Clara Mortenson Legend

With skills and a ring moxie developed over time at a very young age, under 25, Clara Mortenson rose very quickly to the top of the lady pro wrestling world. article, prowrestlingdigest-com article, prowrestlingdigest-com photo

The great information industry site provides us with Clara’s resume. We’ll focus on the highlights.

  • July 18, 1925: A 7-year-old Clara Mortenson made her wrestling debut in a match against her brother Leo Mortenson.
  • The match was set up by their father, Mart Mortenson, who was also a professional wrestler in Portland, Oregon.
  • Clara Mortenson would also be trained by her manager Bluebeard Bill Lewis.
  • 1932: Clara Mortenson was billed as Women’s World Champion after defeating Barbara Ware.
  • January 28, 1937: Mildred Burke defeated Clara Mortenson to become Women’s World Champion ending a 5 year reign.
  • February 11, 1937: Clara Mortenson defeated Mildred Burke to become a two time Women’s World Champion.
  • May 3, 1937: Clara Mortensen defeated Betty McGee in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • June 29, 1937: Clara Mortensen defeated rival Rita Martinez in San Francisco, Florida.
  • July 2, 1937: Clara Mortensen defeated Mexican Women’s Champion Rita Martinez in Oakland, California.
  • July 13, 1937: Clara Mortensen defeated Mary Davis in San Francisco, Florida…
  • November 1, 1937: Clara Mortenson defeated Maria Gardini after an airplane spin…
  • April 12, 1939: Clara Mortenson defeated Mildred White…
  • Clara Mortenson would remain a contender to Women’s World Champion Mildred Burke for a number of years.
  • Clara Mortenson retired and became a Hollywood actress and starred in the movie “Racket Girls” in 1951.
  • 1951: Clara Mortenson starred in “Pin-Down Girls,” another movie inspired by and about women’s wrestling.
  • 1952: Maria Bernardi won a Tournament lastly defeating Clara Mortenson to become the Women’s World Champion.
  • Clara Mortenson was one the first honorees by the Cauliflower Alley Club.

That my friends is quite a resume. We’ve seen her name spelled Mortonson and Mortonsen. Our favorite information source Wkimedia spelled her name Mortonson, so we’ll go with that.

Her matches caught global attention. article, classicwrestlingarticles-wordpress-com article, classicwrestlingarticles-wordpress-com photo

She certainly made important foot prints in the sand.

At the informative site they proclaim, “Clara Mortenson, champion woman wrestler, and challenger Dolores Gonzales, meet in a grudge fight that rapidly makes male wrestling toughness look sissified. The girls throw everything they’ve got into a knockdown mat battle.” [From original Universal Newsreel content sheet]

Clara temporarily became a movie star. article, photo found article, photo found

The film was entitled Racket Girls (also called Blonde Pickup and Pin Down Girls), an American crime film, directed by Robert C. Dertano and released in 1951 by Screen Classics.

The film also features real-life wrestlers Peaches Page and Rita Martinez (champion of Mexico).

It’s another part of Clara’s young life that helps place perspective on all of our lives.

So much of our life’s pathway are like foot prints in the sand on a clear and calm day. For the moment they are the most prominent imprints on the beach. It’s like little else matters. article, llerrah-com article, llerrah-com photo

You know that it is not going to last forever but as you are there, you hope beyond hope, at least some of it does.

For most of us it doesn’t.

Soon the wind, waves and time wash it away completely as though, it (we) were never there.

Future generations don’t see or think about it unless something in the present is of note to bring it to their attention.

Very sad when you think about it.

The high school that Clara attended no longer exists.

Once it was one of the more prominent high schools in Seattle, Washington. During Clara’s time, it was as though it would last forever. The moments, the passions, the memories have faded like foot prints in the sand.

The high school that Clara attended was Broadway High.

Let’s walk back in time to when it was alive and so important. article, article, photo

What will help is if you listen to the magnificent Stevie Wonder’s 1964 classic hit, Castles In The Sand.

Here are the lyrics found at

On the beach where young lovers meet
You can see them there as they sit and build
Castles in the sand

Heavenly she’s so heavenly
When she smiles at you
And she helps you build castles in the sand

The time comes when you stop pretending
For all dreams must come to an ending
Remember what happens to castles of sand
The sea will wash them away

And the beach where they used to meet
By the sand and sea waves have washed away

Castles in the sand
Castles in the sand
Where did they go
Castles in the sand
Tell me, where did they go
Castles in the sand
I wanna know where did they go

Here is the link while it lasts:

The respected historical source shares, “In 1902, Broadway High School opens (as Seattle High School) on Capitol Hill on the corner of Broadway and E Pine Street. It is Seattle’s first building specifically constructed as a high school. The architects are William E. Boone and J. M. Corner. The building is controversial for its large size and location (then remote from downtown) but within a year is filled to capacity. The 1903 class has 103 graduates, the largest graduating class in the history of Seattle. Today a remnant of the building is incorporated into Seattle Central Community College’s Broadway Performance Hall. article, article, photo

Seven years after it opened in 1902, Seattle High School was renamed for the avenue it faced (Broadway). At first students from everywhere ­from Bothell to Broadway ­ came to the city’s first dedicated high school. But with the1907 opening of a second high school, Lincoln in the Wallingford neighborhood, the name was changed. Broadway High was a remarkably busy place, and distinguished for its mix of classes and races.

During the 1930s, Broadway High School also became a self-help center for learning skills to make it through the Great Depression.

In the early years of the high school, students participated in a mandolin club, a girls’ basketball team, several debate teams, and a football team that competed unsuccessfully against the University of Washington.

In 1966, Seattle Community College purchased the old stone plant for its central branch. In the summer of 1974 wreckers razed most of it. Only the school’s auditorium was saved and a selection of large stones salvaged from the front entrance on Broadway. These were used in a new façade for the renamed Broadway Performance Hall, which remains an important cultural venue for Capitol Hill arts and lectures.”

