Wrestling News, Analysis and Commentary

News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

The First Lady of Wrestling Remembered
May 2, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


This is not the column I wanted to run here today.  But about an hour ago, I decided to give up for good on a half-finished "Tazz and Cole are kicking Coach and King's ass" OOpinion piece...  the odd rumors and conjecture that periodically slowed my work finally solidified, after a few phone calls and e-mails, into a news story I felt confident enough about to publish.  The story that Elizabeth Hulette, "Miss Elizabeth" to all of us, had passed away at the far-too-young age of 42.

At that point, a column about the relative worth of commentators became a pointless exercise.  I have my wits about me enough to have finished it up, sure (and one way or another, this will get done at some point)... but who among you would consider that rant to be headline-caliber material in the wake of today's tragic news?  Far better for me to assemble my own thoughts and memories of Liz today, for publication while I'm out of town, I think...  it's not a pleasant task, but it will provide much more appropriate material for your weekend reading.

Maybe some of you younger fans are wondering, "Who is this Miss Elizabeth?"... and there might even be some of you who are my age or older who are questioning, "Does Elizabeth really deserve some big, fancy tribute piece?".  To the former group, I just suggest you read on, kids, cuz I'll do my best to explain.

But to that latter group, I'm not sure...  I guess there's probably something to the fact that this is a breaking story of interest, and by taking this particular slant, I can write about it on Thursday and still have the column be just as relevant on Friday when it's published.  But you know what?  That's such a miniscule part of it, and I'd have to be a ludicrously cynical jerk to pretend otherwise.

It's much more accurate to say that out of all the wrestling personalities whose deaths I've "covered" since I started posting to newsgroups and writing columns, Miss Elizabeth suddenly leaps near the top of the list of the personalities that I was personally fond of.  Really, only Curt Hennig and Owen Hart come to mind as others of my most personal favorites who I've had the unpleasant task of having to eulogize.

It's not a matter of the number of world titles held, or breath-taking workrate, or cutting-edge mic skills... accomplishments like those made it a little easier for me to write up tributes to guys like Lou Thesz and Rick Rude, sure.  I could read off the laundry list of accomplishments, and maybe pepper with a few personal memories...  but in Liz's case, she never contributed in such a way as to be judged by those universally accepted measuring sticks.  She was just...  The Lovely Miss Elizabeth.

When your best argument is, "Well, I really liked her," you're not dealing from a position of strength... and it's really hard to know where to start to get people to come around to your point of view.  So I guess maybe I'll just start at the beginning.

In 1985, Randy Savage came to the WWF after having torn up some regional groups... mostly the Mid-South/Memphis region, I believe.  He came in as a singles heel, and within a few months, each one of the Fed's heel managers wanted to sign him to his respective stable.  Savage, reveling in his status as the WWF's top free agent, put the managers through some try-outs, and finally, right at the end of the year, declared that he was ready to name his manager.  Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji, Johnny Valiant, Freddie Blassie, maybe some others I'm forgetting... they all assembled in the ring to await Savage's decision.  And they were all disappointed when Savage announced that he was passing them all over in favor of....

Miss Elizabeth.

Who?  A complete unknown to WWF fans at the time, Liz's only previous experience (so I'm told) had come as a TV personality during a brief run in Memphis...  but as Savage's manager, she was instantly re-invented as the glamorous "brains behind the brawn" in the WWF.  Her presence also instantly catapulted Savage's career.  He had been gaining momentum slowly but steadily courtesy of a respectable winning streak since he debut, but it was once his dismissive and sometimes borderline-abusive behavior towards Liz kicked in that Savage's "Macho Man" gimmick took off and he became a massively hated heel.

Though Savage was undeniably talented in his own right, it was not until he had that dynamic with Liz that he broke through with the fans.  He would treat his gorgeous manager like crap, becoming a greater and greater villain.  She would demurely accept the abuse, and become a more and more sympathetic character with every passing day.  Which in turn made Randy's continuing behavior even more appalling.

As fans took to booing the living daylights out of Savage, two things happened in early 1986 that cemented his position as a rising star in the WWF.  One, his Intercontinental Title win over Tito Santana, had little to do with Liz.  But the other...  the other had Liz right in the middle and provided Savage with his first real protracted WWF feud.

George "the Animal" Steele -- he of the green tongue and dubious mental faculties -- was facing Savage for the IC Title one night.  But throughout the match, he was distracted by Liz's beauty.  The Animal was basically reduced to a love sick puppy dog.  It wound up costing him the match.  But George didn't much care: his infatuation with Liz grew, and Savage became more and more irritated.  Though Steele's advances never progressed past harmless affection, Savage "defended" her with ruthless jealousy.  The fact that Savage would do anything -- including using Liz as a flagrant distraction -- to get a shot at brutalizing George, and the fact that Liz tried to convince Randy to stop it, that Steele was harmless, combined to give this feud real legs.

