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.
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.
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.