Former WWE Diva Kelly Kelly would love to be a guest on a Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast as she has plenty to discuss these days -- not only her upcoming nuptials to NHL hockey star Sheldon Souray but more recently her co-starring efforts in the new reality TV series “WAGS” on E!.
E! takes a wild ride into the world of some of today’s hottest professional athletes from the perspective of the women who stand by their side, otherwise known as WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars).
These WAGS, including Barbie Blank (formerly WWE’s Kelly Kelly), are playing the most competitive sport out there: getting and keeping that pro-athlete man. As part of an elite, exclusive group, the WAGS are close friends who are bound together by a strict hierarchy, unspoken rules and plenty of drama – and those who have the coveted ring and a husband with a contract are the ones with all the power.
“I missed entertaining since I retired from WWE [in 2012], and I wanted to do something,” she said. “A production company asked if I wanted to be involved, so I ran the idea by my fiance, and he was all on board, and the rest is history.”
That history is just starting for this new drama-filled series.
As in sports, this game is all about getting that “W” and this pack knows how to play the field. Jump into the competitive, fast-paced, glamorous world of “WAGS” when the new series premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday, Aug. 18 on E!. The show follows WWE “Total Divas” on E!.
“I think it is really great of E! to put us on after [WWE] ‘Total Divas,’ especially with me doing [WWE] for so many years,” Blank said. “I feel like a lot of their fans who watch that show will know who I am and will want to watch [WAGS].”
A lot of them also like to watch Stone Cold Steve Austin. Blank is no diffierent.
Blank, 28, noted Stone Cold Steve Austin as her favorite wrestler growing up -- something which led to the athletic beauty giving the pro wrestling/sports entertainment business a shot and inking a deal with WWE at just 19.
“To this day, he is still my favorite,” she said. “When I heard him say that I was his favorite diva, I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s the biggest honor.’”
Whether she’s promoting “WAGS” or not, but she is currently promoting “WAGS,” she would love to be a guest on his podcast. Maybe word will reach him.
They share a WWE and sports bond. Austin played football in high school and college. Blank’s athletic background includes competitive gymnastics for 11 years, competitive cheerleading, track and softball while living in (North Florida) Jacksonville. A University Christian School graduate, she attended nearby Florida Community College of Jacksonville, working toward a degree in broadcast journalism.
Many family members (dad, aunt, uncle, cousins, sister) live in Miami. Her father moved to Miami after she graduated high school, and Blank lived there a year.
“I loved Miami,” she said.
Blank spent just six months in college, before WWE came calling.
A very pretty young lady with a great figure, Blank modeled bikinis for Hawaiian Tropic and Venus Swimwear.
“[WWE] saw me in the Venus Swimwear catalog and called my agent at the time and said they were interested,” she recalled, “and being that I had an athletic background -- my agent told them I was athletic, I was a gymnast -- WWE sent me out for a tryout, had me come down for a week, and that’s how I got hired. [she chuckles]”
Former ECW original and WWE superstar Tommy Dreamer became her big brother, helping her transition into the pro wrestling/sports entertainment world. She began as a ring girl while learning the in-ring wrestling skill.
“He kind of took me under his wing and definitely helped me out a lot,” she said. “I was starting out for the company on [WWE’s] ECW, and that was a really hard, hard show to start out on [giggles] -- because it’s all hardcore fans, right -- the ring girls thrown through tables, getting hit with chairs... I was nervous, but that was fun.”
John Laurinaitis, who signed her, Rob Van Dam, Sandman also assisted in her maturation process. A 19-year-old fresh out of high school involved in the macho world of pro wrestling/sports entertainment, she had lots to learn inside and outside the squared circle.
“I had to move to Louisville, Kentucky to train [at Ohio Valley Wrestling] for a year,” she said. “I had never lived on my own. I didn’t even know how to wash my own clothes. It was a rude awakening. So the first year was really hard. It’s not as easy and glamorous as everyone thinks it is. You have to rent your own cars. You have to get your own hotels. You have to drive many miles at night. You’re on the road so many days a year. So for a 19-year-old, it was a lot.”
On the flipside, Blank loved performing.
“I loved coming out through the curtain and hearing the crowd chant your name and scream for you and cheer for you,” said Blank, a former WWE divas champion. “It’s the best feeling. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, but it’s the best feeling in the world.
“So I definitely miss performing in front of the fans, but [WAGS] is a way to kind of entertain still, do my own thing and let fans see where I am now, after [WWE].”
Blank was into pro wrestling/sports entertainment. Hockey, not so much.
“Hockey was not big in Florida, so I never really understand or was into it,” she said. “When I met my fiance, I really didn’t know much about it. When we started dating, I got into it and started cheering him on, and I became his No.1 fan.”
Turnabout is fair play. He did not know much about WWE, a place she called home from 2006-12.
“He became my No.1 fan, too,” she said. “If you watch SummerSlam in 2011, he was front row with my mom, and he had a [pink] shirt on with my signature, standing in the front row, and I went over and hugged him and kissed him, and he was all excited. So it was cute. We support each other.”
His mom was a huge wrestling fan [Blank giggles], who started watching again when her son started dating Kelly Kelly. Every Monday his mother (her new No.2 fan) made sure to phone Kelly Kelly for the scoop on the superstars and divas of WWE.
