As of recent years, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been undergoing a resurgence in the women’s division.
During the late 2000’s, the women of the WWE were rarely featured on TV, often finding themselves lucky to receive even two minutes of airtime. However, after backlash by fans, this situation began to change in 2015, under a movement known as the “women’s revolution”. Women in the WWE have come a long way since then, and are now featured prominently on TV, often headlining the events.With the “women’s revolution”, the WWE have also honored their past female wrestlers for their contributions to the industry.
In recent years, the WWE has done a great job reminding fans of the legends of the 00’s, as well as one of the stars of the 90’s, Alundra Blayze. However, the WWE has failed to acknowledge the women of the 1980s. The organization has previously inducted three notable female wrestlers from the 80’s into its Hall of Fame, including The Fabulous Moolah (1995), Sherri Martel (2006) and Wendi Richter (2010). However, there are many other female wrestlers from this era, who have also paved the way for today’s stars, that have yet to be acknowledged. In the 10 years after Richter’s induction, no other representatives from the 80’s have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and those who have been inducted are not mentioned on TV during momentous occasions.
Below is a list of women who were prominent figures in the WWE during the 80’s and deserve recognition for their achievements.
The Glamour Girls
The Glamour Girls were a professional wrestling tag team consisting of Leilani Kai and Judy Martin. The team fought for the WWE as part of the women’s tag team division. The duo captured the WWF Women’s Tag Team championships on two occasions and were the final titleholders before the belt was vacated in 1989.
With WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart as their manager, The Glamour Girls were one of the flashiest tag teams in the women’s division during the 80s and without a doubt paved the way for many future heel tag team greats such as LayCool (Layla & Michelle McCool) and The Iiconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay).
As well as enjoying success as a team, both women also achieved a great deal of success as individual competitors.
Leilani Kai was a former WWF Women’s Champion who captured the belt by defeating Hall of Famer Wendi Richter at WWF: The War To Settle The Score in 1985. She would go on to compete at the historic Wrestlemania 1 event during the semi-main event, accompanied by The Fabulous Moolah, but would lose her belt to Wendi Richter, who was accompanied by musical superstar, Cyndi Lauper.
These matches were part of the WWF’s “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”, an era during which fan interest was reaching a peak.
Kai would continue to compete at the WWE for many years until her departure in 1989.
She would make a return in 1994 at the Wrestlemania 10 event to challenge Alundra Blayze for the women’s title, her last appearance within the organization.
Although she did not capture a singles title, Martin was a prominent part of WWF TV as a solo competitor and performed for them for the entirety of the 1980’s. She notably feuded with Rockin’ Robin for the WWF Women’s Championship, losing to her at the second ever Royal Rumble event back in 1989.
When the WWF axed its women’s division in 1990, Martin continued to compete for several more years for the WCW, LPWA and PGWA.
Miss Elizabeth was a trailblazer for female managers in the WWE, often referred to as “The First Lady of Wrestling”. Elizabeth projected class, dignity, and compassion to the sport.
Elizabeth played a key factor in many of the most popular storylines in the 1980s. Beginning her career as the manager to ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Elizabeth shot to superstardom and elevated Savage in the same direction.
In the historical first ever Summerslam event back in 1988, Elizabeth played a crucial role in the headliner, managing Savage and Hulk Hogan to victory. Much of the marketing for this event was centered around Elizabeth and this was at a time when her popularity was reaching an all time high.
Elizabeth would go on to play a crucial role in the main event of 1989’s WrestleMania 5. In the buildup to the Hogan-Savage main event match, Savage appeared in a series of televised promos accusing Hogan of “lusting after Elizabeth” with video footage of past incidents. Hogan responded by defending his behavior, releasing extended footage of the same incidents. After weeks of speculation as to whose corner she would stand in at WrestleMania V, Elizabeth announced she would stand in a “neutral” corner. During the Hogan-Savage match, Elizabeth got in the way of both wrestlers several times and was eventually sent from ringside; Hogan went on to win Savage’s WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
Elizabeth would continue to perform for the WWE until 1992 and continued to play a major factor in high-profile storylines. She had notable appearances at Wrestlemania 6, 7 and 8, as well as a high-profile proposal and marriage to ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage.
Elizabeth sadly passed away on May 1, 2003, at the age of 42, in what is to this day, one of the most heartbreaking deaths in professional wrestling history.
The WWE’s Hall of Fame currently has a ‘celebrity’ wing, and the most notable omission by far is that of Cyndi Lauper.
