My local paper carried a story today about an elderly lady who still hauls a mean load of firewood, thanks to a childhood on the farm and a career as a pro-wrestler. I have seen a few stories about former roller derby queens but this one was a first. Ann Lake is enshrined in the pro wrestling hall of fame for her feats, along with her sister and former tag team partner. Eventually, her sister retired to raise a family but Ann stayed with the sport until a broken ankle sidelined her.
In one passage, she describes squaring off with her sworn enemy, Slave Girl Moolah:
“She thought wrestling was about beating the daylights out of you,” Lake says. “One night I said to her, ‘I’ve had enough of this. You hit me one more time the way you hit me last time and you better make sure the first (punch) counts, because otherwise you won’t get up.’ She never hit me again.”
An historian writing about Ms. Lake reminds us towards the end of the article what a lot of moxie it took to be a “lady wrestler” 60 years ago in the US:
“They stood outside of the boundaries of the image of what a woman should be (back then),” Burke says. “They had to have a lot of gumption.”