Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Female Wrestler: Mildred Burke

Ring name(s) Mildred Burke
Billed height 5'2"
Billed weight 138 lb
Born August 5, 1915,Coffeyville, Kansas
Died February 14, 1989,Los Angeles, California
Trained by Billy Wolfe
Pro Wrestling Debut 1934
Retired 1956

Mildred Bliss was an American professional wrestler, who wrestled under the name Mildred Burke. A member of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, she is widely regarded as the best female American wrestler of all time. Her heyday lasted from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, when she held the World Women's Championship for almost twenty years.

Mildred Burke started out in 1934, wrestling men at carnivals. She was managed by her second husband, promoter Billy Wolfe. Due to her incredible toughness and strength, Burke was almost always victorious, and soon became a main event-level draw. In 1937, she defeated Clara Mortensen for the World Women's Title. She carried the belt until 1954, when she lost it on August 20 in Atlanta, Georgia to June Byers, in a grudge match that quickly became a shoot fight, due to genuine enmity between the two women.

In the early 1950s, Burke started the World Women's Wrestling Association in Los Angeles, California, creating the WWWA World Heavyweight Championship and recognizing herself as its first champion. She vacated the belt in 1956, when she retired from professional wrestling. In 1970 the belt was revived by All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (AJW) as their top prize. Marie Vagnone won a tournament to decide the new title-holder, and Burke presented the belt herself.

In her later years, Burke ran a women's wrestling school in Encino, California. Among her students was Canadian Rhonda Singh, who would go on to fame as WWWA Champion, Monster Ripper, and WWF Women's Champion, Bertha Faye.

In 1981, Mildred Burke was the technical adviser for all wrestling scenes of the Hollywood movie "All the Marbles"..

Burke died from a stroke in Los Angeles, in 1989. She was 73.

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