WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Ross Report w/ Patrick LaPrade on his new book, the bizarre Billy Wolfe/Mildred Burke relationship, the early days of women’s wrestling, what Fabulous Moolah was really like (May 10)

The Ross Report

Guest: Patrick LaPrade and Sisterhood of the Squared Circle

Release Date: May 10th, 2017


Recap by: Jimmy J Haggz

Top Newsworthy Items

-JR’s next WWE assignment pits him teaming up with Nigel McGuinness in London calling the action for what is said to be two 90 minute specials on the WWE Network aired later this month.

-The Cauliflower Alley Club helps out wrestlers who are going through tough times and only cost $25 a year.

-Billy Corgan bought the “NWA” brand.

-Patrick LaPrade has a book out called Sisterhood of the Squared Circle.

-Billy Wolfe started up Women’s wrestling for two reasons only, Money and Sex.

-Billy Wolfe would offer women a great job opportunity to wrestle and be champion in return for sex.

-Mildred Burke was the most notable women’s wrestler of the 1940’s and 50’s.

-Wolfe and Burke got married. Mildred always knew Wolfe continuously cheated on her and one day she decided to sleep with his son (her stepson)!

-Wolfe and his son physically beat up Mildred Burke in a parking lot in front of her son.

-The Fabulous Moolah started her career because of Mildred Burke.

-Lou Thesz disliked the women’s division and attempted to make a rule stating that he wouldn’t wrestle on a card that featured women’s wrestling.

-NWA made a decision to not feature a women’s division due to Billy and Mildred’s personal issues.

-Fabulous Moolah had a bad reputation of sending women to unsafe promotions just to get some “Moolah.”

-Rita Cortez (wrestler) stole Fabulous Moolah’s once husband Buddy Lee, and ended up leaving wrestling and starting a huge country music production company with him.

-JR feels Charlotte Flair is the centerpiece of the women’s division nowadays.

Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00- Sponsor Ads
0:34- Introduction
2:37- What’s on JR’S mind?
15:40- Sponsor Ads
18:22- Welcome Patrick LaPrade!
20:22- “The Wolfman” Billy Wolfe
24:28- Mildred Burke meets the Wolfman
33:00- Early Stages of Women’s Wrestling/Lou Thesz
35:53- Promoting a Revolution and Sparking Evolution
39:03- The Ring of Love: Billy, Milly, and the NWA
45:56- The Fabulous Moolah
50:33- Sponsor Ads
52:34- The Ring of Love Volume 2
56:02- Mildred Burke vs. The Fabulous Moolah
58:11- Mae Young
1:02:05- Women’s Evolution
1:04:38- Charlotte Flair
1:08:32- NXT
1:12:54- Conclusion of Interview w/ Patrick LaPrade
1:16:50 -Ross Report Wrap-Up

Show Highlights/Rundown

Introduction: Good OL JR opens the show introducing his guest Patrick LaPrade and talks about his book Sisterhood of the Squared Circle. He explains how it discusses the history of Women’s wrestling and mentions Mildred Burke, Mae Young, and The Fabulous Moolah. Ross then segues into his thoughts.

What’s on JR’S mind?: Jim starts off by talking about his first WWE assignment post-WrestleMania. He gets into some recent events that have been recorded by the WWE in Norwich, England. JR tells us he will be teaming up with Nigel McGuinness to call the action for what he believes will be two 90 minute specials that will be aired on the WWE network later this month. Jim transitions into AXS TV and New Japan Pro Wrestling. He tells us July 1st and 2nd he will be in Long Beach, California teaming up with Josh Barnett to call the action for NJPW. JR then discusses a recent event at the Cauliflower Alley Club at the Gold Coast hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. He explains how he was supposed to be teamed up with Mean Gene Oakerlund, but ended up being the solo MC of the banquet dinner because Gene was under the weather. Jim mentions how he loved Tully Blanchard’s speech and brings up Dave Meltzer. Jim believes Meltzer does really “stellar” work and feels Dave is very gifted and wholeheartedly supports his work. JR then explains how disappointed he is at his peers for not being involved with the Cauliflower Alley club. It’s only 25 DOLLARS A YEAR! (CAULIFLOWERALLEYCLUB.ORG). Jim explains how this club helps out wrestlers who are down on their luck. Ross then segues into his upcoming Ringside shows and talks about the Icons of Wrestling Convention on Saturday, August 12th, 2017 in Philadelphia from 10 am-2 pm. Ross then discusses ROH and Sinclair’s recent “buyout.” Jim runs down some ideas as to which direction Ring of Honor might go moving forward. JR segues into Billy Corgan buying the “NWA” brand. He states he has a lot of confidence in Corgan and that he’s a smart guy. Ross believes he has a plan and we will find out sooner or later what that plan is. JR then concludes his thoughts and segues into the sponsors.

