Amid controversy, WWE changes name of first WrestleMania women's battle royal
WWE has removed the Fabulous Moolah's name from the inaugural women's battle royal
In what appears to be a swift response to backlash from fans over the moniker given to the first women's battle royal to be held at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, the company announced a major change to the historic bout on Thursday.
In a statement provided to CBS Sports, WWE announced that the so-called "Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal" -- first announced Monday night on Raw -- will now simply be referred to as the "WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal."
"After further consideration, we believe it's best to proceed with the name 'WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.' What remains most important is that this historic match is part of WWE's unwavering commitment to the Women's Division."
In an attempt to further progress the "women's evolution" within WWE, the company made the blockbuster announcement of the inaugural match set to take place in New Orleans on April 8 with seemingly good intentions. With the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal premiering for the men at WrestleMania 30 (also in New Orleans), it was certainly time to reward the women with a similar WrestleMania spotlight match. However, the attempt to honor a legend by naming a match after them immediately fell flat.
While widely regarded as a pioneer for women's wrestling in history, much has come to light in recent years as it pertains to the character of Moolah, real name Mary Lillian Ellison, who passed away in November 2007. One common story from various individuals within the wrestling business has been Moolah's business practices, which allegedly included offering women she trained to men, stealing money from those women and purposely attempting to hold her pupils and peers down in terms of bookings and storylines.
With these stories becoming common knowledge following Monday's announcement, fans quickly directed their anger toward not only WWE but its sponsors as well. Snickers, WWE's primary WrestleMania 34 sponsor, issued the following statement calling the initial decision to honor Moolah with the bout "unacceptable."
We were recently made aware of the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc's (WWE) decision to honor a former wrestler during the upcoming WrestleMania 34 event. As a principle-based business that has long championed creating inclusive environments that encourage and empower everyone to reach their full potential, this is unacceptable. We are engaging with the WWE to express our disappointment.
By Thursday, the desired modification to the bout was announced by the company.
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