Sources indicate they still have high school reunions.

Did you know any of that?

Once so important, now mostly part of the sand, washed away by the sea.

During Clara’s time in the ring she certainly made important foot prints that lasted beyond the conventional norm.

As long as civilization exists and we women’s wrestling fans pass our information on to the next generation, Clara Mortenson’s Castles In The Sand will majestically stand as a testament to a great Female Wrestling Champion.

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OPENING PHOTO FOUND  basilsblog-com photo,2290650




Judy Martin, Scary Good

It’s never wise to know the secrets of scary people, because after all, they might find out that you know and then you can’t seem to get rid of them before they get rid of you.

You know what I mean?

Such was the case in the eerie and disturbing film Cape Fear. article, universal pictures photo

The film is a 1991 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It stars Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, and Juliette Lewis, and features cameos from Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam, who all appeared in the 1962 original film.

The film tells the story of a convicted rapist who, using mostly his newfound knowledge of the law and its numerous loopholes, seeks vengeance against a former public defender whom he blames for his 14-year imprisonment due to purposefully faulty defense tactics used during his trial.

When it comes to women’s wrestling, the super star Judy Martin qualified as scary people. article, article, photo

I’m not at the point where I’d feel safe in a house alone. I would be really scared. I’m the kind of person that when I get up to go use the bathroom I have this big long hallway, and I just know someone’s going to jump out and get me.…..Britney Spears

How many times did she apply extra pain to her opponents and seemed to absolutely love it?

Some of the newer lady pros seemed to be genuinely terrified of her.

Every scary person seems to have an alias. How many villains actually use their name in real life?

She was born Judy Hardee. Ms. Martin (yes it’s important to be very polite) is a former WWF Women’s Tag Team Champion. She held the title with partner Leilani Kai as The Glamour Girls. The Glamour Girls also held the LPWA Tag Team titles.

Judy first learned about women’s wrestling after approaching wrestlers Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdoch after a match in South Carolina.

In 1978, she began training with The Fabulous Moolah (another scary wrestler), Joyce Grable and Leilani Kai. Her brilliant career began with her touring Japan.

In 1981, Judy Martin competed in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)’s women’s tag-team division, original partnering with Candy Malloy.

Judy and Leilani were awarded the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship from champions Velvet McIntyre and Desiree Petersen in 1985. After touring on the independent circuit and Japan for a few years, Martin and Kai returned to the WWF, repackaged as the platinum haired The Glamour Girls.

Partnering with Leilani, her feuds with the sensuous, curvy Jumping Bomb Angels of Japan were entertaining, erotic and energetic.

Here are some of her accomplishments and titles:

In 1989, Judy wrestled Rockin’ Robin for the WWF Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble. She continued to challenge Robin for approximately six months, until the WWF phased out the women’s division.

Many felt that was a mistake after some time afterwards, the world of the lady pros as we knew it was gone and the new world of the Divas, which many old school fans have no interest in, replaced Judy’s world.

Frightening as she was, Judy was actually known for being a great jobber in singles matches but a champion in the tag team world.

Unfortunately many of us have to leave the wonderful counter culture fantasy world or supreme imagination, global travel, cheering crowds, television, fascinating people and unforgettable memories and come back into the so called real world.

After her retirement, Martin worked in law enforcement and then transcribed medical records.

Our Glamour girl is from Columbia, South Carolina.

Let’s take a gentle stroll there. article, wikimedia photo

Columbia is the capital of and largest city in South Carolina, with a population of 129,272 as of the 2010 United States Census. As of July 1, 2013, the city’s population was estimated to be 133,358 (U.S. Census Bureau, July 2014 release).

Columbia has wonderful parks and their informative city site invites you to visit. “Whether you live in the City, are neighbors to us in the great state of South Carolina or are just visiting, we invite you to take advantage of the great services we provide, the beautiful parks we maintain and all the wonderful indoor and outdoor activities we offer, from golf and tennis to swimming and recreation league play.”

Then there is the food of course.

They continue, “Eating in the South is a way of life, and Columbia does it well. From Southern comfort foods to trendy food truck fare, there are many unique dining options throughout the region. Make your choice of meals and entertainment from fine dining, locally owned eateries, national franchises, lively cafes — or even a diner as seen on TV on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” with celebrity chef Guy Fieri.”

Even Mayor Stephen Benjamin can hardly contain his excitement about Columbia. He smiles, “Whether I’m walking down Main Street, kayaking down the Saluda River or having a conversation over coffee with a city resident, I am constantly reminded that Columbia is truly a special place. article, wikimedia article, wikimedia photo

Columbia is home to multiple colleges and universities, marquee destinations like Riverbanks Zoo and the South’s largest children’s museum, EdVenture, and our nation’s premier Army training facility at Ft. Jackson. We are a city of creativity, a city of excitement and a city of promise.” article, article, photo

The educational site adds, “Today, South Carolina coastline near Myrtle Beach has developed into one of the premiere resort destinations on the East Coast, and has over 100 golf courses. Famous South Carolinians include musicians James Brown, Chubby Checker and Dizzy Gillespie, novelist Pat Conroy, boxer Joe Frazier, tennis champion Althea Gibson, politician Jesse Jackson and long-serving U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.

It seems Columbia should be on all of our to do and to see list sooner than later.

The global travel site agrees, “Moss-draped oaks. Stately mansions. Wide beaches. Rolling mountains. And an ornery streak as old as the state itself. From the silvery sands of the Atlantic Coast, the state climbs westward from the Coastal Plain across the Piedmont and up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most travelers stick to the coast, with its splendid antebellum cities and palm-tree-studded beaches. But the interior has a wealth of sleepy old towns, wild and undeveloped state parks and spooky black-water swamps.”

