Miss Madness to Mighty Molly: The HOF Career of Molly Holly

On Wednesday’s edition of WWE The Bump, Hurricane Helms broke the news to the show’s special guest, Molly Holly, that she was the first inductee for the 2021 WWE Hall of Fame class. A fitting induction for the Attitude Era star, who competed from 1997 until retiring in 2005, who has become of that era’s most respected and beloved personalities.

Nora Greenwald moved to Florida from her home in Minnesota in 1996 after graduating high school and soon decided to give pro wrestling a chance. She began training with WCW Superstar Dean Malenko at his school and in 1997, made her debut in the Florida indie scene with World Professional Wrestling Federation (WPWF) as Starla Saxton. She competed in various Florida indies, and soon found work with both WCW and WWF, although not as a full-time worker – she competed as Saxton in a WCW dark match in June of 1998, and two months later made her WWF debut (still as Saxton) in August of 1998, where she competed against Jacqueline for the WWF Women’s Championship on episodes of WWF Shotgun Saturday Night and WWF Sunday Night Heat. In the summer of 1999, she finally signed with WCW and made her debut as part of “Macho Man” Randy Savage‘s new stable, Team Madness. Alongside Savage, she was one of Macho Man’s three wrestling valets (the other two being Madusa and Gorgeous George III), with Greenwald portraying a fighting beauty queen known simply as Miss Madness, before becoming known as Mona after Savage fired her from his squad. During her one-year stint with WCW, she and Madusa helped train the women at the WCW Power Plant. During her time with WCW, she frequently wrestled in intergender matches, fighting the likes of Evan Karagias, and even competed in a battle royale for the #1 contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. In August of 2000, she was released by WCW.

She was soon signed by WWF and sent to work for Memphis Championship Wrestling (MCW), where she was repackaged as Lady Ophelia, the valet for William Regal. By October, she was working dark matches for WWF on the road as Lady Ophelia, but just before she was about to hit television, she was rebranded once again. This time, she was renamed Molly Holly, becoming the third member of the Holly Cousins that already featured Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly. She debuted to help her “cousins”, who had been feuding with the tag team of Test & Albert, as the equalizer to take out T & A’s manager, Trish Stratus. During the Holly Cousins feud with the Dudley Boyz in 2001, the story took a page out of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, when Molly Holly and Spike Dudley became a couple, much to the opposing factions chagrin. Much like in WCW, Molly was also featured in intergender matches, including one against Crash Holly after a falling out.

She left Spike and her cousins that fall to become the new sidekick for Hurricane Helms, where she altered her name to become the superhero Might Molly. The following spring at WrestleMania X8, she turned on her superhero partner, pinning him to win the WWF Hardcore Championship, her first title with a televised company (she lost it an hour later to Christian). She left Hurricane’s side shortly after, and turned heel, darkening her hair and becoming more of a conservative character. That summer, in June of 2002, she defeated her original nemesis, Trish Stratus, for the WWE Women’s Championship at King of the Ring 2002. The following year, she would end the debut WWE Women’s Championship reign of Gail Kim, to win her second championship, which she held for 210 days before losing it to Victoria in early 2004. Over the next year, her appearances began to dwindle, and in April of 2005, she left the WWE and retired from wrestling to spend more time with her family.

Since her retirement, she’s sporadically returned for brief appearances for WWE – she competed in the 2009 Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal at WrestleMania 25and in 2018 competed twice more for WWE – first at the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble, then again at WWE Evolution in the Battle Royal. She competed in the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble as well. While she’s no longer a full-time active wrestler, she’s still heavily involved in the industry. She’s one of the head trainers at The Academy, a wrestling school in Minnesota run by Ken Anderson (formerly Mr. Kennedy in WWE) and Shawn Daivari. Molly Holly becomes the 21st woman to enter the WWE Hall of Fame, joining a group that features Fabulous Moolah, Sensational Sherri, Mae Young, Wendi Richter, Sunny, Trish Stratus, Lita, Alundra Blayze (Madusa), Jacqueline, Mildred Burke, Beth Phoenix, June Byers, Judy Grable, Ivory, Cora Combs, Torrie Wilson, Chyna, and The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie Bella).

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