Layla El (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Layla El (born 25 June 1977) is a Moorish British Moroccan dancer, model, professional wrestler, valet, and actress. She works for WWE on its SmackDown brand under the ring name Layla.
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 was moved to the ECW brand in January 2007, where she formed the Extreme Exposť 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 the SmackDown brand, where she formed an alliance with Michelle McCool known as Team Lay-Cool. In May 2010, Layla won the WWE Women's Championship for the first time, making her the first British woman and Diva Search winner to have won the championship; she was also the final recognized WWE Women's Champion as the title was retired in September 2010.
In April 2012, Layla won her first-ever WWE Divas Championship at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, lasting up to the Night of Champions pay-per-view in September 2012. As of 2013, she is the longest tenured diva currently in the WWE.
El was born and raised in London, England, and is of Spanish and [Arab] Moroccan descent. Her father is an English-born Spanish and her mother was an [Arabic]-speaking Moroccan.
El was a dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines. Following that, she began dancing for the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat franchise, where she danced for two years. As part of the Miami Heat dance troupe, she received a championship ring. During this time, she appeared on-stage with John Legend as one of his backup dancers. She also danced for P. Diddy and Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Diva Search and early appearances (2006-2007)
El'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 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 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 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 1 December 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 22 December.
Extreme Exposť; managing William Regal (2007-2009)
See Extreme Exposť for more information
On 23 January 2007, Layla was moved to the ECW brand where she joined Brooke and Kelly Kelly to form Extreme Exposť. 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 Exposť were attracted to him. When Kelly shifted her attentions towards Balls Mahoney, Layla, Brooke, and Miz openly mocked her, turning Layla heel in the process. On 1 November, Brooke was released from her WWE contract, and Extreme Exposť dissolved as a group, leaving Kelly and Layla to enter an ongoing rivalry with more active in-ring roles. They 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 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.
LayCool and Women's Champion (2009-2011)
See LayCool for more information
On 15 April 2009, Layla was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. She started a scripted rivalry with Eve Torres, and lost both a dance contest and an arm wrestling match to Torres, before losing a match to her on 29 May episode of SmackDown. After Torres defeated Layla again on 18 June episode of WWE Superstars, the two shook hands.
She 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 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 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. On 14 March 2011 edition of Raw Laycool and Dolph Ziggler interfered in the Vickie vs Trish on Vickie Guerrero's behalf. After the match, John Morrison and Raw guest star of the night Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (from the MTV series Jersey Shore) came to her aid. Guerrero then challenged Stratus, Morrison and Snooki to a match at WrestleMania XXVII against the team of LayCool and Ziggler. On 21 March edition of Raw, LayCool, Guerrero, and Ziggler defeated Trish Stratus and John Morrison. At WrestleMania 27, LayCool teamed up with Ziggler in a losing effort to Stratus, Snooki and Morrison.
LayCool began to fall out following the loss of the Divas Championship and losing to Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, and began to appear in a series of vignettes in which they were attending couples therapy. On 8 April edition of SmackDown, LayCool began to fall out again after being defeated by Phoenix and Kelly Kelly after McCool avoided being tagged in Layla, blaming a back injury. On 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 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, which forced McCool to leave WWE. On 8 May epiosde of SmackDown!, Layla defeated Alicia Fox in a singles match. 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 ACL and MCL and required surgery.
Return and Divas Champion (2012-present)
Layla made her in-ring return at a Florida Championship Wrestling event on 22 March 2012. On April 29, 2012 she returned to the main roster at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view as a fan favorite, replacing Beth Phoenix, who was not medically cleared to compete, in a match for the WWE Divas Championship defeating Nikki Bella to win the WWE Divas Championship for the first time. The following night on Raw, she successfully defended the championship against both Bella Twins in a triple threat match On 4 May episode of SmackDown, Layla made her return to in-ring action where she defeated Natalya. On 7 May episode of Raw, Layla teamed up with Kelly Kelly in a winning effort defeating Natalya and Maxine.
