After attending a performing arts college, El was a dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines, the Miami Heat franchise of the National Basketball Association, and also danced for Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards. In 2006, she was a contestant in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, which she won to earn a contract with the company.
Initially appearing on the SmackDown brand, she moved to ECW in January 2007. There, she formed the Extreme Exposé dance troupe with Kelly Kelly and Brooke Adams. In 2008, she was drafted to the Raw brand, where she began managing William Regal. The following year she returned to SmackDown and formed an alliance with Michelle McCool known as LayCool. In May 2010, Layla won the WWE Women's Championship for the first time, making her the first British woman to hold the championship. She is also the first Diva Search winner to have won the championship, and the final recognised WWE Women's Champion as the title was retired in 2010. In April 2012, Layla won the WWE Divas Championship upon her return from a year-long absence due to injury, and held the championship until September that year.
Diva Search and early appearances (2006–2007)Edit
Layla's first foray into professional wrestling occurred when her trainer suggested she try out for the $250,000 WWE Diva Search contest in 2006. After a casting call, she was selected as one of the finalists. During the contest, she won a week's worth of "immunity" on the 14 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 episode of SmackDown!, when she danced dressed as a police officer. She won the Diva Search 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. Subsequently, she did not appear on WWE television for almost a month, reappearing on the 22 September episode of SmackDown! and getting into a confrontation with both Kristal and Jillian Hall.
At October's No Mercy pay-per-view event, she embarrassed 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. On 20 October, Layla participated in a dance contest with the other SmackDown! Divas, and was chosen as the winner by the judges, Nick and Aaron Carter. Despite this, The Miz, who was acting as emcee, declared Kristal the winner. The following week, Layla made her official in-ring debut in a "Diva Trick-or-Treat Battle Royal". The match ended in controversial fashion when she was pulled from the ring by The Miz, allowing Kristal to win. On the next episode of SmackDown, Layla teamed with Big Vito in a loss to The Miz and Kristal in a mixed tag team match. Continuing to feud with Kristal, Layla had her singles match debut on the December 1 episode of SmackDown!, when she lost to Kristal. In her final match for the SmackDown! brand, Layla teamed with Ashley Massaro to defeat Kristal and Jillian Hall in a tag team match on December 22.
Extreme Exposé; managing William Regal (2007–2009)Edit
On 23 January 2007, Layla was moved to the ECW brand where she joined Brooke and Kelly Kelly to form Extreme Exposé. The trio performed a weekly dance segment on ECW, which Layla choreographed, for the next several months. In June 2007, The Miz was moved to the brand, prompting a storyline in which all three members of Extreme Exposé were attracted to him. When Kelly shifted her attentions towards Balls Mahoney, Layla, Brooke, and Miz openly mocked her. On 1 November, Brooke was released from her WWE contract, and Extreme Exposé dissolved as a group. In the process, Layla became a villainess and entered an ongoing rivalry with Kelly that included more active in-ring roles. On the November 6 edition of ECW, the evil Layla defeated Kelly in singles action. Layla and Kelly were on opposite sides of a 10-Diva tag team match at Survivor Series, which Layla's team lost. In December, Layla formed an alliance with Victoria, which expanded to include Lena Yada in January 2008, and the trio continued to feud with Kelly. At WrestleMania XXIV, Layla was a 'lumberjill' for the Divas' tag team lumberjill match. The following month, Layla was part of the winning team in a six-on-six Divas match at the Backlash pay-per-view.
As part of the 2008 Supplemental Draft in late June, Layla was drafted to the Raw brand. 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. She soon entered a storyline with Jamie Noble in which Noble attempted to impress her with his matches, only to be squashed—easily defeated—by his opponents. On 1 September, Noble was able to defeat William Regal, which impressed Layla. The following week, however, Layla chose to align herself with Regal, after he defeated Noble in a rematch. On the following episode of Raw, Layla reinforced her decision, telling Noble that she had finally found a worthy man in Regal. Over the next few months, Layla competed only sporadically in matches, spending most of her time managing Regal, and was present at ringside when Regal defeated Santino Marella on 10 November to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. 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 rivalry with Eve Torres, and lost both a dance contest and an arm wrestling match to Torres. On the 29 May episode of SmackDown, the villainous Layla was defeated by Torres in a singles match. After Torres defeated Layla again on the 18 June episode of WWE Superstars, the two shook hands.
