Former two-time WWE Women’s Champion Molly Holly has been announced as being the the Cauliflower Alley Club‘s 2013 Women’s Wrestling Honoree, an award which she will receive at the next meet between April 15-17 in Las Vegas, NV. The 35-year old has rarely been seen on WWE TV since her departure in 2005, with her most recent cameo being in 2009 during the WrestleMania XXV Diva Battle Royal, and has generally kept her distance from wrestling in that time…
Nora Greenwald didn’t aspire to be a wrestler. During her teenage years, she was a record breaking powerlifter, and also trained as a gymnast, admitting that she only wrestled for fun – not to become a star… though a star is what she became by travelling from her home state of Minnesota to Florida in 1996 at the age of 18 with $200 in her pocket. She was working in a Subway when she made the decision to give this grappling lark a go, training with then-WCW employee Dean Malenko and debuting in the summer of 1998 as Starla Saxton.
In the early days, she worked a lot with Malia Hosaka – something which Malia discussed with us during her appearance on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast last year – and also worked as enhancement talent in both WCW and the WWF – one of the most well-known matches around that time was her match against then-Women’s Champion Jacqueline on Sunday Night Heat in September 1998.
Greenwald’s big break came in 1999 when she was asked by Randy Savage to train his then-girlfriend Gorgeous George, as she would be stepping into the ring later that year. As a reward, she ended up on Nitro as Miss Madness as part of Savage’s Team Madness trio of women, George, Madness and Madusa. However, the relationship would not last long as she was fired from the group and was renamed Mona. Her time in WCW would not be that long though, as she was released in the summer of 2000, but quickly signed with the WWF.
A brief stint as William Regal‘s manage Lady Ophelia in developmental was scrapped and she became Molly Holly, the cousin of Crash and Hardcore, making her PPV debut in a 6-person elimination match alongside her relatives against T&A – Test, Albert and Trish Stratus – at that year’s Survivor Series, and even walked out victorious.
Her character developed the following year when she formed a sweet relationship with Spike Dudley, but turned on him to align herself with The Hurricane and changed her character to super-hero sidekick Mighty Molly, who didn’t really achieve much of note apart from winning and losing the Hardcore Title at WrestleMania X8 in March 2002.
From there, Molly embarked on a run at the Women’s Title as the puritan Molly Holly, defeating Stratus for the belt at King Of The Ring, though a lot of her run was stained with jokes from Jerry Lawler on commentary about her having a sizeable posterior – comments which legitimately hurt her feelings. She held the belt for three months before dropping it back to Stratus at Unforgiven, before regaining the championship from Gail Kim in July 2003. Her second and final reign ended just before WrestleMania XX at the hands of Victoria, but the pair managed to get onto the PPV after Molly suggested she shave her head after losing her rematch – which created the visual of her wearing wigs which were torn off to reveal her bald skull.
Holly’s role dropped back after that, and she bowed out of WWE in April 2005, citing the company’s focus on women’s looks rather than wrestling ability – something which may hold water, considering the Diva Search had started the previous year and women from the company were starting to do Playboy shoots again. Molly was always uncomfortable with the steamy photoshoots, and preferred to leave more to the imagination, as evidenced by the photo at the top of this post.
After leaving, Greenwald worked a few independent shows – including being backstage at an early SHIMMER taping – and appeared in WWE on rare occasions. She married a man in 2010 who she met while working as a teen counsellor following a short engagement – the wedding was rushed ahead because “I’m a 32-year-old virgin that doesn’t care to be a 33-year-old virgin”, as she said at the time. She has also undertaken lots of charity work and has invested in real estate.
Some say that Molly was too good for the sometimes sleazy and disreputable world of professional wrestling, but either way, she made enough of a mark while she was there for the CAC to recognise her achievements. She may or may not make it into WWE’s Hall Of Fame, but to be honoured by your peers may be something that may mean more to her.
- Lee Burton