She also was responsible for training and booking all the other female wrestlers throughout the NWA, meaning she controlled the careers of her potential rivals as well. Byers' retirement mostly marked the end of Billy Wolfe's involvement in women's wrestling. Burke was told she was going to lose the first fall but rally back to win the next two, but when she lost the first fall Wolfe and the NWA double-crossed her and ended the match right there, giving the impression Byers had defeated Burke clean in the middle of the ring. The audience of this game is clear. WWE of course was behind the times when it came to promoting the women. Three and a half dropkicks out of five. The days of women main-eventing large houses were long gone and once more women were really only brought in as a novelty match. Mid-way through WWE decided to openly promote a new look for the women in their company. Changing her name to Mildred Burke which is humorous because today Mildred Bliss would be considered a far superior in-ring name than Mildred Burke she proved a natural and quickly became the top draw in women's wrestling.
Most importantly, she developed relationships with important promoters, including Vince McMahon Sr. With more public support than ever, women's wrestling seems to be in a great place to grow in the coming years; but as history has shown us that popularity could dissipate quickly. The Heartbreak Kid showed us you can get over by selling sex to the audience, and no one complained because he was a great worker and character. While Mortenson and Livingston broke barriers by appearing on the undercard of male-dominated shows, Burke became the first female wrestler to be a true drawing card. We even had a period where true workhorses like Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit found time in the spotlight. Every rose has its regrettable cutscene. A few stars, like Jacqueline Moore, Victoria, Lita, Trish Stratus, Mickie James and Molly Holly were able to play a role in company while also being competent workers, but the long term damage of a majority of women's matches being poor would have an effect on the industry for a while. These women would develop into major attractions for the WWF, proving the old adage that sex sells. While not much of a wrestler, Sunny's popularity would pave the way for the next set of women to make a splash in WWF. Chyna's physique along with her plain appearance cut a strict contrast to the rather petite women who normally played a role in the WWF. Burke formed her own promotion, the World Women's Wrestling Association and created her own world title. Financial problems continued to hamper the company and as their TV ratings slid they eventually lost their television deal in and the company closed their doors in In she successfully defended her championship against Elvira Snodgrass in Louisville in front of 18, fans, an insane accomplishment for a female competitor. It was his ring work which made the gimmick acceptable. While these women were huge bonuses to the WWF, a debate began to take place if it was morally acceptable for these women to use their bodies in such a provocative way on television and advertisers questioned the use of such open sexuality, in addition to the violence that they often were a part of, frequently at the hands of male performers. The beauty standards have still subsided a bit; the women are still attractive but the focus has largely shifted away from their looks and more towards their charisma and wrestling. Three and a half dropkicks out of five. Max Viterbo, a French sportswriter described attending one of the shows at a burlesque club in Paris. Would Rick Rude be a legend without the gimmick? Burke is still today the most popular women's wrestler in American history. It knows when to abandon the insistence on athletic realism for the sake of cinematic flair. Other wrestlers like Laura Bennett and the Russian Masha Poddubnaya, who took the championship to Europe, would emerge as top names. Today, the fact that Moolah held the title for 28 years is mind-boggling, but if you understand what the situation was back during her reign, it isn't really that amazing. For years they languished as a sideshow on the mid-card that fans utilized as a chance to get a snack or go to the bathroom. The women who wrestled in this era were on par with the most disfigured of freak show attractions because of how brazen their violation of gender roles were during such a stifling time period for female rights.
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