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Mae Young

Mae Young in April 2001.
Ring name(s) Mae Young
The Queen
The Great Mae Young
Born March 12, 1923 (1923-03-12) (age 87)[1]
Sand Springs, Oklahoma[1]
Resides Columbia, South Carolina[1]
Debut August 20, 1939[2][3]
Retired February 10, 2005 (from active work)

Johnnie Mae Young[1] (born March 12, 1923) is a mostly retired female professional wrestler and is currently a WWE Ambassador. Beginning in 1999, Young had a high-profile "second career" in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).[3] Young, along with best friend The Fabulous Moolah (until her death in 2007), were a part of the WWF/WWE family by making occasional appearances on WWE television.[1]


Professional wrestling career

Early career

Johnnie Mae Young was an amateur wrestler on her high school's boys' wrestling team at the age of fifteen.[1][2][3] Her brothers Fred, Eugen, Lawarence, and Everett taught her to wrestle and helped her join the team. She was the youngest of eight children (one died at birth). Her mother Lilly Mae Young was a single mother (her partner left to find work and never returned) living during the depression. Young's oldest sister Inie was severely disabled by whooping cough at a very young age.[1] Young also played softball with Tulsa's national championship team.[2][3] While still in high school, Young went to a professional wrestling show and challenged then-champion Mildred Burke when she visited Tulsa to wrestle Gladys Gillem.[1][2] Because the promoters told her she could not wrestle the champion, she wrestled Gillem in a shoot fight, beating her within seconds.[1] After the fight, promoter Billy Wolfe wanted Young to become a professional wrestler.[1] She left home two years later to wrestle professionally.[2]

In 1941, Young, along with Mildred Burke, opened up Canada for female wrestling.[1] In Canada, they worked for Stu Hart.[1] She was wrestling in Memphis, Tennessee on December 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, which led to the United States entering World War II.[1] During the war, Young helped women take advantage of the fact that the men were fighting overseas by expanding their role in the sport.[2][3]

Johnnie Mae Young with one of her former students, Ric Drasin (circa 1991)

She fought under the nicknames of "The Queen" and "The Great Mae Young", but she used her real name for most of her matches. During the 1950s, she wrestled for Mildred Burke's World Women's Wrestling Association (WWWA). In 1954, Young and Burke were some of the first females to tour Japan after the war.[3] In 1951, she became the National Wrestling Alliance's (NWA) first Florida Women's Champion. Five years later in September 1956, she participated in the battle royal to determine the new NWA World Women's Champion after June Byers was stripped of the title, but the championship was won by Young's friend The Fabulous Moolah.[4] In 1968, she became the NWA's first United States Women's Champion.

As an instructor, one of her students was Ric "The Equalizer" Drasin.[3] Another one of her students was The Fabulous Moolah.[2][3]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Early storylines (1999–2000)

Young made her World Wrestling Federation (WWF) debut on the September 9, 1999 episode of SmackDown!, seated at ringside with The Fabulous Moolah. Jeff Jarrett invited Moolah into the ring and smashed a guitar over her head.[3] When Young tried to help Moolah out, Jarrett put Young into the figure four leglock.[3] After this appearance, Young and Moolah began appearing regularly on WWF televised shows. On the September 27 edition of Monday Night Raw Young and Moolah defeated then WWF Women's Champion Ivory in a Handicapped Evening Gown match, where Young got stripped to her bra and panties. Young managed Moolah during Moolah's WWF Women's Title victory over Ivory at the No Mercy pay-per-view in October 1999.[5] Young and Moolah both competed at Survivor Series with Debra and Tori against Ivory, Jacqueline, Terri Runnels, and Luna.[6]

At the age of seventy-six, she was named the WWF's "Miss Royal Rumble 2000" at the Royal Rumble by winning a bikini contest.[3] Young appeared to remove her top during this pay-per-view show, which aired from Madison Square Garden. Young, however, was wearing a prosthesis and was not actually exposing herself.[2] Also in 2000, Young began a storyline where she dated WWF superstar Mark Henry,[2] including an announcement that Young was pregnant. During this storyline, The Dudley Boyz, specifically Bubba Ray Dudley, powerbombed Mae from the stage through a table.[2] The "child" was eventually delivered and found to be nothing more than a bloody rubber hand.[2][7]

