2010 marked several somber losses in the world of women’s wrestling, and LadySports would like to take a few moments to remember these great ladies.IDA MAE MARTINEZ
January 19, 2010
Another Golden Age great was lost to us with the passing of Ida Mae. She began her ring career in 1950 while still a teenager, working for the legendary Billy Wolfe. Ida Mae’s tremendous natural talent and her fierce determination to succeed quickly took her to the top of the sport; in 1952 she won the Mexican Women’s Wrestling Championship, and throughout the Fifties, she engaged in a spirited feud with Nell Stewart that packed houses in many territories.
Still a young woman, Martinez retired from the sport in 1960 to follow another dream, and first pursued her GED, then went on to college to ultimately earn her Master’s Degree with Honors in Nursing. Working with Johns Hopkins Hospital, she specialized in treating AIDS patients, and through her work and her writing for medical journals, Ida Mae became recognized in the field as a noted authority on the subject.
Despite her retirement, Martinez maintained her interest in pro wrestling, which prompted her enthusiastic involvement with the Cauliflower Alley Club, which included her efforts to help locate “lost” lady wrestlers of yesteryear. As befits her great ring success, she was featured in the celebrated documentary of classic women’s wrestling, “Lipstick and Dynamite”.
January 25, 2010
Although never a wrestler, referee or promoter, Georgiann was undeniably a profound force in professional wrestling for decades. An ardent fan of the sport, she started to make her mark in the early 1960s by founding highly popular fan clubs for several of her favorites, including ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers and Bruno Sammartino. These efforts not only earned her an invite into the backstage world of wrestling, but it also put her in touch with hundreds, and then thousands, of other fans across the United States and around the world.
It wasn’t long before she began writing professionally for wrestling magazines, as well as publishing her own newsletter, “The Wrestling Chatterbox”, which became a well-regarded source for news. The advent of the Internet in the 1990’s saw Makropoulos easily transition to become one of the earliest and most respected wrestling news providers online, and email allowed her to expand her already prodigious collection of contacts with other fans, creating a virtual community of wrestling aficionados that spanned the globe, thus reinforcing her status as the “Fan's Fan” of pro wrestling.
June 24, 2010
Although she hadn’t ever intended to pursue a career in wrestling, for several years in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, Toni Adams was one of the most popular women in the entire sport.
She had been looking to get into television production, and this lead to a job behind the scenes with Fritz Von Erich’s World Class Championship Wrestling, which syndicated a weekly program worldwide; her beauty and charm quickly elevated her to a role as on-camera interviewer. It was there that she met and married Chris Adams, one of WCCW’s most successful stars. Chris brought Toni to ringside as his valet, and she was an immediate hit with the fans. Her popularity really exploded when she and Chris got into a long-running feud with Chris’s former protégé, Steve Austin, who was being managed by Chris’s actual ex-wife, Jeanie Clark. Toni and Jeanie faced one another in the ring many times, and Toni in particular demonstrated a real aptitude for wrestling. Their matches were frequently covered in many of the newsstand wrestling magazines.
Following her divorce from Chris, Toni worked for several promotions as a wrestler and a manager, often under the nom de guerre of Nanny Simpson. She retired from the sport in 1995 at the height of her popularity.
August 27, 2010
The wrestling world was stunned by the sudden passing of Luna Vachon. For nearly twenty years, she had been one of the best-known and most-respected women in the sport, and even though she had officially retired in 2007, her fame had not dimmed.
If anyone could be said to have wrestling in their blood, it was Gertrude “Trudy” Vachon (although ironically, she was adopted into the Vachon family as a small child). Heiress to three of Canada’s most successful wrestlers... her father, Paul “Butcher” Vachon, uncle Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon, and aunt Vivian Vachon... she had a huge legacy to live up to. In the early 80’s, she launched her career as Angelle Vachon, working for the Fabulous Moolah, learning her trade and paying her dues.
Her first taste of big success came in Florida, when she joined Kevin Sullivan’s “Army of Darkness” stable, and undertook a radical transformation: she adopted a devilish persona, cut her hair into a mohawk, and renamed herself Luna. Extensive tours of Japan helped hone her craft as they helped shape her ring character, and established her as an outstanding grappler capable of working in a variety of styles.
In the U.S., she enjoyed fantastically successful stints in the WWF, WCW and ECW, while in-between working as a highly in-demand presence on the independent circuit. The PGWA is proud to have worked with her on two noteworthy occasions: in Nashville against Angel ‘Riptide’ Orsini (in what would prove to be their final match together), and in Germany versus Brit star Pippa L’Vinn. What we discovered on those occasions was that for all of the macabre menace she projected in the ring, backstage she was one of the sweetest, most sincere women in the business; she never failed to take a genuine interest in the well-being of her fellow wrestlers, particularly the other ladies, and she made friends in every locker room she ever set foot in.
August 30, 2010
It could almost be said that Beverly Lehmer fell into wrestling by accident, although her long and successful ring career was certainly no accident.
At the age of 15, she was working the concession stand of the local wrestling auditorium in her Iowa hometown when she was drafted to serve as the reluctant workout partner for her sister Carolyn, who was training to become a wrestler. Carolyn’s career was short-lived, but Beverly quickly discovered she had a real aptitude for the sport, and she pursued it professionally.
As an independent worker, Beverly was not affiliated with any one promotion or stable, but nevertheless Billy Wolfe liked to frequently book her against many of his women, including the World Champion, June Byers. Lehmer also worked often against the likes of Penny Banner, Nell Stewart, Ethel Brown and Mae Young, criss-crossing the United States many times over the course of her twenty years in the business.
Her final match came in 1968, when she faced the legendary Mildred Burke. She moved to Colorado to raise her family, and she worked as a counselor to alcoholics; as a recovering alcoholic herself for the last thirty years of her life, Beverly knew just how difficult it could be to stay sober, and she helped other find the strength to do so.