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Maria made her in-ring return on the July 3 episode of Smack Down, teaming with Melina to defeat Lay Cool (Michelle Mc Cool and Layla).
Maria then took a brief hiatus from the ring to film the Celebrity Apprentice, but returned on the December 4 episode of Smack Down by helping Mickie James fend off an attack by Lay Cool.
She also competed at Wrestle Mania XXV for the "Miss Wrestle Mania" crown, but was eliminated by Victoria.
Throughout June, Maria served as the special guest referee in Diva matches.
On the January 2, 2006 episode of Raw, Maria was attacked and stripped of her clothes by Vince's Devils (Victoria, Torrie Wilson, and Candice Michelle), but she was saved by Ashley Massaro.
During a commercial break that night, Vince Mc Mahon announced a Gauntlet Bra & Panties Match for New Year's Revolution between all five girls.
On the November 28 episode of Raw, Maria interviewed then-Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff, and asked him whether or not he thought he was going to be fired.
He then booked her in a match with Kurt Angle out of spite, and Maria was laid out with the Angle Slam.
In the same year, she placed fifth in the Raw Diva Search, later hired by WWE as a backstage interviewer.She made her in-ring return the following week, teaming up with James to defeat Lay Cool.On December 14, Maria won the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year, which was voted for by WWE fans.At New Year's Revolution, Maria and Candice ran to the ring during the Women's Championship match between Victoria and Mickie James to stop Melina from interfering, helping James retain the title.
Maria began an on-screen romance with Santino Marella in June 2007.
Kanellis began competing in the ring as a wrestler in 2005.