WWE revealed on Monday evening that they'll be holding an all-female battle royal at WrestleMania 34 this year. In the past, WWE offered a men's battle royal and named after Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, WWE felt it fitting to find a WWE Legend to name the new bout after, choosing the Fabulous Moolah as their honoree. Not everyone believed this was a good idea.
With an alleged reputation for some pretty evil actions, Moolah's name being added to this match has brought with it a ton of controversy. Considering what Moolah is rumored to have done — pimping out other female talents, feeding them drugs, abusing them, and making money off of their talent in the ring — and with other options available, was the WWE wise to go this route?
Even if the allegations weren't completely true, WWE could have picked a number of former female competitors to associate with this match. From Wendi Richter to Trish Stratus to Lita, or Beth Phoenix (once a competitor in the men's Royal Rumble), Chyna, Sensational Sherri, and Miss Elizabeth, an argument could have been made for all of these women. Any of these former WWE stars would have made fine choices. We'll argue for one more, who we believe has been overlooked.
That name is Cyndi Lauper.
The first argument fans will make against naming Cyndi Lauper as an option for such an honor is that fact that she was never a "wrestler" for WWE. That is true. But, Lauper's value was not defined by her in-ring credibility.
While she wasn't afraid to get her hands a little dirty, the 80's pop-music sensation didn't need to officially wrestle to be considered valuable to WWE. She brought a swagger and level of credibility with her just by being one of the biggest stars in pop culture at a time when WWE needed crossover appeal. Some of the biggest names associated with WWE weren't and aren't wrestlers, but personalities. Lauper was personality and then some.
Saying she isn't a worthy candidate to have a match named after her because she didn't wrestle is like suggesting Muhammad Ali was not a WWE great, Mike Tyson didn't help save WWE or Andy Kaufman didn't have a profound effect on the wrestling business in mainstream circles. If WWE named something after these men, most people wouldn't take issue.
An argument can be made that without Lauper's help, there is no WWE as we know it today. Vince McMahon took a massive chance when he arranged for the first WrestleMania to ever take place. Investing every penny he owned into that event, there was a better than good chance it would fail. The involvement of two people ensured it wouldn't.
The first was a television star named Mr. T. The second was the musician, Cyndi Lauper.
Her value at that time was as one of MTV's biggest stars. By having that connection with WWE, the world immediately took WrestleMania seriously.This was no longer just a "wrestling show", this was a phenomenon. The eyeballs she drew to that event helped launch WWE into a different hemisphere. Her contribution alone in that regard would warrant having a match named after her.
In today's day and age of celebrity crossovers into WWE, it's rare to find a Hollywood star or musician who takes being a part of the WWE as more than a sideshow. Lauper was not like that. Dead serious about what it meant to stand alongside Wendi Richter, she took every opportunity to improve, become a believable part of the show and give fans every dollar's worth.
It was hard enough for the men of WWE to be taken seriously during that time. The women earned little to no respect at all. Lauper set out to ensure that Richter, and for that matter, any woman she worked with, was given the respect they deserved. That's what today's WWE Women's Division is all about.
The new buzzword for females in WWE is "revolution". The first-ever Royal Rumble, the first-ever Elimination Chamber Match, and the first-ever Battle Royal at WrestleMania have all been happening to show the women are here to stay. Lauper represents the words women's revolution perhaps more than anyone.
She was the first massive female celebrity to work with WWE as it went national. She was the first female crossover star to bring droves of female fans to the entertainment platform that is professional wrestling. She got everyone to take female wrestling seriously and with this battle royal, that's what the women of today's WWE are trying to achieve.
Lauper was not a Diva in WWE; she was a performer and an integral part of the show. She might not have wrestled or been directly connected to the battle royal contest, but she gave the women of wrestling a real voice and threw any idea that women couldn't be a big part of wrestling over the ropes and out on the mat where it belonged.
Oh, and by the way, she did all this at WrestleMania where this battle royal just happens to be taking place.