Being a woman in the old-school wrestling era was rough! Opportunities were limited compared to the catalogue of exposure in today’s wrestling landscape. There were no reality shows, merchandise collections, weekly podcasts, fan websites or high-power positions to put women stars over. Women wrestlers received little attention and did not enjoy the same exposure as their male counterparts. As a result, being a valet—one that “manages” and accompanies a wrestler to the ring—was considered gold in the old-school wrestling era, as it gave women more visibility and opportunity.
The valet was a significant part of wrestling in the old-school era, adding an element that amplified wrestler personas as well as the valets themselves. An attractive valet always helped to fuel resentment for a heel wrestler. Moreover, valets were instrumental in initiating and strengthening storylines, as they were often at the center of a controversy, the ones who performed the double-cross or the who caused the loss of a championship.
The following list highlights 15 of the hottest valets in old-school wrestling who did all of that and more across several territories. Let us give thanks to the women who paved the way for the new millennium's stars and looked hot doing it!
18 The Fallen Angel/Woman
If you watched Florida Championship Wrestling in the mid-1980s, you no doubt saw Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness. Sullivan’s crew—featuring himself, Boob Roop, Luna Vachon—was not easy on the eyes by any means. However, his valet The Fallen Angel was undeniably jaw-dropping—even with the face-paint, big hair and chains. The Angel, real name Nancy Toffolini, followed future (ex-) husband Sullivan and his band of misfits through various promotions. Nancy ended up in WCW—still with Sullivan—where she became known as Woman and managed the tag team Doom—Butch Reed and Ron Simmons. She rose in popularity during Doom’s feud with the Steiner Brothers. However, she would drop Doom and manage the Four Horsemen for a short stint before moving on to ECW.
Madusa was featured as a dual threat early in her career, both as a wrestler and valet. As a wrestler she won women’s titles in both the AWA and Japan during the late 1980s. With regard to her managerial presence, she was a valet for an upstart Curt Henning in the AWA for a short time. However, she would truly trip the hotness scale when joining the WCW in the early-1990s, namely Paul E. Dangerously’s Dangerous Alliance faction. Madusa managed Rick Rude and would oftentimes interfere in matches using her wrestling moves. She left the Dangerous Alliance and the WCW for the WWE, where she would become a full-time wrestler. She returned to the WCW in the mid- to late 1990s considerably more “enhanced” and under a different persona.
16 Fifi the Maid
If you blinked at the end of the old-school era you may have missed Ric Flair’s long-legged, brunette starlet for a valet named Fifi the Maid. Fifi, real name Wendy Barlow, was a regular feature on Ric Flair’s A Flair for the Gold segment that built up his return to the WCW from the WWE. Fifi performed “maid” duties cleaning up the set while dressed in scantily clad French maid outfit. She stepped her attire up when valeting for Flair, wearing more glitzy and revealing attire. Fifi’s peak was during Flair’s feud with Rick Rude for the WCW International championship. Rude made advances at her, wore her caricatures on his tights and even went so far as to steal her from Flair. Fifi disappeared from the scene after Flair lost the title to Rude, shrouding her whereabouts and status in mystery until recently with her recent real-life engagement to Flair.
15 Jeannie Clarke/Lady Blossom
For a stark example of the “Butterfly Effect” one can observe the feud between Chris Adams and Steve Austin in the World Class (Texas) territory during the late-1980s and early-1990s. Austin, freshly minted from Adam’s wrestling school, was thrust into an angle with Adams. Austin used Adams’ ex-girlfriend Jeannie Clarke as his valet during the angle with Adams using his real-life wife, Toni Adams. Born in the U.K., Clarke was ferocious in her attacks on other wrestlers and valets, namely Adams. She continued that ferocity as Lady Blossom in WCW when both she and Austin left World Class soon after feuding with Adams. She retired from the wrestling scene after she became pregnant during Ausitn’s WCW peak. However, her influence would prove far-reaching in that she helped Austin develop his “Stone Cold” character soon upon his arrival in the WWE.
