If there’s ever been a lady deserving of a crown, it’s most certainly Mae Young. When Mae got into pro wrestling, it was essentially known as a man’s game, with only a few lady wrestlers really being a part of the show. One of the ladies was Gladys “Killem” Gillem, was promoter Billy Wolfe’s wife. When Mae said she wanted to wrestle, Wolfe laughed, stating that Mae couldn’t beat their champion. After challenging Gillem to a shoot wrestling match, Young beat her in seconds, and this was before the fans had even entered the arena!
In her first decade, Mae wrestled in the WWWA, for Stu Hart in Canada’s Stampede Wrestling, and in the NWA. Mae was actually wrestling in Nashville, Tennessee on the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. In 1951, Mae became the first ever NWA Florida Women’s Champion. In 1954, Young and Mildred Burke were the first wrestlers to tour Japan after the war. When June Byers was stripped of the NWA World Women’s Championship, Mae participated in a battle royal to determine the new champion. The battle royal was won by The Fabulous Moolah, who Mae Young had actually trained.
While it’s known that Mae Young is a professional wrestling legend who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, she actually made her WWE debut in September 1999, sitting at ringside with The Fabulous Moolah. After Jeff Jarrett invited Moolah into the ring, he attacked Moolah, smashing a guitar over her head. When Mae tried to help, she received a figure four leglock for her trouble, after which she began appearing regularly on WWE programming. She began managing Moolah in her matches, when Moolah became part of the Women’s Division and defeated Ivory for the WWE Women’s Championship. The two also had a series of matches for the title.
The following year, Mae was in one of the most controversial, memorable, and funny storylines in pro wrestling history, as she began dating “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry which led to the birth of their “child”, a hand. Yes. A hand. When Mark Henry asked Vince McMahon why a hand was necessary, McMahon’s only response was “It’s a HAND!”
After the storyline with Mark Henry ended, Mae would make sporadic appearances, usually by the side of The Fabulous Moolah. After Moolah passed away in 2007, Mae would still appear, using Moolah’s entrance music and dancing, kissing, or flirting with the wrestlers on the show. In 2008, Pat Patterson inducted Mae Young into the WWE Hall Of Fame, which received a huge ovation at its conclusion. On November 15th, 2010, Mae Young defeated LayCool, thus making her the first wrestler to wrestle in 9 different decades. I highly doubt anyone will beat that record.
Truly, it’s impossible to believe that anyone will ever live up to the legacy that Mae Young created. Not only was she beautiful, but she was tough, she was smart, and she made a stamp in the business as a professional wrestling legend only could. As much as it was expected, I don’t think the world was ready for Mae to leave, and Mae certainly wasn’t ready as she expected to wrestle Stephanie McMahon on her 100th birthday. Still, I guarantee that anyone watching on the other side is highly entertained by the wild, funny, and often times inappropriate but always GREAT, Mae Young.
For those who are watching, I was out on vacations, but I’ll catch up with some intensive weeks to reach the proper 365 I aimed since the beginning. Now the bitter sweet, I’ll start the year with my tribute to the great Mae Young, who kicked out at two today. I find this image very appropriate, having her smiling before kicking your ass. Thanks for the memories and if you have to go to a higher ring, go in peace.
Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah are two of the sweetest ladies you’d ever meet. All the boys respected the hell out of them and everybody rolled out the red carpet whenever they were on the show. By 2000, they’d already got over 100 years of in-ring experience between them, so that tells you how old they were. But they would still get in the ring now and then when they were given the chance.
On one show, Crash and I were booked to do a tag team match against them, so we sat down in catering together to go over the match. Out of respect for them, I took myself out of the equation and told them that we would do whatever they wanted to do. Mae planned out a spot where she would be in the ring with Crash and I’d sneak in behind her. She would turn around and I’d clothesline her. I said to her, “Mae, I’ve got all the respect in the world for you but if you’re asking me to clothesline you, you need to know that I lay it in there.” She said, “Sure I know that, I want you to clothesline me.” I said, “No, you don’t understand — when I clothesline somebody, I try to rip their head off. It’s TV, I don’t want it to look bad but I don’t want to hurt you.” This nearly 80-year-old woman just looked at me and said, “Bring it, motherfucker.”
In Gorilla, just before the match, I gave her a hug and thanked her in advance for the match, then asked if she was sure about the clothesline. She said, “If you don’t bring it, when we get back, I’m going to kick your ass.” Hell, I didn’t want to get beaten up by an 80-year-old woman, so I was going to do what she said and lay that clothesline in there nice and snug.
We started the match and I locked up with Moolah, grabbed her in a headlock, and took her over. I landed right on top of her. I was 235 pounds at this point. She was 77 years old and she was taking everything I could throw at her. Unbelievable. The time came for the spot with Mae. She had her back to me as I was getting ready. When she turned around, I charged — she didn’t have time to prepare for it and I threw that clothesline from left field like I was hitting Bradshaw. I ripped her head off so hard that the poor lady cut a flip. I felt so bad!
I asked her if she was all right and she said, “Yep, I’m fine,” and carried on. When we got to the back after the match, I went over to thank her and asked, “Mae, are you okay?” She patted me on the chest and said, “That’s how you lay a clothesline in, right there,” and kept on walking. Why the hell can’t some of the boys be like that?! That match was great fun and good entertainment.
WWE Women’s Championship: Mae Young Vs. The Fabulous Moolah (champion) WWE Smackdown - October 21st, 1999
I rarely brag about such things, but dammit, I’m proud to say that I was there for this. I don’t remember Mae’s music whatsoever, but I do remember the crowd coming alive for this match because it was so insanely bizarre. Both Mae and Moolah were in their 70’s, and were outshining the entire Divas roster by simply being good lady wrestlers and doing great storytelling.
Mae Young enters the Miss Royal Rumble competition WWE Royal Rumble - January 23rd, 2000
Much to the dismay of the WWE Divas, there’s no substitute for a classic, as The Great Mae Young throws her hat into the ring. If you haven’t seen the clip of this actually happening, you owe it to yourself to do so.