Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Terri Runnels

Go To

Terri Lynne Boatright Runnels (born October 5, 1966) is a retired professional wrestling manager, and occasional professional wrestler. Runnels began her professional wrestling career in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where she did makeup for the wrestlers until booker Ole Anderson eventually asked her to become part of the roster as a manager. Runnels debuted in 1990 as Alexandra York, a laptop-carrying accountant who was the manager of The York Foundation, a group of wrestlers with finance-themed gimmicks.

She later joined the WWF, debuting at the Royal Rumble 1996 as Marlena, a gimmick modeled after Marlene Dietrich; the coolly, cigar-smoking, seductive, nonchalant and mysterious manager of her then real-life husband Goldust. The Marlena gimmick would disappear in the aftermath of Goldust's feud with Brian Pillman, which was cut short after Pillman's death in the middle of the storyline. Runnels later re-emerged in 1998 under her real name, where she would form the Pretty Mean Sisters alliance, had both The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian vying for her services in the Terri Invitational Tournament, had a feud with The Kat, managed The Radicalz stable, and worked as a host and interviewer. During her time with the WWF/E, she briefly held the Hardcore Championship, her only championship during her career.

"She-Devil Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc: The storyline with her as Brian Pillman's valet in September 1997 was supposed to have led to her going heel on Goldust and join Pillman on her own volition, but Pillman's death cancelled those plans. Instead, she was Put on a Bus of her own accord so she could focus on taking care of her and Dustin's daughter, Dakota.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Her advice column in Raw Magazine was titled "Raw Sex."
  • Ambiguously Gay: Very slightly alluded to when she first debuted as Goldust's valet - mostly through her smoking cigars. WWF booking wanted to put her in an ambiguously-lesbian angle with Sable, but Sable refused to do the angle and so the ambiguously gay aspect of Marlena's gimmick was quietly dropped. Ironically, when Sable returned to WWE in 2003, the first thing she did was kiss Torrie Wilson.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Chyna at first, because she debuted during the Goldust-HHH feud in February 1997, later the Kat.
    • From 2001 onward Molly Holly and Terri never saw eye-to-eye. First when the Radicalz were feuding with the Holly Cousins. Then in 2002 Molly took exception to Terri flaunting her sexuality and they had a few matches. Terri was also on the receiving end of a very nasty Kick the Dog moment from Molly and Gail Kim - where they forced her to compete in a match, double teamed her and forcibly stripped her.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: And The Undertaker will ask you, "What's your point?," as he did on the July 1, 2002 Raw, when Terri asked him if he was concerned going into his ladder match with Jeff Hardy that night since he'd never been in one before.
  • Bad Boss: To Meat during the PMS run. If he lost a match, she would pour ice water in his trunks.
  • Battle Couple: Subverted. She was supposed to wrestle alongside her boyfriend Perry Saturn in a mixed tag match. But she claimed she had forgotten her wrestling boots and took herself out of the match.
  • Body Paint: In the 2001 Divas Magazine and the Divas in Hedonism DVD.
  • Breather Episode: Her "Thong Stinkface Match" vs. the Kat at SummerSlam 2000 was this. The match came right after the big TLC match between the Hardys, Edge/Christian and The Dudley Boys, and was a chance for the announcers and the audience to catch their collective breath. After a match filled with all kinds of stunning, groundbreaking, exciting and innovative action, it was necessary to slow down the pace by putting on a match that, well, wasn't.
  • The Bus Came Back: In September 1998 for the Val Venis feud.
  • By the Hair: Her go-to strategy if she was ever in a match.
  • Cat Fight: She and The Kat were in a sanctioned one at WrestleMania but that was hardly the only time.
  • Combat Stilettos: In the Thong Stinkface Match, Terri and The Kat wrestled in go-go boots. Ivory also said in a shoot interview that Terri went to Kuwait to visit the troops and was able to walk over the rocky terrain in three-inch heels.
  • Does Not Like Men: As part of the Pretty Mean Sisters.
  • Fake Pregnancy: She tried to fake a pregnancy when she was with Val Venis. This backfired when Val revealed he'd had a vasectomy - meaning that Terri was either lying or had cheated on him.
  • Girly Girl: Described herself this way in an installment of her "Raw Sex" advice column in Raw Magazine.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: To introduce her "Terri Invitational Tournament" (see Skirts and Ladders below), she did a promo where she was sitting on a couch naked with money covering her. She did this regularly in her photo shoots.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: 2002 especially where she would be a face interviewer, but still played a heel at some points.
  • Hollywood Homely: In-Universe. Alexandra York was supposed to be a frump, and she wore bulky suits and glasses. However, it was always clear that she was very attractive underneath it all.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's 5' even, Goldust is 6'6".
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Played straight, later averted:
    • Straight: On the premiere episode of Shotgun Saturday Night, January 4, 1997, Goldust (w/Marlena) faced The Sultan (Rikishi) (w/Mr. Bob Backlund). At one point, the Sultan had Goldust trapped in the camel clutch. Marlena got up on the apron and, with her back to the camera, lowered the top of her dress (though she was wearing a paste-on bra), causing Backlund to freak out and attempt to cover the Sultan's eyes. Goldust ultimately won by countout, and Marlena was jokingly announced as the "winner."
