She's the five-time TNA Knockout (singles) Champion. She spent several years in the WWE Developmental system before jumping over to TNA. She is, without question, the most successful woman to ever work in TNA. She's this week's Wrestler of the Week.
Lauren Williams was born near Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 13,1981. She grew up watching wrestling and adored Shawn Michaels. After high school, she got hired to work for a few Canadian independent wrestling groups as a valet. Veteran wrestler "El Fuego" Rob Etcheverria took notice of the young girl and offered to train her to become an actual wrestler. Williams was thrilled with the suggestion. Williams worked around the North American indy circuit from 2000 through 2004. Her first big break came in 2004, when she was brought into a growing TNA to face off against Trinity. She wrestled there as Angel Williams, a name that she used in most of her indy dates. She also used the ring identity of Canadian Angel for some of her work in Mexico and Canada.
The WWE System
In June, 2004, Williams was offered a try-out with the WWE. She was sent to the then-developmental territory known as Deep South Wrestling. Williams was used as both a wrestler and manager during her time in DSW. Her first big win, as a wrestler, came against current Divas co-champion, Michelle McCool, on 09/08/2005. On 02/09/2006, Williams was injured during a TV taping. She did come out for a scheduled Bikini Contest, but she remained covered up. 11 days later, WIlliams went through ACL repair surgery in Birmingham, Alabama. Williams underwent seven months of intense rehab before returning to DSW. She was given the management responsibilities for Gymini (a twins tag team that had a very minor run in WWE). When the Gymini were released, Williams returned to in-ring action. She feuded with Kristy Vaine, who served as the organization's on-screen General Manager. Vaine and other Divas constantly distracted Williams, causing her to go on a major losing streak.
Williams would eventually join up with Vaine to become the co-General Manager of DSW. Unfortunately, the training territory closed down in April, 2007. Williams was shifted over to the new developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. She only worked one dark match, against Serena, before being released by the WWE. It was later revealed that she was let go as part of a cost-cutting measure, not for any infraction that she had done.
TNA, the Second Time Around
After her release from the WWE, Williams headed down to Mexico. She resurrected her Canadian Angel persona for her run in AAA. She also worked for several North American indy groups. While in AAA, TNA was contacted by scouts in the area. They decided to offer Williams a place in the again-expanding company.
After several interviews, Angel Williams was booked into the Gauntlet Match to determine the first Knockout (singles) champion. She was eliminated by the future winner, Gail Kim, and O.D.B. Williams would return at Genesis in a losing effort in the Four Way Match for the Knockout title.
The Birth of the Beautiful People
Williams underwent a personality adjustment after her initial run against Gail Kim and became "Angelina Love". She was partnered up with Velvet Sky (Talia Madison). Their original grouping was known as Velvet-Love Enterprises. Due to some negative feedback, it was decided to give them a new team name. They became...The Beautiful People. They immediately took the heel stance, as they feuded with ODB and Roxxi (Laveaux). Love also had a singles feud against Gail Kim, who had lost the Knockout title to Awesome Kong. Love cost Kim the rematch and the fight was on. Due to all the various feuds, the Beautiful People brought in "muscle" by way of Moose (Mickie Knuckles). Moose was only an associate of the group for a short time, due to a severe leg injury.
After Taylor Wilde took the title from Awesome Kong in one of the most surprising wins in wrestling history, Love set her sights on the title. During this time, Love recruited Madison Rayne and Kute Kip (James) to join the elite group. At Lockdown 2009, Angelina Love won her first Knockout title. She pinned Taylor Wilde in a Three Way match that also included Awesome Kong. Kong's dreadlocks were tied to the cage so Love could pin Wilde. Love went into a bitter feud with Kong, who felt cheated out of "her" title. Love survived Kong's challenges, but wasn't so lucky against Tara (WWE's Victoria). On July 9, 2009, Tara ended Love's first reign as champion. At Victory Road 2009, Love began her second championship run when the ref didn't notice Tara's foot on the bottom rope during a pin.
Love's second run ended during a tag team match. Cody Deaner pinned Velvet Sky during the match. Technically, ODB was supposed to become champion but it started a feud between ODB and Cody. Love fell out of the title picture. The Beautiful People began to implode after the loss. Madison Rayne was booted out of the group. Sky and Love worked their way into the finals of the tournament to determine the first Knockout Tag Team Champions. During the tournament, Love's work visa expired and she was released by TNA. Madison Rayne was brought back into the Beautiful People clique to replace Angelina Love.
TNA, Third Time's the Charm
On January 2, 2010, it was announced that Love had resolved her visa issues and had been rehired by TNA. She first showed up on the January 14th episode of Impact. She was in the crowd and had hugs and nice comments for Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. The love (pun fully intended) fest was merely a ploy and Angelina attacked Sky, Rayne and Lacey Von Erich after the "New and Improved" Beautiful People fought against the tag champs, Awesome Kong and Hamada. That kick-started a nasty feud. Love first focused on Lacey, Love's "replacement" in the Beautiful People. She then went after Madison Rayne. Eventually, she set her sights on Velvet Sky.
Love "won" her third Knockout title as part of the ill-conceived "Lockbox Challenge". In the four boxes were: The Knockout title, an "Any Match Challenge", Poison (Tara's spider) and a forced Striptease. Tara won her spider, Daffney got the striptease (which was interrupted by Lacey), Velvet got the "Any Stipulation Match" and Love got the Knockout title. That set off a feud with Tara, who had been the title holder. At Lockdown, Madison Rayne took the title in a tag team match, when she pinned Tara (Love's partner). Shortly after that match, Love injured the ligaments in her arm and was forced to sideline her path back to the women's title.
After recovering, she went on a crusade to destroy the Beautiful People, one at a time. She hit DDTs on both Lacey Von Erich and Velvet Sky, driving them into steel chairs. At Victory Road, Love faced Rayne in a Title v Career match where the title would change hands on a disqualification. Rayne, indeed, got DQd and Love started her fourth title run. A mysterious motorcycle woman rushed the ring and attacked Love. Since there was no way to prove that the woman (Tara) was aligned with the Beautiful People, the fourth reign was negated and the title returned to Rayne. Love would start her fifth reign, two weeks later, when she brought out Velvet Sky to counter Motorcycle Mama Tara. Love has now re-partnered with Sky to form a new incarnation of the Beautiful People. Love is now the hunted. She has a large target on her back.
Angelina Love is the most successful Knockout in the company, so far. She's held the Knockout title on five different occasions. She's been involved in feuds with just about every top Knockout to pass through the Florida-based company. She has broken free from the typical cookie-cutter Knockout/Diva look. She is a trend-setter. She is also this week's Wrestler of the Week.