Sporadic appearances (2003–present)

In 2003, Young made an appearance at Bad Blood, where she stripped in the ring and performed a bronco buster on Eric Bischoff.[8]

In 2004, Young and The Fabulous Moolah were invited to tour, as guests of honor, with the WWE's modern stars as part of that organization's fiftieth anniversary. Also in 2004, she was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Young, along with several other lady wrestlers, starred in the 2005 film Lipstick and Dynamite,[3] a documentary about the women wrestlers from the 1950s era. Moolah and Young appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien to promote the film.[9]

Young re-appeared in 2006 at New Year's Revolution during the Bra and Panties Gauntlet match, where she entered the ring and did a strip-tease, whilst Moolah watched.[10] She was attacked by Victoria as she left the ring, which led to Moolah and Mae removing Victoria's top, which helped Ashley Massaro win the match.[10] Mae made an appearance at WrestleMania 22 in April 2006 in a backstage segment with Gene Snitsky (who had a storyline foot fetish), in which he "fondled" her feet.[11] Mae also appeared (with the aid of a walker) with The Fabulous Moolah on the Raw Family Reunion special on October 9, 2006, where the duo waved to the crowd from the stage.

On March 31, 2007, Young, along with The Fabulous Moolah, attended the WWE Hall of Fame 2007 Ceremonies on the eve of WrestleMania 23. At WrestleMania 23, she appeared dancing backstage with several other WWE superstars of the past and present.[12] Mae made another appearance at the 2007 Draft Lottery on June 11. Mae also made a special appearance on SmackDown! on August 24 winning a bikini contest.[3] She also appeared at the Raw 15th Anniversary special in a skit with the McMahon family, where Vince McMahon implied that he had a sexual relationship with Young after Moolah's funeral.

On March 29, 2008, Pat Patterson inducted Young into the WWE Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2008.[3] She is the only living female to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.[1] Mae made yet another appearance on the 800th episode of Raw where she competed with the current divas in a 16 diva tag match. Young was later pinned in the match by Beth Phoenix costing her team the win. She later made an appearance at Armageddon in 2008 where after the "Santa's little helper" diva match, she kissed The Great Khali. On April 5, 2009, Young was the special guest time keeper for the 25 Diva Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXV.[13]

Personal life

In 2001, Young quit the wrestling business and moved to California to become a Christian evangelist and take care of her mother, who was sick.[14] She later quit the evangelist business.[14] Beginning in 2001, she moved in with The Fabulous Moolah and Katie Glass in a house in Columbia, South Carolina, an arrangement which lasted until Moolah's death in November 2007.[9][14]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ryan Nation (March 27, 2008). "HOFer Mae Young vows to keep wrestling". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dave Scherer (October 2000). "Life Begins At 77: Mae Young Interview". Wrestling Digest. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Hall of Fame: Mae Young". March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  4. ^ Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.98.
  5. ^ Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.2–7.
  6. ^ John Powell (November 15, 1999). "Booking blows Survivor Series". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  7. ^ Mae Young: Role model to horny seniors the world over, Mae strips naked and gives birth to a hand. As hilarious as it sounds (which is to say not at all).
  8. ^ John Powell (June 16, 2003). "Bad Blood just plain bad". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  9. ^ a b Eleanor Ringel Gillespie. "'Lipstick & Dynamite': You'll fall for these ladies". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  10. ^ a b Chris Sokol (January 9, 2006). "Edge surprise champ after Revolution". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  11. ^ Chris Sokol (April 3, 2006). "WrestleMania delivers big time on PPV". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  12. ^ Dale Plummer and Nick Tywalk (April 1, 2007). "Undertaker the champ, McMahon bald". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  13. ^ Plummer, Dale (2009-04-06). "Wrestlemania 25: HBK-Undertaker steals the show". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  14. ^ a b c Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.8–9.
  15. ^ (June 9, 2006). "Interview with Johnny Flex". Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  16. ^ "N.W.A. Florida Women's Title". Puroresu Dojo. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  17. ^ "World Women's Tag Team Title". Puroresu Dojo. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 


  • The Great Mae Young. Lipstick & Dynamite - The First Ladies of Wrestling. [DVD]. World Wrestling Entertainment. 
  • Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. ISBN 9780060012588. 

External links

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