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”…..Niccolò Machiavelli

Given the region which helped shaped Judy, no wonder she created a Lady Pro Wrestling History that will long remembered.

In her interview with the respected industry site when asked why she decided to wrestle she laughed and emphasized that she didn’t want to work an 8-5 job (who does?).

She wanted something different.

We as fans are glad that she did because she certainly found her calling.

Intense, energetic, creative, workman like, touch and sometimes…….scary; Judy Martin helped shaped how we will always view the former world of the Lady Pros with deep appreciation.

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Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.

Feature image: article, judy martin photo

Amblin Entertainment Tribeca Productions–wrestler-/712639





Classic Sandy Partlow

Powerfully compact, ring savvy, feminine and beautifully shaped, Sandy Partlow helped shape the lady pro wrestling game primarily during the 1970s and 80s.

If you were a fan during the time, so many of her matches are memorable.

We’ll start with one where we expected her to lose against a talented, 165 lb. Wendy Richter who pranced in her cowgirl boots and hats confident of victory. Wendy started pounding Sandy even before the opening bell would stop ringing and for several minutes she brutalized Sandy with back breakers, body slams and one attempted pin after another.

Like she so often did in other matches, Sandy would somehow manage to escape.

Sandy was the epitome of being tenacious. article, photo

She finally waited for an opening after Wendy threw her rubber band style into the ropes expecting Sandy to bounce off but instead Sandy held on the ropes, Wendy’s drop kick missed and Sandy seized the opportunity to roll Wendy up in a final pin.

When she faced the gorgeous tall blonde Kandi Malloy beautifully decked out in a white bathing suit, you knew immediately this was Sandy’s to win.

Beautiful Kandi Malloy – ( photo ) article, photo

Though Kandi had her moments, through dirty tactics Sandy dominated her earl, middle and late. It wasn’t long before she rolled Kandi up in a pin.

“When it comes to the application to life of existing laws and morals, woman, because of her willing receptiveness, her elasticity and adaptability combined with her power of tenacious retention, has exerted an influence, the value of which is too vast to be measured.”…… Ellen Key

Sandy first trained in 1969 at the Kansas City Athletic Club with promoter Bob Geigel & Betty Nicoli.

In terms of world events, 1969 was a special year.

Woodstock attracts more than 350,000 rock-n-roll fans, 250,000 march on Washington in protest at the Vietnam War, the very first U.S. troop withdrawals are made from Vietnam, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is established, the Chappaquiddick affair involving Senator Edward Kennedy driving a car plunges into a pond on July 25th and a body of a woman passenger is later found in the car.

Woodstock (Wikimedia photo) article, wikimedia photo

Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder five people, Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Bell Bottom Jeans and tie-dye shirts become part of the teenage fashion scene, Sesame Street debuts on Public Television, ” In The Year 2525 ” by Zager and Evans is a huge hit, the Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records and the Beatles release their album Abbey Road. The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am the epitome of the American muscle car is introduced.

What a year.

Brandi Wine, Jean Antone, Betty Nicoli, Princess Jasmine, Betty Torres, Karen Harrington and Joyce Grable were some of the stars that she engaged during her ring tenure.

“The tenacious character I’ve possessed since I was a small child propelled me to successfully meet this challenge, and I was able to safely gain acceptance to the university of my choice.”… Koichi Tanaka

Our classic star traveled all over the United States and virtually all of Canada having Jean Antone for a mentor who taught her how to apply the dirty tactics and she worked with the legendary Cora Combs as well.

She wrestled for many companies early and late in her career even doing a special video against the next generation of female wrestlers. In the 1970’s she also competed in the famous Mildred Burke’s gym.

Let’s briefly travel to Sandy’s birthplace of Kansas City Missouri.

Kansas City Downtown – Wikimedia Photo article, wikimedia photo

Kansas City is the largest city, and second largest metropolitan area, in the state of Missouri. It is the 37th–largest city by population in the United States and the 23rd–largest by area.

Sitting on Missouri’s western border, with downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, the modern city encompasses 316 square miles.

Since its inception in 1857, City Market has been one of the largest and most enduring public farmers’ markets in the American Midwest, linking growers and small businesses to the community. More than 30 full-time merchants operate year-round and offer specialty foods, fresh meats and seafood, restaurants and cafes, floral, home accessories and more.

The respected travel site expressed, “Famed for its barbecues (100-plus joints smoke it up), fountains (more than 200; on par with Rome) and jazz, Kansas City is a don’t-miss Great Plains highlight. Attractive neighborhoods jostle for your attention, and you can easily run aground for several days as you enjoy the local vibe.”

Do you remember what was happening in the Kansas City sports world back in 1969 when Sandy first began to wrestle?

The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs season resulted in an 11–3 record and a 23–7 victory in Super Bowl IV over the NFL’s heavily favored Minnesota Vikings.

fciwomenswrestlingcom article, photo photo

The team beat their rivals, the Oakland Raiders in the final AFL Championship Game, claiming their third AFL Championship in franchise history. The Chiefs were coached by Hank Stram, led by quarterback Len Dawson and a powerful defense led by Bobby Bell, Willie “Contact” Lanier, Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp.

The Chiefs’ defense became the fourth defense in the history of pro football to lead its league in fewest rushing yards, fewest passing yards and fewest total yards. The Chiefs were the second AFL team to win the Super Bowl and last AFL team to do so before the AFL-NFL Merger in the following season.

Sandy emerged during an important time in American history.

“You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.”… Christian Louboutin

In terms of her future, Sandy loves spending time with her daughter and is an avid lover of horses. In her interview online with Mr. Greg Oliver at Slam Canoe wrestling, she relates that she has no real regrets and really loved her wrestling career.

We loved her career as well.

