By Ryan Clark | June 24, 2009
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.
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