viernes, 11 de febrero de 2011

The Fabulous Moolah

One of professional wrestling's most prized talents is the ability to 'draw heat' - that is, to incense the fans so much that they buy tickets in the hope of seeing you beaten. When it came to drawing heat, few wrestlers - male or female - could match the talents of the Fabulous Moolah.
In a career lasting more than 60 years, she dominated women's wrestling as champion for over 3 decades. Her peak was when she lost the WWF title to Wendi Richter (whose manager was rainbow-haired songstress Cyndi Lauper) in a live match hosted by the then-fledgling MTV network.
Mary Lillian Ellison was born in 1923 in Kershaw County, South Carolina, and grew up in Tookiedoo, twelve miles from Columbia. The youngest of thirteen children, Ellison was the only daughter of a part Cherokee father and an Irish mother. Her parents owned a farm, a grocery store, and a service station.

When her mother died of cancer aged forty, eight-year-old Ellison went to live with her paternal grandmother and worked on her cousin's cotton farm to make money. At age ten, Ellison was still deeply distraught over her mother’s death; to cheer her up, her father took her to the local wrestling matches. Ellison liked the matches, but it was not until she saw Women's Champion Mildred Burke wrestle that "they began to mean much more to me."

Ellison returned to the Columbia home of her father and brothers. She graduated Columbia High School,but at age fourteen married twenty-one year old Walter Carroll. They soon became parents to a daughter. A few months after the birth of her daughter, she divorced Carroll. Still only fifteen, she left her daughter with a friend and set out on a wrestling career of her own.
Lillian debuted in 1949 as 'Slave Girl Moolah', valet to 'The Elephant Boy', but her career took off when, dressed in a leopard skin leotard, she became valet to 'Nature Boy' Buddy Rogers. Buddy was a 'heel' (a bad guy) and Moolah discovered a natural talent for the kind of bad-guy fould moves and slapstick that infuriated the crowds.
The Fabulous Moolah broke up the partnership after persistent pressure from Rogers to begin a sexual relationship, and began wrestling as a heel herself. She was only 5 feet 4 inches and 118 pounds when she began wrestling as a professional, but her nasty moves wowed the crowds. 

"Flying drop kick is when you jump flat-footed from the floor up as high as the person you're looking at and kick them in the face or in the chest, wherever you want to kick them, and then you fall to the floor," she told National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program in 2005.

"And then the flying head scissors is where you jump up, put both legs around their head and throw them forward as you come down. And a flying mare is when you get a girl by the hair of the head and pull her over your shoulder, then slam her to the mat as hard you can. And I love doing that."

Her jet-black hair dyed strawberry blonde, Ellison remained active in World Wrestling Entertainment into her last years, writing commercials for it. She received a call from McMahon in late 1998 about returning to the company. 

On the September 9, 1999 episode of SmackDown!, Jeff Jarrett invited Moolah into the ring and smashed a guitar over her head. Moolah and Young then began appearing regularly in comedic roles. She was profiled in the 2004 Ruth Leitman documentary "Lipstick & Dynamite," a history of women's pro wrestling. At the age of 76, clad in a sequined jacket over a green leotard, she pinned her opponent, Ivory, in a match at Cleveland and was again proclaimed the champion.

A fantastic achievement for any woman, let alone one just shy of 80! Nevertheless, her later wrestling years were somewhat ignoble even by 'heel' standards - she often did WWE wrestling skits of dubious taste where she tagteamed with Mae Young to sexually hassle young male wrestlers in the ring.
The Fabulous Moolah passed away in november 2007. In addition to her daughter from her first marriage, she is survived by six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her five marriages ended in divorce. She lived for many years with Katie Glass, a former midget wrestler known as Diamond Lil, who joined with her in training wrestlers.
The Fabulous Moolah said she never minded the booing inspired by her roughhouse antics.
"I loved when they got mad at me," she told The State newspaper of Columbia in 2005. "They called me all kinds of names. I said: 'Call me anything you want. You don't write my cheque.'"

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