Determined, entertaining and tenacious, Sandy Partlow is one of the many reasons why we will always cherish the old school, full bathing suit, glory days of lady pro women’s wrestling. rticle, fciwomenswrestlingcom article, photoprowrestlingwikia photo

~ ~ ~

Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.


Wrestling At The Chase

It was known as the Fight of the Century. article, wikimedia photo

The Fight of the Century is the title boxing writers and historians have given to the boxing match between champion Joe Frazier (26–0, 23 KOs) and challenger Muhammad Ali (31–0, 25 KOs), held on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Frazier won in 15 rounds via unanimous decision. It was first time that two undefeated boxers fought each other for the heavyweight title. article, wikimedia photo

The Madison Square Garden has been home to some of the biggest, baddest and greatest boxing matches that have ever existed.

Wrestling at The Chase in St. Louis, Missouri was home to some of the biggest, baddest and greatest women’s wrestling matches that were ever presented.

Initially, the matches were broadcast live on Saturday nights and repeated traditionally on Sunday mornings.

This production method was later replaced by a live-to-tape system, meaning that while the performances were taped for later broadcast, they were shot entirely in one take as if airing live, so that no allowances were made for unforeseen or unscripted developments or events.

What made it so special was that there was such a dearth of beautiful professional women’s wrestling in the 1960s and 70s, fans hungered for every taste that the brilliant production would share.


This majestic event was the invention of Sam Muchnick, who was president of the St. Louis Wrestling Club, along with Mr. Harold Koplar who owned KPLR and the old Chase Park Plaza Hotel. The two were together on an airplane in 1958 and wondered how they could put men and women’s pro wrestling into St. Louis area homes.

The original series began on May 23, 1959 and ran until September 10, 1983.

Although the St. Louis Wrestling Club began by taping one show at a time, they began taping three shows at a time on Sunday mornings in the early 1970s. Admission to the tapings was free, and the room in which the matches took place seated 900 fans.

Joe Garagiola was the initial play-by-play commentator. When he left in 1963, Don Cunningham took his place. The following year, Mr. Cunningham died, and was replaced with George Abel. He was joined in 1972 by Larry Matysik, who at the time, was also a part-time police officer in Belleville, Illinois. Ring announcers included John Curley, Eddie Gromacki and Joe Garagiola’s brother Mickey Garagiola.

KPLR ended its relationship with the St. Louis Wrestling Club in September 1983 and ended that version of Wrestling at the Chase.

The station made a deal by which the WWF would produce its wrestling related programming.

On December 27, 1983 and January 16, 1984, the WWF held TV tapings at the Chase Park Hotel which were turned into several episodes of Wrestling at the Chase which began airing in 1984. The first of these shows featured the first WWF appearance of Gene Okerlund and the first Hulk Hogan WWF match after his departure from the AWA.

Some of the women’s wrestling matches were unforgettable.

Wendy Richter vs Sandy Partlow. Wendy battered Sandy from the ringing of the opening bell but couldn’t finish her off. This was when Wendy was new and had ample shapely baby fat. Super sexy. Sandy played possum and eventually out foxed Wendy for the pin.

Early Dawn article, wikia photo

Brenda Hoffman vs Marie LaVerne. Marie should have been the heavy favorite in this one since she had battled against the likes of Canadian super star Vivian Vachon and a journey woman in Early Dawn. That being said, newbie Brenda Hoffman and her beautiful strong legs gave Marie all that she could handle and Marie had to eventually trick her into a pin. Marie was super sexy in her usual light powder blue bathing suit and bare feet while Brenda was gorgeous in a light green and black floral bathing suit.

Kandi Malloy article, wikia photo

Kandi Malloy vs Sand Partlow. Sandy Partlow dressed in bright green was the favorite and the villain and she played both roles very well. Kandi Malloy from Greenville, South Carolina is incredibly shapely and sexy in a white bathing suit and though taller than Sandy, was no match. Give her credit as she had her moments but mostly Sandy had her way with the gorgeous Southern Belle.

Della Coper vs Leilani Kai. Someone please call 911! Fast! Della Cooper is in trouble from the beginning, during the middle and absolutely at the end.

It was so bad that the announcer admitted she looked worse for wear after the Hawaiian Princess was finished with her. Arm twists, body flips and a good pounding describes this one. At one point lovely blonde Della could barely stand as her hair and mind were frazzled and all over the place. Didn’t see Della wrestle much after this and I think we can all guess why.

Joyce Grable vs Suzette Ferreira. There is nothing sexier than two feminine shapely women like Joyce and Suzette adorned in bathing suits and ready for battle. Suzette tried to make a fight of this one including some dirty tactics but Joyce was having none of it. The roll up folding pin at the end is priceless.

We say all of this because Wrestling At The Chase will always hold some special memories since that type of super sexy and simple female pro wrestling is virtually gone.

During the snail mail days, these great tapes and other female matches from that era were available through a true gentleman and very down to earth guy named Manzerman.

Remember him?

Here is a blast from the past.

“I have one of the largest collections of Women’s pro wrestling videos to be found ANYWHERE. Tapes from the fifties to present, representing virtually every wrestling promotion on the books. This also includes GLOW, POWW, and other independent women’s wrestling organizations.

My tape list is comprehensive and informative, as the match listings and descriptions also make good reading, taking you on a video history of women’s professional wrestling. Everything from June Byers, Mildred Burke, Fabulous Moolah, Wendi Richter to Madusa, Sherri, Luna, and oh yes, the sexy, sexy Jacqueline. I have hundreds and hundreds of lady wrestlers on video.”

His catalog was to die for.

Tributes lend meaning to our lives and Wrestling At The Chase deserves theirs.

It was consistently one of the highest rated television shows in St. Louis. Among St. Louis-based shows, it was third behind the local news and St. Louis Cardinals baseball games. The show often had over 100,000 viewers per episode.

It is considered one of the pro wrestling industry’s most historic programs.

