In my 6 or so months as an Internet satirist of the inane and insipid in the world of sports I've tried to cover a good deal of psuedo-intellectual ground. I've limned the literary from Dos Passos to Dostoyevsky, researched the rich repository of Rock-n-Roll, mined the milieu of the American TV sitcom and poked fun at the train wreck that is modern day Pop Culture on my personal Indifferent Torpedo of Torpor/Sobriety Is Not An Option Tour de Farce. Yet despite this not inconsiderable effort to bring depth and nuance to the sports blogging abyss to date my most popular post with over 2000 page views and counting is a cynical slideshow of implant irony and vagina jokes on Bleacher Report entitled "The Top 10 Knockouts of TNA Wrestling" (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/632824-top-10-tna-knockouts-angelina-love-velvet-sky-tnas-other-beautiful-people).
However, unlike Van Morrison who once moaned to a reporter that, "all fans want to hear are my f---ing hits" (yes, but that's why you're allowed to be a fat, obnoxious, drunken sot...and isn't that what it was all about anyway?) I have decided to embrace the sphere to which it seems I am sadly suited. So without further intro here is my archaeological attempt to unearth the origins of the ever growing and insanely popular titillating and erotic side of Professional Wrestling...plus there's pictures! Mazel Tov!!
Now it only figures that the likes of current wrestling hotties such as Maryse, Angelina Love, Kelly Kelly and Velvet Sky were not immaculately concieved into our livingrooms fully quaffed and rouged like some member of the Judd family (my kingdom for the head of a male Judd!). But it is a fact that the ubiquity of these tantalizing tarts today makes us forget there is a long, hard history preceding this ultimate tease.
So we can start by saying that behind every good man there's a good woman, but based on the outwardly loose morals of the women chronicled below chances are it was as often as not the other way around. As these earliest incarnations of today's Divas and Knockouts used whatever womanly assets they could muster to ingratiate themselves to more than willing to oblige grapplers in exchange for the chance to finagle their way onto television and into our post-pubescent Saturday morning TV fantasies.
And in the beginning there was...
1.Sunshine- Alright maybe she wasn't technically the genesis of this genre, but my first recollection of a wrestler being accompanied to the ring by anyone other than a fat ex-Heel (Fred Blassie, Captain Lou Albano) or loud-mouthed Jew (The Grand Wizard, Eddie Creachman) was when the syndicated World Class program found it's way to a late night MSG time slot and Jimmy Garvin was seconded by this impish blonde. Sunshine was actually Garvin's cousin so hopefully she didn't "earn" this role as alluded to above, but she certainly wasn't without her charms. Basically she was to wrestling kinda what Mary Ann was to Gilligan's Island- a non-threatining cutie who you still felt under the right circumstances you might have a shot with. The type of girl who was "local hot", but not so hot that you'd be afraid to ask her for a pencil in Math class and when she inevitably produced one made you feel like you were a "player". In short, a destitute man's Courtney Thorne-Smith and ultimately an early taste of what women could provide the world of sports entertainment.
OK so Torrie Wilson she's not, but hey you gotta start somewhere.
2. Precious- We've all done stupid things in our younger days- drink till we puke, drug ourselves to incoherence, pretend to like Jim Morrison's poetry album (which come to think of it may be related to the previous stupidity) and the like. For Precious this list also apparently includes her leap into the seedy world of 1980's Pro Wrestling. When Sunshine moved on Jimmy Garvin decided to coax his then (and current) wife Patti Williams into the valet role under the psuedonym Precious. According to an August 2010 Charlotte Observer article (yes, sometimes I actually click 2 or 3 Google pages in during my research) Williams accepted reluctantly and seems to feel uneasy about her role to this day. Though she appeared on TV and at major events throughout Texas, Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic region her bio is blank at the Online World of Wrestling website and her page has been pulled for a "G10 violation" (which I believe is the same reason George Costanza couldn't return that book of French pastoral paintings he took to the bathroom in Brentano's) at Wikipedia. Now if I could only do the same with this Tijuana purchased lower back tattoo...
3. Jeannie Austin- Jeannie Austin went through wrestlers like Angelina Jolie goes through Third World babies. From 1978 to 1991 she married and divorced in succession "Gentleman" Chris Adams, Billy Jack Haynes and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin though she later admitted the Haynes coupling was arranged to keep her from being deported back to the UK. Her most indelible contribution to the business, however, comes from being credited as the inspiration for Steve Austin's ultimate gimmick when she told him to "drink his tea before it gets stone cold". Not exactly a killer tale for one of the greatest bad ass personas ever developed. Sorta like finding out the band Jethro Tull was named after a 17th Century agriculturalist who invented the "seed drill"...true story.
Again not making anyone forget Trish Stratus, but she knew how to match a dress to the ring steps.
4. Toni Adams- Apparently when it came to picking up women "Gentlemen" Chris Adams had a rap that fell somewhere between the formality of Tennessee Williams' "Gentleman Caller" in The Glass Menagerie and comedian Doug Benson's pickup line, "my penis just died can I bury it in your ass." Obviously Adams dangled the prospect of D-list TV stardom in front of unsuspecting damsels and like Jeannie Austin before her Toni Lea Collins took the bait becoming Toni Adams and "Gentleman" Chris' valet/manager in the mid-80's. For her trouble Mrs. Adams would wind up having her top torn off on camera by Tojo Yamamoto, be the "spankee" in a "Loser Gets Spanked Match" with Billy Travis and in a more distressing real life incident get assaulted by a drunken Chris Adams precipitating their divorce. She continued working through the mid-90's feuding with such forgettable ladies as Sweet Georgia Brown and Dirty White Girl and managing mid-card marauders like Iceman King Parsons and Brian "Grand Master Sexay" Christopher. Sadly Adams passed away at age 45 from an abdominal abcess infection similiar to the type that killed David Von Erich.
Now things are moving in the right direction though not sure if she was managing Gold Dust at this time or that's a bodysuit under her jacket here.
5. Miss Linda- When it comes to Rock bands I have a very simple rule. That is I'll never follow groups that use more makeup or hair spray than my mother. Thus I am not a member of the KISS army and I pretty much sat out the whole Motley Crue/Poison/Whitesnake era listening to Molly Hatchet and The Charlie Daniels Band. If Miss Linda wanted to make it big in wrestling she might have been better off heeding my rule before she decided to hook up with "Exotic" Adrian Street in the '70's and '80's. As his nickname implies Street was a unique act. He draped himself in clashing tie-dyed colors, painted his face back when the Road Warriors were "bouncing" drunks at Chicago frat parties and wore his bleached blonde hair in mini-pigtails. Next to this Human Jackson Pollock painting Miss Linda never stood a chance of getting noticed. She briefly tapped into some latent Blackfoot blood for a Native American gimmick that never took off before finally settling in as Street's "stylist" throughout a career spent mostly in the Triple-A of the wrestling world. But in one of the few happy endings for these Gloria Steinem's of the Slammin' Set The Exotic One and Miss Linda were married in 2007 and currently run a successful ring attire business. So that's nice.
That's all for know, but we'll be back on Tuesday with the next installment featuring Missy Hyatt, "Sensational" Sherri Martel, Baby Doll and Elizabeth.