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WWF's sexy stars have charisma and talent, too

By TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun

  They are beauties in a playground of beasts.

 More and more D-cups are popping up in dressing rooms steeped in a tradition of athletic cups. And they have as much sex appeal as they do flex appeal.

 The World Wrestling Federation is busting out with an eye-popping stable of women, known not so much for their piledrivers, eye gouges, and elbow smashes as they are for their looks -- and their willingness to wear as little as possible.
Miss Kitty

 Make no mistake about it, this collection of eye candy is sweet -- with millions and millions of wrestling fans tuning into their antics each week on the WWF's TV shows -- most notably Monday's RAW and Thursday's Smackdown.

 While the WWF hasn't forgotten the golden age of wrestling -- legends such as Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young are still very much a part of the soap-opera mayhem -- bold and beautiful is in vogue. And, in some cases, they even have plenty of athletic ability and charisma on top of the obvious assets.

 They carry names like Chyna, Ivory, Jacqueline, Terri, The Kat, Tori and Barbara Bush. And watch for Caryn Mower and Trish Stratus to add to wrestling's version of Baywatch. The queen of the "puppies," Debra, the real-life wife-to-be of wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, may also return.

 Inside the ring, they tear at each other's hair, rip at each other's evening gowns, bounce around in vats of gravy and find themselves in the middle of a one-ring circus of mayhem with a curvaceous twist.

 A year ago, Sable, at the time the WWF's top female star, removed her clothes for Playboy. Rumblings are that Tori recently pondered, but turned down, a Penthouse offer.

 Recently, Miss Kitty, now known as The Kat, responding to the chant of the crowd at a pay-per-view event, pulled off her top to reveal her bare breasts. As provocative as the WWF had already been, this was another push of the envelope, straddling the line between fun and vulgarity.

 Ivory, one of the women warriors with plenty of wrestling experience, feels blessed to be part of the travelling caravan. A former public relations major at the University of Southern California, she's become one of the WWF's hottest superstars, holding the women's championship before a series of events saw it land in the lap of Jacqueline.

 Ivory, while accepting her role, doesn't believe she should flash her boobs just because a maniacal bunch of hormone-charged males are screaming: "We want puppies."

 "Anything provocative is interesting when it means something (to the storyline)," she says. "There's always somebody out there trying to convince you to take your top off.

 "But once you've shown off your private parts to the world, you've got to be ready to accept (the response). If some guy walks up to you in the airport and says, 'Hey, I think your toochie looks really good, you'd better be prepared to accept it. You can't flip him the bird."

 It's not hard for Ivory to separate her in-and out-of-ring personalities. They are opposites.

 "Ivory's somebody I shove in the closet as soon as I get home," says the woman who was born as Lisa Moretti. "Ivory is so much different from Lisa. Even when I'm at an arena, I get sick of Ivory. She's always so pissed off, so intense and always mad at something. I'm energetic, but I'm much happier than Ivory. "

 She got her start in the mid 1980s with an organization called Georgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). "We were like the Power Rangers of the mid 1980s," says Ivory.

 It's now not all about athleticism, it's about showing skin, and adapting to whatever conditions the WWF storyline calls for on a particular night.

 "It's like any fairytale or movie, where you go from evil to good. You want the storyline to develop," says Ivory.

 "I'd compare it to buying a CD. You listen, hum along, and the music sounds great, but you don't realize the poetry is great too. Others can look at the words and find out they're profound.

 "Some of our fans just sit there and digest the action, while others will recognize the art of it. They see that we've got a story to tell."

 It's the progressive storylines that have hooked the fans, taking wrestling to dizzying heights.

 The WWF continues to treat the women's division as a diversion, a reason to trot out women in underwear and tight-fitting T-shirts, but the women see it as an opportunity to become actresses, switching from Godivas to hissing Medusas -- heroes to villains.

 "We're so lucky to be doing this," says Ivory. "There are plenty of performers out there waiting for that one performance. We're doing this for hours each week. And all of us get to play these great characters.

 "We can be funny. We can be sexy. And, sometimes, there's that element of danger."

 Chyna, real name Joanie Laurer, has gone from D-Generation-X bully to a more sultry, soft look. She's fought several of the men's performers, even holding the Intercontinental championship for awhile.

 Never mind that the nearly 6-foot, 190-pounder could in real life probably kick the butt of most of the beer-bellied fans who watch the show, she has followed her real-life boyfriend Hunter Hearst Helmsley up the ladder of success.

 And, along with her WWF women in arms, she's proving to be more than just another pretty face.

More on Ivory