    • Averted:: Was the manager for the Radicals (Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn) in early 2001. Saturn had faced Mike Bell on the May 12 (taped May 7), 2001 episode of Jakked in a match where Saturn got dropped on his head and retaliated by stiffing the heck out of Bell, leading to him being Put on a Bus for a few weeks. On the May 21 episode of Raw, Terri entered the APA's office and attempted to distract them by pouring their beer on her white shirt. Later, the APA faced Saturn and Malenko (w/Terri, who had changed to a robe) in a match where, as Saturn's punishment for stiffing Bell, the APA beat the heck out of him, with Bradshaw No-Selling Terri flashing him. This led to Saturn's gimmick of saying goofy things that always ended with him saying "You're welcome!" and carrying around a mop he called "Moppy."
  • Improbable Weapon User: As Alexandra York in The York Foundation, her laptop computer.
  • Lingerie Scene: The Divas Undressed photoshoot.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Whenever she was pit against Molly Holly - who was the Token Wholesome of the division. In 2001 Molly was the heroic Madonna against Terri's villainous Whore - and then the other way around in 2002.
  • Male Gaze: Like a lot of the women of her era, she got a lot of attention for her breasts and her butt.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Occasionally wrestled, but that really wasn't her job. After Val Venis defeated Marc Mero by DQ on the September 13 (taped September 1), 1998 WWF Sunday Night Heat, Jackie attacked her, prompting Jim Ross to say, "She's a showhorse, not a workhorse."
  • Nipple and Dimed: Ivory pulled her shirt off on the April 5, 1999 Raw, and she wasn't wearing a bra, but she was face down on the mat before anything could be seen. Then the Undertaker made his way out and completely changed the subject.
    • Often subverted otherwise, since she is famous for pokies.
      • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Her left nipple is visible in her open shirt at the start of her segment on the 2001 Divas in Hedonism DVD, making this an aversion.
  • Older Than They Look: Take a look at her pictures on her Twitter account or her website. She still looks gorgeous at nearly 50 years old.
  • Pixellation: When she "flashed" The Sultan, and so that the paste-on bra she was wearing wouldn't be shown on camera.
  • Power Stable:
    • (in WCW): The York Foundation.
    • (in WWF): The Radicals and The Alliance
  • Power Trio: The Pretty Mean Sisters with Jacqueline and Ryan Shamrock. Despite not liking men it became a quartet when they got a sex slave they called Meat (Shawn Stasiak).
  • Red Baron: "The Horny Little She-Devil".
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Along with the example above, some during photoshoots. She was supposed to have a Wet T-shirt contest against Trish on the January 7, 2002 Raw, with Lawler "officiating" of course, but Jazz ran in and beat up Trish instead.
  • Shout-Out: The name "Marlena" was a tribute to Marlene Dietrich as part of her and Goldust's salute to the androgynous stars of classic Hollywood.
  • Skirts and Ladders: The finals of her "Terri Invitational Tournament", where the winning team got $100,000 and Terri's managerial services, between the Hardys and Edge/Christian was a ladder match at No Mercy 1999. To promote it, she did a promo where she was climbing a ladder while wearing a skirt, complete with Lawler looking up, though, uncharacteristically, nothing was actually shown. The fact that her top was almost open likely had something to do with it.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: As Marlena, though she used a cigar rather than a cigarette.
  • Tar and Feathers: On September 2, 2002, she faced Stacy Keibler on Raw in the first-ever Lingerie Pillow Fight. Although Terri won, Stacy got revenge on her by KO-ing her with a giant alarm clock and then coating her in some sort of dark goo and pillow feathers.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: She was the Seductress to Jacqueline's Wife and Ryan Shamrock's Child.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Terri found herself getting into the ring a lot more in 2002. In a match against Molly Holly, she even pulled off a Frankensteiner.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: For the first part of her career, she was a Trolling mean girl. After the Invasion was over, she became a backstage interviewer and was considerably kinder to her fellow stars. Additionally she played the face in her matches from then on.
  • Trash Talk: On the January 6 (taped January 3), 2002 Sunday Night Heat, ran down Trish Stratus, saying how, when Trish arrived in WWE, everyone was saying that she was doing a "Terri Runnels she-devil gimmick," adding that she has better legs than Trish does and, "I even think I spent more money on my boob job than Trish." Terri finished by throwing to the premiere of Rob Zombie's "Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)" video,note  saying that she's never gonna stop being better than Trish.
  • Trope Namers: In-Universe: While a member of PMS, introduced the word "Diva" into WWE's lexicon, though she rarely gets the credit for it. (She wasn't even nominated for "Diva of the Decade" at the Raw X special in January 2003). She apparently hated the term.
  • Truth in Television: On the 2001 Divas in Hedonism DVD, she talked about her love of the then-WWF, saying that it has become "this business." This DVD was released in July 2001, following the demises of WCW and ECW, leaving the WWF as the one major promotion in the U.S.
  • Underboobs: Had a tendency for wearing half-shirts.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Sometimes in PMS Terri would burn their opponents with a lit cigarette.
  • Vapor Wear: Invoked. She would often try to make it appear like she was Going Commando, but she just wore flesh-coloured underwear.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: MANY Divas photoshoots. She also competed in plenty of bikini contests.
  • Wrestling Family: Ex-wife to Dustin "Goldust" Runnels.
  • You Go, Girl!: Actually defeated Stevie Richards for the WWE Hardcore Championship on the May 27, 2002 Raw... though Richards rolled her up right after to regain it.