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Wrestling / Wendi Richter

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Wendi Richter (born September 6, 1961) is a retired American professional wrestler. Trained by Leilani Kai, Judy Martin and Joyce Grable, she began her professional wrestling career teaming with The Fabulous Moolah and Joyce Grable, the latter of whom she held the NWA Women's World Tag Team Titles with twice. In the 1980s, she joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), just as WWF owner Vince McMahon brought in Cyndi Lauper for a feud with Captain Lou Albano, which eventually resulted in Albano seconding WWF Women's Champion The Fabulous Moolah, while Lauper was in the corner of Richter. Richter defeated Moolah at MTV's The Brawl to End It All for the Women's Championship on July 23, 1984, ending what was billed as the longest championship reign in professional wrestling history, Moolah's 28-year reign as recognized by the WWF.note  This match was also the beginning of the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection", an era that combined both music and professional wrestling. Richter faced Moolah's protégé, Leilani Kai, who defeated Richter for the title, in early 1985 at The War to Settle the Score. Richter regained the title at the first WrestleMania one month later. Richter was also animated for a CBS Saturday morning cartoon, Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling.

After regaining the title from Kai, Richter was scheduled to defend it at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 1985 of that same year against a mysterious masked opponent known only as The Spider Lady. During the match, The Spider Lady broke from the pre-scripted events, and the referee delivered a swift three count, despite Richter kicking out after a count of one. Richter ignored the bell and continued to attack the Spider, unmasking the new champion to reveal that it was The Fabulous Moolah in disguise: Richter fell victim to a real-life "screwjob" finish who would be known as "The Original Screwjob" (to differentiate it from that other screwjob).

Upon leaving the WWF, Richter wrestled in Puerto Rico, Japan, and throughout the United States in independent promotions. She resurfaced in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in 1987 to challenge champion Madusa Miceli for the AWA Women's Championship, winning the title in December 1988, but the title would be vacated in December 1989 when Richter left the promotion. She would eventually mend her differences with the now renamed WWE and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.

Tropes related to Wendi Richter:

  • '80s Hair: A poofy Dynasty-like hairdo.
  • Action Girl: She had been one her entire life, working rodeos and training with horses before she started learning to wrestle.
  • All-American Face: Mainly in WWE during the Rock 'n Wrestling Era.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She was very toned at the height of her fame, calling herself "150 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal". In fact, many of her promotional pictures featured her smiling like a beauty queen while also flexing her muscles.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • The Fabulous Moolah, off-screen, and maybe one on-screen too, considering the Spider Lady incident happened live in an arena for many to witness.
    • She fought Princess Victoria a lot for a long time, only teaming with her once; unlike Moolah, their alliance ending after they proved unsuccessful in one Zenjo match. So Victoria was a more obvious "on screen" case at least until the Spider Lady incident.
    • In Stampede Wrestling, she and Joyce Grable were always feuding with the team of Velvet McIntyre and Judy Martin. Years later they rekindled their feud this time with Penny Mitchell(who would go on to become The Spider Lady) in Judy Martin's place. Richter also faced Martin in her initial AWA run, CSW (Heart of America in Kansas), Championship Wrestling From Florida, M&M Promotions, St. Louis Wrestling Club, the Mid-South territory, the Mid-Atlantic territory, Puerto Rico's WWC, the partners and venues changed a lot but hostility between Richter and Martin didn't...two WWF dark matches aside.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • The Bus Came Back: She and Cyndi Lauper made a surprise guest appearance on Raw in 2012 as part of the lead in for the 1000th episode.
  • Catchphrase: She joked that "Girls just wanna have fun" was already her mission statement by the time she was paired with Cyndi.
  • Cowboys and Indians: Cowgirl vs. Princess Victoria qualified at any rate. Usually avoided with Winona Little Heart, who was more frequently Richter's tag team partner.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: She was a rather big ol' gal when she first started, being around 180 pounds, and with blonde hair. Then there was her first gimmick, a Heel Cowgirl with dreams of being a Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader.
  • Everything is Big in Texas: From Dallas. Her initial gimmick was of a Texas cowgirl.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Inverted, she had the eyeshadow as seen in the profile pic while she was a face.
  • Face: She tended towards this and had natural likeability that made her a good fit. She did play heel several times in the territories but was WWE's favorite female face during her time there. She has stated she preferred being a face.
  • Finishing Move: A reverse death valley driver known as "the widow maker" or Sitout DDT, depending on which channels you followed. During her time in WWC she used a powerbomb.
  • Genius Bruiser: She has a business degree.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Wendi said her preferred type of role was a "rough babyface", putting her in this category.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Those massive hoop earrings and zebra patterned leotards.
  • Leotard of Power: This was the standard garment for women wrestlers at the time but it still fits.
  • Lovely Angels: After Joyce Grable, Richter most frequently teamed with another trainee of Grable and Martin, the much bulkier biker thug Peggy Lee Leather.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: She learned the arts of professional wrestling at the same school her three trainers did, who all had received direct instruction from The Fabulous Moolah. She would frequently wrestle against or tag with one of them as well as with and against Moolah several times in her career.
  • Odd Friendship: Wendi - a down-to-earth country girl - and Cyndi Lauper - a pop superstar. Wendi confirms that they were great friends when they worked together.
  • Poison Is Evil: In Mid-South Wrestling she would slip Jim Cornette the ether he would use to try and suffocate the baby faces his clients were against.
  • Ring Oldies: She stepped into the ring for some Wrestle-Reunion events when she was in her forties.
  • Tag Team: She and Joyce Grable went by "The Texas Cowgirls".
  • Signature Move: A self respecting cowgirl almost has to use the lariat.
  • The Rival
    • Leilani Kai and Sabrina the Wonder Girl are wrestlers she'd otherwise be fairly amicable with if not for being associated with the Fabulous Moolah and Princess Victoria respectively.
    • Heidi Lee Morgan over the AWA and National Wrestling Federation women's title belts, Richter being her Minnesota Fats.
  • Ur-Example: The first WWC Women's Champion, as they were reluctant to or couldn't find a Puerto Rican to build around for another seven years, so she defended the island's honor against Monster Ripper.
  • Wrestling Family: She was married to Hugo Savinovich, former WWE Spanish commentator and current Lucha Underground Spanish commentator.