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FCWF History

The year was 1955 and the major Hollywood studios smelled trouble in the air. The problem was this new gizmo called "television", which, in the ten years since the end of WWII, had gone from radio's poor step sister to a medium that would change both radio and the movies forever. Some studio execs saw TV as real competition for the movies and began doing some crazy things to promote both the studios and their stars. I'm not
sure who got the idea of using the studio's starlets in wrestling matches, since about everyone who ever stepped foot in Hollywood before September, 1955, has taken credit
for it. I DO know that in August of that year yours truly, Cy Howard, got a phone call from a friend at MGM asking for a meeting at one of my favorite watering holes. Now, there are three things ol' Cy knows, promotion, Hollywood, and the value of free drinks,
so I showed up....only to find about two dozen studio suits. Imagine old Cy's surprise when he was told about plans for wrestling matches between studio starlets and asked to promote the first card, which was to take place out in the desert in Vegas.

Bein' a glutton for punishment, ol' Cy decided to take the gig, but, also bein' a guy who can promote ANYTHING, I knew that more was needed than just a wrestling card with starlets on it. Instead, we needed and actual PROMOTION, a federation with a champion. It took a little persuadin', but, eventually the suits saw the light and the FCWF was born. Cy had envisioned a great tournament to determine the first
champion. On this matter, the suits did NOT see the light. They wanted no such thing. They wanted a champ that would put butts in seats at the matches and get some ssserious press for Hollywood. They wanted double-M. How the deal came down
I'll never know, but, a few weeks later, I was informed that Marilyn Monroe would be the champion of the FCWF. It was suggested that she and another, lesser-named starlet be named the top two contenders and battle for the belt on the first long as Marilyn was a guaranteed winner. Right here, Cy put his foot down for the first(though not the last) time. In all my years a' promotin' boxin', I NEVER fixed a fight and wasn't about to this time. I flat told these guys that, if they wanted Monroe as champ, they could put the belt on her, but, if they decided she was gonna win it in the ring, she'd have to WIN it. The decision was made, and Marilyn was named champ going into
that first card in Vegas.

The first card was held in Vegas on September 7 and was a complete success. We sold out the venue and got some nice press coverage as well. The FCWF, with Monroe as champ, was on it's way. Now, there's been a lot of talk about the type of champion Marilyn was. Let me say that she had some natural talent and a great will to succeed, both of which served her well. She was never much of a tactician, though, and always
seemed more vulnerable than some of the later champions. That being said, she had a TON of fans, always put on a great show, and defended the belt successfully for the better part of a year. By this time, the novelty of the FCWF had worn off, and we'd been trying to get some new blood into the federation. We'd signed some European starlets in the early part of 1956, and one of them was literally tearin' up the federation...a French
stunner named Brigitte Bardot. Bardot had also become a red-hot international sex symbol, so a match with Marilyn was natural. I booked it for June, 1956. The match lived up to all the hype, but, in the end, the now-30 year old Marilyn was outlasted by the 22-year-old Frenchwoman. I immediately began trying to book a rematch, but Monroe would have none of it. She'd decided she'd had enough of wrestling and retired, much to the chagrin of the studios and ol' Cy, who was now gettin' heat about havin' a FOREIGN champion.

By 1957, the studio foofs weren't worried about  havin' a Frenchwoman as champ, as Bardot proved nearly as popular as Marilyn. Brigitte won and won impressively
until February of 1957, when she ran into busty blonde Jayne Mansfield. Bardot was a better wrestler than Mansfield, but wasn't prepared for Jayne's very physical style. Eventually, the pounding from the buxom American proved too much, and Bardot
went down to defeat. It wasn't long after Jayne won the belt that Monroe decided to make a comeback. The fans desperately wanted a match between the two bombshells, and they got one in August of 1957. Marilyn gave a great effort, but, the younger, stronger Jayne simply overwhelmed her. The defeat sent Monroe into retirement for
good. As for Mansfield, she held the belt until December of 1957, when  she fell to an even bustier beauty, Swede Anita Ekberg. The match was a classic, with neither woman using anything resembling a wrestling hold. Instead, it was a pure brawl, and, eventually, Anita came out on top. The powerful Ekberg was a wonderful champion, literally wiping out the competition until August of 1958, when athletic Italian beauty Sophia Loren
ended Anita's reign as champion. Loren held the belt until March of 1959, when Bardot beat her to become the first two-time FCWF champion. In September of that year, Bardot was battered helpless by Ekberg, who would carry the belt into the new decade .

