In a move for which we were unprepared – and yet are unsurprised – Kaitlyn has parted ways with WWE via mutual consent. The official statement by the company was a little longer than its standard announcement of someone leaving:
As of Jan. 8, Kaitlyn (Celeste Bonin) will no longer be under contract with WWE. The former Divas Champion has chosen to pursue other endeavors outside the sports-entertainment world.
WWE wishes Kaitlyn the best in all her future endeavors.
Kaitlyn’s final WWE match took place on a Main Event taping in Philadelphia, PA last night where she wrestled Divas Champion AJ Lee – a woman she broke onto WWE TV with, stood alongside and more recently fought against. The contest will be televised tonight.
Soon after the official announcement, the former Divas Champion took to Twitter to express her feelings.
The “big things” she referred to were expanded on by her fiancé PJ Braun:
We at Ringbelles immediately liked Kaitlyn when she debuted on NXT’s season 3 premiere back in 2010. Rushed onto the show as a stand-in when Aloisia (Lindsay “Isis The Amazon” Hayward) was let go, her goofy attitude and implied flippancy to the whole deal was a big contrast to some of the others. While other competitors looked like they were holding the opportunity so tightly that they would break it, the former bodybuilder seemingly used her chance like it was a hacky sack, and it endeared her to us. However, winning the competition wasn’t the skyrocket that it could have been, as she did very little for the following six months until she formed the Chickbusters tag team alongside AJ – but even then, the newcomers spent little time on TV, and most of it was spent staring at the lights.
While she had a programme going with Maxine on NXT Redemption, it wasn’t until the spring of 2012 that Kaitlyn was given something to really get her teeth into, as she tried to help her friend get over being dumped by Daniel Bryan in order to stop her downward spiral. Instead, she was attacked for her trouble, leading to the breakup of the Chickbusters.
In August, she and Eve Torres battled over who would become the assistant to SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, with Eve winning. However, a stroke of luck fell upon Kaitlyn on the following week’s Raw, as Torres slipped from the apron during a battle royal, leaving Kaitlyn as the winner, and number one contender to Layla‘s Divas Title. Bear in mind – Eve was meant to win and there was a lot of confusion when the error happened, but this moment of fortune saw Kaitlyn’s fortunes start to rise.
As it turned out, she never received that title shot at Night Of Champions as she was attacked backstage, leaving WWE with the match it had been shooting for in the first place. Eve won the title, furthering her heel turn, and seeing Kaitlyn both seek out her mystery assailant and try to get the title shot which she earned and was robbed of. In the end, it was revealed that Aksana was the attacker, though she was put up to it at the request of Torres, leading to a tag team feud with Eve and Aksana against Layla and Kaitlyn – who were both cheated by the heels’ nefarious plan – though Kaitlyn’s quest for the title continued, even though she couldn’t get the championship due to Eve consistently running away or getting disqualified.
Torres’ running came to an end on the January 14, 2013 Raw when Kaitlyn defeated her in her home town of Houston, TX to win the belt to a massive pop. It would be the zenith of her career.
At the time, we expressed concern about Kaitlyn’s lack of title challengers. Once she beat Tamina Snuka at Elimination Chamber, she dropped off pay-per-views and briefly entered a flirtatious period with Cody Rhodes, which was abruptly cut off when the Bella Twins returned in March. Her next title challenger was AJ, who won a battle royal on April 22 to become the top contender, though their title match did not take place until Payback in June, following an angle where Kaitlyn was receiving gifts from a secret admirer which turned out to be Big E Langston as part of a big set up by AJ to humiliate her former friend.
The subsequent match was a good one, with an emotionally-unstable Kaitlyn dropping the belt, then failing to recapture it at Money In The Bank. The rematch was preceded by a great contract signing angle where AJ revealed that Kaitlyn had spoken badly about her friends to her “secret admirer” – the problem was that AJ was getting all the glory and Kaitlyn was being left with nothing, which seemed unfair. In the process of getting AJ over,the former champion was soundly buried as being a highly-strung loser.
Kaitlyn got a measure of revenge on AJ at SummerSlam in a mixed tag match, but disappeared soon after, resurfacing around Survivor Series as part of the never-ending Divas v Total Divas feud, but was soon returned to the shadows before the news of her leaving the company today.
It’s a shame – billed as the Hybrid Diva, Kaitlyn offered something different to WWE. She was muscular, pretty and had an infectiously likeable personality. She applied herself to the role and did pretty well for herself – especially at the start where she was dropped in at the deep end with NXT and prevailed. Granted, it took her a while to get some traction but worked hard when she inadvertently ended up in the Divas Title picture in late 2012. The problem was that there was no real plan to push her once she won the belt, which is a real pity as she could have been a quality asset to WWE over time. Instead, her wrestling career has been cut short – admittedly, by design – and we’re left with a lot of what ifs.
So what’s next? There is this big project which she seems to be working on, and it seems very possible that it will be something to do with the fitness world. Continuing in wrestling seems unlikely as TNA is hardly a desirable option these days – though a return to WWE could happen down the line.
Whatever happens, we wish Kaitlyn every success and happiness for the future. She made us smile when she was on the screen, and we thoroughly enjoyed her presence. We’ll miss her.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE