Fritz Von Erich

Name: Wendi Richter
Year Inducted: 2012

Wendi Richter

At the top of her fame, Wendi Richter’s popularity was so great that an issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated put Richter on its cover and asked, “Is Wendi Richter more popular than Hulk Hogan?”

Richter initially trained at The Fabulous Moolah’s wrestling school before the 5’8”, 140-pound Dallas, Texas native made her debut in 1979. Like most of Moolah’s students, Richter traveled the world, learning her trade and performing for crowds big and small.

By the time Richter returned to WWF in late 1983, she had already wrestled in Japan, Canada, and the U.S., forming “The Texas Cowgirls” with Joyce Grable. The duo wrestled for legendary promoters such as Stu Hart, Verne Gagne, and “Cowboy” Bill Watts. They would go on to twice capture the NWA Women’s Tag Team Championships.

Richter’s career really took off in 1984 when WWF boss Vince McMahon brought in pop singer CyndiLauper for a feud with “Captain” Lou Albano. Richter, with Lauper in her corner, faced Moolah, who was seconded by Albano. Richter would defeat Moolah at MTV’s Brawl to End it All and end Moolah’s so-called 28-year reign as the women’s champ. (Moolah had sporadically dropped her belt on other occasions, but her losses were never as high profile as her defeat that night.) Although Richter would lose the title toMoolah protégé Leilani Kai in February 1985 at The War to Settle the Score, she would recapture it at the inaugural WrestleMania one month later.

But before the year was out, Richter would be pushed off the peak she had reached.

Wendi Richter’s WWF Women’s title loss was one of the most famous controversies in modern wrestling history. On November 25, 1985, WWF Women’s Champion Richter was scheduled to wrestle “The Spider Lady” at Madison Square Garden. What Richter didn’t know was that Vince McMahon had orchestrated Richter’s former mentor Lillian Ellison, a.k.a. “The Fabulous Moolah, to take back the belt that night.

After Richter left the WWF, she became a born-again Christian, wrestled around the indy circuit, and had a successful run for Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council, where she held the promotion’s women’s belt twice. She also reappeared in the American Wrestling Association, and in December 1987, scored the duke overMadusa Miceli to win the AWA’s Women’s Championship.

Richter would continue to appear in wrestling rings for years and in 1999 went on a tour of U.S. military bases in Europe for the National Wrestling Federation.

After wrestling, Richter worked as a real estate agent and earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy. She worked in therapy, and also raised show dogs. Although Richter made a brief return to wrestling in January 2005, appearing in a couple shows for WrestleReunion, she stressed in an interview that it wasn’t for the money but to reunite with old friends.

“I make more money now than I ever did in wrestling,” she told the Tampa Tribune.

 

- Richard Kamchen



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