Today marks ten years to the day that Elizabeth Hulette died at the age of 42 from an overdose of painkillers and vodka. It was a sad end for a woman who usually represented a clean and wholesome image on screen. However, her TV character presented us with something of a problem as part of the Retro, as she’s not a wrestler – in fact, she competed in fewer than half a dozen matches in her life, and all of those were at the tail end of her career.
Instead, what we have elected to do is highlight some of the bigger moments in her career which aren’t the Match Made in Heaven at SummerSlam 91. But what else did she do? Well, most of her moments are intertwined with Randy Savage, either being the calmer foil to his more frantic style, or as an antagonist to him in World Championship Wrestling.
After the jump are a lot of videos – some of which you may have seen, others which you may not, but most are a little more outside the usual Elizabeth fare which you may see…
The first is a real find – what’s thought to be the first appearance of Elizabeth on TV. It comes from International Championship Wrestling where Liz Hulette – as she was known at the time – first met and started her relationship with Randy Savage.
In July 1985, Savage landed in the World Wrestling Federation with all the big managers vying to represent him. However, instead of choosing an established boss like Bobby Heenan or Mr Fuji, Savage picked someone very different for the WWF – a female manager…
Classy and demure, Miss Elizabeth captured attention without screaming, yelling or – unusually for the manager of a heel – running interference. Instead, she was the person who grounded her charge and was somewhat of a voice of reason. However, when it came to interviews, Elizabeth was the put-upon woman who was overwhelmed by her client…
As it turned out, the professional split between Randy and Elizabeth came about as part of the explosion of the Mega Powers – the team of Savage and Hulk Hogan – and led to her having to make a tough decision about which of her clients she would represent in their championship match at WrestleMania V in 1989:
Following their split, reunion at WrestleMania VII, wedding and encounter with Jake Roberts, Savage was granted a shot at the WWF Championship again, held at that point by Ric Flair. The thing is, Flair claimed that he had a psychological edge over his challenger in the form of “proof” that Elizabeth was in a relationship with him before Randy came onto the scene…
However, it was exposed that the photos were doctored, and Elizabeth had her redemption at WrestleMania when Savage won the title.
Later that year, Randy and Elizabeth divorced in real life, and she dropped out of the limelight – though she would resurface in WCW in 1996 where she would once again valet for Savage before turning heel on his to align with Flair and the Four Horsemen.
She would later join the New World Order and realign with Savage, but the pair splintered for good when she went with nWo Hollywood and Savage became part of nWo Wolfpac. Following this, she eventually ended up at the side of Lex Luger, and the pair became a real-life couple. However her star was falling on TV and she clashed with then-writer Vince Russo both on – and reportedly – off-screen. On TV, the storyline was the Elizabeth was under contract to WCW and not Luger, so Russo decided to take control of his “property”, and she started being booked in matches, despite going a decade and a half without having to step into the ring in a combative sense.
WCW released Elizabeth from her contract on August 17, 2000, marking the end of her 15-year run in the big wrestling promotions.
It’s hard to assess the impact that Elizabeth had on women’s role in wrestling. As a manager, she spent most of the time being the silent wallflower who was commanding sympathy for being overwhelmed by her clients. However, she was the first woman to be a bona-fide manager in the WWF, and left the door ajar for others after her like Sensational Sherri to kick it open. For that, women in wrestling may owe her something, though I doubt that many female wrestlers would aspire to follow in her footsteps. Leave us your thoughts on your feelings on Elizabeth’s legacy in the comments, as we would be keen to know what you think.
– Lee Burton