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Melina Nava Perez (born March 9, 1979), is an American professional wrestler best known working for WWE under the ring name Melina.
Perez joined the independent professional wrestling circuit in 2004 and WWE later that year. Initially, she was a manager for the tag team MNM. She managed them to three reigns as WWE Tag Team Champions, as well as Johnny Nitro to two reigns as WWE Intercontinental Champion. Perez made her WWE singles debut in 2005 and is a three-time WWE Women's Champion, winning the belt twice in 2007 and once in 2009. She also captured the WWE Divas Championship on two occasions in 2009 and 2010, making her a five-time champion overall. As a WWE Diva, Melina was known for her unique ring entrance, which involved jumping up and landing into a splits position on the ring's apron before sliding into the ring underneath the bottom rope. On August 5, 2011, Melina was released from her contract with WWE.
She started training at Jesse Hernandez's School of Hard Knocks in San Bernardino, California and made her professional debut in April 2002. Many EWF officials stated that she had the most natural ability of any woman who came through their school.In late 2002, Perez auditioned for World Wrestling Entertainment's reality show Tough Enough III, making it through to the final twenty-one before being eliminated from the competition in the final cut of the first episode. After she was eliminated from the contest, trainer Al Snow pulled her aside and encouraged her to keep trying to pursue her dream as a wrestler.
Perez debuted in WWE's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in March 2004, being placed in a storyline as John Hennigan's ex-girlfriend. The storyline had Matt Cappotelli introduce her to the ring as a way to taunt Hennigan. Melina, however, turned on Cappotelli and aligned herself with Hennigan, who later changed his ring name to Johnny Nitro. Soon after, the duo began teaming with Joey Matthews, later known as Joey Mercury. The trio became known as MNM and on November 10, Melina managed Mercury and Nitro to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship. During her time in OVW, Melina, Nitro, and Steven Adkins came up with Melina's trademark split ring entrance.
Melina made her first Raw appearance on November 29, 2004, when Randy Orton was the guest General Manager and hosted a Diva lingerie fashion show. She made another Raw appearance in December, participating in a limbo contest when Chris Jericho was General Manager for the night
MNM made their debut in WWE as a villainous tag team on the April 14, 2005, edition of SmackDown!. The team interrupted the first ever Carlito's Cabana interview segment, where one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Rey Mysterio, was a guest. Melina insulted Mysterio and had Mercury and Nitro attack him, leading to MNM's in-ring debut the next week on SmackDown! in a title match. The team won the match against Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero, starting their first WWE Tag Team Title reign.
While managing the Tag Team Champions, Melina's character was developed to be more egotistical as she declared herself "the most-dominant Diva in WWE." She made her official WWE in-ring debut on June 30 against Michelle McCool and had her first pay-per-view match (a Bra and Panties match) at The Great American Bash against Torrie Wilson, winning both matches. Also at The Great American Bash, MNM dropped their championship to the Legion of Doom, prompting a new storyline where Melina hired Jillian Hall, a "fixer", to assist them.MNM regained the title on October 28 in a Fatal Four-Way tag team match. On the Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show Melina won an interpromotional Divas battle royal by eliminating Women's Champion Trish Stratus. The next week, as a part of the new storyline, MNM kidnapped Stratus, and Melina challenged her to a match for the Women's Championship. The two fought at Survivor Series, with Melina losing to Stratus.
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