|Mary Louis "Maria" Kanellis|
|Ring Names|| Maria |
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||120 lb (54 kg)|
|Born||February 25, 1982 (36)|
|Trained by|| Ohio Valley Wrestling |
|Debut||July 15, 2004|
A former beauty queen who earned her college degree at Northern Illinois University, the beautiful Maria first caught the attention of the WWE Universe when she nearly won the 2004 Diva Search. Although she didn't come out on top in the competition, the Illinois native still made her way to Raw as a backstage interviewer who wasn't afraid to ask any question, from the hard-hitting to the quirkily obvious.
From there, Maria's role quickly expanded by leaps and bounds. At first, she was tentative to step into the ring, but she began to learn the ropes, literally. After departing the company in 2011, Kanellis embarked on a search for "the perfect partner," only to find one in her husband, Mike. The two returned and debuted, respectively, at WWE Money in the Bank 2017 to the strains of a face-melting power ballad, promising to educate SmackDown LIVE in the power of love.
Other media Edit
Maria signing autographs at the 2011 Chicago Comic Con
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. Kanellis later appeared on VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, along with John Cena. On December 17, 2009, she was a guest host on G4's Attack of the Show. Kanellis began a new career as a mixed martial arts announcer for HDNet on March 26, 2010 at the King of the Cage event in Reno, Nevada. Kanellis was also a contestant on the Celebrity Apprentice, which premiered in March 2010. She was eliminated on the May 16 episode. She placed fifth out of fourteen contestants.
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. That same year, FHM named her 53rd of 100 on their "The Sexiest Women 2008" list. With WWE transitioning to PG content a few months after Kanellis's pictorial and WWE dropping its use of the term WWE Diva in 2016 in favor of referring to the female talent as WWE Superstars along with the men, Kanellis was ultimately the last active WWE Diva to pose nude for the magazine.
Kanellis is also a singer and released her debut album Sevin Sins on April 13, 2010, with "Fantasy" as the first single.
In early 2011, Kanellis starred in online comedy web show Funny or Die, and in March 2011 she launched her own perfume line called Signature. In September 2011, Kanellis launched her DVD line in conjunction with Code Red DVD called Maria's B Movie Mayhem.
In January 2014, Kanellis and Bennett launched a weekly podcast called Mike & Maria in Wonderland.
Personal life Edit
Kanellis previously dated fellow wrestler CM Punk. In a December 2011 interview, Kanellis confirmed she was dating Mike Bennett, and they later got engaged. On October 10, 2014, Kanellis and Bennett married.
In 2013, Kanellis was announced as one of the recipients of WWE's Talent Scholarship, which she utilized to obtain a degree in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management from Johnson & Wales University, graduating in May 2017.
On September 25, 2017, Kanellis announced she and Bennett were expecting their first child. On January 12, 2018, the couple made an announcement via the WWE's YouTube channel that their baby is going to be a girl, due in April 2018. On April 3, 2018, the couple welcomed their daughter, Fredrica "Freddie" Moon Bennett.
Championships and accomplishments Edit
- Family Wrestling Entertainment
- FWE Women's Championship (2 times)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Ranked No. 21 of the top 50 female wrestlers in the PWI Female 50 in 2008
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- TNA Knockouts Championship (1 time)
- WWE/World Wrestling Entertainment
- Slammy Award for Diva of the Year (2009)