Maria Kanellis
200px-Maria Kanellis 2
Real name Maria Louise Kanellis
Ring Names Maria Kanellis
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 115 lb (52 kg)
Date of birth February 25, 1982
Place of birth Ottawa, Illinois
Date of death {{{death_date}}}
Place of death {{{death_place}}}
Resides Chicago, IL
Billed from Chicago, Illinois
Trainer Ohio Valley Wrestling
Florida Championship Wrestling
Win/Loss Record {{{winloss_record}}}
Debut November, 2004
Retired {{{retired}}}

Maria Louise Kanellis (born February 25, 1982), or simply Maria, is a model, and former professional wrestler, best known for her time with WWE For Extreme. Kanellis's career began as a contestant on the reality show Outback Jack in 2004. In the same year, she placed fifth in the Raw Diva Search, but was later hired by WWE as a backstage interviewer. Kanellis began competing in the ring as a wrestler in 2005.

Early lifeEdit

Kanellis was born on February 25, 1982 in Ottawa, Illinois. She has two younger siblings; a brother named Bill and a sister Janny. Kanellis grew up with an interest in playing sports, particularly volleyball, basketball, and softball and graduated from Ottawa Township High School in 2000, before spending some time as a student at Northern Illinois University. Before her career in wrestling began, Kanellis also regularly competed in beauty pageants.

Professional wrestling careerEdit

World Wrestling EntertainmentEdit

Diva Search and debutEdit

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Kanellis in the ring in 2006

She competed in the Raw Diva Search in 2004, deciding to enter the contest after seeing an advertisement while watching Raw. Even though she only placed fifth in the contest, she was hired by the company. She stood out in the contest by giving fellow contestant Carmella DeCesare the finger after being eliminated from the contest. Maria began making appearances at the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) training facility under head trainer Paul Heyman. She contributed booking ideas, and her work at OVW earned her a spot on the Raw brand roster. Maria was brought on to Raw as a ditzy backstage interviewer and the host of WWE KissCam in November 2004. Maria was given the dumb blonde gimmick despite having brown hair. She quickly earned a reputation as the oblivious backstage reporter—Maria seemed to ask the wrong questions, irritating and amusing WWE Superstars and Divas.

In 2005, Maria began to get very physical—in and out of the ring. She was defeated in her first official match on the January 10, 2005 edition of Raw by Christy Hemme in a Lingerie Pillow Fight. She also competed in a Fulfill Your Fantasy Diva Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday for the WWE Women's Championship but was the first to be eliminated by Trish Stratus and Mickie James. In another physical moment, Stratus slapped Maria so hard that one of her fillings legitimately fell out. On November 14, Maria competed in a non-title Diva Battle Royal at the Eddie Guerrero tribute Raw show. Maria stood by herself for most of the match, only getting involved when she saw the opportunity to eliminate a competitor, a strategy that proved effective as she eliminated both Jillian Hall and Victoria. She was one of the last three women left in the match but was eliminated by both Melina and Trish Stratus. On the November 28 edition of Raw, Maria interviewed then-Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff and asked him whether or not he thought he was going to be fired. He then booked her in a match with Kurt Angle out of spite, and Maria was laid out with the Angle Slam. As a result, one week later, Maria testified in the trial against Bischoff, who was being fired because of his controversial actions as General Manager. As Mick Foley questioned her, she answered, "Last week Bischoff abused his power in a way that was both malicious and capricious, and it’s this rash discourse that has led to a locker room of disdain and mutiny, and it should be grounds for his immediate dismissal."

Various feudsEdit

In early 2006, Maria defeated Victoria in a match. Afterward, she was attacked by Vince's Devils (Victoria, Torrie Wilson, and Candice Michelle), but she was saved by Ashley Massaro. During a commercial break that night, Vince McMahon announced a Bra & Panties Gauntlet match for New Year's Revolution between all five girls that had previously been in the ring. At New Year's Revolution, Maria was the first to enter the Gauntlet match and eliminated Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson before being eliminated by Victoria. The match was ultimately won by Massaro.

