Sunday, November 4, 2007

Remembering the Fabulous Moolah

Lillian Ellison -- a.k.a. "The Fabulous Moolah" -- who passed away last Friday night at the age of 84, was more than a wrestler and a businesswoman. She was one of the toughest, most no-nonsense women around, one who stopped playing the cat-and-mouse game long ago. She did not suffered fools and she pulled no punches, and -- more often than not -- she was a very astute judge of character.

But above all, she was a survivor. You have to be one when you're in the business and you faced down and have considered all the possible alternatives. As a trainer, a mentor and a mother confessor, she provided an outlet for athletically-inclined women at a time when there were few outlets for them to shine or to even excel at their craft.

As the late Bill Hughes once told me, "Moolah was a tough-as-nails businesswoman. But when you kiss her hand, she blushes."

I first crossed paths with Moolah when I started to make the annual sojourn to Las Vegas as part of Alex Knight's ring crew to set up the ring for the annual LIWA event. It was at those LIWA events that I would cross paths with many of the distaff legends -- Margaret Garcia, Candi Devine, Mae Weston, Liz Chase, Kitty Adams, Brittany Brown, Diane von Hoffman, and even the rising young Joanie "Chyna" Laurer.

I remember a LIWA event in the 1990's, where Japanese star Bull Nakaro, after a long, hard-fought match, expressed her admiration for Moolah and Mae Young for still being in the business, considering that cultural strictures have proven to be a hindrance for female wrestlers seeking a long-term career in the business.

I lost contact with Moolah over the last couple of years or so, due primarily to her ongoing work with the WWE. When I learned of her passing, I was deeply, deeply saddened and wished that I had the opportunity to spend more quality time with her, learning about the business from her.

Moolah, you're absolutely fabuolous, and you'll be dearly missed.

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