WWE is forever evolving and adapting for new generations, but one thing that people never forget are the competitors who stood out from the crowd — the ones that brought something extra to the table. Melina was not only one of the greatest competitors to ever set foot inside a WWE ring, she was also extremely underrated during her time there.
Melina entered the WWE back in 2005 and her reputation as the loud-mouth manager of MNM sent shockwaves through the female roster. However, over the course of the next four years we would witness the birth of a WWE Diva who was so much more than we initially thought — an incredibly talented athlete and wrester. Allow me to highlight why Melina was worthy of the red carpet that she walked on every week.
A Great Character
Whether she was managing MNM or competing in the ring, Melina possessed something that most WWE competitors — male and female — have lacked in recent years: A great character. Highlighting that she was actually really good at being bad, Melina became the character that we loved to hate and week after week we would witness her verbally attack whomever she wanted. Her character was full of so much substance that one could be forgiven for thinking she had been ripped straight from a television script.
The paparazzi theme song and red carpet entrance only furthered her unique persona and from the moment that catchy music hit the arena, we all immediately knew what to expect — Melina, the A-list diva, was on her way.
Equally Loved As Both Heel And Face
No matter how over you are with the crowd, almost every WWE superstar experiences a heel turn at some point in their career — even the likes of The Undertaker. What was so unique about Melina is that she spent most of her career as a heel and her character never took any hurt from this. That badass superiority complex that the character possessed made her unforgettable and the booing crowd only added to her incredible skills on the microphone.
However, in her later career, when she was one of the last remaining members of the original MNM, Melina had well established herself as a competitor and somewhere along the way there was a shift — the crowd began to love Melina. It was remarkable how good Melina was as a face, despite the fact that she'd been so well established as a heel. It takes an incredibly good performer to thrive as both a heel and a face yet it was no bother for Melina — she could work the crowd, an ability that many current WWE superstars lack.
The Unforgettable Entrance
How a competitor enters the ring is an immediate indication of who they are as a character — take The Undertaker or Kane for example. The blue lights and the burning fire are perfect examples of their gimmick. Melina made an impression from her very first moment in WWE (and earlier, for those of us who remember her in OVW) when she made her way to ring down the red carpet. But the most memorable moment came when she lifted one leg onto the ring apron, followed by the other — sliding herself under the ring ropes and into the ring while performing the splits.
The world watched in awe and we never forgot Melina's incredible entrance. Over the years she mixed it up a little, dropping into the splits from a stand-up position and finally she altered it even further, using the bottom ring rope as leverage, she launched herself into the air and landed in the splits position. Her demonstration of flexibility was not only astounding, but lives on to this day as the greatest female entrance in WWE history.
A Great Manager
When Melina first debuted on SmackDown! as the manager of MNM — or as she always called the trio, "the 'It' team on the scene" — very few people were actually aware that she could wrestle. To be fair, she didn't need to — she was one of the only people in the company who was known for their sharp tongue, great insults and of course, her amazing ring entrance. Melina kept MNM afloat and it was her who fronted their in-ring or backstage promos.
For many years she remained the beautiful but opinionated manager of Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury and apart from an occasional brawl with the likes of Trish Stratus and Michelle McCool, Melina never really got the opportunity to highlight her wrestling ability until she and Nitro were moved over to RAW.
An Incredibly Talented Wrestler
After moving to RAW, Melina began to wrestle more regularly and after adopting a unique ring attire of her own, she quickly rose up the ranks and became one of the best technical wrestlers in the company. She won several championships and created several memorable allies. Melina's years on RAW proved that she was no longer seen as MNM's former manager — she was the greatest female wrestler in the company at the time.
Her unique flexibility also came in handy when executing exciting fresh maneuvers. Melina stood out from the crowd because she invented her own signature moves — specifically the incredible sunset split— all of which were accompanied by her signature primal scream, of course.
Moreover, Melina's 2007 rivalries with Mickie James and Ashley are two of her most memorable, filled with great matches and great in-ring promos. During this time she competed weekly on RAW against many of the Divas on the roster. Week after week she out-performed the likes of Candace Michelle and Maria Kanellis — it quickly became obvious that Melina was as good a competitor as Chyna, Lita or Trish Stratus. It's unfortunate that Melina never got more time in the limelight because if anybody deserved it, it was her.
Melina was responsible for so much of what you see in WWE's women's wrestling today — whether it be her unique wrestling moves, her unforgettable entrance or her instantly recognizable ring attire, Melina originated so much and accomplished all that she could during her time at WWE.
I think I speak for everybody when I say that I'd love to see Melina return someday to show the current female competitors how it's done, but for now the A-list Diva can reign supreme as the greatest ever female competitor in WWE and, unfortunately, the most underrated.
Would you like to see Melina return to WWE someday? Tell me in the comment section below.