla El
Birthday: June 25, 1978
Hometown: Born in London, England
Moved to Miami, Florida
Debut: Summer 2006
Notable Feuds: Mike Mizanin, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Tiffany

 

Layla El (born 25 June 1978) is a British dancer, model and professional wrestler of Moroccan descent, currently residing in the

United States. She is employed by World Wrestling Entertainment as a WWE Diva and appears on the SmackDown brand as Layla.

She is the reigning WWE Women's Champion.

 

Before joining WWE in 2006, El was a dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines, the Miami Heat franchise of the NBA,[5] and also danced for Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards.

El first entered the world of professional wrestling after her trainer suggested she try out for the $250,000 WWE Diva Search contest in 2006. During the contest, she won a week's worth of "immunity" on the 14 July (taped 10 July) episode of SmackDown! after winning Sgt. Slaughter's "Diva Boot Camp" obstacle course—despite having jumped over several tires in the tire hop section of the course and not having both of her feet cross the finish line due to her doing a split. She won another competition, the "Diva Search Talent Show" on the 11 August SmackDown!, when she danced dressed as a police officer. She won the Diva Search, beating out JT Tinney and Jen England in the finals on 16 August.

 

She made her first "official" WWE appearance at the 2006 SummerSlam pay-per-view in a backstage segment with several other divas. During the segment, the other women initially taunted and teased her before revealing that "it was all in fun" and part of an "initiation" of sorts. Afterward they dragged her into the showers, fully clothed, where they proceeded to spank her while laughing.

 

The week after SummerSlam, El made her debut as a member of the SmackDown! brand in an interview with Mike "The Miz" Mizanin—although he did not allow her the chance to say much, spending most of the time talking about himself. view Subsequently, she was not seen on WWE TV for weeks, reappearing during the 22 September SmackDown! and getting into confrontations with both Kristal and Jillian Hall. She again went missing for a number of weeks after this, resurfacing at October's No Mercy event and embarrassing the Miz by tricking him into getting a lap dance from Big Dick Johnson while he was blindfolded and expecting it to be from her as a birthday gift.

 

Layla made her official in-ring debut, in a "Diva Trick-or-Treat Battle Royal", on 24 October. The match ended in controversial fashion when she was pulled from the ring apron by The Miz, causing her to lose. This led to Miz and Kristal briefly teaming in a feud against Layla and the Boogeyman.

 

On 23 January 2007, Layla was moved to the ECW brand. On ECW she joined up with Brooke and Kelly Kelly as Extreme Exposé, performing a weekly dance segment with the group, which Layla choreographed. Extreme Expose danced weekly on the ECW show for months, until the Miz was also placed on the brand, at which point all three ladies began actively pursuing him. When Kelly shifted her attentions towards the much more slovenly looking Balls Mahoney, Layla, Brooke, and Miz openly mocked her. On 1 November, Brooke was released from WWE, and Extreme Exposé dissolved as a group, leaving Kelly and Layla to enter an ongoing rivalry with more active in-ring roles.
Layla with Intercontinental Champion William Regal.

 

In April 2007, Layla and other WWE Divas, Kelly Kelly, Brooke, Torrie Wilson, Ashley and Maryse, were filmed for Timbaland's music video "Throw It On Me" featuring The Hives.

During the week of 5 November 2007, Layla appeared on five episodes of Family Feud with other WWE superstars. On 6 February 2008 she appeared on Project Runway with several WWE Divas as part of the week's challenge. She also appeared on the 13 April 2008 episode of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp as a trainer. Layla appeared as a stranger on the game show Identity.

 

As part of the 2008 WWE Supplemental Draft, Layla was drafted to the Raw brand, becoming the first WWE Diva to have been an official member of all three brands. On the 7 July episode of Raw, Layla made her debut in a tag team match with Jillian Hall, losing to Mickie James and Kelly Kelly, who had been revealed as the newest member of the Raw brand earlier that night. A storyline between her and Jamie Noble soon began, where she started to become a fan favorite, with Noble attempting to impress her with his matches, only to be defeated or thoroughly squashed by his opponents. Noble then finally defeated William Regal, which impressed Layla. On the 15 September episode of Raw, Layla became a villain by siding with Regal after Noble continuously tried to impress her, despite picking up a victory over Paul Burchill. She came out to the entryway, feigning that she would apologize, before calling Noble a loser and choosing to stay with Regal. Layla was in the corner of William Regal when he captured his second Intercontinental Championship, defeating Santino Marella on 10 November 2008. On 5 April Layla competed in a Divas battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, but the match was won by Santina Marella.

 

On 15 April 2009, Layla was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. She started a scripted rivalry with Eve Torres, and lost both a dance contest and an arm wrestling match to Torres, before losing a match to her on the 29 May episode of SmackDown. After Torres defeated Layla again on the 18 June episode of WWE Superstars, the two shook hands. Layla picked up her first victory in a singles match since returning to SmackDown by defeating Melina. She then formed an alliance with Michelle McCool, later called Team Lay-Cool. Team Lay-Cool began a scripted rivalry with Mickie James, making fun of her weight and vowing to make her leave SmackDown just after her debut for the brand. At the Survivor Series pay-per-view, McCool's team lost to James' team. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs Layla interfered in the WWE Women's Championship match between McCool and James, helping McCool to retain the championship. In January 2010, at the Royal Rumble, Layla came out in a fatsuit mocking James prior to the championship match between McCool and James; however, the mockery backfired, as James won the championship from McCool. On the 12 February episode of SmackDown, Layla and McCool defeated James in a handicap match made by Vickie Guerrero, who had been accidentally humiliated by James backstage. Guerrero then joined the Lay-Cool alliance, accompanying them to the ring and interfering in their matches. At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Layla and McCool defeated Raw's Gail Kim and Maryse in an inter-brand Divas tag team match. At WrestleMania XXVI she was on the winning team in a 10-Diva tag team match.

 

Team LayCool faced the WWE Women's Champion, Beth Phoenix, in a two-on-one handicap match on the 14 May episode of SmackDown. Layla pinned Phoenix to win the Women's Championship for the first time, becoming the first British woman to hold the championship. She is also the first Diva Search winner to have won the championship. Following her win, Team LayCool began calling themselves the co-Women's Champions. On 1 June, it was announced that LayCool would be mentoring Kaval during the second season of WWE NXT. On 18 July, Layla had her first title defense when she defeated Kelly Kelly at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. On 30 July, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long informed LayCool that there was only one Women's Champion, and they had a week to decide who it would be. The following week, LayCool revealed that they had cut the championship belt into two, turning it into a friendship charm and circumventing Long's orders. In September, Layla and McCool challenged WWE Divas Champion Melina to a championship unification match at Night of Champions. McCool participated in the match and won with Layla's help to unify both championships into the WWE Unified Divas Championship. Layla unofficially became the co-champion, and defended the championship against Melina the following night on Raw. After both members of LayCool had successfully defended the championship against Natalya, they faced her in a two-on-one handicap match at Survivor Series, which Natalya won to become the new Divas Champion. Following Survivor Series, Natalya and Phoenix formed an alliance to continue the feud with LayCool, and at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view in December, Lay-Cool lost to them in the first Diva's Tag Team Tables match in WWE. Lay-Cool invoked their rematch clause in January 2011, prompting the scheduling of a two-on-one handicap match for the Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble however, the anonymous Raw General Manager changed the match to a fatal four-way, also involving Eve. Eve went on to pin Layla and become the new Divas Champion.

 

LayCool began to fall out following the loss of the Divas Championship, and appeared in a series of vignettes in which they were attending couples therapy. On the 22 April episode of SmackDown, McCool attacked Layla during one of their storyline therapy sessions. During the 2011 WWE Draft on 25 April, Layla lost a match to Eve and was attacked afterward by McCool, but was able to fight her off. On 29 April, the pair faced each other in a match, which ended in a double countout. As a result, the pair faced each off in a no countout, no disqualification, loser leaves WWE match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on 1 May, which Layla won.

 

Layla announced that she had suffered a knee injury at Extreme Rules on SmackDown on 13 May, and was interrupted and attacked by Kharma to write her off television. Later that month, it was confirmed that Layla had legitimately torn both her Anterior cruciate and Medial collateral ligaments and required surgery.

 

Layla made her in-ring return at a Florida Championship Wrestling event on 22 March 2012. She returned to the main WWE roster at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on 29 April, replacing Beth Phoenix, who was not medically cleared to compete, in a match for the WWE Divas Championship. Despite interference from Brie Bella, Layla defeated Nikki Bella to win the WWE Divas Championship for the first time. The following night on Raw, she successfully defended the championship against both Nikki and Brie in a triple threat match, and retained twice against Phoenix at the Over the Limit and No Way Out pay-per-views in May and June respectively. On the 20 August episode of Raw, Kaitlyn won a battle royal to become the number one contender to Layla's Divas Championship. At Night of Champions, Kaitlyn was removed from the championship match following a storyline injury and replaced with Eve Torres. Torres defeated Layla for the Divas Championship.