The 60's dawned with the big Swede as champion, but her reign would last only until May of 1960, when Jayne Mansfield got another shot. Like the first match, this one was a classic brawl, but, this time, it was Jayne who came out on top and walked away with the strap. Mansfield's second reign lasted until December of 1960, when Loren reclaimed the strap. No one knew it at the time, but, things were about to change in the FCWF. The belt had been held by either Brigitte, Jayne, Anita, or Sophia since June of 1956, but, in October, 1961, 6-foot beauty Julie Newmar crashed the party, laying waste to the lovely Loren and marking the end for the champions of the 1950s. All the top studio execs figured Newmar for a long-time champion, and I agreed, but, Julie was surprised in 1962 by stunning blonde Ursula Andress. The Swiss beauty's athleticism and toughness proved enough to hold the belt until May of 1963, when another Swede would claim the crown. Red-head Ann-Margret used her famous flying crossbody to stop Ursula, who remains, to this day, the only Swiss woman ever to hold the strap. Ann's athleticism and beauty were a perfect combination, and she made a wonderful champion. She bit off more than she could chew, however, when she battled 6-foot red-head Tina Louise in March of 1964. Louise simply overpowered Ann, bloodied her, and took her belt. Tina also had the look of a long-term champion, but Newmar put an end to that in January of 1965.

By the beginning of 1965, some television starlets had made their way into the FCWF, but the movie studio foofs, who still ran the federation, did all they could to keep the TV types down. Only Tina Louise, among all the champions, had done a lot of TV work. Finally, though, it became obvious that we had to give the TV actresses an equal opportunity. I had to drag the movie people kickin' and screamin' into the new decade, but, the FCWF changed that year, with an executive board named to run the federation and a champeenship committee appointed to determine number one contenders. Newmar faced one of those contenders, Linda Evans from TV's "Big Valley" in November, 1965, and dropped the belt to the rangy blonde. Linda remained champion until July of 1966, when Ann-Margret claimed the strap a second time. Ann's second title reign was ended by the busty and powerful newcomer Raquel Welch in March of 1967. Raquel was stopped by another TV type, athletic "Girl From Uncle" Stephanie Powers in January of 1968.

Stephanie kept the belt until November of that year, when another French beauty claimed the strap. Catherine Deneuve won the bout like she always won, both outsmarting and outwrestling the champion. Deneuve both outsmarted and outwrestled tall, strong Martine Beswick in April, 1969. It didn't matter, though. The big woman was simply too much for Catherine, battering the blonde helpless and taking her title. Beswick's "Waterloo" came in February of 1970 to the buxom Welch in a classic, back-and-forth bout that could have gone either way.

As the new decade arrived, ol' Cy did somethin' that really ticked off the federation foofs. Ya see, the gang runnin' the FCWF at the time was still tied to the major Hollywood studios and the TV networks, and they wanted to make SURE that no woman who wasn't involved with either TV or the movies would get into the federation. Of course, ol' Cy, as the commissioner o' this-here federation, had the power to sign ANY young talent he wanted to, and that's what he did in February, 1970, when he inked one Claudia Jennings to a contract. Cy KNEW this woman was somethin' special, stunning, athletic, and tough as nails. Cy's BOSSES, however, were more than a little ticked, since Jennings' claim to fame was her Playmate of the Year status and she'd done almost no acting. Imagine how stressed the foofs got when the lovely red-head shot to the top of the rankings and defeated Welch for the belt in November of 1970! As much as they might rail and rant, this-here genie was out of the bottle and the federation was now open to Playmates and models as well as actresses. In the wake of Jennings' victory, things changed again in the FCWF, with an actual rulebook being written. (Hey, it was only 15 freakin' YEARS after the federation started....why rush?) Anyway, the eligibility rules adopted in January, 1971, remain in effect today. ANY female celebrity is eligible, with the exception of athletes....and the commissioner still has the power to sign anyone who meets the eligibility criteria.

Now, like Marilyn Monroe, there's been a lot of talk about what kind a' champ Jennings was. Let Cy tell you that, when this woman was in shape she was one o' the best wrestlers Cy ever saw. Claudia, unfortunately, developed a drug problem that ruined her as a wrestler, but, before that, she was dynamite. Jennings held the belt until July, 1971, when she was stopped by the bigger, stronger Beswick. Martine's second reign ended like her first, with a loss to a strong, busty woman. This time, though, the victor wasn't Welch, but Jacqueline Bisset, who became the first woman to claim the crown for England. Bisset is thought of as one of the greatest FCWF champions ever, and Cy'll tell ya', she was. Jackie dropped the belt in December of 1972 to Jennifer O'Neil. The stunning Brazilian beauty kept the strap until she ran into rangy singer Carly Simon in May of 1973. Simon held the belt until she was beaten by Bisset in January, 1974. Jackie's second reign was one of the longest in the history of the FWCF. She was champion nearly an entire year, dropping the strap to the awesome Pam Grier, the federation's first black champion, in December, 1974. Grier is also regarded as a great champion, and well she should be. There's little doubt that she'd have had multiple reigns except for the fact that the championship committee held her down in the rankings because of her race and her association with "Blaxploitation" films. Pam lost the belt in one of the best matches in the history of the FCWF. She fell to Lynda Carter in November of 1975 after nearly pinning Carter twice.

