I was thrilled to see my old friend Jeannine Mjoseth, aka Mad Maxine, get a profile in The Washington Post. Jeannine has just published a semi-autobiographical novel about her life in wrestling, The Chronicles of Mad Maxine.
[It] tells the story of a young journalist named Pippi who travels to South Carolina to learn the secrets of professional wrestling at a special school for women run by Moolah, one of the first big-time female wrestlers of the '40s and '50s.
Mjoseth, who in the ring went by the names Lady Maxine (as the "good guy") and Mad Maxine (as the heel), despised Moolah, who died in 2007. In the book, Moolah skims money from her students, ignores their injuries and pimps them out to her friends, which Mjoseth says was true. Moolah, whose real name was Mary Lillian Ellison, controlled a big enough piece of the female wrestling industry that she could devastate the career of any woman who complained. (In 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment took the Fabulous Moolah's name off a battle royal planned in her honor because of statements from Mjoseth and others that Moolah had abused her trainees physically, financially and sexually.)…
"She came in to wrestling with her own look, her own gimmick, and it was very ahead of its time," says Dan Murphy, co-author of Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women's Wrestling. The Moolah system usually involved years of training and dues-paying, but Mjoseth "immediately got a look from the WWF. They were looking to cast her in the Hulk Hogan wrestling cartoon, until the relationship [between Mjoseth and Ellison] went sour."
When she wrestled, Mjoseth had two rules for herself: Don't sleep with people in the business, and don't let your costume come off. "I did not want to be talked about in the locker room," Mjoseth says. She did make one exception for Rule No. 1, she says, "but he was a Polynesian prince."