In fact, it wound up stretching out well over a year.  When Savage finally dropped the IC Title to Ricky Steamboat in their memorable WM3 match, his feud with Steele had been simmering almost as long as his IC Title reign had lasted.  And it was still going:  Steele accompanied Steamboat at WM3, and briefly interfered in their match.

Relieved of the IC belt, Savage was getting ready to move on to bigger and better things.  Despite his horrible behavior towards Liz, his obvious in-ring talent had started to win over some fans.  So over the summer of 1987, Savage toned down his abusive behavior, and in fact, started treating Elizabeth quite well.  She was once again the centerpiece of an important event in Savage's career when she came under attack from the vile Honkytonk Man.  When Savage rushed to her aid and stopped HTM from hitting her with a guitar, his turn to fan favorite status was cemented.

After a months-long feud with Honkytonk, Savage was entered in the WM4 WWF World Title Tournament.  With an assist from Hulk Hogan, he defeated Ted DiBiase in the finals to win his first World Title.  For almost a year, he would reign as champ, and as a reformed man.  Savage adopted a new, respectful approach towards Elizabeth, who was dubbed "The First Lady of Wrestling" during this period.

Over the summer of '88, Savage and Hogan formed an alliance known as the "MegaPowers," and they feuded with Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (the "MegaBucks").  Again, Liz figured memorably in the partnership, as her partial disrobing at the very first SummerSlam not only helped the MegaPowers previal, but also marked a huge (nearly scandalous by 1988 standards) departure from Elizabeth's usually-reserved, demure behavior.  

But if Liz figured in the MegaPowers finest hour, she was just as instrumental in their disintegration.  Savage grew exceptionally jealous of Hogan's business relationship with Liz, and began having paranoid delusions that Hogan was harboring lust in his heart for Elizabeth.  Of course, there was nothing for Savage to do about it except to turn full fledged heel and face Hogan at WM5.

Hogan managed to walk away from that match with the title.  But neither man walked away with Liz.  She refused to choose sides, and stood in a neutral corner during the match.  Her affiliation was made a major storyline point in the feud, and her indecisive, nervous promos were dead-on perfect.  Some might say she came off as nervous simply because she wasn't a good enough actress to cover her stage fright... who knows?  All I know is that again, the Miss Elizabeth character came off perfectly: loyal almost to a fault.

After WM5, Liz kind of disappeared from wrestling.  She may have done a handful of shows in support of Hogan (after Savage's poor behavior towards her during the WM5 match forced her hand), but her next really high profile appearance didn't come until WM6, when she made a surprise return to be in the corner of Dusty Rhodes and the late Sapphire in a match against Savage and his new "Queen," Sherri Martel.  She helped Dusty's team to victory, and then promptly disappeared again.  She was not to be seen for another year.

At WM7, Liz was seated ringside, as a fan, to watch Savage in a "Loser Must Retire" Match against the Ultimate Warrior.  Savage did lose, and per the stipulation, faced retirement.  This greatly upset Sherri, who got in the ring and immediately began verbally berating the nearly unconscious Savage.  When Sherri began kicking and pounding on Savage's body, it was too much for Liz.  She hopped the rail and ran to the ring.  She tossed Sherri from the ring, and tried to help Randy to his feet.  At first, Savage was unsure of who had been pounding on him, nor why it had stopped, and so he didn't know how to react to Elizabeth.  But he eventually figured it out, and the two shared an embrace in a moment that fans who are not afraid to fess up to having real feelings admit brought tears to their eyes.  I, alas, am not one of those fans.  But it was still a cool moment, and again, it was a case of Liz playing a huge role in a turning point in Savage's career.

Savage, obviously, was instantly a babyface again following the reconciliation.  But he was limited to being a color commentator.  Even in that role, he was able to convey his growing infatuation with his old manager, and after an on-air proposal, he married Elizabeth at SummerSlam '91.  The two had actually been married in real life since before their arrival in the WWF...  and it became a cruel joke that less than a year after going forward with a public, on-air marriage, their real life relationship began to crumble.

Savage was re-instated as a wrestler in the fall of '91 for reasons that again were tied to Liz; he was allowed to come back to wrestle Jake Roberts because of the heinousness of Roberts' wedding reception antics and behavior towards Liz.  After dealing with Jake, Savage moved on to a feud with the new WWF Champion, Ric Flair.  In a memorable rivalry, Flair tried to get into the head of Savage by claiming he "knew" Elizabeth first, even introducing doctored photos to lend credence to his claim.

Of course, the claims were definitively disproved in time, and Liz was in Savage's corner as he beat Flair to win his second WWF Title at WM8.  Liz then disappeared from the WWF over the summer of 1992 for reasons that had nothing to do with storylines:  she and Randy were going through marital troubles, troubles that eventually resulted in divorce.

