They weren’t all classics, but WrestleMania 36 featured a record five women’s matches, with a total of fifteen competitors. Had the battle royal not been scrapped, that total would have been higher still.
Those figures are mind-boggling compared with the sparse WWF’s women’s wrestling scene in the mid-90s. Back then, the women’s division typically consisted of two competitors: Alundra Blayze and whomever she was feuding with.
There hadn’t been much competition for her in WCW, either. In 1992, the only other woman in the company was Missy Hyatt, and there wasn’t even a wrestling title to fight over. Instead, Missy and Alundra (as Madusa) vied for the title of First Lady of WCW, and instead of wrestling for it, they had a bikini contest.
This being family-oriented entertainment, WCW picked as a master of ceremonies the only man who could be tasteful in his commentary about these lovely ladies: Johnny B Badd.
The event was staged at Beach Blast, where a bitter Jesse Ventura suggested that the effeminate Johnny B Badd ought to be in the bikini contest. Talk about ignorant!
Just because he was a little flamboyant and also should have been born a girl…
Ventura then insisted that he should have hosted the bikini contest – the one that would now presumably feature Johnny B Badd is a skimpy two-piece.
“I’m not even sure if this guy likes girls!” wondered Ventura aloud. If anything, Jesse, that would make Johnny B much more impartial and fair. Jeez!
Though touted as a bikini contest, the competition for the title of “First Lady of WCW” actually featured three rounds: Evening gown, bathing suit, and bikini. If that last round sounds awfully similar to the bathing suit round, rest assured that it would feature not just any old swim wear, but an itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie bikini!
Out first was Missy, the fan favorite.
“That’s it, prissy Missy!” said Badd. “Oh honey, you look so pretty!”
It’s as if whoever produced this event handed off the reins to his six-year-old son who thought liking girls was for sissies.
Then, there was Madusa, the heel. When the Attitude Era kicked into full gear and packed arenas with horny teen boys, it was near impossible to get a woman heel booed (unless she refused to take her clothes off).
But back in 1992, the fans were booing Madusa before she even came out of her tent to show off her evening gown. Just as some added insurance against getting cheered, she wore a bridal gown complete with veil.
Still, Johnny B gave her a fair shake. “Very beautiful. Ravishing! Mysterious!”
But the crowd’s reaction didn’t matter to this contest; what mattered was the votes of the fans watching at home who dialed the paid 900 number.
It’s a shame that wrestling promotions don’t use 900 numbers any more, as the idea of kids getting a parent’s permission to vote in a bikini contest is funnier than 90% of the comedy WWE attempts.
Later in the night came the swimsuit competition. Madusa frustrated the audience yet again by walking the catwalk in a one-piece, wearing a biker jacket for good measure.
She even covered up her butt with it on the way back up the aisle.
And still, Johnny B Badd was smitten. “Motorcycle Mama! Boy, would I like to ride with her!” The word, “with” is doing a lot of work here.
“Come on Ma-duse, let’s get loose and shake your caboose!”
Johnny B was so outrageous, it was contagious. Not contagious enough to force Beach Blast into an empty arena, but still contagious.
Then there was Missy Hyatt, who sported the first bikini in this bikini contest.
In a twist nobody saw coming, Johnny B Badd was orders of magnitude more excited about Missy Hyatt in a bikini than Jesse Ventura was.
“Look at those two big, beautiful blue… eyes!”
Frankly, there’s a certain camp brilliance to having a gay character absolutely mess his pants and fawn over the opposite sex.
The WWF would do the opposite the following year.
“They’re so pretty, they’re almost as pretty as me!”
Despite being booed by the crowd and exposing about as much skin as an Amish call girl (translation: not a whole lot), Madusa somehow led the voting 51%-49%…
…a margin just big enough to give the heel the lead, but still small enough to put victory for the babyface within reach.
Yes, the hated Madusa was going to win this contest and be crowned First Lady unless you, the viewer, picked up the phone and paid 99 cents a minute to vote for Missy over and over again.
By round three, Jesse Ventura was fed up. Hoping to find him a genie with a magic bikini, he demanded that he take over the hosting duties from Johnny B Badd.
“Do you even like girls?” asked Jesse bluntly.
“Oh hush, Jesse”, lisped Johnny B. “You’re just jealous!” And he gave this look:
Johnny B didn’t actually answer Jesse’s question, so I’ll answer it for him:
Yes! They’re so pretty! Was Jesse even listening?
It was finally time for the itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie bikini portion of the show. Madusa showed off a strange bikini/chaps combo that was still positively indecent compared to her earlier outfits.
I mean, it took three whole rounds for Madusa to even expose her face. If you’re familiar with mythology, you’ll know that you could turn to stone just by looking at Medusa.
Jesse Ventura certainly got rock hard, barely able to muster anything but Beavis and Butthead-style grunts.
Missy Hyatt was supposed to come out next, but she was stuck in her tent. Apparently, her bikini had been stolen.
As Jesse tried to declare Madusa the winner by forfeit, Missy swiped his scarves and bandanas…
…then thirty seconds later emerged with a makeshift bikini.
Jesse protested that this wasn’t a real bikini and shouldn’t count, but Badd was having none of it, letting the show go on.
A few years later, Johnny B would use that same technicality to disqualify Sable. Hypocrite!
Badd declared Missy the winner (unofficially), prompting Madusa to slap the host in the face. They got into a scuffle that spilled into Madusa’s tent.
Badd emerged with a Madusa-worn bikini top that he had no idea what to do with (eBay having yet to launch).
Ever the detective, Jesse ventured into the tent himself to investigate.
His findings? Madusa was definitely the winner!
The official outcome wouldn’t be known until the following night’s Main Event on TBS, with Missy Hyatt winning the vote.
Maybe now she could have a shot with the Z-Man, who was voted WCW’s Sexiest Wrestler the year before.