Blank liked the name Barbie, but she could not use the name Barbie for her wrestling name for obvious copyright, licensing, trademark reasons. WWE offered her the name Kelly. It turned into Kelly Kelly from an episode on the hit comedy series “Cheers.”
The happy couple (Blank and Souray) met through a mutual friend in Tampa, where Blank lived.
“He had a game [against the Tampa Bay Lightning], and my girlfirend had known him for years,” Blank said. “So we went to a dinner one night, and he was there...and that was it.”
That mutual friend will be her maid-of-honor. Wise choice.
Former WWE divas Layla and Maryse [Miz’s wife] are in her wedding party.
As for WAGS...
The WAGS life has plenty of perks, but the diamonds and mansions don’t come easy. These women are constantly strategizing and fine-tuning their playbooks to keep their place in the line-up among the other WAGS, and to maintain the high-profile celebrity lifestyle that comes along with that role.
In this 8-episode series, E!’s WAGS are faced with tough decisions as players change teams, forcing some to decide whether or not to uproot their lives and move across the country. Additionally these women are constantly working to find ways to balance their own careers and interests with the demands of their partner’s sports schedules.
And while one WAG is planning her magical wedding, another one’s fiancé is getting cold feet. E!’s WAGS are bonded together by long-time friendships, but rank has its privileges in this group, and the competition to rise to the top and be “queen” of the WAGS brings plenty of drama.
Get the stats on E!’s “WAGS”
Barbie Blank (Kelly Kelly)
Barbie is engaged to Sheldon Souray (most recently of the Anaheim Ducks) and the two are actively planning their January 2016 wedding in Cabo! Barbie is a former WWE Diva known as “Kelly Kelly,” who made her debut at only 19 years old. She performed from 2006-2012, which included being the Diva’s Champion in 2011. As a former athlete herself, she’s not a “typical” WAG, but with the pending wedding, Barbie is very excited to move up the hierarchy chain and legitimize her WAG status.
Autumn met Seyi Ajirotutu of the Philadelphia Eagles in college, and the two are now married with twin girls. After leaving the San Diego Chargers, Seyi recently signed with the Eagles and now Autumn is faced with having to decide whether to uproot her family and turn her life upside down to move to Philly. Autumn has always loved to party and is finding it difficult at times to transition from that life to being a new mom.
Sasha is the queen WAG of the group, married to a 5-time All Pro Player from the San Diego Chargers who has a multi-million dollar contract. She was featured in music videos until she met her husband, but now she’s a doting wife and mother to a little girl with another one on the way. However, Sasha still has her own interests as she starts looking into a music career. She also has a children’s clothing line called Wittle Ones, with best friend/business partner Autumn Aijrotutu, which features cute football clothes for kids.
Ashley North is a WAGS descendant (her father was a Major League Baseball player who played for the SF Giants, Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs), who gets a lot of great advice from her dad on how to navigate this competitive world, including an emphatic warning not to date athletes! However, Ashley chose not to heed his advice – she has been with Dashon Goldson of the Washington Redskins for over 11 years and the two have a young daughter together named Charly. They have been engaged for a year, but Dashon's hesitation with locking in a wedding date is a serious cause for concern. Outside of her "role" as a WAG and mother, Ashley is trying to balance her own career as a celebrity stylist whose clients have included Kevin Hart, Justin Bieber and J Cole among others.
Nicole has been dating Larry English of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four years now, and she is ready for that ring! She is a gorgeous, successful working model who is always on the road traveling for jobs, having modeled for Old Navy, Gucci, La Senza, Macy’s and more – she was even tapped to appear in Robin Thicke’s “Treats” video. While she prides herself with having her own life, Nicole tries to keep Larry on a short leash as she struggles with the “jersey chasers” who follow these NFL players everywhere they go!
Natalie Halcro and Olivia Pierson
Natalie and Olivia are gorgeous, cousins and best friends who launched a beauty and fashion blog together that proved to be so successful, they are taking it to the next level – but mixing family and business is always a challenge! Natalie's boyfriend is Shaun Phillips who has played for the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. They have been together for 2 1/2 years and while Shaun is looking to take things to the next level, Natalie is very independent and has to figure out how to balance this relationship with her own career plans, especially now that she has reached “Instafame” with a million Instagram followers! Olivia is single and a hopeless romantic, but will only dates athletes. She has been linked to players from the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Clippers!
Don’t miss a minute of the action as E! gives you a front row seat to the real competition when “WAGS” premieres 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Follow the show handle @WAGSonE and join the conversation using the hashtag #WAGS.
“WAGS” follows WWE “Total Divas” on E!
About E! Entertainment
E! is the only global, multiplatform brand for all things pop culture. The network is currently available to 98 million cable and satellite subscribers in the U.S. Eonline delivers breaking entertainment news and in-depth coverage on television, movies, music, celebrities, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. One of the fastest-growing, most influential digital properties, Eonline is a leader in online video and mobile and a leading entertainment brand across social.
E! programming includes core franchises "E! News," "The Soup" and "Fashion Police," popular series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Total Divas," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," "Botched" and "House of DVF," as well as the network's first original scripted series "The Royals." Additionally, E!'s "Live from the Red Carpet" signature events keep fans connected to their favorite stars on pop culture's biggest nights. E! is a network of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.
E! Entertainment is a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.
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