Moolah: Twenty-eight years was the reign
By CHRIS SCHRAMM -- For SLAM! Wrestling
"Where the Big Boys Play," is the motto of World
Championship Wrestling today, but it was not too long ago
that men were not the only ones who ruled the ring. The top
women's wrestler of her day, and into about two other
generations, was the Fabulous Moolah.
Moolah, who's real name is Lillian Ellison, always showed an
interest in wrestling from the beginning. As a teenager she
asked the women's promoter of her area to give her a try-out
in the ring. The promoter quickly glazed over the small
physique of Moolah, and he gave her a no. Moolah's eyes
became like fire wanting to torch the world.
The promoter's response motivated her to become a wrestler
under the name "Slave Girl." It was soon after she started
to wrestle full time that she took the name "Fabulous
She wrestled her first tournament to determine a new World
champion for women. On September 18, 1956, Moolah defeated
Judy Grable, who was considered the best female wrestle of
the time, to win that title.
No one expected what would come next. Shockingly, she would
hold the title for some 28 years straight. She only lost it
a few days along the line, but it took until 1984 that
someone had beaten her for the gold. Someone that was not
even alive when Moolah won that title.
Moolah worked matches every week for 28 years to defend her
title. To put it into perspective. When Moolah won the
title, Hulk Hogan was only two years old, Dwight Eisenhower
was the President of the United States, "I Love Lucy" was
the number one show on television and The Beatles were not
even thought about. When Moolah lost the title in 1984,
Ronald Reagan was President, Madonna was the top singer
around, "Different Strokes" was one of the top television
programs and Ken Griffey Jr. was an underclassman in high
When Moolah lost the title to Wendi Richter on a special
wrestling telecast on Music Television (MTV), most thought
Moolah's career was over. Well, in late 1985, Moolah was
able to defeat Richter for the title under a masked Spider
Lady. The last title win of Moolah was always looked at as
one of the most controversial matches of all time. It seems,
according to insiders, that Moolah had somehow persuaded the
official to allow her to win the match, but no one failed to
tell Wendi Richter. Richter would leave the WWF shortly
after, and the truth never seemed to be told; yet.
Despite an aging figure, Moolah would go on to hold the
title for an additional two years before losing it for the
last time to Sherri Martel.
The Fabulous Moolah occasionally wrestled in the 1990s, but
she spends most of her time at her wrestling school in South
Carolina. Maybe she will help train the next champion of the
world, but most believe that in this day and time that no
one will match the reign of Moolah.
Chris Schramm is from Lawrence, Kansas.