Ringbelles Retro: Intergender ’80s style with Joyce Grable

As noted in recent editions of the Ringbelles Roundup, veteran female grappler Joyce Grable has been announced as being inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY (the only bricks and mortar pro-wrestling Hall of Fame in the world) as part of their Class of 2013 alongside such luminaries as The Assassins, Dick Murdoch, Bill Watts and El Santo. Born Betty Wade, she will join fellow female inductees Mildred Burke (2002), The Fabulous Moolah (2003), Mae Young (2004), Penny Banner (2005), June Byers (2006), Cora Combs (2007), Betty Niccoli (2008), Donna Christianello (2009), Kay Noble (2010) and Judy Grable (2011) (the last of whom was Joyce’s childhood idol and trainer – and who, along with Fabulous Moolah, bequeathed the ringname “Joyce Grable” to her) in the Hall. The PWHOF induction will be on the back of induction into the NWA Hall of Fame this year, an iPPV appearance at Shine 3 and a Cauliflower Alley Club award in 2010.

Seemed like an opportunity to dig up one of Joyce’s old matches for a Retro, eh? Indeed – and in a week where we’ve been discussing intergender wrestling on the site at length, how apropos that we managed to turn up a genuinely historic little gem with Joyce and her partner Judy Martin proving that intergender wrestling isn’t just something invented recently – as they compete against male tag team Steve O and Jerry Roberts (an early ring name for the future “Mountie” Jacques Rougeau Jr) in the first round of the National Tag Team Championship tournament on Thanksgiving night at Atlanta’s Omni in 1980. Nineteen Eighty. Yes, around the time Andy Kaufman had declared himself the world’s first intergender wrestling champion in Memphis (and making a bit of a mockery about it, until Jerry Lawler shut him up), Grable & Martin were doing their bit to advance the cause. It’s not a full match, but it’s a nice historial curiosity.