THE FABULOUS MOOLAH!! (click here to read the entire story)
Ms. Lillian Ellison…
…better known by her ring name as “The Fabulous Moolah”.
I was watching “The View” on Thanksgiving day and it was a repeat episode from earlier this month. Whoopi took a few minutes out of the opening moments of the show to hold up a picture and say a few nice words about Moolah. I was kinda sad to hear of her passing and surprised I missed it when it was initially announced. I was a huge professional wrestling fan in the mid-80’s and I was really into the crazyness of Women’s Professional Wrestling. I’m glad Whoopi took time out to mention her- she said she was also a fan and had watched Moolah back in the day. She’ll be missed.
I remember as a kid watching professional wrestling all the time. Hulk Hogan and The Iron Sheik were all the rage at that time. A couple of nights a week, I’d be park myself on the floor and take control of the TV set…much to my mothers chagrin.
I’d cheer and yell as if I was actually there and then in between commercials I’d turn around and explain to my mom who exactly was wrestling who and how great they were and what they said about each other the previous week…and now that I think about it- she probably didn’t give a damn but listened anyway. Once in a while she’d surprise me and say “Isn’t that the guy that won last week and then….”
Things really got heated when MTV got into it. Long story short- a WWF manager named Captain Lou Albano had been on “Piper’s Pit” (and I’m not explaining all these people and places, either ya know or ya don’t) anyway… Lou was taking all kinds of crazy, saying that he made Cyndi Lauper the star she was and was her manager. So, Rowdy Roddy Piper did an interview with Cyndi… and “The Rock N’ Wrestling Connection” was born. Cyndi challenged Lou to settle their feud in the ring, they’d each get a wrestler to battle it out. Captain Lou went out and found “The Fabulous Moolah”…the WWF Womens Champion, who was not only the Champ- but she had held the title for 28 years! Cyndi found a wrestler from Dallas, TX named Wendi Richter who had been trained by Moolah and had actually come close to defeating her on several occasions. Wendi became my favorite and I’ve even got an autographed picture of her somewhere in the vault.
Wendi Richter (in pink) puts the moves on Moolah.
July 23, 1984 -New York
The event was televised live from Madison Square Garden on MTV. At the end of the bout, Wendi’s hand was raised in victory. She was in her early twenties at the time and she had finally beaten the one, the only- Fabulous Moolah. It was great. My dad even took me once (after begging and pleading and begging) to the arena downtown once to see them wrestle. It was one of the various re-matches where Moolah tried to re-gain her championship belt. I can’t tell you the excitement of a kid seeing their favorite wrestling and the cheers and yelling that goes on at those things, you have to experience it.
There was even a Saturday morning cartoon show about several of the wrestlers. Cyndi even used Wendi and a few others in her videos from time to time….which I think is how the whole feud started. Captain Lou was in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video.
“Whatcha’ gonna do with your life?!”
Another thing I remember was going to the closed-circuit live television broadcast of the first (and best) WRESTLEMANIA. It was amazing…nothing like that had been done before and I had to BEG for those tickets too!! Actually, I think another time I made my mom go with me….she was the only one available (I told her we could leave after Moolah wrestled). We went and saw Moolah after she regained the belt, so I had to go and yell at her. I loved to hate Moolah.
As I got older some of the wrestlers left the WWF or retired and I became less interested in wrestling….occasionally I’d turn it on, just to see who was still choking who but around this time- I got really heavy into Music (80’s music…you know the story, read the Expose’ story on this blog!) Wendi had left the WWF after “the original screw job” she got from Vince McMahon after asking for a meeting with him and questioning the royalties she should be earning from the Saturday morning cartoon and merchandise….(so I hear).
Moolah, “winning” back her title- November 25, 1985.
Moolah was still active in wrestling and doing her thing. As the years went by she continued to be a minor story line within the WWF. She was even inducted into the WWF (now WWE) Hall Of Fame….the first woman (and rightly so) to have the honor. She was promised a wrestling match on her 80th birthday and McMahon scheduled one for her. Sadly….her brother passed away and she was not able to keep the commitment but still made appearances now and again with Mae Young. Moolah would trade the belt back and forth over the next few years and was even immortalized with an action figure!
Will the real Fabulous Moolah, please stand up?
The Fabulous Moolah became a wrestling legend. She was around in the early day and saw it all. She started as a “valet” and eventually made her way into the wrestling ring. I believe that the gentleman that would eventually become her manager told her that she was “Fabulous!” and asked her why she wanted to wrestle…her reply is what helped her get her name. She answered “for the money…for the Moolah!” and her new name became part of wrestling history.
She even wrote a book about her life. Aside from all the coolness of being the greatest female wrestler of all time…she even met Elvis! Don’t be jealous! Here’s her book-
The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle.
Wow…I’m typing alot more than I thought I would for this. Believe it or not, Moolah was a big part of my childhood. Other kids may have been into “Transformers” and “Pac Man”…I was into The Fabulous Moolah. I wish I could have met her but I guess seeing her was enough. As I got older, I realized I didn’t actually hate her… she was actually pretty cool. Who else could go into a bar and beat most men in an arm wrestling contest on any given night?
Moolah left us on Novermber 2, 2007…. she’ll be missed.
she was still FABULOUS at 84!
One tough broad…and I mean that as a compliment.