RIP: “The Great” Mae Young

Mae Young, 90, almost surely the most storied of the lady wrestlers, passed away on January 14, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina. She had been in worsening health for a number of weeks.

Four of the wrestling family’s most senior members meet again at the 2002 CAC Reunion. From left, The Fabulous Moolah, Angelo Savoldi, Bruce Hart, Bob Leonard, Stu Hart and Mae.

Four of the wrestling family’s most senior members meet again at the 2002 CAC Reunion. From left, The Fabulous Moolah, Angelo Savoldi, Bruce Hart, Bob Leonard, Stu Hart and Mae.

Mae wrestled in an astounding nine different decades, a feat that’s unlikely to ever be matched by any wrestler, male or female. She was the oldest living professional wrestler, and the oldest ever to take part in a match. That milestone came at the age of 87 on November 15, 2010, on an “Old School” edition of WWE’s RAW. And was she tough! Mae never shied away from taking hard bumps, including being power bombed through tables on two occasions on RAW at the age of 77.

Born Johnnie Mae Young on March 12, 1923 in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, she made her pro debut in 1939 after learning amateur wrestling in her high school years, a rarity for women in that day and age. “Wrestling is my world,” she would frequently state, and proved it by staying involved in the business virtually until the end of her life.

CAC executive vice-president Karl Lauer, right, and reunion coordinator Morgan Dollar have a big hug for Mae at the 2008 Gulf Coast Wrestlers’ Reunion in Mobile, Alabama.

CAC executive vice-president Karl Lauer, right, and reunion coordinator Morgan Dollar have a big hug for Mae at the 2008 Gulf Coast Wrestlers’ Reunion in Mobile, Alabama.

Mae’s active wrestling appearances over the past 20 years have been sporadic and her latter-day opponents have been as gentle as possible with her, but this grande dame of the ring never held back in all her 74 years between the ropes. Perhaps the highest tribute of all would be to describe Mae Young as “a great old trooper”.

Farewell, Mae, and thanks for the memories.

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3 Responses to “RIP: “The Great” Mae Young”

  1. Mae Young was one keck of a woman, Donny Valentine & myself book her for a few show & where she went she had class & I an others workers sure will miss her.
    GOD BLESS HER FAMILY

  2. Sorry to hear about her passing. Definitely a wrestling icon. RIP.

  3. To Mae Young:

    Phenomenal Woman

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I’m telling lies.
    I say,
    It’s in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It’s the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can’t touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can’t see.
    I say,
    It’s in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I’m a woman

    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.
    I don’t shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It’s in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    ‘Cause I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.
    Maya Angelou

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