[49] Ellison demanded a lot from the girls of GWE, including that they had to keep their hair and make-up done, act like a lady, and not date men who were in the professional wrestling business. [13] Still only 15, she left her daughter with a friend and set out on a wrestling career of her own. "[55] In a 2002 interview, Luna Vachon claimed that when she was sixteen years old and training at Ellison's camp, Ellison sent her out of state to be photographed by an older man. After losing the title to Richter, Moolah aided Leilani Kai in defeating Richter for the title in February 1985. [27] On July 1, 1972, Moolah became the first woman allowed to wrestle at Madison Square Garden, which had previously banned women's wrestling. [20], In the late 1950s when the once-dominant promoter of women's wrestling, Billy Wolfe, was out of business, Ellison and Lee began to book their female wrestlers for more and more shows. "[25] They were eventually married, and after divorcing in 1970 after nine years of marriage, they remained friends until Lee's death in 1999. Maxine also said that when she went to work for WWF, Moolah was taking at least half of her earnings. Less than three months lateron November 2, 2007, Moolah passed away at the age of 84. [5] The book has been criticized for keeping kayfabe (the stance that wrestling storylines are real) and did not reveal a lot about her time controlling women's wrestling. [28] Moolah continued an uninterrupted eight-year reign before losing to Sue Green at Madison Square Garden in 1976. [13][14] A few months after the birth of her daughter, she divorced Carroll. Beginning in 1991, Ellison lived with Mae Young in a house in Columbia, South Carolina. [54] Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy, in their book Sisterhood of the Squared Circle, wrote that Moolah's "tactics could be just as ruthless and cutthroat as those of 'The Godfather'", Don Corleone. [18] She then served as the valet for the Elephant Boy (Tony Olivas). [58] Sandy Parker, a lesbian former pupil of Ellison's, also claims that Ellison forbade her from going to any gay bars and tried to press her to date men.

[27] She also traded the belt with Yukiko Tomoe during a tour of Japan in 1968. A few days later, Ellison was admitted to the hospital for what turned out to be two clogged arteries and viral pneumonia. She is overall an eight-time women's world champion and to this day holds the record as the longest reigning women's world champion in combination of all her reigns. [54], In March 2018, WWE announced "The Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal", a battle royal for the female wrestlers of the company scheduled for WrestleMania 34 named in honor of Moolah. Her estate was located on a road named Moolah Drive. Penny Banner directly described Moolah as a pimp who "in return for money," rented her female trainees out "in bulk" to wrestling promoters so that the promoters and the male wrestlers could have sex with them. Also in the 1970s, Moolah held the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship twice with Toni Rose. 1949 She won the NWA World Women's Championship in 1956 and was the most prominent holder of the title for 28 years. In addition, Ellison claims Long was a "womanizer". Following the loss, Moolah began phasing out her in-ring exploits, choosing instead to manage protg Leilani Kai, one of the many future Superstars she had trained during her time as champion. They were eventually married, and after divorcing in 1970 after nine years of marriage, they remained friends until Lee's death in 1999. She also bought the legal rights to the championship in the late 1970s, and after losing the championship for two days to Evelyn Stevens in 1978, began another long reign, defending her title for another six years. In the late 1990s, Pat Patterson and Ellison began jokingly discussing a comeback for her, which resulted in Patterson contacting WWF Chairman Vince McMahon about the possibility. [72] Penny Banner stated that her retirement was due in large part to Ellison refusing to allow any of her female wrestlers to accept bookings against Banner, which severely limited the number of bookings that Banner was offered by promoters.

On the September 15, 2003 edition of Raw, Moolah won a match against Victoria. [77], Dave Meltzer described that women's wrestling "went way way down" under Moolah's "tutelage", but he also said he did not know if it was her fault. Richter won it back at the inaugural WrestleMania, but when Richter's relationship soured with the WWF, Moolah donned a mask as "The Spider Lady" and regained the belt on November 25, 1985, in a controversial decision. [13][14][15], Ellison began her wrestling career with Mildred Burke's husband Billy Wolfe, the dominant women's promoter of the time.

[22] Subsequently, June Byers came out of retirement to challenge Moolah to a match for the title. [49] They began calling their promoting business Girl Wrestling Enterprises (GWE). [5] The match saw Moolah defeat Ivory to regain the WWF Women's Championship, thus becoming the then-oldest champion ever,[5][21] though she lost the title back to Ivory eight days later. [5] Her team (Moolah, Velvet McIntyre, Rockin' Robin, and the Jumping Bomb Angels) defeated champion Martel and her team (Leilani Kai, Judy Martin, Donna Christanello, and Dawn Marie).[5]. [5] She later captained a team at the inaugural Survivor Series. [5] In the late 1990s, Pat Patterson and Ellison began jokingly discussing a comeback for her, which resulted in Patterson contacting WWF Chairman Vince McMahon about the possibility. The name of The Fabulous Moolah will forever be etched in the annals of sport as the defining one in women's wrestling. [37] Also the shows were held in Las Vegas. [27] Also in the 1970s, Moolah held the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship twice with Toni Rose.[29][30]. "[53] Wrestling historian Tim Hornbaker said that Moolah "chose not to" break the "dishonest, greedy" practices established by her mentor Billy Wolfe. trish stratus 2001 wwe survivor series stratusfaction [27] She also bought the legal rights to the championship in the late 1970s,[27] and after losing the championship for two days to Evelyn Stevens in 1978, began another long reign, defending her title for another six years. "[61] Jerry Lawler also said he "never heard or saw anything like that when I was in the business around Moolah and her girls. [36] Afterwards Moolah would retire from wrestling. [84] In 2002, Moolah wrote her autobiography, The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle.