Welcome Patrick LaPrade!: Good OL JR introduces author Patrick LaPrade to the show and starts off by asking him why he chose to talk about Women’s wrestling. LaPrade responds by telling Ross it is the perfect time to write about women’s wrestling because of the recent events involving the women’s revolution in the WWE. Patrick explains the process of getting the book on the market.

“The Wolfman” Billy Wolfe: Ross then brings up Billy Wolfe. LaPrade talks about Billy Wolfe and states he was a terrible human being. He explains how he was only into women’s wrestling for two things, money and sex. Patrick tells us that he married Mildred Burke and then cheated on her. He continues by letting us know that he slept with pretty much the whole roster of women. JR mentions that it was like a trade off. Wolfe would help them get into the business if they slept with him. LaPrade stated that if Billy was selling women a dream and wanted something in return. Patrick then follows up by stating despite the negatives, he put women’s wrestling on the map.

Mildred Burke meets The Wolfman: Jim then talks about Queen of the Ring book and the screenplay that is in the works. Ross says Billy was a great promoter for women’s wrestling, but Mildred was the money! He then compares Mildred to Hulk Hogan. Patrick explains how Burke and Wolfe met and tells us she was working at a diner with her mother. LaPrade explains how the two hooked up and certain issues that transpired in their relationship. He then states at one point Burke decided to go out with Billy’s son (her own stepson)! Patrick continues by telling us the two had relations while she was still married to Billy and almost got married to his son. He then states it got to a point where Wolfe wanted to change directions in the business. Mildred was the champion and Wolfe decided to go to drastic measures to take her out. LaPrade follows up by telling us Billy Wolfe and his son (who Mildred also was involved with) assaulted Burke in a parking lot in front of her own son. Ross then tells us Mildred knew all along how Wolfe was. Patrick adds in a couple of incidents involving Burke and Wolfe and Billy’s cheating ways. He explains how Mildred knew she had to keep the belt and explained to us how she tried to hold onto it.

The Early Stages of Women’s Wrestling/Lou Thesz: Ross then segues into the lifestyle of the women back then. He talks about traveling on the road and tells us how much he admired them. Patrick follows up by telling us that women’s wrestling was so popular in the ’40s and early ’50s because a lot of men were at war and the women took over. He states that women were featured in the main event and Mildred Burke was even displayed in the newspapers alongside Lou Thesz. Ross and Pat talk about Lou Thesz not being too pleased with the women and their division back then. LaPrade tells us that Thesz stated he didn’t hate women wrestlers, but he hasn’t met one yet (meaning they couldn’t wrestle). Thesz even tried to pass a rule at one point stating he wouldn’t wrestle on a card that featured the women but never followed through.

Promoting a Revolution and Sparking Evolution: LaPrade and Ross then talk about Wolfe’s ability to promote Mildred during interviews and setting up her wardrobe. Patrick tells us that a lot of women started their careers because of Mildred Burke, and throws out The Fabulous Moolah as one of those women. Ross then brings up Mae Young and states that Mae hated Billy Wolfe. Jim follows up by saying Mae claimed Billy was “overly endowed and couldn’t keep an erection.” LaPrade adds on that others have stated similar things and says that Billy physically beat up Mae Young as well and that’s why she left him and started teaming with The Fabulous Moolah. Patrick discusses Mae and Moolah briefly. Patrick feels that most people think women’s wrestling began with The Fabulous Moolah and forget about Mildred Burke.

