SINGAPORE – Fans of World Wrestling Entertainment and professional wrestling have lost an icon.
“The Original Diva” of the WWE Mae Young was reportedly taken off of life support after being hospitalized with an undisclosed illness last month. She was brought to her South Carolina home shortly after on January 9, 2014.
The only wrestler in history to compete in 9 different decades, Young was one part of a popular wrestling duo along with long-time friend Mary “The Fabulous Moolah” Ellison, 84.
After leaving the pro wrestling scene in 1991 to become a Christian evangelist, Young returned to the WWE with Ellison in 1999 and was involved in various iconic moments in the history of the promotion including being thrown nearly ten feet in the air and being “Power-bombed” through a prop table in her 70’s.
Young was known for her resilience and her love for pro wrestling, being involved in the industry well into her final years. She loved to toss men and women around with her brute strength and classic blonde good looks.
Her signature move, the “Bronco Buster”, which saw Young moving up and down while astride on the chest of a downed foe, was both vicious and oozing with sex appeal at the same time.
She was the first ever NWA United States Women’s Champion, a 2008 WWE Hall of Fame inductee and even won the Miss Royal Rumble 2000 Bikini Contest when she appeared to have removed her bikini top and paraded around the ring in front of a packed Madison Square Garden crowd.
Forever known for her mix of beauty and toughness, Young was among a rare breed.
“There were a lot of wild girls on the road back then,” said best friend and long-time wrestling partner Lillian Ellison in a 2003 autobiography. “Mae was one of them.”
Young was born Johnnie Mae Young on March 12, 1923 in Sand Springs, Oklahoma and began wrestling for her high school when she was 16.
Young’s first professional wrestling match was in 1939, the year World War II began. She was 90 years old when she made her final television appearance on WWE’s Raw last March 4, 2013.
Young was presented with a replica of the WWE Diva’s Championship belt which had been specially crafted for her birthday. She was proclaimed to be the “Forever The Divas Champion” by Paul Michael “Triple H” Levesque and CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon.
“There will never be another Mae Young,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon via the WWE website.
“Her longevity in sports entertainment may never be matched, and I will forever be grateful for all of her contributions to the industry.”
Young passed away on January 14, 2014, in her South Carolina home. – Rappler.com