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Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.!topic/t-netz.wrestling.wwf/Qy7krbgk4K0



Debbie Malenko Briefly

Some of her best tag team partner’s names were Sakie Hasegawa, Aja Kong, Manami Toyota, Takako Inoue, Minami Suzuka, Devil Masami among others from Nippon.

This should make it easy to guess what city she is from.

Tokyo? Kyoto? Kobe?

No and you’re not even close. Oceans away as a matter of fact.

Try Orlando, Florida.

Debbie Malenko is her name and wrestling in Japan was her game. article

She wrestled from 1990 to 1993 before a serious injury ended her career but given her beauty and talent, we sure wished she could have wrestled longer. While she was in the squared circle, she certainly made it count and we’ll always remember her for it.

The informative wrestling site speaks to this. “Debbie Malenko may not have had a long or successful professional wrestling career on US soil, but she was without a doubt one of the most successful American female wrestlers in Japan. To this day, she is the only American to have captured the All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling singles title, in addition to the AJW Tag Team Championship.

The respected grappling site shares, “Debbie Killian, is perhaps the best American woman wrestler to ever work full time in Japan when she competed as Debbie Malenko.

Debbie Malenko was trained at the Malenko School of wrestling in Florida and originally went by the name Debbie Drake. When she went to Japan, they let her use the Malenko name because she was such a great worker.”

I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog……..Joichi Ito

Great reputation indeed.

This writer’s first memory of Debbie was watching her on a Japanese VHS tape that I had rented from a Japanese video store. She was standing with her partner during the interview and I was amazed at how young she looked and very polite and laid back. No over the top character here. She wrestled well and her team won their match that evening which against the acrobatic and fierce Japanese girls was quite an accomplishment.

Debbie made her professional wrestling debut on August 9, 1990, for Professional Wrestling Federation, taking on AJ Watson as Debbie Drake in a losing effort. Later in September of the same year, she improved and defeated AJ Watson in a match for the same promotion. article adds, “On March 17, 1991, she made her All-Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling debut, teaming up with Mariko Joshida to defeat Sakie Hasegawa and Mayumi Ozaki. In AJW, she competed against the cream of the crop of the ladies professional wrestling world of the time, taking part in both the 1991 and 1992 Japan Grand Prix Tournaments. Sakie Hasegawa became her more or less regular tag team partner, but she also teamed with the great Manami Toyota and Kyoko Inoue.”

Her potential brilliant career ended abruptly on March 11, 1993, in a tag team bout when she partnered with Sakie Hasegawa against Toshiyo Yamada and Manami Toyota.
During the heat of battle, Debbie took a top-rope plancha from Toyota standing on the outside of the ring. Her foot apparently got tangled up in some TV cables and as her opponent landed on her, she suffered a horrific, career-ending ankle injury.
Debbie was only 22.

Our star was a great ambassador to Japan and what better vehicle to bring two different cultures together other than food.

Unfortunately the world is what it is now. People don’t get along for whatever reason. As professional athletes, in a way we’re almost ambassadors for peace, because sports brings everyone together.

Venus Williams

Let’s travel to Orlando, Florida but this time instead of focusing on all of the wonderful tourist attractions which are a plenty, why don’t we follow in Debbie’s footsteps and eat Japanese. That’s right. Let’s eat Japanese in Orlando. article, wikimedia photo

There are many great Japanese restaurants there so for our purposes here, why don’t we look at two that will make your taste buds expand.

Here’s a well-received restaurant and they are happy to speak to us before bowing. “Welcome to Shin Japanese Cuisine. We opened in 2007 and are located downtown Orlando. Shin is a stylish and trendy avenue to entertain friends, family and colleagues, so come and see for yourself!

Our fun and friendly atmosphere, beautiful presentations, and remarkable flavors of each dish have made Shin an unforgettable experience that inspires our guests to return again and again.”

I feel inspired and apparently others have as well.

Here is what one happy customer had to say. “My wife and I have long been fans of lunch at Shin’s, but dinner was downright amazing. We had the sushi for two and it was wonderful. Not only was the sushi incredibly fresh, but the texture made it divine. We love the crab salad in the California roll, the Rainbow roll was a treat as well.”

Yummy. That’s a great start but I want some more. Don’t you?

It’s easy to admire the artistic approach to their food setting for this sensational Orlando restaurant. “Welcome to Hanamizuki ! We are serving authentic Kyoto Style Food for you. We served many appetizers, Tempura, Sukiyaki, Steaks, Sake, wine and much more!”

Having been to Kyoto twice, a very traditional Japanese city, this cuisine sounds like home away from home.

A happy customer relates at, “This is our Orlando treat and destination! Outside of Japan, this is the best Japanese meal I have had. Even simple things like the nori and sushi rice are crafted perfectly. The sashimi is portioned well, all the fish is super fresh and served at a perfect temperature. This is a full on Japanese cuisine experience that should not be passed up. Downside, if you go anywhere else back home, you will know what you are missing!”

For a million reasons, Debbie’s hometown is a great place to visit.

Debbie was a very talented wrestler who helped us appreciate that hard work, politeness, respect and an open mind can open up worlds to all of us.

~ ~ ~

Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.





Kay Noble Legend

In a time period of suburban sprawl, gated communities, planned sub-divisions and Mega-Cities, it’s hard to imagine that at one point, America was primarily a very rural society. article, wikimedia photo

You can see much of it in the songs from the 1950’s and 60’s by artists like Sue Thompson who had many mega-hits including Norman. Today we would call those songs “Country” but back in the day they were simply common place Americana.

Watching lady pro Kay Noble wrassle reminds of that more country roads time period where both girls and boys would go out on the gravel or grass fields and scrap. article, photo

As Kay would circle around in the ring and sometimes spit in her hands and send some beauty sprawling from a Monkey Flip or a Drop Kick, you knew she was one tough cookie.

