UNDATED: The Fabulous Moolah a professional wrestler looks to strangle her opponent. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** The Fabulous Moolah
Wendi Richter was this week’s guest on the Prime Time With Sean Mooney podcast. The WWE Hall of Famer opened up on a number of topics including her time with the late Fabulous Moolah, and what she thinks about today’s female wrestlers.
On Fans Still Remembering Her:
I just walked out [of WWE] because of how I was treated. I kept wrestling, but I wasn’t on television and I thought people would forget me, but a lot of people didn’t, to my surprise.
On Making Little Money Early On:
It was horrible. There was times I made $50. I had to give Moolah 25% and then pay my gas and hotel. I did it for nothing. After I was already broken in, I would travel to the town I was gonna wrestle, go to the gym, have a meal, rest and then go to the matches and then go back to my hotel room and get up and do the same thing again the next day. I would go on the road for six weeks, two months, three months and then come back and be off for maybe a couple weeks or a week and then go back on another run for a couple months.
On How She Was Treated By Promoters & Men In The Business:
I was always treated with respect because I carried myself like a lady, like I am and I was treated that way, so that’s all I can say. I was always treated with respect. There were a few times when a few of the wrestlers were a little out of line and I put them right in their place, so it didn’t happen again. It got around, ‘Don’t mess with her!’
On The Discrepancy Of Pay Between Male & Female Wrestlers:
That’s the reason I only stayed with the WWE a year and a half. Every time I saw Vince McMahon I told him, ‘I’m making less than the opening matches and most of the time I’m semi-main event. By the time I pay my rental car and my hotel, there’s nothing left. I’m working to pay the hotel and rental cars.’
On Her Falling Out With WWE Being A Blessing In Disguise:
That door closed with the WWF and I started going to college and I just thank the Lord that I did that. Whenever I do any event now, whether it’s a signing or whatever, I just thank the Lord that I have an education and I could go anywhere in this country and get a job and make far more than I ever did at wrestling. I make far more than I ever made in wrestling and I get to sleep in my own bed and I have five horses and dogs and cats. I couldn’t have that when I was wrestling on the road.
On Teaming Up With Cyndi Lauper:
For me the song Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was my favorite song on the radio. I just loved it and I got a call from the WWF asking me would I represent Cyndi Lauper in a championship match against Moolah and I said, ‘Yes, I would. I’d love to. Damn right.’ That’s how it began, but it began before that for Cyndi. Her and Lou Albano were sitting next to each other in first class on a flight from Puerto Rico to New York and they got to talking and then Lou Albano starts throwing her name around like they’re friends and like he’s managing her when he only met her on the airplane [laughter]. She had the number one song in the nation and her manager Dave Wolf would tell her that he’s saying all these things and he was her manager, not Lou Albano and that went back and forth and back and forth. It turns out they challenged each other in a match, but they couldn’t wrestle each other, so they chose someone to represent them in a match, a title match. That’s how it all started.
On When She Realized Rock ‘N Wrestling Was Hitting The Mainstream:
Right after I won the championship, I went to visit my grandmother in Kokomo, Indiana and I went out jogging. It was early; it was barely daylight. I was undercover and they knew me anyway. I couldn’t believe it. That’s when I realized, ‘Wow!’ I’d go to restaurants – not with other wrestlers – just by myself and people recognized me.
On Her Relationship With The Fabulous Moolah:
[My relationship with Moolah] was never good. She never helped get me to the main event. She used me kinda like Elvis Presley’s manager. She got 25% of my pay and there were times I didn’t even know what I got paid. She would cut me a check and so I had to stop that. Once I started wrestling, the promoters were asking for me and she didn’t promote me. There were times they tried to get me and she told them I was booked and I wasn’t. I think she was a very hateful person and I’ve never been around anyone that was as hateful and spoke so coarsely. I mean she was worse than a sailor. I never heard anyone cuss and her cuss combinations and the way she talked about people, I’d never been around that and I wasn’t around it very long because that’s the opposite of what I want to surround myself with. I’m a positive; I look forward to things. I try to speak kind of people or don’t say anything, but she hurt me anytime she could and I realized that early on. She was an evil person and I didn’t ever want to be around her.
There’s more about Fabulous Moolah on the next page, as well as what Richter’s current relationship with the WWE is like and Richter’s opinions on today’s female wrestling.