Lauper was an integral part of the “Rock ‘N Wrestling” era of the eighties, and many credit the WWE’s rise in popularity at the time to her involvement with the promotion. The musical superstar appeared on TV with Wendi Richter, managing her to two WWF women’s championship victories, including at the historic Wrestlemania 1 event.
Lauper most recently appeared for the WWE in 2012, when she smashed Heath Slater over the head with a gold record.
The ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ singer was a huge reason why WWE reached the heights that it did back in the 80s, elevating them as a promotion, along with the women’s division. Her contributions to the sport are beyond deserving of a spot in the ‘Celebrity’ wing of their Hall of Fame.
Before Lilian Garcia, Renee Young and JoJo, there was Mike McGuirk. The WWE’s first ever female ring announcer, she was a prominent figure in the organization during her tenure from 1987 to 1994. Throughout her time in the organization, she took part in ring announcing and commentary, and was known for the colorful, glittery tuxedos that she wore while ring announcing. When not ring announcing or commentating, McGuirk’s job was producing promos back stage.
McGuirk is without a doubt a pioneer for women announcers in the WWE. For whatever reason, the WWE has failed to acknowledge her over the last three decades.
Other organizations have acknowledged McGuirk’s contributions to the business. In June 2015, McGuirk was inducted into the IHWE Hall of Fame of Wrestling. In 2019 she was inducted into the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
The Jumping Bomb Angels
The Jumping Bomb Angels were not just trailblazers when it came to WWE women’s division, but trailblazers for women’s wrestling all across the world. The duo had a fanfare and stardom about them like no other, superstars in Japan who eventually achieved that same success when performing for American audiences in the WWE.
The WWE universe first took note of the two women when they were the sole survivors in the women’s Survivor Series match at the event’s inaugural showing back in 1987.
The pair would go on a tear, dominating the competition, and displaying a fast-paced and high-flying fighting style which were not seen by American audiences up until that point.
The duo’s most impressive accomplishment came at the first ever Royal Rumble event in 1988 when they captured the WWF women’s tag team championship to a crowd of roaring fans.
McIntyre, born in Dublin, Ireland, performed for the WWE during the majority of the 1980s. The original “Irish Lass Kicker” was prominently featured during her time with the organization and is one of the few women who can say she has held the WWF women’s and WWF women’s tag team championships.
Back in 1983, when WWE purchased the original NWA women’s tag team championships, reigning holders Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria were immediately recognized as the first WWF women’s tag team champions. After their 574-day reign, Princess Victoria suffered a career-ending injury and was forced to vacate the belt. Desiree Petersen stepped in and begun a new reign, holding the title with McIntyre for 237 days.
Following her run in the tag team division, McIntyre begun to really break out as a singles competitor. On July 3, 1986, in Brisbane, Australia, McIntyre pinned The Fabulous Moolah to capture the WWF women’s championship. Moolah would eventually regain her title in a rematch. At Survivor Series 1987, McIntyre competed on the winning team of the first ever women’s survivor series match in WWE history.
The now 57-year-old is without a doubt a trailblazer for women in the WWE, being the first Irish-born woman to win a championship with the organization. She is a two-time women’s tag team champion and one-time women’s champion who put her body on the line with the WWE for the majority of the 80s.
Wrestling is in Rockin’ Robin’s blood. As the daughter of Aurelian “Grizzly” Smith, she is a second-generation wrestler. Her brother Sam Houston and half-brother Jake “The Snake” Roberts are also wrestlers.
Robin began her career working for Wild West Wrestling, feuding with the likes of GLOW star and fellow future WWE star, Debbie Combs. After Moolah retired from full-time competition following the infamous screwjob over Wendi Richter, the WWE needed new stars to forefront the division. Robin was brought in as the likeable, popular babyface. She would compete in the first ever women’s Survivor Series Match as a member of the winning team.
On October 7, 1988, Robin ended Sensational Sherri’s fifteen-month reign as WWF women’s champion by defeating her in Paris, France. She would then go on to defend the championship multiple-times and at marquee events such as the second ever Royal Rumble event back in 1989. At Wrestlemania 5, still women’s champion, she performed “America The Beautiful” to open the show. She went on to reign and defend herself as champion until 1990. After Robin’s departure, the title was vacated and the women’s division became inactive for multiple years. This put an end to the era of the WWE female wrestlers of the 80s, before the belt was re-introduced with Alundra Blayze in 1993.
Wrestling fans, how do you feel about the WWE refusing to give their 80’s female superstars the credit they deserve? Is there anyone else you think should be included on this list? Let us know in the comments section below.