Layla then formed an alliance with Michelle McCool, later called Team Lay-Cool. Team Lay-Cool began a scripted rivalry with Mickie James in October, 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 attacked Layla and used that as a distraction to quickly defeat McCool to win the championship. On the 12 February episode of SmackDown, Layla and McCool defeated James in a handicap match made by Official SmackDown Consultant 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.
On the 14 May episode of SmackDown, Team Lay-Cool faced the WWE Women's Champion, Beth Phoenix, in a two-on-one handicap match. 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 Lay-Cool began calling themselves the co-Women's Champions. On 1 June, it was announced that Lay-Cool 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 Lay-Cool that there was only one Women's Champion, and they had a week to decide who it would be. The following week, Lay-Cool 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 Lay-Cool 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 Lay-Cool, 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 history. 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.
Lay-Cool began to fall out following the loss of the Divas Championship, and began to appear 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 the 29 April episode of SmackDown 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.
Injury and Divas Champion (2011–2013)Edit
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 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 the championship against Phoenix at the Over the Limit pay-per-view in May.
On the June 11 episode of Raw, Layla teamed up with Santino Marella in losing effort to Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez after being pinned by Phoenix, leading to a title rematch six days later at the No Way Out pay-per-view, where Layla again successfully retained her title. Layla then competed at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in a six-Diva tag team match along with Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka against Beth Phoenix, Natalya, and Eve Torres with her team coming out victorious after Layla pinned Phoenix.
On the August 20 episode of Raw, Kaitlyn won a Divas battle royal to become the #1 Contender to Layla's Divas Championship. However, at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Kaitlyn was injured following an attack by a masked person, thus forfeiting her title shot to Eve Torres, who took her spot in the match and went on to defeat Layla to win the Divas Championship. On the September 27 episode of WWE Superstars, Layla defeated Eve Torres in a non-title match to earn a shot at the Divas Championship. Layla received her title opportunity on October 15 episode of Raw, however, would be unsuccessful in regaining the title from Eve. Layla received another shot at the Divas Championship on 28 October at Hell in a Cell, but was again defeated by Eve in a three-way match, also involving Kaitlyn. On the 12 November episode of Raw, Layla was defeated by Kaitlyn in a number one contenders match for the Divas Championship. On 16 December at the TLC pay-per-view, Layla competed in a number contender "Santa's Little Helpers" Divas battle royal to face Eve for the championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the match. On both the January 4 and February 15 episodes of SmackDown, Layla was defeated by Tamina Snuka in a pair of singles matches.
Alliance with Kaitlyn and Villainous Persona (2013)Edit
After Kaitlyn won the Divas Championship and retained the title at the Elimination Chamber, seeds were planted for Layla to turn heel and feud with Kaitlyn. Throughout the angle, Layla would act nice and cordial to Kaitlyn, all the while hiding her villainous persona and displaying jealousy of Kaitlyn. On the February 22 episode of SmackDown, Layla teamed with Kaitlyn and defeated Aksana and Tamina. During their entrance and after the match, Layla obsessively stared at Kaitlyn's Divas Championship and held it before giving it back to her; turning Layla into a hidden villainess.
On the March 7 episode of Superstars, Layla defeated Tamina in a singles match, and on the following night's SmackDown, Layla approached Kaitlyn in a backstage segment and asked Kaitlyn to be in her corner during her non-title match against Tamina. Layla unleashed her heel persona and snarled at Kaitlyn; claiming that she barely defeated Tamina at the Elimination Chamber, while also stating that she's been in WWE longer than Kaitlyn. Later in the evening, Layla turned heel and attempted to attack Kaitlyn, with the distraction being enough to cause Kaitlyn to be defeated by Tamina. On the following week, Layla again teamed with Kaitlyn and defeated Aksana and Tamina, with the win coming after Layla tagged herself in to pin Aksana after she was hit by Kaitlyn's spear. The dropped angle was originally rumored to result in Layla turning villainous by attacking Kaitlyn and competing against her for the Divas Championship at WrestleMania 29. Layla would display her villainous persona by laughing evilly at Kaitlyn and holding up the Divas Championship. In an exclusive interview on April 7, the evil Layla considered turning against Kaitlyn by stating that she wanted her title back and claiming that she hasn't been elevated for being the nice girl.
On the April 22 episode of Raw, Layla participated in a #1 Contender's match for the Divas Championship, but was unsuccessful due to AJ Lee faking unconsciousness. On the April 26 episode of SmackDown, Layla competed in singles competition against Aksana in a winning effort. At the Payback pay-per-view, Layla would return comforting Kaitlyn after her loss against AJ Lee. The following night on the June 17 episode of Raw, Layla along with the face Divas accompanied Kaitlyn to confront AJ Lee, which Kaitlyn would end up attacking Lee while Layla and the Divas laughed. She would again accompany Kaitlyn on the June 24 episode of Raw in singles competition against Aksana, with Kaitlyn emerging victorious regardless of an attempted distraction by AJ Lee, who was dressed up as Kaitlyn (with a blonde wig and muscle suit), mocking her the night the secret admirer was revealed with the help of Big E. Langston. At the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Layla accompanied Kaitlyn where she unsuccessfully challenged Lee for the Divas Championship.
Villainess and Various Feuds (2013-2014)Edit
On the August 2 edition of SmackDown, Layla appeared during a backstage interview segment with Kaitlyn and Renee Young and praised Kaitlyn as a deserving Divas Champion, while hiding her evil plan to sabotage Kaitlyn. Layla became a villainess and betrayed Kaitlyn during the match, doing so by intentionally standing in front of Kaitlyn and preventing her from harming AJ at ringside, which allowed AJ to defeat Kaitlyn. Layla laughed evilly at Kaitlyn after the match ended, and later left with AJ to cement her heel turn.
After turning heel, the villainous Layla revealed that she betrayed Kaitlyn for attention, and later defeated Kaitlyn after a slight distraction by AJ Lee. On the August 16 edition of SmackDown, Layla and AJ defeated Kaitlyn and Natalya in a tag team match. Layla began aligning with fellow heel Divas Aksana and Alicia Fox in various matches against the Total Divas, with every one of them resulting in defeat. Beginning in late 2013, Layla took a hiatus from WWE due to ongoing personal issues. On March 14, 2014, Layla returned to WWE at a live event in Waco, Texas; teaming with Alicia Fox in a losing effort to Natalya and Eva Marie. Layla made her televised return on the March 18 edition of Main Event, where she teamed with Fox in a losing effort to The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron). On the following edition of Main Event, Layla took part in a 10-Divas tag team match, and earned a victory when Tamina pinned Naomi.
On the April 11 episode of SmackDown, Layla accompanied Fandango to the ring as his new dance partner. During the match, Santino Marella was going to strike with The Cobra until Layla snatched The Cobra and Fandango picked up the win with a roll-up. On the April 14 edition of Raw, Layla and Fandango defeated Emma and Santino Marella in a mixed tag team match. On the May 19 edition of Raw, Layla was attacked by the returning Summer Rae. Layla would defeat Summer Rae in a match officiated by Fandango at Money In The Bank.
The Slayers (2014-present)Edit
On the July 11 edition of SmackDown, Layla and Summer Rae would face each other in a rematch from Money In The Bank, due to another brawl between the two. The match would not take place due to both Divas attacking guest referee Fandango and later dancing with each other, turning Layla into a babyface. Both Layla and Summer, referring to themselves as "SLayers," would constantly distract Fandango during his matches and causing him to lose. In their first match as a team, Layla and Rae lost to Paige and AJ Lee on the July 18 episode of SmackDown. The Slayers won their first match as a team on the September 2 edition of Main Event by defeating Rosa Mendes and Natalya. Layla would turn into a villainess along with Rae due to the Total Divas storyline feud with Rae and Natalya, and she was at ringside when Rae was defeated by Natalya on the September 22 edition of Raw. Layla and Rae defeated Natalya and Rosa Mendes in a tag team match four nights later on SmackDown, however, Layla would defeat Mendes in singles action on the September 29 edition of Raw. On the following night's edition of Main Event, Layla and Rae were defeated by Brie Bella in a handicap match set up by Nikki Bella.