Liz's name did surface in January 1994, when Randy Savage went on the short-lived WWF Radio show and accused Hulk Hogan of manipulating Liz and breaking up their marriage.  His accusations and subsequent challenge to fight Hogan were considered, by most, a combination of Savage venting his genuine views about Hogan and of grandstanding tactics to try slow Hogan's seemingly inevitable departure from the WWF for WCW.

Before long, both Hogan AND Savage were in WCW, and had mended their fences well enough to co-exist in the same locker room.  And not long after their jumps, more fence mending was needed, as Elizabeth made a surprise return in 1995, appearing in WCW.  She was affiliated with Savage at first, as the two were able to put the past behind them and develop a professional relationship.  But on-screen, Liz soon showed a new side when she joined the forces of evil.  Her much-feared High Heeled Shoe of Doom was a sometimes tool of the Four Horsemen, and was considered a ludicrous enough foreign object that the WWF openly mocked it in "Billionaire Ted" skits in 1996.  And then they used it as inspiration for Teddy Long's actions just five days ago at Backlash.  But perhaps I'm getting off track...

Liz's affiliation with the Horsemen eventually gave way to an affiliation with the nWo, at which point, Elizabeth settled into a permanent position strictly in the background of WCW storylines.  Unable to develop a long-lasting dynamic similar to what she shared with Savage in the WWF, and often casting Liz in out-of-character fashion (like as a shoe-swinging heel), WCW didn't supply fans with many more classic Elizabeth moments.  In fact, her WCW swan song, in which she was tormented by Vince Russo and the "Powers That Be," displayed a total misunderstanding of what made Liz such a valuable character some 15 years before: yes, she would be bullied around, but at the end of the day, she could still hold her head up high.  Such was not the case with the Crash TV style humiliations they tried to book Liz into before she was eventually off TV for good in late 1999 or early 2000.

The one lasting thing to come out of Liz's latter days in WCW was a relationship with Lex Luger.  Their real life romance coincided with a period of time spent as an on-air couple starting in 1998, and continued through to the present.  It was, in fact, to Luger's home that paramedics rushed early Thursday morning, when a 911 call came in.  They were unable to get Elizabeth to the hospital quickly enough to save her, however.

At this time (Thursday, late afternoon), there is no other information to report about the cause or circumstances of Elizabeth's death.  Nor is this necessarily the appropriate venue for such information.  If other news is available before I split town tomorrow, I'll post it as a newsflash over here.

In this space, it's enough to say that Elizabeth had a more value beyond being just a good-looking prop than many fans would immediately realize.  Is part of my perception colored by the fact that Liz was one of my first school boy crushes?  Eh, maybe, but if so, I'm guessing it's a crime that a whole lot of other wrestling fans (plus or minus a couple of years from me, either way) are guilty of, too.  There were probably a lot of other 11 year old male wrestling fans who looked at Liz in much the same way that boys 10 years before looked at Farrah Fawcett, or the way the ones 10 years later would look at -- I don't know -- their favorite Spice Girl, maybe.  I can't remember who was definitively hot back in '96-ish.  But it doesn't matter; point is, it's something that can't be helped.

But play along with me for a second:  if we posit (quite reasonably) that Randy Savage is one of the MVPs of wrestling's 80s boom, does it not become fair to recognize the key role Elizabeth played in his signature, career-making moments?  I think it does.  Could any hot girl have done the same thing?  Maybe, but if so, how come out of that very first batch of embryonic "divas" that included Woman and Missy Hyatt, Elizabeth is the one most fans remember and the one they credit for setting the bar for the more-complete female performers who would hit the scene a decade later?  Perhaps, you counter, her staying power is due mostly to the exceptional booking and storylines that surrounded her character in the 80s WWF?  Again, maybe, because she was put into some pretty outstanding angles... but I also think there has to be some credit given to the performance aspect.  Whether by design or as a result of stage fright or something else, the late 80s Liz had a sort of "deer caught in the headlights," vibe going that was perfect for her character.  She was just a simple girl trying to manage this wrestler's career, and she found herself in front of the camera and  in all these ridiculous situations.  Ones that forced her to fend off advances from green-tongued animals.  Ones that tested her loyalty to her man.  All that cheesy stuff. 

You go back and watch the occasional videotape today, and it's not gonna be to watch Elizabeth.  But you won't get too far before you wind up seeing her, anyway.  Maybe you'll be struck by how integral she was to the career of Randy Savage.  Maybe you'll be struck by how that demure on-screen persona is still so charming and endearing today.  But chances are, if you give it even a moment of thought, you WILL be struck by the fact that Liz deserves to be remembered for a bit more than how well she pulled off that short skirt or low-cut dress you remember from when you were 11 years old.  I was, at least...

Thanks for the memories, Lovely Miss Elizabeth.  And, of course, our condolences to all her family, friends, and fans.


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.