“The Untold Story of The Fabulous Moolah: Wrestling’s Trailblazing Queen” 

 February 28, 2023

The Untold Story of The Fabulous Moolah: Wrestling’s Trailblazing Queen

Grappling, body-slamming, and pinning; professional wrestling is an extensive form of entertainment appreciated worldwide. But, during the 1950s, wrestling was a man’s world, and anybody who dared to challenge this norm faced challenging rejections. However, a woman by the name of Mary Lillian Ellison defied all odds and became one of the most influential figures in the wrestling industry.


Mary Lillian Ellison, better known as The Fabulous Moolah, broke into the wrestling scene in the 1950s when it was uncommon for women to be actively involved in this sport. Her journey to success was full of challenges, but she persevered and ended up revolutionizing the world of wrestling for women. Moolah dominated the industry for almost three decades, becoming an iconic figure whose legacy continues to live on today. In this article, we will unveil the untold story of The Fabulous Moolah, the wrestling queen who blazed the trail for female wrestlers everywhere.

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Early Life

Mary Lillian Ellison was born in 22nd July 1923, in Kershaw County, South Carolina. Her parents’ financial status was difficult, forcing her to leave school at an early age and work in cotton fields. Ellison discovered wrestling when she was 15 years old, where she began to train under the mentorship of Mildred Burke, a former national champion. Ellison got hitched to Johnny Long, a fellow wrestler, where they performed together. After their divorce, she adopted the name The Fabulous Moolah, inspired by a song at that time.

Challenges and Achievements

The wrestling industry has been male-dominated, making it nearly unattainable for females to break into the sport. Moolah was set to change that. She was an extremely skilled wrestler and performed countless times in front of large audiences. Despite being a successful wrestler, Moolah’s life had a fair share of challenges. She was consistently underpaid by promoters, and sometimes they changed the rules on a whim to take advantage of her.

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Despite the setbacks, The Fabulous Moolah had numerous achievements during her lengthy career. She was the first woman to perform at Madison Square Garden, where she defeated Judy Grable in the opening match. Also, Moolah won the Women’s World Championship, held by the National Wrestling Alliance, and held onto it for 28 years, thus making her the longest-reigning women’s world champion ever.

The Birth of The Fabulous Moolah Brand

Moolah recognized the importance of building and maintaining a brand, even before it was common practice. She trademarked The Fabulous Moolah name and used social media deals with different promoters to promote herself. Moolah’s work ethic and branding business strategy set her apart, and she will be remembered forever for this.

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The Criticisms

Moolah’s legacy isn’t spotless; her critics highlight unfair treatment of female wrestlers who trained under her. Moolah had her students committed to contracts that secured her position, rather than their careers. She also took a portion of her students’ incomes, forcing them to rely on her. If she felt threatened by a wrestler, Moolah made sure they didn’t get hired, limiting their career choices, among other things.

Awards and Honors

Despite the criticisms, The Fabulous Moolah won many accolades for her outstanding achievements. She was inducted into several halls of fame, including the WWE Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame. Furthermore, Moolah was awarded the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship award for her contributions to wrestling.

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1. What is the real name of The Fabulous Moolah?
Moolah’s real name is Mary Lillian Ellison.

2. What is the legacy of The Fabulous Moolah?
Moolah is known for revolutionizing women’s wrestling and the importance of building a brand.

3. When did Moolah break into the wrestling industry?
Moolah began wrestling in the 1950s.

4. What is the Women’s World Championship?
The Women’s World Championship is a title held by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

5. Did Moolah have any achievements during her lengthy career apart from wrestling?
No, Moolah’s career was primarily based on wrestling.

6. What is the criticism over Moolah’s legacy?
Moolah’s critics highlight unfair treatment of her students.

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7. What halls of fame did Moolah get inducted?
Moolah was inducted into WWE Hall of Fame, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, and National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame.


Breaking barriers and defying odds in the wrestling industry, The Fabulous Moolah is a legendary pioneer in women’s wrestling. Her success journey was filled with challenges, but she remained persistent and ultimately left an indelible legacy in the sport. While her critics might view her as opportunistic, Moolah’s contribution made it possible for women to enter the wrestling world today. The Fabulous Moolah will always remain an icon and inspiration for young wrestlers throughout the world who aspire to break new grounds in sports.

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