She graduated Columbia High School, but at age fourteen married 21-year-old Walter Carroll. Mary Lillian Ellison (July 22, 1923 November 2, 2007), better known by her ring name The Fabulous Moolah, was an American female professional wrestler. [73], At the time of her death, Kevin Eck wrote in The Baltimore Sun: "The Fabulous Moolah didn't just dominate women's wrestling for parts of four decades, she was women's wrestling. Moolah regained her title a short time later. [87], Later, Ellison met a wrestler named Buddy Lee, whom she regarded as the "love of her life. Another wrestler, Donna Christanello, also lived with Ellison on-and-off for forty years, ending in May 1999. As 1987 came to a close, it seemed that the queen of women's wrestling had finally come to the end of her run. [43] Moolah and Young made another appearance at New Years Revolution in 2006, during a Bra and Panties Gauntlet match attacking Victoria and stripping her of her top. They soon became parents to a daughter. The Fabulous MoolahSlave Girl MoolahSpider Lady She began her career working with promoter Billy Wolfe and his wife, wrestler and trainer Mildred Burke, as well as working alongside professional wrestler "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. [26] They also appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien promoting the film. [20] In 1955, she began working for Vince McMahon, Sr.'s Capitol Wrestling Corporation. Moolah successfully defended the belt against the top female wrestlers in the world, such as Judy Grable and Donna Christanello, while also purporting to befriend some of the biggest celebrities of the day. [24] Moolah successfully defended the belt against the top female wrestlers in the world, such as Judy Grable and Donna Christanello, while also purporting to befriend some of the biggest celebrities of the day. Toys [5] Richter was never told she would be losing the title and fell victim to a real-life "screwjob" finish known as "The Original Screwjob". The match saw seventy-six-year-old Moolah defeat Ivory to regain the WWE Women's Championship, thus becominga record-breaking 8 time andoldest WWE Women's Champion ever, though she lost the title to Ivory eight days later. Columbia, South Carolina Ellison died on November 2, 2007 at the age of 84. Mildred Burke, Mae Young

[43] Moolah had been promised the match for her eightieth birthday and became the first octogenarian to compete in a WWE ring. [66] Maxine said that Moolah never told her about the WWF's plans to include her in the cartoon. [4][18] Ellison broke up the partnership because Rogers kept pushing her to begin a sexual relationship. [92] Ellison is buried in a grave plot at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia, South Carolina. She also traded the belt with Yukiko Tomoe during a tour of Japan in 1968. She also made brief appearances at WrestleMania 23 and the 2007 Draft Lottery on June 11, 2007. [85] Defending herself against these claims, Ellison retorted it was hard to fit all of her almost five decade career into one book. [45] She also made brief appearances at WrestleMania 23 and the 2007 Draft Lottery on June 11, 2007. [4][18] Olivas was Mexican, but had very dark skin, which caused controversy when Ellison, a white woman, would kiss him on the cheek during their ring entrance routine. Height On June 24, 1995, she was the first female wrestler to be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. During her final reign as champion, Moolah also took on another role; she became the "Queen" of WWE, often accompanying "King" Harley Race and manager Bobby Heenan to ringside. Her parents owned a farm, a grocery store, and a service station. [70], Women that chose to continue allowing Ellison to work as their booker were kept under tight control. Professional wrestler Shane Douglas said he never heard anybody speaking against Moolah during his career. She further claimed that he wanted Ellison to quit her wrestling career, which she did not want to do. Moolah regained the Women's Championship on two further occasions before entering semi-retirement towards the end of the decade. [25] Two months after the breakup, Williams died due to an overdose. In 2003, Moolah celebrated her 80th birthday by facing Victoria on Raw; that night, she defeated Victoria to become the first octogenarian to compete in a WWE ring. [11], When her mother died of cancer, eight-year-old Ellison went to live with her paternal grandmother and worked on her cousin's cotton farm to make money.

