The Fabulous Moolah
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Joyce Grable Defends The Fabulous Moolah Over Criticism Following WWE Battle Royal Name Change

Joyce Grable recently spoke with Bill Apter and spoke out in defense of The Fabulous Moolah after WWE changed the name of their women’s battle royal at Wrestlemania 34. You can read a few highlights (transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for and watch the video below:

For them to say, [the] people on the internet, that she pimped us out, that she sent men to our rooms—that was a bald-faced lie. She never, ever, and I was with her all of those years, she never once sent a man of any sort to my room for anything. Usually after the matches, we got together with the guys, we went out drinking, we had a few drinks, and went back to our rooms because early the next morning we had to go to the next town. There just wasn’t any time for stuff like that. I don’t know where they got that idea from, but you know, I was a pretty woman, and I had a good body back then. If you look at photos when I was in my bikini, and when I did my publicity shots… don’t you think she would’ve sent guys to a pretty lady wrestler, instead of the ones that are not pretty?

I mean, consider the whole table there, in the 70s and 80s, there were a few of us that were really good wrestlers back then. We had fun on the road. We had fun, but it was nothing to do with Lillian [Moolah]. It wasn’t her that was behind everything. Now, she was our boss; she said ‘you dress like a lady when you go to the ring. You dress like a lady when you walk into the arena. You never know who’s going to be watching you.’ And so we always had our makeup on, our hair fixed, we didn’t wear shorts into the arena. She taught us, she was our boss, and if it wasn’t for her saying ‘Oh there’s a pretty blonde headed girl there, if she’ll come wrestle, I’ll train her.’ That’s how I got into the business.

I never saw it, I never had it done to me. The fans weren’t there; they don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, some of the girls got [upset] because of the percentage she took, but we were all young, and they would get upset when she would take [her fee] out, especially when they would be expecting a bigger payoff.

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Grable continued:

You got paid based on the door, unless you went in on a guarantee. When we went to Canada, Mexico, Japan, any other out of state places, we went on a guarantee, so we knew exactly how much they were paying us and how much our booking charges were. So, you knew upfront how much was going to be taken out of that check. Sometimes they would pay us, like in New York and other states, either every night or every other night. That money would come straight to us, and we would give her the money when we got home. But, like Georgia and some of the other states, you would work a week before you got paid, and they would send the money to Lillian. We wouldn’t really know what our payoffs were until we got back from certain trips, and we went in and settled up with her. She always had it written down, usually she had taken photocopies of the checks to show you. A few times she didn’t, but most of the time she did. It’s like any other job; you knew how much money you were going to make. I could look at a crowd and say ‘my payoff is going to be this tonight’. I could tell by the crowd how much I was going to pocket, usually within $25 I had it correct.