One of the most unsung women in wrestling, Sunshine—real name Valerie French—had a sneaky-good career being embroiled with feuds against the Von Erichs, Jimmy Garvin and Jim Cornette with several individual wrestlers and stables that she managed in the 1980s. Sunshine started out managing her real-life cousin Jimmy Garvin in the Florida and Texas territories. Keeping action within the family, Garvin replaced Sunshine with his real-life wife Precious while in Texas which culminated in a feud between the two valets. Sunshine went on to manage Chris Adams, The Missing Link, Hercules Hernandez, The Great Kabuki and even the Freebirds. Sunshine also became known as pioneer of the “catfight” clawing it out with other territory valets such as Babydoll (Nicola Roberts), Dark Journey and Missy Hyatt.
13 Sherri Martel
Sherri Martel was a firecracker! Martel had an unforgettable presence as valet during her AWA and WWE runs in the old-school era. Trained by the Fabulous Moolah as a wrestler, Martel first gained acclaim managing “Playboy” Buddy Rose and Doug Somers in the AWA. While in the WWE, her role shifted to that of antithesis to Miss Elizabeth in the mid- to late-1980s. Martel was both intimidating and sexy. As a result, she was never far from the main event singles scene or the tag team picture. She managed Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and Shawn Michaels during her WWE tenure, ratcheting up hostilities with Hulk Hogan, Miss Elizabeth and The Ultimate Warrior. She continued to flaunt her valet prowess in WCW as well, managing and further bolstering Harlem Heat’s stature. She’s one of the few women performers that would go toe-to-toe with men!
12 The Dirty White Girl
The attractive Kimberly Anthony played her part as the Dirty White Girl to perfection in the Memphis and Smoky Mountain territories during the late-1980s. Anthony was an accomplished wrestler having a bit part for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) and later as a women’s champion for the USWA promotion. However, it was her scrappiness as valet that got the attention. No valet was safe in any territory where she and her then real-life husband—the aptly named “Dirty White Boy” Tony Anthony—set up shop and performed. One of her most notable feuds was with Miss Texas, who would later be known as Jacqueline in the WCW and WWE . The two participated in several gimmick matches such as a mud-pit match and a hair versus hair match where Miss Texas was shaved bald. See, the old-school was no joke!
11 Toni Adams
Little did Chris Adams know that an angle involving one of his wrestling school students and his ex-girlfriend Jeannie Clarke would be the catapult for one of wrestling’s greatest performers—“Stone Cold” Steve Austin. A big part of that angle was Adams’ wife, the beautiful Toni Adams. Mired in a nasty feud with Austin and Clarke, Chris would be on the receiving end of double-teams by the duo. That would be until Toni made several saves, setting up cat-fights between her and Clarke as well as mixed tag team matches. Unfortunately, Chris Adams’ real-life drinking problem impeded their continued work together on the Austin and Clarke angle. After the angle concluded, Toni went on to manage other wrestlers in both the Texas and Memphis territories before retiring from the sport in 1995.
As mentioned earlier, Precious is the real-life husband of “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin. Garvin brought her into the Texas territories as Sunshine II, setting the groundwork for an eventual clash of valets. Garvin fired the first Sunshine and changed Sunshine II’s name to Precious. Precious was devious, spraying hair spray into the eyes of Garvin’s opponents during various matches. Although popular in the Texas territories, she gained the most acclaim in the NWA. One of the funniest valet angles of all-time is Ric Flair’s pursuit and winning of Precious in his feud with Jimmy Garvin. Without spoiling too much, the angle had Ric Flair making out with a mannequin of Precious’ likeness, a voyeuristic J.J. Dillon and Ronnie Garvin dressed in drag. It’s definitely a must to look up and watch.
9 Baby Doll
Baby Doll, real name Nicola Roberts, comes from a wrestling lineage. Both her mother and father were promoters and wrestlers in Texas. Nicola looked to follow suit in the business, training to be a singles wrestler. She got her chance using the name “Andrea the Lady Giant” mixing it up with the men and by managing wrestler Gino Hernandez in the Texas territories during the early 1980s. There she primarily feuded with the Von Erichs and with Sunshine. However, she gained the greatest popularity with her name change—“Baby Doll”—and her move to the NWA where she valeted for Tully-Blanchard and the Four Horsemen in the mid-1980s. Babydoll was involved in several high-profile matches and turncoat angles where she valeted for Dusty Rhodes as well as Ric Flair.