As 1975 ended, so did the reign o' yours truly as commissioner. Ol' Cy decided to hang 'em up, and was replaced by one Charlie Fife as the commissioner. The first title change of Fife's commissionership came in September, 1976, when Carter was soundly defeated by a six-foot beauty named Margaux Hemingway. The powerful, athletic 21-year-old stunner looked to have a looong future as FCWF champion. Sadly, Hemingway had the same problems as Jennings. She was dreadfully out of shape in May of 1977, when she was defeated by the much smaller and less talented Susanne Somers. Many thought Somers wouldn't hold the belt more than a month or two, but she surprised the experts by staying on top until January of 1978, when she was wasted by Bisset. Jackie's third run with the strap was ended by Lynda Carter in October of 1978. Carter held the belt untl July of 1979, when she fell to teen scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. The rangy Curtis was another excellent champion and might have set a record for the longest title reign had she not been upset by Marilu Henner in January of 1980.

Henner's reign was a short one. The busty red-head went down to defeat to Loni Anderson in April, 1980, and Anderson could hold the belt only until September, when Curtis reclaimed the strap. Jamie Lee's second run was stopped by 6-foot brunette Sigourney Weaver in July, 1981. Weaver had TONS of power and some real wrestling smarts, but she was upset by another tall, powerful beauty, Kathleen Turner, in March of 1982. Turner held the belt until history was made in December of '82. For the first time ever, a sister of a former champion won the belt. Mariel Hemingway stopped Weaver to reclaim the belt her sister lost six years before. Hemingway, like her sister, would be a one-time champion. Her reign ended in October, 1983, when Playmate Shannon Tweed outlasted her in a classic battle. Tweed held the strap until June of 1984, when she was upset by Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs. Shannon demanded, but never got a rematch with the leggy blonde, and Tiegs held the belt until yet ANOTHER leggy blonde, Daryl Hannah, took it away in February, 1985. Just when it looked like blondes might hold the belt forever, one of the greatest champions ever to appear in the FCWF arrived.

The FCWF has probably never seen a complete package of ability like 6-foot brunette Geena Davis. A certified genius with incredible power and athleticism, Davis overwhelmed Hannah in December, 1985, sending the former champ into a six-month hiatus from the ring. Davis dominated opponent after opponent until June of 1986, when, despite having the better of things most of the way, she was upset by former champ Turner. Kathleen's second reign lasted until a rematch with Davis in March, 1987. This time, the big brunette made no mistake, forcing Turner to submit to the human torture rack. Geena remained the champion until a titanic matchup in December, 1987 against awesome blonde Brigitte Nielsen. Nielsen stopped Davis and claimed the belt for Denmark. The brutal Gitte remained champion until a rematch with Davis in September, 1988. The match was a bloodbath, but Davis managed to pin Nielsen and reclaim the belt. A third battle between the two Amazons took place in June, 1989, and the blonde stopped the brunette a second time to regain the title. Brigitte would batter and humiliate opponent after opponent until March, 1990, when athletic Tracy Scoggins put an end to the Dane's reign of terror.

Scoggins retained the belt through January of 1991, when Davis, fresh off a victory over Nielsen, stopped the lovely Texan to win the belt for an unprecedented fourth time. Gina's fourth reign ended in December, 1991, when 6-foot Aussie Elle MacPherson defeated the 34-year-old champion. As 1992 began with MacPherson as champion, the FCWF got a new commissioner. Charlie Fife retired and Ed Schohn (Mr. Vanilla) took over the as head foof. The first title change of the Schohn era happened in October of 1992, when Terry Farrell beat MacPherson. Elle reclaimed the belt in June, 1993, but fell to Scoggins in April, 1994. In January, 1995, Scoggins was stunned by former Miss America Vanessa Williams, who held the strap until October, 1995, when she fell to stunning red-head Debbe Dunning. Dunning was upset by lovely blonde former-gymnast Elisabeth Shue in June, 1996. The busty blonde remained champion until she was simply overpowered by 6-foot Brooke Shields in April, 1997. Shields' title reign ended at the hands of Scoggins in January, 1998. Tracy then dropped the belt to Debbe Dunning in November of that year, and Scoggins reclaimed it in a rematch in January, 1999. Elle MacPherson defeated Scoggins in July, 1999, and MacPherson's second run as champion was ended by Uma Thurman in May, 2000. Also in 2000, Commissioner Vanilla, er Schohn decided to institute a tag-team belt.