After Moolah's victory, the "Legend Killer" Randy Orton came out and performed an RKO on her. [29], During her return to the ring in 1999, Ellison began experiencing occasional dizziness, and as a result, her doctor requested that she begin to wear a heart monitor. She continued to make sporadic appearances for WWF/WWE until her death, often in comedic roles with longtime friend Mae Young. [90] After leaving the hospital, she again slipped into unconsciousness in the bathroom at her home, crushing several vertebrae. Ellison died on November 2, 2007, at the age of 84 in Columbia, South Carolina. The divorce was attributed to Lee's affair with Rita Cortez, one of the wrestlers the duo was training. [41], Upon returning, Moolah and Young began appearing regularly in comedic roles. When it was finally time for Lauper and Albano to settle their differences in the ring, a match-up was scheduled with Albano representing Moolah against the challenge of Lauper's protg, Wendi Richter. On the September 9, 1999 episode of SmackDown!, Jeff Jarrett invited Moolah into the ring and smashed a guitar over her head. 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. [85], Moolah and Young, along with several other female wrestlers, starred in the 2004 film Lipstick and Dynamite, a documentary about the female wrestlers from the 1950s era. leilani kai grable joyce Moolah had been promised the match for her eightieth birthday and became the first octogenarian to compete in a WWE ring. Long later introduced Ellison to Jack Pfefer who gave her the moniker "Slave Girl Moolah". Ellison's first husband was Walter Carroll, who became the father of her daughter Mary. In the 1990s, she returned to the WWF in a comedic role with longtime friend Mae Young. At age 10, Ellison was still deeply distraught over her mother's death; to cheer her up, her father took her to the local wrestling matches. [5][21] Prior to the match, the WWF promoted Moolah as holding the championship for the previous 28 years. Rhonda Sing stated that Ellison contacted her and offered to let her wrestle Richter in a couple of pay-per-view matches for the WWF in 1985, but demanded she receive half of Sing's pay check; a stipulation Sing was unwilling to accept.

"[75] She was the only female performer to be included in WWE's Top 50 Superstars of All Time DVD, placing 27th on the list. Ellison returned to the Columbia home of her father and brothers. "[54] One of the most notorious accusations is from the family of Sweet Georgia Brown (Susie Mae McCoy), who was trained by Moolah and her husband, Buddy Lee. [31] The following year, singer Cyndi Lauper began a verbal feud with manager "Captain" Lou Albano, who long had a reputation of being a villain, that brought professional wrestling into mainstream culture in a storyline that became known as the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. [40] In 1999, Moolah and Mae Young re-emerged in the WWF (later renamed World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE). [14][50] In the 1990s, she spent most of her time training female wrestlers at her school in Columbia, South Carolina. [89], Beginning in 1991, Ellison lived with Mae Young in a house in Columbia, South Carolina. She was the longest reigning champion in the history of her chosen sport -- or any sport for that matter -- and she established a legacy that made her name synonymous with women's wrestling in a career that spanned over 50 years.

Her final appearance came at SummerSlam 2007, where Moolah & Mae were spotted with Mr. McMahon in his office during the show. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Universal Wrestling Federation (Bill Watts) alumni, Championship Wrestling From Florida alumni. After leaving the hospital, she again slipped into unconsciousness in the bathroom at her home, crushing several vertebrae. She, however, soon began a romance with wrestler Johnny Long. After losing the title to Richter, Moolah aided Leilani Kai in defeating Richter for the title in February 1985. 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. [63] Michael McCoy, Sweet Georgia Brown's son, refuted allegations made by his sister, stating that she has an agenda and that the allegations are false. "If I choose not to like her because of what she did to me, that's fine," Princess Victoria stated. The episode repeated many of the allegations against her but also featured comments from the son of Sweet Georgia Brown and wrestlers Selina Majors and Beverly Shade, who defended her. [48] Ellison claimed Pfeffer would threaten to reveal the pre-planned nature of wrestling if any other promoters did not do as he liked. Moolah received a call from McMahon in late 1998 about returning to the company. Both Judy Martin and Leilani Kai told in later interviews that Moolah would collect the women wrestlers' pay from promoters and, after taking out her own pay, would only give the girls half of the money they were owed (keeping half of their pay for herself, plus her own pay) and telling them that was all the promoter gave her to give them. She didn't hold the title gold for 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. In a later shoot interview, Leilani Kai told that had things gone as the WWF originally planned, The Glamour Girls would have had a title match against the Jumping Bomb Angels at WrestleMania IV and that Ellison's actions had cost the four girls what would have been ultimately their biggest ever payday. [39] Moolah continued wrestling for the promotion and even continued teaming with Young.

July 22, 1923(1923-07-22) In the early 1980s, Ellison opened Moolah's Hideaway, a bar and grill which was operated by her daughter Mary and frequented by Andr the Giant. Mary Lillian Ellison was born in 1923 in Tookiedoo, South Carolina, and grew up in Tookiedoo, twelve miles from Columbia. While the name Lillian Ellison may not be well-known to sports-entertainment fans, her alter ego is one that will never be forgotten: The Fabulous Moolah. 138 lbs (63 kg) [80] A 2019 episode of Dark Side of the Ring broadcast on Viceland examined the allegations against her in the aftermath of the battle royal name controversy. Died Debut

As well as allegedly exploiting female wrestlers sexually, Ellison was accused of using her influence to control the women's wrestling scene and ensure that other women did not gain greater recognition. [12], Ellison returned to the Columbia home of her father and brothers. "[74] The Post and Courier columnist Mike Mooneyham described her as "one of the greatest female performers to ever step into a professional wrestling ring and the most powerful woman outside the squared circle. In 2010, WWE recognized her as the 27th best wrestler ever. [8] After marrying wrestler Buddy Lee, he began helping Ellison train the female wrestlers.
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