In a renaissance where a Women’s Revolution is underhand in both the WWE and wrestling industry as a whole, Lisa Moretti – better known to WWE fans as Ivory – has seen it all and been a part of it since the 1980s. As first broken on ESPN this afternoon and later confirmed by WWE itself, today it was announced that 3x WWE Women’s Champion Ivory was the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018, joining Goldberg and The Dudley Boyz.
— WWE (@WWE) February 12, 2018
Lisa Moretti: Feel The GLOW
In 1986, University of Southern California student and USFL cheerleader Lisa Moretti was convinced by a friend to attend auditions for a new television project. That turned out to be the infamous auditions for the Gorgeous Ladies of Professional Wrestling (GLOW), as seen in the first season of the show with the same name on Netflix. Trained by Mando Guerrero, of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family (and brother of WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero), Moretti was a quick learner and excelled as professional wrestler. She was given the character Tina Ferrari and became one of GLOW’s most popular wrestlers, winning the GLOW Championship on one occassion.
She was also a frequent tag team partner with Ashley Cartier, with the team collectively known as T & A (long before Test and Albert were paired together). But she only lasted the first two seasons on the show, exiting in 1987. She decided to try her hand with “real” wrestling promotions, working for AWA and the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), but by the early 90s, both promotions closed down, and WWF and WCW were on their way to mothballing their own women’s divisions. With women’s wrestling seeming on the outs in North America, Moretti retired early from the sport and moved on.
Lisa Moretti: From GLOW to Ivory
In 1999, with the Attitude Era in full swing and a surge in women’s involvement, the WWF needed to bolster its Women’s Division. For the previous few years, it had revolved more about the “eye candy” rather than athletic ability – it’s most prominent face of the division was Sable and it was filled with a variety of women, all who were trained as managers than actual wrestlers, like Debra McMichael and Terri Runnels/Marlena. Their best women’s wrestler, Luna Vachon, was being handcuffed in making Sable look good in the ring, but the emphasis was more on the bra and panties matches than giving the Women’s title any relevancy.
In 1998, WWE brought in Jacqueline Moore from WCW and she immediately brought an explosive combination of beauty and skill that showed that having women who could wrestle and still fit that Attitude Era mold of sex appeal could work just as well as just using models – if not better. Ivory joined shortly after in February of 1999, partnering up with D’Lo Brown in his battles against The Godfather and Jacqueline. For most of that year, Jacqueline and Ivory feuded in some capacity, sometimes in singles, sometimes in mixed tag teams. They would become each other’s true arch-rivals in nearly their entire tenure together in the WWF.
Ivory and Jacqueline ushered in a new mentality in WWE’s Women’s Division. Following the success of their matches, the WWE brought in Trish Stratus, Lita and Molly Holly in 2000 and Jazz and Victoria in 2001. Ivory and Jacqueline showed that you could be beautiful and athletic, setting the groundwork to keep the Women’s division from being grounded like it had been in the early 90s following Alundra Blayze‘s jump to WCW.
In a fitting send off to the Attitude Era’s bra-and-panties era, Ivory won her first WWE Women’s Championship in June of 1999, defeating Debra – the last of the early Attitude sex symbols to hold the title. Ivory would hold it for 131 days before dropping it to the Fabulous Moolah in a strange angle that brought Moolah and Mae Young back into the company. But Ivory won her second title from Moolah in their rematch, effectively having the torch of women’s true wrestling passed on to Ivory instead of to the Playboy centrefolds and pin-up girls that had held up the division for years previous.
Ivory’s third and final WWE Women’s Championship came during one of her most memorable runs, as the mouthpiece and co-leader of the ultra conservative faction, Right To Censor. Alongside co-leader Steven Richards, Val Venis, Bull Buchanan and The Goodfather, RTC vowed to clean up the WWE from the vulgarities of the Attitude Era, and did so by Ivory defeating Lita for the Women’s title in October 2000 and holding it for her longest reign of 152 days. Ivory would ultimately lose the title to Chyna for the 9th Wonder’s first and only WWE Women’s title.
Ivory would continue to wrestle for the WWE through the early 2000s, transitioning off of television in 2003. She went to WWE’s developmental in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) to become a trainer (also appearing on WWE’s first few seasons of Tough Enough as a trainer), while also transitioning to broadcasting. She co-hosted the recap show, The WWE Experience, with Todd Grisham. She left the WWE in 2005 following the end of her last contract.
Following her departure from the WWE, she returned to the independent scene under her real name, primarily in Canada with Vancouver’s ECCW. She won the ECCW SuperGirls Championship (the precursor to the now ECCW Women’s title) from a young Becky Lynch early on and helping ECCW build a strong and credible women’s division that not only included Lynch, but Nicole Matthews and Nattie Neidhart (WWE Superstar Natalya), the latter of which ended Moretti’s 170 day reign as Champion. She ultimately retired at the end of the year in 2006.
While she may never have been the best women’s wrestler on the WWE roster, Moretta wasn’t afraid to give it her all. Her experience with GLOW made her more than ready for WWE television and her natural athletic ability and training made her miles better in the ring from what WWE fans were used to in the late 90s. She, alongside 2017 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jacqueline, ushered in a new era of Women’s wrestling in the WWE Universe, that gave way to Trish and Lita, Melina and Beth Phoenix, and ultimately, Charlotte and Alexa Bliss. And when her WWE days ended, she became a mentor to future Women’s Champions like Becky Lynch and Natalya. It’s fitting that Ivory enters the WWE Hall of Fame one year after her rival, Jacqueline, just like how they entered the WWE together. As part of a Women’s Revolution.
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) February 12, 2018
Congratulations IVORY on your 2018 @wwe #HallOfFame induction! YOU 👏 DESERVE 👏 IT 👏! Thanks for showing me the “ropes” in our first (and only) match we had together in 2006. Watching our match back, it reminded me of everything I love about women’s wrestling. 🙏🤼♀️💕🏆 pic.twitter.com/FvqOZ784oX
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) February 12, 2018
— Beth Copeland (@TheBethPhoenix) February 12, 2018
— Triple H (@TripleH) February 12, 2018