8 Alexandra York
Terri Boatright Runnels was a full-time markup artist for CNN and a part-time makeup artist for the NWA and then WCW during the mid-1980s and early-1990s. WCW booker Ole Anderson convinced her to try managing and changed her name to Alexandra York. She headed a heel stable of wrestlers known as the Yorkshire Club, which consisted of Michael P.S. Walstreet, Thomas Rich, Terrance Taylor and Richard Morton. Oftentimes one would forget there was an actual match going on when the camera panned over to York showing her typing feverishly on a computer pad. York would leave the WCW for the WWE and go in a completely different direction than her York character as Marlena, Goldust's lover. However, her suggestive appeal set the tone for similar women valets such as Torrie Wilson and Stacey Keibler for years to come in WCW.
5 Dark Journey
Dark Journey was ahead of her time and a trailblazer for African American women in wrestling. What made her run as valet even more remarkable was that she started in the Mid-South territories managing a white wrestler, “Dirty” Dick Slater. When the Mid-South transitioned to the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), she later managed The Missing Link and feuded with other valets such as Sunshine and most notably Missy Hyatt, engaging in several cat-fights. Her most prominent managerial role came when she valeted for the Four Horsemen after her move to the NWA. Dark Journey served primarily as Tully Blanchard’s valet for a short stint after Blanchard’s former valet Babydoll left the promotion due to personal reasons. Hotness aside, Dark Journey paved the way for future African American valets like WWE’s Jacqueline and Shaniqua.
4 Missy Hyatt
Let me stress the Texas, Mid-South, UWF and WCW Missy Hyatt are exponentially different than future “iterations” and endeavors of the famed valet. Hyatt began her career in the Texas territories managing wrestler John Tatum. She and Tatum both left Texas for the Mid-South and later the UWF, joining “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert and feuding with the likes of Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee. She and Tatum followed Gilbert to the UWF and became part of Hot-Stuff International. What set Hyatt apart were her recurring catfights with both Dark Journey and Sunshine. When the UWF folded she and several other wrestlers were absorbed into WCW. She took a more serious character turn acting as an interviewer and commentator with WCW, as inspired by number five on this listing. Hyatt departed WCW for ECW where things changed markedly for the self-proclaimed “First Lady of Wrestling.”
3 Boni Blackstone
Okay, I’m cheating with this one—just a little. But she was so cute! However, Boni Blackstone’s good looks combined with her professional presence provided inspiration for women who felt stuck as wrestlers and valets in the wrestling business. Blackstone, her soon-to-be husband Joe Pedicino and Gordon Solie were hosts of an eight-hour television program—Superstars of Wrestling—that highlighted happenings across several territories and the major federations during the 1980s. Blackstone, with her big blonde hair and sharp southern drawl, interviewed wrestlers and provided pointed commentary both during and post-matches. She and Joe would partner with other stakeholders and start the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF). However, the GWF was short-lived and she and Pedicino left the promotion before it folded. Blackstone joined the WWE for a short time as an on-air interviewer in the early-1990s before retiring.
1 Miss Elizabeth
Without a doubt, Miss Elizabeth is the most influential and accomplished valet in the history of professional wrestling. She’s also one of the most attractive valets of all-time as well. Her look was a throwback to Hollywood glamor and class. Likewise, she carried herself with a demure demeanor that was an excellent counterbalance to the man she managed, Randy “Macho Man” Savage. As a result, the WWE capitalized on her talents for several high-profile angles. Her greatest run in the WWE was during the mid-1980s to early-1990s being the centerpiece of feuds with George the Animal Steele, the Honky Tonk Man, Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts and even Ric Flair. Miss Elizabeth resurfaced after the old-school era. However, like many valets of the time she would change her persona significantly.