The Ring of Love: Billy, Milly, and the NWA: Jim transitions back into Billy Wolfe and talks about the role of Billy in the upcoming movie. LaPrade states that Wolfe was 60-plus years of age and still sleeping with young women. Ross then asks Patrick what was Mildred like in her private life. He replies that it all depends on who you ask. Some say she was a kind, caring women, and others believed she was a loner and didn’t interact with people too much. Patrick then discusses how much she had to fight to prove to a business that she really belonged there. He tells us a story about the love triangle between the NWA, Mildred Burke, and Billy Wolfe. Mildred filed a divorce with Billy in hopes of entering the NWA. The NWA came up with a solution that Mildred would have to buy Billy’s promotion for $30,000 because they didn’t want anything to do with him. Patrick stated the contract said Billy can’t be involved with women’s wrestling. LaPrade continues by saying Wolfe found a loophole and continued to promote women’s wrestling. He proceeds to explain how the NWA eventually got tired of dealing with Mildred and Billy’s personal issues, told Billy to pay Mildred the $30,000’s back, and decided to not feature women’s wrestling at all. He tells us Billy and Mildred both ended up in bad financial shape when the smoke cleared. Patrick explains how right after that The Fabulous Moolah and Buddy Lee started their own promotion and that Mildred Burke was pretty much erased from history from there forward.

The Fabulous Moolah: JR then transitions the convo into The Fabulous Moolah. He mentions how she was the first woman to wrestle in Madison Square Garden. Jim then asks Patrick how Moolah was like off camera. LaPrade responds by telling Jim her legacy was complicated. He states she was the main promoter for women’s wrestling, but if you weren’t with Moolah, you were against her. He states a lot of women would have trouble getting bookings if you weren’t with her. He follows up by stating she had a bad reputation for sending women to unsafe promotions and knowing so just to get paid. Patrick adds she was “all about the Moolah, she was all about the money.” He continues by talking about her “bootleg” title run. He claims she lost the title to Evelyn Stevens and others, but still held on to the belt. Ross takes a time out and segues to the sponsors.

The Ring of Love Volume 2: Ross picks up where he left off talking about the Fabulous Moolah. He discusses how she ran the show with all the women under her. Patrick tells us that Moolah always seemed to rub people the wrong way and mentions a story about Rita Cortez, herself, and her husband Buddy Lee. He describes how Rita was one of Moolah’s protégés and she eventually ended up having an affair with Buddy lee (Moolah’s husband), and then started up a huge Country music production company. Patrick adds Rita stated that her biggest accomplishment was stealing Buddy Lee from Moolah. Ross chimes and tells us Moolah left to South Carolina after the break-up. He asks Patrick if Buddy was like Billy Wolfe and he replies “not at all.” Patrick follows up by saying once Buddy left with Rita, he was done with wrestling and jumped right into the country music scene.

Mildred Burke vs. Fabulous Moolah: LaPrade and Ross discuss how Moolah continued to push Women’s wrestling after the breakup, but never seemed to get it to the level that Billy and Mildred Burke got it to. Ross added that Mildred was such a huge star that the business of pro wrestling had a hard time replacing her. Pat follows up by saying many believe women’s wrestling started with Moolah, but Moolah was never close to the level of popularity that Mildred was. LaPrade continues his thought by stating her real “high” in wrestling was during the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Era and the Attitude Era, and during those time periods, there were more people watching wrestling on TV.

Mae Young: JR segues into talks about Moolah and Mae Young. Jim believes Moolah and Mae got their run because of their gender, age, and the fact they took bumps. He segues into Mae Young and the two discuss her “craziness” like delivering a hand with Mark Henry and making Gerry Brisco vomit. LaPrade feels the duo got over largely because of Mae Young. JR brings up the photo of Mae Young smoking a cigar, playing cards, and having a tattoo and the two talk about Mae’s defiance and the fact that she didn’t give a crap about anything.