Maria teamed with John Cena to take on Edge and Lita in the main event on the February 6 edition of Raw. Maria scored the victory after a spear meant for Cena hit Lita.

WWE For ExtremeEdit

Monday Night RAW!Edit

With the reset of WWE, Maria would compete in the very first Diva's match. A 10 Diva bra and panties match for the Women's Championship. However the match wouldn't go Maria's way, when Looney Lane would be the one walking off with the victory. On the May 1, 2006 edition of RAW, Maria would come to the ring to try and help out her current boyfirend John Cena, But it wouldn't turn out good for her, when she would get laid out by Triple H. Maria would keep to managing Cena for a while. At SummerSlam, Refugee Mike would face off against John Cena with the ECW Championship, and Maria's contract on the line. Mike would end up walking away with the victory, and with Maria. That next week on ECW, Cena and Mike would face off in a rematch. Mike would once more walk away with the win, bringing Maria to The Refugee's side of things. On the September 12, 2006 edition of ECW; Mike would announce that he got a girl pregnant, and that he would be taking time off to help raise the child. He would also go on to release Maria from her contractual duties at that point. Maria would then leave WWE for a bit.

Maria's short lived returnEdit

Maria would return to the WWE on the April 30, 2007 edition of Raw.When she would team up with Scarlett in a handicap match to take on Awesome Kong. This would be a successul return to Maria, picking up the victory over the giant woman. The next week Awesome Kong would return to take on Maria in a singles match. But once more, Maria would pick up a victory over Kong. However Maria's winning streak would be cut short. The next week, she would take on Ashley Massaro, in a match that Ashley would walk away from with the win. The next week, Maria would take on Maryse. On the June 4, 2007 edition of RAW, Maria would take on Selena Gomez. Maria would once more pick up a victory, continueing her win streak, and showing to Alex Rothschild that she's ready for the Women's Championship. At Slammiversary, Maria would take on Melina for the Women's Championship. After a hard fought match, it would be Maria who walked away as champ. Finally all her hard work paying off.

The next night on Raw, Maria's would take a loss, when she would team with Kassie to take on The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky). The Beautiful People would make their mark by getting a victory over the Women's Champion. At Saturday Night's Main Event, on June 30, 2007, Maria would team up with new comer, Lindsey Snow. to take on The Beautiful People. Maria would get a measure of revenge when they picked up the victory. The next week on Raw, Maria would face off against Lindsey Snow. The match would eventually be ruled a no contest. A couple of weeks later on the July 16, 2007 edition of Raw, Maria would face off against Trish Stratus, but once more it would end in a no contest. The next week on Raw, Maria would face off against one of her two Number one contendor's, Velvet Sky. Velvet would pick up a victory over Maria, bringing in some momentum to Vengeance. At Vengeance: Night of Champions, Maria would defend her title in a handicap match against The Beautiful People. The Beautiful People would both go on to pin Maria, making it impossable for management not to make them co-champs, apter the match however the two woman would beat down Maria, and injure her. Taking her out of competition for a while.

Return to RAWEdit

Maria would return on the June 9, 2008 edition of RAW, where she would go to the ring to call out Velvet Sky. It would end with the two getting in a brawl, and security having to seperate the two. Maria, and Velvet would meet at Night of Champions in a Triple threat, with Jillian Hall also involved. Maria eventually got the win with a roll up on Jillian, giving Maria her second reign as Women's Champion.

Ring of HonorEdit

Maria confirmed via her Twitter account that she would be appearing at Ring of Honor's Final Battle pay-per-view in December. She accompanied her real-life boyfriend Mike Bennett, in a three-way elimination match against Jay Lethal and El Generico for the ROH World Television Championship. At the event, Bennett was unsuccessful in winning the title. Kanellis continued accompanying Bennett at the January, tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, where she was dubbed the "First Lady of ROH".

