As we reported here last week, the WWE Divas division got further depleted with the release of Kelly Kelly, who had been pushed as one of their top female babyfaces for the past four years, mainly due to her looks, as she never quite learned how to do even the most elementary things properly, like running the ropes. But she worked hard and could be carried to a respectable match by the much more gifted in-ring performer Beth Phoenix, so at least she tried and didn't coast by on her sex appeal alone.
The news had been expected for several months, as Dave Meltzer discussed in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, given that she had refused to sign a long term contract extension and then had asked for time off in June due to burn out, with WWE expecting her back full time after she had rested. But apparently Kelly was already in two minds about this, having had enough of life on the road, the grind of bumping several nights a week and having plenty of offers outside WWE that she had been unable to pursue.
The problem, as Meltzer reported, wasn't just WWE's inherently controlling nature and their busy schedule, but that the company is fearful of their Divas doing any outside projects that are overtly sexual, partly due to a desire to keep their family-friendly sponsors and toy manufacturer Mattel happy, and partly due to Linda McMahon's ongoing senate campaign:
She was having to turn down different media offers that came her way, either because WWE didn't want her doing it or because WWE is so toned down of what they'll allow their performers to do, that companies don't want to deal with WWE. This particularly has to do with women, because of those limitations.
This is almost a self perpetuating hazard. By predominantly hiring models and training them to be wrestlers, instead of athletes or indy workers, they end up with a bunch of women that lack a love of wrestling and will inevitably want to leave once they've obtained enough fame and celebrity that they can make a decent living outside the WWE fold.
Kelly did return for the month of August and was given a strong push, mainly due to the WWE creative team not being in the loop that she was only coming back for a few weeks, but perhaps also a last gasp effort to change her mind. However, it looks like she only returned to make sure she earned the last of her downside guarantee for the year, so she wouldn't leave any money left on the table before being asked to be let go.
Things came to a head when she was doing a photo shoot for Let It Fly Energy with UFC fighters Gray Maynard and Ryan Bader, along with other stars on September 27th, perhaps because WWE wanted to mess with her while she did an outside appearance they disapproved of:
While doing the shoot, she got a text from HHH. He wrote her that by the terms of her contract, she needed to get her proposed 2013 photo calendar that she was selling on her web site approved and would have to work through the company on it. There were other issues. She had some lingerie pictures she had shot, not sure if it was her web site, Facebook, but for sure twitter, and they had demanded she take them down.
Clearly, there's no room for an independent minded, scantily clad woman in PG era WWE!
Already having neck injuries at the age of 25 from wrestling for just six years, also convinced her to get out while the going was good. This was also a point of contention between Kelly and WWE, as they wanted her to be checked over by their medical director Dr. Joseph Maroon, while she preferred to see her own doctor. Kelly wouldn't be the first WWE performer to be apprehensive about a medical by Maroon. When Charlie Haas' personal physician diagnosed him with a mild to moderate herniation of two discs in his neck in January 2010, Maroon disagreed when he saw his MRI images, feeling he had only suffered a stinger and was good to go. Haas was fired shortly thereafter for not returning to work when told to.
As mentioned earlier, Kelly might have stayed for the type of no strings attached, limited dates contract Chris Jericho is seeking from WWE, but if Jericho can't land that deal, then she wouldn't have a prayer. After all, in WWE, women should still be seen and not heard.