WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young dies at 90

January 15, 2014|By Chris E. Hayner | Zap2it

Professional wrestling legend Johnnie Mae Young has passed away at age 90.

The announcement was made by WWE on Tuesday night (Jan. 14) and echoed on the Twitter account of the company's chief brand officer, Stephanie McMahon.

"A true pioneer and legend has passed tonight. Long live the memory of my friend and WWE Hall of Famer," McMahon writes.

WWE CEO Vince McMahon also released a statement, reading, "There will never be another Mae Young. Her longevity in sports entertainment may never be matched, and I will forever be grateful for all of her contributions to the industry. On behalf of WWE, I extend our sincerest condolences to her family and friends."

Young made her in-ring debut in 1939 at 15 years old, leading to a career that eventually found her training wrestlers, including Mary Ellison, known in the wrestling world as The Fabulous Moolah, who became one of her closest friends.

Modern wrestling fans will remember Young for her stint in WWE in the late 1990s. Along with Moolah, Young was part of the Attitude Era and never hesitated to get involved in the action, mixing it up with male and female wrestlers. Even in her late 70s and early 80s, Young would participate in matches and angles for the company, one of the most notable being her getting powerbombed through a table by Bubba Ray Dudley.

Young's story lines in WWE were as varied as possible. She had an on-screen relationship with wrestler Mark Henry, won a bikini contest and even gave birth to a hand -- no, really -- something WWE fans still joke about more than a decade later. She, along with several other female wrestlers were also the focus of a 2004 documentary, "Lipstick and Dynamite," which retells the history of women's wrestling in the 1940s-1960s.

Young was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, but didn't call it a career there. She continued to be featured sporadically on WWE programming. Her last match for WWE occured on Nov. 15, 2010. She won a Falls Count Anywhere contest against the team of LayCool, becoming the only professional wrestler to ever wrestle in nine different decades.

Her last appearance with the company was on March 3, 2013, during an old-school episode of "WWE RAW." The roster celebrated her 90th birthday and after the show, McMahon presented her with a replica of the WWE Divas Championship, naming her "the greatest Divas Champion of all time."

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