Keibler, a WWE fan favorite from the early 2000s, will be inducted into WWE's 2023 Hall of Fame class alongside Rey Mysterio, The Great Muta and late comedian Andy Kaufman
After a storied career, former WWE Superstar Stacy Keibler can now add "Hall of Famer" to her name — and it's a moment she didn't anticipate happening.
The 43-year-old will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame later this month, just before the start of WrestleMania 39, taking place over two nights from April 1 and April 2 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
"I never thought I would be in the Hall of Fame, to be honest," she tells PEOPLE. "I was completely shocked when I got the call. I had tears in my eyes."
Keibler said she found out when she received an unexpected call from a WWE representative two weeks ago while home in her kitchen.
"When she told me, I screamed, and tears were in my eyes, and I was completely overwhelmed with just gratefulness," Keibler recalls.
Along with Keibler, WWE has announced that Rey Mysterio, The Great Muta and late comedian Andy Kaufman will also be included in the 2023 Hall of Fame class.
Keibler, a former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader, was originally a World Championship Wrestling (WCW) performer. She joined the company after winning a contest to become a member of their "Nitro Girls" dance group.
Looking back, Keibler says she was compelled to enter the competition simply because she was a pro wrestling fan.
"I would go to every show within a three-hour drive from Baltimore," she says. "I drove to Philly, and I drove to New York, I drove to D.C. I was in the stands wearing my NWO shirts and holding my posters."
As she began to take a more significant role in WCW, the company was purchased by its rival, World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly World Wrestling Federation), where Keibler continued to blossom and became a fan favorite after debuting with the organization in 2001.
During her time in the WWE, Keibler was both a hero and a heel (villain) and shared feuds with other female wrestlers such as Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus and Lita. She also served as a manager to The Dudley Boyz and as an on-screen executive assistant to WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
Been busy the last few years as a mother, wife and raising my kids, but excited to be back and reconnect! pic.twitter.com/op5VGtlLi3
— Stacy Keibler (@StacyKeibler) March 23, 2023
Since leaving WWE, Keibler competed in Dancing with the Stars, where she finished third during the show's second season, and appeared in episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Psych.
But most of her time in recent years, she says, has been spent with her husband, Jared Pobre, and their three young children, Ava Grace, Bodhi Brooks, and Isabella Faith, intheir homes in Austin, Texas, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
"I've entered into another chapter of being a mom, and anyone with three kids knows that that's a juggling act, and it's my full-time job," she says of raising her family.
"So I have taken a step back to focus on putting my heart and soul into that," she continues. "Now because I've been a performer since the age of seven, of course, it's also in my heart, but it's just something that I've kind of taken a backseat to that, focusing on something else."
Keibler and Pobre have been married since 2014 after a mutual friend previously introduced them. As they told PEOPLE in 2019, their romance officially sparked after they were serendipitously seated next to each other on a flight. She and Pobre also operate their men's skincare line, Caldera + Lab.
Keibler says she's excited for her family to get a taste of what her WWE stardom was like during the Hall of Fame ceremony.
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"My husband's coming, my husband's family's coming, my family, my kids," she says. "We have friends coming from L.A., from Austin. So it's really exciting because a lot of these people didn't get to see me in action."
"I get tears in my eyes every time," Keibler adds. "How am I going to keep it together? I got to keep it together."
With rumors of her Hall of Fame induction swirling, Keibler reemerged on social media recently to share a picture of her and her three children on Instagram and Twitter. Many fans also took the chance to flood Keibler with "welcome back" messages.
She says it's her connection with fans she is most proud of regarding her time in WWE.
"The fans are the ones that made it possible," she tells PEOPLE. "I owe so much to them for getting me to this point in my career."
"I've spent time just reflecting, and I feel so lucky to have this extraordinary time with the organization, the community, but most of all the fans," she adds. "And it's shaped my life, and there's nothing else that can get me more excited in the exact same way as being live in front of the WWE fans. Their passion is contagious. So I'm just so excited."
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Read the original article on People.