Legend remains victorious in spite of history.……Sarah Bernhardt

The film Wrestling Queen, starring the shapely Canadian beauty Vivian Vachon in her youth, show cased her battle with Kay Noble in the squared circle that was one rough and tumble affair.

Kay like a true country girl spit in her hands for grip and went back at it often capturing Vivian in painful leg holds. Kay looked athletic and gorgeous in her powder blue bathing suit and full hair style popular in the 1960s.

The fans in the audience were just as much a bunch of characters as the girls in the ring. One fan interviewed described Kay as having dirty tactics. Another passionately exclaimed, “I get excited and I want to jump up into the ring too.”

Both were women.

The foundation of Kay’s wrestling past is based upon respect and great talent.

Mary Charlene Noble (October 15, 1940 – April 27, 2006), known from childhood by her nickname Kay Noble had a career that spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s, during which time she was known for her toughness in the ring.

She worked along well-known female professional wrestlers such as Penny Banner, The Fabulous Moolah, and Gladys Gillem.

During her almost thirty years wrestling, she held the Texas Women’s Championship, Central States Women’s Championship, and AWA World Women’s Championship. She was also honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club in 2001.

Ms. Noble first wanted to become a professional wrestler at age 15 and wanted promoter Gust Karras to help her break into the business. She, however, did not began her professional wrestling career until 1957 at the age 18 after being approached by a promoter in her hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.

She was trained by Laura Martinez and Sonny Myers.

She later helped train male professional wrestler Colonel DeBeers. During her career, she held both the Texas Women’s Championship and Central States Women’s Championship. Throughout her years wrestling, Noble was known for her toughness and strength. She was also a high-flying wrestler.

Her well-known opponents included Penny Banner, The Fabulous Moolah, and Gladys Gillem. In 1963, she won the vacant AWA World Women’s Championship by defeating Kathy Starr in Minnesota, and she held the tile for approximately eight years, losing it to Vivian Vachon in November 1971 in Canada.

She was named WFIA’s “Girl Wrestling of the Year” in 1971.

When people see a legend, they call it a legend. But to be a legend, it’s a lot of hard work and patience. You can’t play for five or ten years and be a legend. It takes longer than that.….Burning Spear

Her praises rang out from many corners in the professional wrestling world. The well-researched wrestling site expresses, “Kay Noble, one of the greats of women’s wrestling from the 1950s to the early 1980s. Coming in at just 5-foot-7 and 132 pounds at the height of her career, the St. Joseph, Missouri-born Noble was able to look legit whether against the bigger girls or those smaller than her.”

The site quotes Sonny Myers who helped train her. “Kay Noble was a tremendous girl wrestler. She just absolutely was great. She didn’t back up from nothing. If she had a job to do, it was done.” article, photo

The accomplished Pro wrestling Hall of Fame site relates, “Mary Charlene “Kay” Noble weighed only 132 pounds at the peak of her career, but this is one case where you don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The powerful news source the Washington Post printed, “Kay Noble, 65, a gutsy grappler whose fresh-faced femininity and no-holds-barred ferocity in the ring won her an enthusiastic following among professional wrestling fans.

Ms. Noble, who went by Kay Noble-Bell in her retirement years, held the Texas Women’s Championship and the Central States’ Women’s Championship and was the 1971 Girl Wrestler of the Year.

Fans who flocked to grimy small-town arenas and big-city coliseums across North America knew they’d get their money’s worth when she was on the bill, whether tangling with Gladys “Kill ‘Em” Gillem, Lillian “Fabulous Moolah” Ellison, blonde bombshell Penny Banner or a host of other well-known female grapplers during her prime in the 1960s and 1970s.

At 5 feet 7 inches tall and a wiry 132 pounds during the peak of her career, she was tough and extremely agile, friends and former ring foes agreed.”

They add that Ms. Noble loved to dress beautiful clothes outside of the rig even though she played the tough girl inside of it.

Respected by all segments of society, the New York Times added, “Kay Noble, was one of the best-known women in the sport. A native of St. Joseph, Mo., she was known for her toughness in the ring. She began her pro career in 1957 and continued wrestling until the early 1980’s.”

The world’s leader in sports and entertainment, ESPN praised her as well. “For many years, Noble-Bell, who wrestled as Kay Noble, was one of the best-known women in the sport. The St. Joseph, Mo., native, known for her toughness in the ring, began her pro career in 1957 and continued wrestling until the early 1980s.

After retiring, she owned and operated Kay’s Upholstery in Amarillo and worked with children at a local hospital.”

Perhaps we can briefly travel to St. Joseph, Missouri, Kay’s childhood town.

St. Joseph is a city in and the county seat of Buchanan County, Missouri.

It is the principal city of the St. Joseph Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Buchanan, Andrew, and DeKalb counties in Missouri and Doniphan County, Kansas. As of the 2010 census, St. Joseph had a total population of 76,780, making it the eighth largest city in the state, third largest in Northwest Missouri. The metropolitan area had a population of 127,329 in 2010.

St. Joseph is located on the Missouri River, but is perhaps best known as the starting point of the Pony Express and the death place of Jesse James. St. Joseph is also home to Missouri Western State University. article, wikimedia photo

The informative site excitedly shares, “Some things you just can’t learn from a history book.  Like seeing where the Pony Express began & Jesse James ended. Today, St. Joseph retains its links to the past while looking toward the future. The city is home to 13 distinctive area museums, 12 annual festivals, amazing architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Kansas City Chiefs Summer Training Camp. You’ll also find great outdoor recreation throughout 48 parks, 26 miles of beautiful Parkway, outdoor concerts, and an arts culture unlike any other.”

Sounds like a great place to re-visit history and enjoy the present.

