The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle by Lillian Ellison

October 14, 2019

A veteran wrestler refusing to break kayfabe does not necessarily mean an interview or book will be a bad thing. Unfortunately with the Fabulous Moolah, that’s very much the case.

In this autobiography Moolah’s real name and age are treated as major revelations in a world in which wrestling is a genuine sport and, while wrestlers might flap their gums to hype a show, no finish is ever predetermined. It’s perhaps only to be expected from a woman who’s career was based around being a legend, in both the positive and negative senses of the word, but it makes for two separate problems in this case.

First, it means that curiousity about many of the more interesting elements of Moolah’s career goes unsatisfied. The shoot between Mildred Burke and June Byers that led indirectly to Moolah’s own title reign is just another contest with no unusual elements in this account. Similarly Moolah’s infamous double-cross of Wendi Richter as the Spider Lady is just another hard-fought victory. We also get no insight into the building of the myth of the 28-year title reign (and how several title switches were left out of the story) or Moolah’s thoughts at being persuaded to drop the title at the Brawl to End it All, at the time the most viewed US match in decades.

Secondly, and in contrast to Arn Anderson’s style of writing in his own kayfabed book, the tone Moolah uses to give this semi-fictionalised account of her career makes it very difficult to trust how much of the book’s coverage of her life outside of the ring should be believed.

It’s reasonably well-written, so might be worth considering as a throwaway read if you see it at a low price, but consider it a work of an entertainment rather than something you’ll learn anything from.

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