Former WWE Divas Champion Layla has discussed her decision to retire from the ring in 2015 and why she feels that she left it too late to hang up her boots.
Layla, now known as Layla El entered WWE in 2006 as the winner of that year’s Diva Search competition. From there, the English native forged a successful career in which she held both the WWE Divas and Women’s Titles as well as forming a memorable tag team with Michelle McCool – LayCool.
Speaking to the Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, El discussed why she stepped away from the business in 2015:
“I took a break, I needed a break for myself, I was with WWE for about nine years. I was supposed to do these appearances and backed out, I wasn’t sure. Then I kind of got scared of being in the public eye. I didn’t want attention but I did my first appearance, and it was just fun, lighthearted. I thought, ‘Why not?’ Plus I wanted to see the fans again.”
“Fans would ask on social media why I didn’t do appearances. Are you going to come back to wrestling? No, but maybe appearances. It just naturally happened, which I’m glad it did. It’s so nice to see the fans again and feel the warmth from fans and the support. I miss that, but I also like the idea that I can go in for a couple of hours and leave again.”
A former dancer with Miami Heat, Layla then added that a combination of fears led to her decision to retire:
“I was getting older. I’m mid-life right now. Those days are gone. You get to a point as a woman, it’s really hard to age in the public eye. It really is. I didn’t want that for myself, I didn’t want to go out there. I stayed too long, I think I should have maybe retired three years before I did. That was the thought process for me. I didn’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want to get injured. In my head, I was kind of nervous. My time was gone. I loved it. I appreciated it, but my time has passed. You have to accept that and move on.”
Layla also discussed the gruelling travel schedule that needs to be kept by WWE Superstars:
“Sometimes I would only be home for one day. Sometimes we’d be gone for 18 days internationally. I loved it. I was young enough. It was a great moment in my life. It has a lot of wear and tears on you. The older you get, speaking for me personally, I was finding it hard to recover and stay in shape. You need sleep to stay in shape and eat certain foods. It was hard to maintain.”
Since hanging up her boots Layla has attained her real estate licence. In November 2015, four months after her official retirement Layla El married former WWE star, Ricky Ortiz.