 

Layla defeated Torres in a non-title match on Superstars to earn a shot at the Divas Championship. She received her title match on 15 October, but was unsuccessful, and failed again to regain the championship in a three-way match at Hell in a Cell. On 12 November, on Raw, Layla was defeated by Kaitlyn in a number one contenders match for the Divas championship. On 16 December at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Layla competed in a number one contender's "Santa's Little Helpers" battle royal to face Torres for the championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the match.[96] In early 2013, Layla briefly developed a feud with Tamina Snuka, losing to her in singles matches before defeating her in a tag team match. As part of the feud, Layla allied herself with Kaitlyn, and began accompanying her to ringside. On the 2 August episode of SmackDown, the evil Layla stopped Kaitlyn from spearing AJ Lee, costing Kaitlyn both the match and the Divas Championship, and left with AJ. Layla went on to defeat Kaitlyn in singles competition and in a tag team match with AJ as her partner.

 

In early 2013, Layla briefly developed a feud with Tamina Snuka, losing to her in singles matches. As part of the feud, Layla allied herself with the new WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn, and the two defeated Tamina and Aksana in a tag team match. In March, Layla began displaying a villainous persona when she cost Kaitlyn a singles match against Tamina. On the 2 August episode of SmackDown, Layla became a villainess and stopped Kaitlyn from spearing AJ Lee, costing Kaitlyn both the match and the Divas Championship, after which she left with AJ. In subsequent weeks, the evil Layla defeated Kaitlyn in singles competition and in a tag team match with AJ as her partner. In late 2013, Layla took a hiatus from WWE due to ongoing personal issues.

 

In late 2013, Layla took a hiatus from WWE due to ongoing personal issues. She returned at a non-televised event on 14 March 2014, and made her television return the following week on an episode of WWE Main Event, where she and Alicia Fox lost to The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi). Layla participated in the Divas Invitational match for the WWE Divas Championship at WrestleMania XXX which was won by AJ.

 

The following week, Layla replaced Summer Rae as Fandango's dancer and valet, and quickly became embroiled in a feud with Emma and Santino Marella. In May, Layla entered a tournament to determine the new NXT Women's Champion, but lost to Natalya in the first round. Rae returned on 19 May, attacking Layla. Competing over Fandango's affections, Layla and Rae repeatedly attacked each other, prompting a match at Money in the Bank with Fandango as the special guest referee; Layla won the match. During a rematch in July on SmackDown, Layla and Rae attacked Fandango, before dancing with each other. Starting at Battleground, the pair formed an alliance, distracting Fandango during his matches and causing him to lose. In their first match as a team, Layla and Rae, now calling themselves the Slayers, lost to Paige and AJ Lee on the 18 July episode of SmackDown. The Slayers won their first match as a team on Main Event on 2 September, where they defeated Rosa Mendes and Natalya. The Slayers were part of Team Paige at Survivor Series in November, but both were eliminated and their team lost the match. In January 2015, Layla underwent surgery for unknown reasons. She returned on the April 18 episode of Main Event, where she defeated Emma.

 

Since winning the Diva Search contest El has also done some modeling work. She has been featured in the magazines King, Smooth, and was the cover-girl for the first ever issue of Liquid. She also posed for FHM with the other members of Extreme Exposé. Layla, along with Beth Phoenix and Candice Michelle, appeared in the February 2009 issue of Flex Magazine. In April 2007, El and several other WWE Divas appeared in the music video for "Throw It On Me" by Timbaland and The Hives. During the week of 5 November 2007, she appeared on five episodes of Family Feud with other WWE wrestlers. On 6 February 2008 she appeared on Project Runway with several WWE Divas as part of the week's challenge. El also appeared on 13 April 2008 episode of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp as a trainer.

 

In 2012, she ranked number 95 in Maxim's Hot 100.

 

Layla returned on the 14 April 2015 episode of Main Event, where she defeated Emma in a singles match. On the 13 June episode of WWE Superstars, Layla lost to Paige in what would be her final televised match.On 29 July, WWE announced that Layla had decided to retire from professional wrestling.

 

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