In professional wrestling, there are baby faces and heels, and she never doubted which one she would be.
“Anybody can be a baby face, what we call a clean wrestler,” she said in “Lipstick & Dynamite: The First Ladies of Wrestling,” a 2004 documentary. “They don’t have to do nothing. It’s the heel that carries the whole show. I’ve always been a heel, and I wouldn’t be anything else but.”
Before thongs and silicone and spray tans made women’s wrestling the overtly sexualized spectacle now orchestrated by W.W.E., Ms. Young was among the most famous in a colorful cast of women who first rose to prominence in the 1940s, in part because World War II reduced the number of men who wrestled professionally. They were known as lady wrestlers, and many people found them hard not to watch.
“When I first started wrestling professionally, the men didn’t like the girls,” Ms. Young said, “because we would go out and steal the show.”
Crowds loved to hate her. Organizers sometimes shielded the ring with chicken wire to help protect her from the rotten eggs and vegetables people would throw. Other wrestlers were intimidated by her techniques and her titles.
By the late 1960s, she had become the National Wrestling Alliance’s first national women’s champion. In the late 1990s, W.W.E. hired her and her longtime friend Lillian Ellison, better known as the Fabulous Moolah, whom she had trained.
Ms. Young fought much younger wrestlers and starred in campy skits with young male wrestlers that suggested that her prowess went beyond the ring. Some of her older opponents said the work tainted the legacy of women in wrestling. Ms. Young paid no attention.
“This is a business that you have to love, and if you love it you live it,” she said in “Lipstick & Dynamite,” which was written and directed by Ruth Leitman. “You move along with it. You grow along with the entertainment as it grows.”
In 2000, she won the W.W.E.’s Miss Royal Rumble Bikini Contest, defeating women 50 years younger after removing the top of her bathing suit. In 2004, she was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2008, she was elected to the W.W.E. Hall of Fame.
credit to: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/sports/mae-young-an-unladylike-lady-wrestler-dies-at-90.html?_r=0