Women’s Evolution: Ross segues back to Mildred Burke and asks Patrick if he thought she was the biggest women’s wrestling star of her era. LaPrade replies “without a doubt.” Jim talks about the WWE Women’s roster nowadays and states he likes what they are doing with the women and discussed a recent Monday Night Raw where they dominated almost the whole first hour. JR states the landscape today is so much different than its ever been except since the 1950’s with Mildred Burke. LaPrade comments on todays division and discusses the feud between Sasha banks and Charlotte. He feels they are really pushing the division nowadays and its a good time for women to got involved in the business.

Charlotte Flair: He brings up Ronda Rousey and Ross asks if he thinks Ronda and Charlotte could be a potential main event at WrestleMania. Pat says that is one match he could see happening. JR talks about Charlotte Flair and claims he likes the way she is being built and states you can tell she’s taking extra time on her promos, timing, cadence, etc. LaPrade adds that her presence in the ring grew so much and she’s becoming the leader of the revolution. JR follows up by stating he thinks she is the centerpiece of that division. He also states he likes the roster from top to bottom and mentions Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Alexa Bliss. Ross compares Charlotte’s position to Hulk Hogan’s position at one point. He feels Charlotte has the “IT” factor. LaPrade adds he doesn’t see any other women on Charlotte’s level main eventing WrestleMania with Ronda.

NXT: Jim and Pat then segue into talks about NXT. Ross is amazed that a developmental territory is selling out major arenas. JR states he feels like he’s at a sporting event rather than a theatrical presentation when it comes to NXT. LaPrade follows up by saying its different and that the INDY wrestling fans are different and you have 15,000 of them in one arena rather than 1500. He adds the women’s match was always the most talked about match for the first five or six  Takeover events. JR then states his concerns about the Women “raising the bar,” and talks about safety. Pat tells Ross it should be saved for a SummerSlam or WrestleMania, but feels that raising the bar only brings out the best in the women and their division.

Conclusion of Interview w/ Patrick LaPrade: JR and Pat talk about the INDY scene and some of the Women wrestlers on the rise. Ross brings up Patrick’s book The Sisterhood of the Squared Circle, and the two tell people where you may find this book. LaPrade talks briefly about the book. JR lets Pat get his plugs in, thanks him for coming onto the show, and ending the conversation.

Ross Report Wrap-Up: Jim talks briefly about the screenplay for the movie Queen of the Ring: The Story of Mildred Burke. He talks about Billy Wolfe and states he has got to be the “biggest prick” in the wrestling business of all time. Ross then tells us Roddy Strong from NXT is his guest next week on the Ross Report. JR talks about his upcoming shows again and gets his plugs in. He blesses us with his Terry Funk impersonation. He thanks the fans, tells us to maximize our life’s minutes, and GOOD OL JR signs out!

Score and Review (9)– This was probably the most informative podcast I have heard in a very long time. We learned a lot about how the Women’s Division TRULY started and all the lust and drama involved in the business. Patrick LaPrade had a plethora of stories to share and painted a clear, crisp, vivid picture for the listeners. The only flaw I can give this weeks Ross Report is that it may be hard for some listeners to understand Patrick due to his heavy French Canadian accent. Good OL JR keeps producing GOLD! Kudos to you Jim….

About the Author: Jimmy J Haggz was born James Joseph Haggerty IV in Queens, NY. He is of Italian and Irish descent. Jimmy lived all over NYC’s five boroughs. He has been a wrestling fan since he could remember which was the 1990 Royal Rumble where “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan threw out Mr. Perfect to win it all. He was a huge Hogan n, but later transitioned into a Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, and Undertaker fan. Jimmy is, like many, a huge Attitude Era fan and idolized Steve Austin. In one particular incident in middle school, he stunned a TEACHER (he does not condone such behavior kids)! Jimmy also enjoys other sports like football and boxing. He attends some independent wrestling shows as well ( Ring Of Honor, House Of Glory, House of Hardcore, and North East Wrestling). He has a podcast he recently started up entitled, “The Ringzone” that drops every Saturday on iTunes and Podbean which goes over WWE Raw, SDLive, other weekly wrestling podcasts, and his own personal views/impersonations. His dream job is to one day work for WWE as a commentator. If you want to contact Jimmy shoot him an email at Jhagg719@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter under @Jhagg719!

If you missed it, check out last week’s recap of The Ross Report with Jason Powell and Ted DiBiase.

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