Fans Are Revolting Against WWE Honoring Fabulous Moolah, With Good Reason

March 14, 2018 - WWE

Screenshot: WWE (YouTube)

On Monday night, during this week’s book of Monday Night Raw, WWE done an proclamation that was half approaching and half a surprise. The partial that everybody approaching was a news that WWE’s womanlike talent would be removing their possess reflection to a annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal during WrestleMania. What was not approaching was that a distaff women’s chronicle would be called a Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal.

In a sense, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. In WWE lore, a dual uber-legends of women’s wrestling have been Moolah (real name Lillian Ellison) and her mentor/companion Mae Young; a dual upheld divided in 2007 and 2014, respectively. Given that final year’s women’s contest carrying been named a Mae Young Classic, it done a certain arrange of clarity that a analogous conflict stately would be named after Moolah. But there was a reason that it wasn’t. For a past year or so, WWE had fundamentally abandoned Moolah’s existence and treated Young—who was, while a good wrestler, never utterly a large name that WWE done her out to be—as a one loyal fable of women’s wrestling. Some of this seemed to be a outcome of WWE scion Stephanie McMahon’s loyalty with Young, and usually that would be reason enough. But there’s another reason since WWE competence have wanted to disappear Moolah from a central history.

Moolah’s diagnosis of a women that she lerned to work in her fast of wrestlers from a 1950s by a 1980s has, in a amicable media age, turn something many some-more than a open tip that it used to be. Moolah, it turns out, was a user, and while what accurately that exploitation entailed and how pithy she was about it depends on a source, it roughly always involves holding an extreme cut of her troupe’s gain and mostly involves passionate exploitation of a wrestlers. As of late Monday night, WWE’s twitter of a proclamation video had over 800 replies, roughly all of them negative, with many citing Moolah’s repute and some joking about fixing a compare after Chris Benoit or Jimmy Snuka instead. Maybe half a dozen were disastrous for other reasons, though usually one of a many that we saw was indeed pro-Moolah. If there was an augmenting perspective that WWE had veered divided from Moolah since fans now know about a allegations opposite her, that perspective seems during slightest half right. It is, as always, tough to know what WWE was thinking. But fans seem to know what Moolah was about, and don’t seem generally fervent to applaud it.

“The Fabulous Moolah challenged a gender norms of a once male-dominated sport,” says a anecdotist in WWE’s video. (That anecdotist also got Moolah’s genuine final name wrong as “Ellis.”) While one can disagree possibly pre-Moolah women’s wrestling was a same as a men’s product or some-more a thinly-veiled TA muster that usually happened to underline critical wrestling performances, there’s no arguing that she usually worsened a in-genre gender divide. Moolah adored an in-ring character low on athleticism and difficult on hair-pulling, and that was what she taught her students. The outcome rendered women’s wrestling many some-more of a sideshow. Before Moolah, in a epoch of Mildred Burke and after Jun Byers, a universe women’s pretension was a legitimate title attraction. Under Moolah, that came to an end.


The line in a video itself that quite rankled viewers was a narrator—in a video that conspicuously had usually difficult womanlike talent and a McMahons as articulate heads— job Moolah a “trailblazer for women’s equality.” In light of what some of her students have pronounced about her, that presumably relief matter was quite offensive.

“Moolah did send girls out to this man in Arizona and pimped them out,” pronounced Jeannine “Lady Maxine/Mad Maxine” Mjoseth in a 2014 talk with Slam! Wrestling. “I indeed spoke to him on a phone and asked him what he was looking for. He said, ‘If I’m spending all this money, we know what we want.’ That was partial of Moolah’s approach of creation money. She was usually a bad person. Moolah didn’t have a good bone in her body.”

A 2006 Free Times feature on a late Susie Mae “Sweet Georgia Brown” McCoy, sourced from interviews with her children, recounts how McCoy told her daughter that she knew to strip when she listened a hit during her motel room doorway during “strange hours.” McCoy’s daughter, Barbara, also told a Free Times’ Murfee Faulk that, in Faulk’s words, “she was raped, given drugs and done an addict” in what “her family now believes was an conscious try to control her.” The same essay also cites Ida Mae Martinez, another wrestler of that era, as observant that promoters “demanded personal services” before profitable womanlike wrestlers. Dave Meltzer’s Moolah necrology from 2007 in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter also alludes to how “different promoters had unequivocally opposite ideas of what being veteran meant.”


Other interviews, like with Sandy Parker and Ann Casey, meanwhile, supplement to a account that Moolah took an extreme commission of her wrestlers’ gain or was differently financially abusive.

There are a integrate factors that make a renewed canonization of Moolah quite irritating. The initial is that it seemed like WWE had motionless not to respect her anymore in a initial place. The second and some-more distinct indicate is that there were countless other, improved options.

The latter is difficult by many of a worthier possibilities carrying possibly small tie to WWE or carrying died of a drug overdoses. The comparison legends but a same baggage, like a aforementioned Mildred Burke, are not unequivocally partial of a WWE narrative, nonetheless Burke was eventually inducted into a WWE Hall of Fame along with other colonize epoch and early radio epoch figures. The defunct women who are partial of that narrative—Chyna, Luna Vachon, “Sensational” Sherri Martel, or even a non-wrestler like Miss Elizabeth—all died of drug-related deaths. That’s not accurately a kind of thing that a reflexively image-conscious WWE wants to gleam a light on each year during a biggest event, notwithstanding what all those women contributed to a sport.


Chyna, with her “9th Wonder of a World” nickname, would have supposing good balance with a men’s conflict stately being named after Andre The Giant, a “8th Wonder of a World.” But she also seemed in porn prolongation that had a McMahon family incest theme, that is unsurprisingly another intensity holdup. In a judicious world, Martel, a WWE Hall of Famer and an implausible in-ring performer, dear locker room presence, and reputable coach to younger women, would make a many clarity to pick. Clearly those in WWE with a management to make that kind of call don’t consider that way.

A ask for criticism on both a recoil and a past allegations opposite Moolah, sent to a WWE orator on Monday night, has not nonetheless been returned as of this writing. The eventuality will roughly positively go brazen as planned. History is created by a victors in a macro sense. In wrestling, it’s mostly created by whoever is in a best position to write a story they wish to write.

David Bixenspan is a freelance author from Brooklyn, NY who co-hosts a Between The Sheets podcast each Monday during and everywhere else that podcasts are available. You can follow him on Twitter during @davidbix and perspective his portfolio during

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