Some people call me a legend and the last of the greats, and I appreciate it.…..Don Rickles

Sadly Kay at age 65, died of stomach cancer, April 27, 2006 in Amarillo, Texas.

Reviewing an interview of Kay, she appeared to be a person who easily heaped praise on others including her opponents as she received it. She complimented Vicki Williams stating “Vicki Williams is a top contender and deserves every bit of recognition that she gets and has a great chance of coming out with that championship belt.”

Looking back on Kay Noble and Vivian Vachon, both now deceased, certainly is a reminder of how important every day in our life is and how we should make them all count. In their day, it was like they would bless us with their beauty, talent and entertainment forever and then one day, they are gone and we will never see them again.

Kay Noble made her mark and made her moments count and contributed to making our wrestling enjoyment one of the highlights of our lives as well.

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Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.







Penny Mitchell Star Wrestler

Surprises in life are wonderful aren’t they?

What are some surprises that you were elated about in the past?

Was it a blind date set up by a friend where the person met was far better than expected? On a test score you scored far higher than originally thought? You bought a property and when it came time to sell, the market value was at least 25% higher than what you estimated? You come home from high school and there is a car in the driveway and you find out it’s yours?

Other times we love consistency.

The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.….Tom Landry

Think of some of the areas where that is desired.

Foremost is the behavior of someone we love in our important relationships. Time tables in the business world in terms of office hours, customer service and product reliability are essential. The ability of our car to get us from point A to B every day is mandatory.

What I loved about the great 1980’s wrestler Penny Mitchell was that she was very consistent in her wrestling performance. She didn’t exhibit over the top characters but you knew whoever stepped into the ring with her was going to get a great workout; and you as a fan, your money’s worth. article, Wikia photo

I also loved the way that Penny looked in a full bathing suit with her strong sexy legs that fit perfectly in her wrestling boots.

I saw photos of her wrestling my favorite sweet shapely Pittsburgh Princess, Angie Minnelli in what looked like an extended ground war and the shots of those two shapely beauties in battle was priceless. article, Wikia photo

Penny’s other contemporaries where Judy Martin, Debbie Combs, Leilani Kai, Candice Pardue, Velvet McIntyre, Desiree Peterson, Peggy Lee Leather and of course the great Fabulous Moolah.

Her battles against Moolah are legend. There were lots of flips, body splashes and chokes but Penny always managed to come up a little short.

For me the challenge isn’t to be different but to be consistent.…..Joan Jett

Penny hails from Springfield Missouri.

Springfield is the third largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. According to the 2010 census data, the population was 159,498, an increase of 5.2% since the 2000 census. The Springfield Metropolitan Area has a population of 436,712 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk and Webster. Springfield’s nickname is the Queen City of the Ozarks and is known as the Birthplace of Route 66 as well as the home of several universities including Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University.

Thank you Wikimedia.

That’s a good starting place but there is so much more to do in Springfield. The educational site shares the expansion. “Venture out during the day. Play among Missouri’s many natural wonders on a weekend getaway. Visit an amusement park, see a show or take in a festival. Head to Branson and back. If you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll find more than 7,500 miles of shoreline along accessible lakes and floatable streams and rivers within minutes of the city. Urban trails, conservation areas, hunting, camping and fishing are never too far away.

At night, the town is yours. Springfield offers a unique mix of large-city amenities and hometown hospitality evident within great restaurants, museums and an eclectic mix of shops and attraction. There’s something for everyone, and always with a pace that encourages you to take your time. To enjoy the surprises around each corner.”

Let’s appreciate our tax dollars at work as reassures you that your decision to visit Springfield is a good one.

“Welcome to Springfield, Mo.!

With more than 440,000 people in the metro area, Springfield is where the rolling hills of the Ozarks plateau form a surprisingly modern and green city. article, Wikimedia photo

A “big, small town,” Springfield offers a great blend of fascinating attractions, historical treasures, sports excitement and cultural and leisure activities in a welcoming environment. The city offers 102 parks, including a linear trail system that integrates with the city’s growing on-street bike route system; an airport; an art museum; a zoo; the Springfield Lasers professional tennis team; the Springfield Cardinals minor-league baseball team and is home to Bass Pro Shops, Missouri State University, Drury and Evangel universities and the Assemblies of God USA.

Springfield/Greene County is the only municipality in the nation with a Gold Medal Award-winning parks and recreation department, American Chamber of Commerce Executives Chamber of the Year award and accreditation in law enforcement, fire, emergency management, environmental services and public works. article, Wikimedia photo

Springfield Public Schools is Missouri’s largest fully accredited school district.  More than 24,000 students attend 36 elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 5-6), nine middle schools, five high schools, Phelps Center for Gifted Education and an Early Childhood Center.

The school system offers more than a dozen programs that cater to the diverse needs of students, including the International Baccalaureate program, Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility (WOLF), and the Middle College Program. All five district high schools are designated Missouri A+ Schools.

Casual dining, upscale bars and restaurants, antique shops, trendy clothing, art galleries and a public art and sculpture tour make downtown Springfield a great place to live and visit.”

For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.……Tony Robbins

Penny was willing to take her lumps and bruises for the cause but some of her signature wins in singles matches were over tough lady pro Judy Martin. Some of her greatest tag team triumphs was when she partnered with Velvet McIntyre to defeat the powerful duo of Joyce Grable and Wendi Richter, otherwise known as The Texas Cowgirls and when she teamed with Susan Starr they surprisingly gained a major victory over Judy Martin and the all-time champion, The Fabulous Moolah.

Penny Mitchell was a steady performer that will always be remembered with admiration. Her consistency in the squared circle along with her talent and beauty propelled her to the category that those of us who enjoyed her professionalism knew that she would someday attain.


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Sources:, Wikipedia,,, FCI Elite Competitor,,,, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.


