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WWE: The Fabulous Moolah

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posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 01:15 PM
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In the world of women's wrestling, there will always be one irrefutable legend that stands head and shoulders above the rest: The Fabulous Moolah. She was the longest reigning champion in the history of her chosen sport, or any sport for that matter. With more than 50 years in the business to her credit, she has established a legacy that will never be forgotten, making her name synonymous with female wrestling.

Born Lillian Ellison, she was trained for the ring in the 1940s by then Women's Champion Mildred Burke, the sport's biggest female star at the time. But her career actually began outside the ring, where she served as one of wrestling's first female valets. Dubbed Slave Girl Moolah by promoter Jack Pfeffer, she was an alluring presence at ringside for competitors such as the gruesome Elephant Boy and the United States Champion, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers.

Her in ring career began hitting its stride by the mid 1950s, when she began calling herself "The Fabulous Moolah". In 1956, she defeated Judy Grable in a tournament final for the vacant Women's Championship of the world. She would go on to hold the title for the next 28 years, a feat unprecedented in the annals of human achievement.

One of the greatest achievements of this period came in 1972, when she and Vincent J. McMahon successfully beat the ban against women's wrestling at Madison Square Garden.

In July 1984, her 28-year reign was ended in Madison Square Garden by Wendi Richter, a young competitor managed by pop star Cyndi Lauper who was at the time the female equivalent of Hulk Hogan.

Moolah began phasing out her in-ring exploits, choosing instead to manage Hawaiin Superstar Leilani Kai. With Moolah's guidance, Kai beat Richter for the Women's title, setting up a match between the two at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Richter would regain the gold, and it would be Moolah herself, under a mask as the "Spider Lady", who would finally take back the championship from Wendi not long after.

After trading the title back and forth with Australian grappler Velvet McIntyre, she returned from a tour down under with her gold intact. It would be while competing in Canada that Moolah was conclusively parted from her title once and for all, when she was beaten in 1987 by Sensational Sherri Martel. Following the loss, Moolah became less and less a part of the WWE scene, until she completely disappeared. It seemed that the queen of women's wrestling had finally come to the end of her run.

Imagine the surprise of fans everywhere when in 1999, Moolah by that time in her 70s returned to WWE television, this time with long-time friend and fellow competitor Mae Young by her side. Then in October, at No Mercy 99, the unthinkable happened: Moolah defeated reigning WWE Women's Champion Ivory to win the title for the fourth time and become the oldest titleholder in the history of the sport.

She didn't hold it long, but it was a testament to her amazing tenacity and ability that she was able to make such a miraculous comeback in the first place. She and Mae Young continue to be a part of the extended WWE family to this day.

WWE Hall of fame




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