On 14 May episode of Raw, Layla reentered in a feud with Beth Phoenix after Phoenix proceeded to attack Alicia Fox after their match, until Layla saved Fox. Layla retained the Divas Championship against Beth Phoenix at the Over the Limit pay-per-view. On 11 June episode of Raw Layla teamed up with Santino Marella in losing effort to Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez after being pinned by Phoenix. On 18 June episode of Raw, Layla appeared in a segment with Cyndi Lauper and former WWE superstars Wendi Richter and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper on the show as part of the "1000th episode" buildup, in which Piper would express his gratitude to Richter and Lauper for their "Rock 'N Wrestling" angle and presented Lauper with a gold record, with which she eventually hit Heath Slater, who had come to the ring to denigrate the former Superstars. At the No Way Out pay-per-view in June, Layla successfully retained against Beth Phoenix.
On 25 June episode of Raw, Layla competed in the "Diva's Summertime Beach Bikini" battle royal eliminating Rosa Mendes and Beth Phoenix before being eliminated by AJ. On 29 June episode of SmackDown!, Layla defeated AJ following the interference from Daniel Bryan. On 3 July special episode of SmackDown's Great American Bash, Layla teamed with The Great Khali in a winning effort defeating Aksana and Antonio Cesaro. 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 she pinned Phoenix.
On 13 August episode of Raw, Layla teamed up with Kaitlyn and defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres in a tag team match. The following week on Raw, Katlyn became the number one contender to the WWE Divas Championship after winning a Divas Battle Royal.
On 10 September episode of Raw, Layla teamed up with Kaitlyn and Eve Torres in winning effort defeating Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix and Natalya in a six diva tag team match. 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 27 September episode of WWE Superstars, Layla defeated Eve in a non-title match to earn a shot at the Divas Championship. Layla received her title opportunity on 15 October episode of Raw, however, would be unsuccessful in regaining the title from Eve. On 22 October episode of Raw, Layla helped Kaitlyn in a brawl against Eve, after finding out Eve sent an e-mail to Aksana at the Night of Champions pay-per-view to attack Kaitlyn. This would lead to a diva tag team match on 26 October episode of SmackDown with Layla teaming with Kaitlyn in a losing effort to Eve and Aksana after Layla accidentally kicked Kaitlyn. 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. The following week on the November 6 episode of Raw, Layla teamed with Kaitlyn in a diva tag team match against Eve and Aksana in a winning effort after Kaitlyn pinned Eve. The following week on the November 12 episode of Raw, Layla was defeated by Kaitlyn in singles competition to become the #1 contender for the divas title against Eve at the Survivor Series pay-per-view. At the TLC pay-per-view, Layla competed in a #1 contender "Santa's Little Helpers" diva battle royal to face Eve for the championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the match.
Since winning the Diva Search contest El has also done some modelling work. She has been featured in the magazines King, Smooth, and was the cover-girl for the first issue of Liquid. She also posed for FHM with the other members of Extreme Exposť. Layla, along with Beth Phoenix and Candice Michelle, appeared in the February 2009 issue of Flex Magazine.
In April 2007, Layla and other WWE Divas, Kelly Kelly, Brooke, Torrie Wilson, Ashley and Maryse, were filmed for Timbaland's music video "Throw It On Me" featuring The Hives. During the week of 5 November 2007, Layla appeared on five episodes of Family Feud with other WWE superstars. On 6 February 2008 she appeared on Project Runway with several WWE Divas as part of the week's challenge. She also appeared on 13 April 2008 episode of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp as a trainer.
In 2012, El ranked number 95 in Maxim's Hot 100.
El's mother died on August 8, 2008 after battling two decades of breast cancer. El has previously lived in Miami and Los Angeles.
Bombshell (Roundhouse kick) " 2012-present
The Face Lift (Diving somersault inverted facelock jawbreaker) " 2010-2011
Lay-Out (Hangman's neckbreaker) " 2010-2012; used rarely thereafter
Nasty Kick (Spinning roundhouse kick) " 2007-2010; used as a signature move thereafter
Arm drag, reversal into a pin
LOL - Lots of Layla (Springboard reverse crossbody)
Low dropkick to the opponent's face, as a sunset flip counter
Multiple kick variations
Shoot to a standing or seated opponent
Front dropkick to the opponent's back
Roll-up, sometimes while traping the leg of the opponent