On the June tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Kanellis accompied Bennett and Bob to ring where they lost to Edwards and Cole. After the match, Kanellis along with Mike Bennett, Brutal Bob attacking Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards but was stopped by “The Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey hit the ring to stop it and attempted to put an ankle lock on Kanellis. On the July tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, it was later announced Kanellis would be teaming with Bennett to face Sara Del Rey and Eddie Edwards in a mixed tag team match at Boiling Point pay-per-view. However at the Boiling Point pay-per-view in August , Maria teamed up with Mike Bennett in losing effort to Del Rey and Edwards in an intergender-mixed-tag-team match after Edwards forced Bennett to submitt. Kanellis' storyline with Del Ray ended abruptly the following month, when it was reported that Del Ray had signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

In September, Kanellis and Bennett would be involved in a storyline with Mike Mondo after he kissed Kanellis during one of Bennett's match distracting him and costing him his match. Over the weeks, Mondo would contiune to cost Bennetts match. At the ROH Glory by Honor pay-per-view in October , Maria accompied Bennett to ring where he defeated him to end the feud.  Kanellis accompied Bennett where competed in the Survival of the Fittest tournament, where was eliminated in the first round by the returning Davey Richards. On the November tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Maria accompied Bennett to the ring where he unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Steen for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship.

On the December at Final Battle: Doomsday pay-per-view, Kanellis along with Bob accompied Bennett to the ring where he defeated Jerry Lynn in his final ROH match before retirement.
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Maria and Mike at an ROH taping

Return to WWE;FE/NXTEdit

Maria returned to WWE;FE in June 2009 on Raw as a backstage interviewer. She uses her bubbly and ditzy antics to deliver interviews to several superstars in the locker room. She is the manager of wrestler Mike Bennett, her real life fiance. Mike has gotten on the bad list of Blaze, resulting in Blaze viciously attacking Maria backstage. Maria has also used her ditzy-ness to bump into Creeper, causing her boyfriend to have altercations with him as well as Daemon. After several attempts to make a name for himself, Bennett took time off to focus on his personal life, but came back to FE only to be relocated to NXT as a part of a storyline. Maria came with him, but still kept her duties on Raw. On NXT, the Prodigy Couple joined forces with several other ROH backgrounded superstars to form an alliance. Maria began to target the Diva's Champion, Stella, for her title. For several weeks Maria has been defeated jobber divas, but on the latest NXT Mike and Maria targeted the Tag Team Champions, Allison Hoffman and Andy Brookes. On the upcoming edition of NXT, Blinding Perfection will take on the Prodigy Couple..
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Mike and Maria on NXT

Other mediaEdit

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Kannlis at Tribute to the Troops

In 2004, she was a contestant on the reality show, Outback Jack. She made it to the final three before being eliminated.

During the week of November 5, 2007, she appeared on five episodes of Family Feud with several other WWE superstars. She also appeared on the February 6, 2008 episode of Project Runway with some of the other WWE Divas. On August 17, 2008, Maria, Candice Michelle, and Eve Torres were on an episode of Sunset Tan. That same year, FHM named her 53rd of 100 on their "The Sexiest Women 2008" list. Kanellis later appeared on VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, along with John Cena.

Kanellis was first asked to pose for Playboy when she was nineteen years old, but she turned down the offer in fear of embarrassing her sister. She eventually posed for the cover of the April 2008 issue, with an accompanying nude pictorial. For the pictorial, she chose her own wardrobe and made the black hooded jacket she wore in one of the photos.

Personal lifeEdit

She dated fellow wrestler CM Punk in late 2005. In 2006 it was later reported that she began dating another fellow professional wrestler, Mike Miner. The two have since then broken up. She is currently engaged to former Ring of Honor wrestler and current NXT wrestler, Mike Bennett.
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Maria and Fiance, Mike Bennett, showing off her wedding ring.

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishers
    • Beautiful Bulldog (Running bulldog)
    • Diving crossbody
  • Signature moves
    • Bronco buster
    • Enzuigiri
    • Headscissors takedown
    • Lifting gutbuster
    • Split-Legged Fist Drop
    • Seeing Stars (Handstand neckscissors)
    • Leaping Clothesline,sometimes in an elevated position
  • Wrestlers managed
  • Entrance themes
    • "With Legs Like That" by Zebrahead
    • "Hot Like Wow" by Nadia Oh (Current)

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit