Sources: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, PWInsider.com
As announced this past Friday evening on WWE.com, World Wrestling Entertainment released former Women's Champion Candice Michelle (Candice Michelle Beckman-Ehrlich), 30, from her contract. Her sudden release from WWE wasn't seen as a surprise internally.
It is believed that Michelle's less than stellar appearance at the television tapings in Los Angeles a few weeks ago ultimately sealed her fate with company officials. She had not been seen since WrestleMania, but when she arrived at the shows in Los Angeles, she didn't look "Diva like," and there were those who felt she was ready to leave the company and move on. As it turns out, WWE beat her to the punch by releasing her a few weeks later.
She told officials she was just about ready to return from her latest injury, but they gave very little leeway because she is a woman and there is a weight issue. The impression on her was always that she wasn't someone with a naturally thin body, and that she had to work very hard to look the way she did, and when you get older, fighting those genetics gets much harder. In a company where the women are primarily there for their looks, some felt she didn't have that look anymore, so they decided to let her go.
At sixteen, Candice Beckman, as she was then known, won a modeling competition at her local skating rink. In 1999, she moved to Los Angeles to become a professional model and actress. In the meantime, she studied Theater Arts at Santa Monica College and had on-camera acting and Meisner technique training at The Piero Dusa Acting Studio. It was during this time that Beckman adopted her middle name Michelle as her working last name. She appeared in numerous bodybuilding and car magazines such as FLEX and Lowrider Magazine, as well as being named "Cyber Girl of the Week" in the June 2002 issue of Playboy. Michelle also worked as a foot fetish and bondage model under the pseudonym Mackenzie Montgomery. During this time, Candice made minor appearances on television programs such as Party of Five and 7th Heaven, as well as appearing in such films as Tomcats, Anger Management, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and A Man Apart. She also appeared in the softcore porn television show Hotel Erotica, which was broadcast on Cinemax.
In July 2004, Candice auditioned to be a contestant for WWE's Raw Diva Search. Despite not being chosen to be in the final ten, she was hired by the company a few months later and would debut under the gimmick of a makeup artist in November 2004.
Michelle gained national attention in 2005 when she appeared in a commercial for Internet domain registrar Go Daddy, which aired during Super Bowl XXXIX. She played a character named "Nikki Cappelli," who had trouble with a snapped spaghetti strap on her tank top as she testified before a panel holding broadcast censorship hearings. The commercial was a parody of the 2004 "wardrobe malfunction" in which Janet Jackson's right breast was exposed. She then became widely known as "Miss GoDaddy.com" and the "Go Daddy Girl."
Prior to her breakout moment, she had just been a piece of eye candy used in the background that many wrestling fans didn't even know the name of. The commercial quickly led WWE to giving her a push as a result of her newfound fame, and then just as quickly, it was dropped within a few weeks.
Since then, Michelle has done several commercials with Go Daddy, including with auto racing driver Danica Patrick, none of which garnering the amount of publicity as the first.
Rather than lay content at being a mere piece of eye candy, Michelle started training to become a professional wrestler in 2005. She was a legitimate athlete, having played college basketball, and quickly improved within a relatively short period of time.
In November 2005, Michelle signed on to pose for the April 2006 issue of Playboy, resulting in a big push leading through WrestleMania 22. In the meantime, Michelle became a heel, joining forces with fellow WWE Divas Torrie Wilson and Victoria. They became known as the "Ladies in Pink," and later "Vince's Devils." The alliance broke up after Michelle and Victoria turned on Wilson during the Playboy cover unveiling. This feud led to a match at WrestleMania in which both Playboy cover girls competed in a "Playboy Pillow Fight." Wilson won the match, but the feud continued sporadically in backstage segments where Michelle was depicted as Vince McMahon's "sex slave."
In the spring of 2007, Michelle was beginning to receive more air-time and higher profile matches, winning tag matches that pitted her with Mickie James against Victoria and Melina. She also picked up several wins against the latter two in singles matches, leading to a match at the One Night Stand pay-per-view where Michelle defeated Melina in a swimming pool full of pudding. The feud culminated two years ago today at Vengeance: Night of Champions when she defeated Melina to capture the WWE Women's Championship, becoming the first ever Diva Search contestant to win the Women's title. Michelle retained her title against Melina in a rematch at the following month's pay-per-view and debuted a new finisher called "The Candywrapper."
Soon after, Michelle engaged in a feud with Beth Phoenix, which initiated when "The Glamazon" became the number one contender for the Women's Championship after winning the Interpromotional Divas Battle Royal at SummerSlam. At the Unforgiven pay-per-view, however, Michelle successfully retained her title in their first match by countering one of Phoenix's moves with a crucifix pin. Unfortunately for Michelle, Phoenix had her number at the subsequent No Mercy pay-per-view as she dropped her title to her, ending her three-month reign as Women's Champion.
The beginning of the end occurred fifteen days later on October 22, 2007 when Michelle legitimately cracked her clavicle during her rematch for the Women's Championship against Phoenix in a two out of three falls match; Phoenix ran into the ropes, causing Michelle to fall face-first off of the turnbuckle onto her face, neck, and shoulders necessitating a rushed finish and putting her out of action until February. The official in the match came under heavy scrutiny for moving her after she had fallen as it appeared she could have broken her neck.
Michelle made her on-screen return on the February 18, 2008 edition of Monday Night Raw, distracting Beth Phoenix during a match with Maria. She returned to in-ring action on March 17, teaming with Maria to defeat Jillian Hall and Victoria. As bad luck would have it, she injured her left shoulder during the match by tearing the scar tissue over her previously broken left clavicle. Unlike her previous injury, Michelle broke her clavicle in four separate places, in essence, shattering it. As a result, Michelle was replaced by Ashley Massaro for her scheduled match against Beth Phoenix and Melina at WrestleMania XXIV.
Michelle would return to action five months later, but was very rusty, so much so that she botched four moves within the span of thirty seconds in her return match. Fortunately for her, the September 1, 2008 edition of Monday Night Raw happened to be a taped broadcast, resulting in the match being heavily edited. Despite her less than stellar outing, Michelle's push continued as she was named the number one contender for the Women's Championship. Unfortunately, she came up short in gaining the title as she lost to Beth Phoenix in their match next month at No Mercy.
Shortly thereafter, WWE began phasing Michelle out as a top star, culminating with the former Women's Champion going over two-and-half months without competing in a single singles or tag match on television. To add insult to injury, she was eliminated within mere seconds during a battle royal she took part in during a December edition of Raw.
In late February, Michelle suffered an ankle injury while training, putting her out of action and once again, WrestleMania. Nonetheless, she ended up appearing at the pay-per-view extravaganza as the guest timekeeper and to crown the winner of the 25-Diva Battle Royal for the title of "Miss WrestleMania." This would turn out to be her final appearance in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Michelle was expected to get a fresh start on SmackDown as she was drafted to the blue brand during the 2009 Supplemental Draft on April 15. She, however, never appeared on the brand as she was released from her contract two months later on June 19.
Michelle was never the same when she returned from her pair of collarbone injuries, not to mention her look had changed for the worse in the eyes of some company officials. Furthermore, there were some in WWE who were upset she was off working on other projects and not taking the company seriously while convalescing from her most recent ankle issues. The release caught Michelle off-guard as she had just received clearance to return to the ring last week and wrote on her Twitter account the following Thursday that she posted a blog entry on the WWE Universe social networking site. It would appear that her termination was being finalized, thus explaining why the blog was not posted. The next day, she posted on her Twitter account, "I am free to grow!," shortly after being given word of her release from the company.
It remains uncertain whether Michelle will continue to pursue a career in professional wrestling. It was announced this past week that she was accepting bookings for autograph signings, modeling, and television appearances through a wrestling booking agency, although the agency is not only limited to wrestling-related endeavors. However, she doesn't appear to be accepting wrestling bookings at the moment, nor media requests for interviews.