The Cauliflower Alley Club has announced that this year WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter will receive their 2012 Lou Thesz Lifetime Achievement Award. This announcement makes her only the second woman to receive this award – the first was the first ever recipient of the award in 1997, Penny Banner.
A two-time former WWF Women’s Champion, Richter was “instrumental in helping to bring about the connection between WWE and the MTV generation” via her friendship with the legendary musician Cyndi Lauper.
Richter was famously on the receiving end of what has been dubbed “The Original Screwjob” (predating Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997). During her second championship reign (and in the midst of contract disputes with Vince McMahon), she was set to defend her title on November 25, 1985 against a mysterious masked opponent named “The Spider Lady”. Mere moments into the match, it has been said that The Spider Lady broke from the script and pinned Richter’s shoulders to the mat, with the referee quickly counting to three and ending the match – despite Richter kicking out at one. Wendi ignored the bell and unmasked her opponent – revealing it to be none other than her former trainer and mentor, The Fabulous Moolah.
After the match, a furious Richter left the arena – still dressed in her wrestling attire – and took a cab to the airport, where she booked a flight out of New York and never returned to the WWE again.
Although she turned down a chance to appear in the Divas Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 25 in April 2009, the relationship between her and the WWE has seemingly since been repaired, with Wendi accepting the opportunity to be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010. She became only the fourth woman in history to do so (they have since added a fifth, Sunny).
Other notable highlights of Wendi’s career include forming a very successful tag-team with Joyce Grable called “The Texas Cowgirls” (whom she won the NWA Women’s Tag Team Championships with twice), winning Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council’s Women’s Championship twice, defeating Madusa for the AWA Women’s Championship in December 1987 and a tour of U.S military bases in Europe via the National Wrestling Federation. She also wrestled twice at WrestleReunions in 2005.
Outside of wrestling, Wendi has worked as a real estate agent and raised show dogs. She also earned her Masters degree in occupational therapy.
She will be inducted during the CAC’s 2012 Reunion weekend of April 16-18 at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. You may purchase tickets for the event here.