Nell Stewart Is Platinum

[intro] Nell Stewart and Route 66 are symbolic of the ability to travel wherever your dreams take you.
[/intro] article - wikimedia photo

Like a hungry newer lady wrestler barn storming the country with something to prove, Route 66 the famous highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

What year was it first completed?

Here are some clues. See if you can guess without looking it up online.

Let’s take a look at the headlines that screamed across the top of newspapers: Gene Tunney beats Jack Dempsey in 10 for heavyweight boxing title. Ty Cobb resigns as Detroit Tigers manager. Hirohito becomes the emperor of Japan. Satchel Paige makes pitching debut in Negro Southern League. Magician Harry Houdini dies of gangrene and peritonitis that has developed after his appendix ruptured. Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio becomes Walt Disney Studios. article - wikimedia photo

What year are we speaking of?

The year was 1926.

Something else very special happened that year.

Female super star Nell Stewart was born in Birmingham, Alabama. article - photo credit

The writer Jeff Leen, who wrote The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend stated, “Along with Johnnie Mae Young, Nell Stewart and June Byers, Gloria was in the vanguard of the second wave of female stars that followed Mildred Burke, Gladys Gillem, Elviry Snodgrass and Mille Stafford.”

When you watch Ms. Stewart’s matches, something becomes very clear. This was a very rough and tumble era of women’s wrestling matches. Yes much was decided ahead of time but certainly not the details and Nell Stewart was a beautiful blonde who could rough things up with the best of them. article - photo credit

What was interesting when you peer into the past of this golden age of the late 40s and early fifties is that unlike today, newspapers actually covered women’s wrestling like they were important news stories.

The shares a headline from a news article of that era. “June 10, 1953: 7,000 pack the Gardens to watch gal wrestlers.”

The article continues, “Seven thousand wrestling fans rocked and roared at the Edmonton Gardens as “seven curvaceous babes let their hair down” and engaged in a battle royal during the main event of promoter Al Oeming’s weekly wrestling card.

It was a spectacle sport not just a spectacle.

When it was all over, American professional wrestler and blond bomber, Nell Stewart, emerged the winner having disposed of Mexican spitfire Ida May Martinez, (also American), wrote an unidentified Journal scribe.”

The years of 1952-1957 were Nell Stewart’s best. The respected wrestling information site posts her matches victories as 24, 31, 30, 26 and 19.

She loved the sleeper hold and head scissors and like today’s female submission wrestlers, loved to apply the excruciating body scissors.

She certainly had her rivalries. The wrestling site reveals, “Beautiful Nell Stewart and sexy Gloria Baratini wrestled each other numerous times in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Nell was forever the hard boiled heel and defeated the game Gloria in most of their long hard fought matches. The story goes that Gloria gave up a promising opera career to become a professional wrestler. I kid you not. But that is a fact. Gloria attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music, studying to be an opera singer. She did not end up at Carnegie Hall but at wrestling arenas.” article - photo credit

As printed by the talented lady grappler Ethel Brown spoke about a side of Nell Stewart’s character that few from the public probably saw. She explains, “My biggest ally was Nell Stewart. When I first started wrestling, Nell actually put clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. She taught me how to be a lady as well as a wrestler. Because Nell was married to Billy Wolfe (a famous women’s wrestling promoter), I have to give him credit for being an ally, too.”

Let’s visit the southern comfort of modern Birmingham, Alabama. article - wikimedia photo

The comprehensive information source Wikipedia informs, “Birmingham is largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city’s population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama’s population. article - wikimedia photo

Birmingham is the cultural and entertainment capital of Alabama with numerous art galleries in the area including the Birmingham Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the Southeast. Downtown Birmingham is currently experiencing a cultural and economic rejuvenation, with several new independent shops and restaurants opening in the area. Birmingham is also home to the state’s major ballet, opera, and symphony orchestra companies such the Alabama Ballet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Ballet, Birmingham Concert Chorale, and Opera Birmingham.” article - wikimedia photo

The enjoyable travel site gently expresses, “It has been said that Birmingham is the last major Southern city in America, where a friendly “How y’all doin’,” a hearty meal of country-fried steak with butter beans and a true taste of Southern hospitality await visitors.

Whether you’re into the history of the Civil Rights movement, a fan of jazz music or just looking for culture and a few fun activities for the family, Sweet Birmingham is the place for you. Spend the morning at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and then have lunch at a traditional Southern tea room.

Outdoor enthusiasts can tee off at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail or pack a lunch and spend the day hiking and enjoying the vistas at Ruffner Mountain. A world-class zoo, the innovative McWane Center and VisionLand, Alabama’s first amusement park, are sure to keep families entertained and on the go. In the evening, listen to a blues show at an outdoor cafe and then spend the night at a small cozy inn or splurge for an elegant hotel.”

[pullquoteleft] “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”..Robert Frost

The legendary highway Route 66 would inspire memorable songs and no doubt was the source of endless adventures for many Americans throughout the road’s lifetime. Its romantic partnering with people’s hopes and dreams at the time probably seemed like it would last forever but as we know, nothing ever does. You just have to enjoy it while it’s here.

Nell Stewart was one of the beautiful ones who propelled women’s wrestling into a new era. What a memory it would have made to sit ringside and watch her compete and entertain. For those that did, it probably seemed that watching shapely Nell would be a ritual that would persist deep into the future. In that sense, they were right.

The fans of Nell Stewart understand that sharing Ms. Stewart’s accomplishments with the present generation is building a bridge that will reach, educate and affect future generations that appreciate women’s wrestling.

This is part of their heritage.

Like the legendary Route 66, completed when she was born, its risk takers like Nell Stewart that inspire appreciation, instill enthusiasm and can propel a young female competitor’s dreams down any unknown highway she hopes to travel. article - wikimedia photo

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Sources:, Wikipedia,,,,,,,,,,, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons, Thank you for Ms. Stewart’s photos.