Former WWE Superstar Kelly Kelly spoke with Chris Van Fliet about her time working for WWE. Kelly, whose real name is Barbara Blank, enlightened viewers of her entrance into WWE and how she molded into the Kelly Kelly character.
“So Vince came up with the name,” Blank said. “The first episode of ECW, it was going to be Kelly. He had given me a list of names…so I picked Kelly because I thought that was cute. I couldn’t be Barbie. I guess Vince had seen an episode of ‘Cheers’ and the girls’ name on it is Kelly. Her boyfriend on it did a song called ‘Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly.’ So in Vince’s mind, that’s how it came to be.”
Blank spoke about the unhappiness by others of her WWE signing. She credited her thick skin for handling some of the criticism so well while praising the women who worked in WWE before her.
“We got a lot of people who were not happy about it,” Blank shared. “You have to give so much respect to the people who have been there and worked for years to get in this spot. I tried to come in as respectful as I could by shaking everyone’s hand and standing back too and don’t be in anybody’s way and keeping my mouth shut. I did the best I could because a lot of women couldn’t stay around because they didn’t have the thick skin and they weren’t able to take it. It’s a lot. It’s a very male-dominated business, especially back in 2006 and me being so young you just kind of take it on the chin and keep it moving.”
Blank admitted to receiving a lot of fan hate during her time in WWE. Despite receiving negative comments about her character, Blank claims she was able to get used to it and move beyond such comments.
“I just got so much hate,” Blank said. “After every match or after every time I was on TV I would look on my phone and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. [It was] ‘You’re terrible, you suck, you’re a whore, you’re this.” So you just take it after a while with a grain of salt and you just get used to it. As people got to see my character and they got to see the real me, I didn’t have to deal with it as much.”
Blank spoke about her exhibitionist character during the WWE ECW era. Blank said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was the one who actually taught her the dance moves she eventually executed on TV.
“Paul Heyman called me and said, ‘We have this idea and it’s this gimmick and you’re gonna come out and you’re gonna do this striptease and then your jealous boyfriend is gonna come out and wrap you in a towel’,” Blank said. “Vince is like ‘it’ll be fine, I’ll teach you the moves.’ I was like ‘well, whatever I have to do get my foot in the door.’
“My first day, I remember Triple H and Vince were all in the room and they were just like, ‘Alright, these are just the basic moves that we need.’ I’m like sitting there and I’m watching Vince McMahon, who I watched when I was 13 years old and I just idolized, and he’s got a chair and he swings his jacket around.”
Blank also recalled her first night were she performed on live television. Blank said part of her segment was to include a prop chair however, when she got to the ring, there was no chair. Blank said she received credit from Vince McMahon for working without the prop and improvising on the fly.
“The funny thing is I go on and we’re on live television, my first night,” Blank said. “We rehearsed hours with this chair. The prop is the chair. I walk on the stage and there’s no chair. I stood there for a few seconds and I was like I guess I’m gonna have to just dance. I get to the back and Vince is like ‘Oh my God I’m so sorry but you did so good, you took it on the fly!'”