Mississippi woman wrestler known as ‘The Hammer’ in wrestling ring honored with Hall of Fame induction

Published 4:21 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

A Mississippi woman known to pro-wrestling fans as “the hammer” was recently honored to be inducted in the first class of the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Beverly Shade was one of 15 honorees to be inducted in the 2023 class.

Shade, who lives in Mississippi, began her career in 1958 and retired in 1989 according to her bio on the Women’s Wrestling Hal of Fame website.

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A singles Wrestler, tag team wrestler, promoter and trainer, Beverly “The Hammer” Shade is the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in four categories.

Frequently described as a pioneer in woman’s wrestling, Shade won the All-Star Wrestling Women’s Championship twice in 1968 and 1985, won the National Wrestling Alliance Women’s Tag Team Championship and the Florida Women’s Championship.

She was trained by Ella Waldek.

One of the oldest living wrestlers, Shade can be seen in the above video with her tag team partner Natasha. Shade is currently in hospice care in Mississippi.

Click here for a recent article about Shade receiving her induction plaque from her hospice room. 

To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, a nominee must have had made a significant contribution to the history of women’s wrestling both amateur and professional.

The inaugural class starts with the first-ever women’s champion, Cora Livingston who was crowned champion on Sept. 7, 1910; when she faced competitor May Nelson.

Followed by, in their own right: Mildred Burke, Beverly Shade, Marva Scott, Ethel Johnson, Babs Wingo, Luna Vachon, Toni Rose and Donna Christanello as a tag team, Susan “Tex” Green, and the previously mentioned Carlene “Jazz” Begnaud and Rita Marie Chatterton, the first woman referee in WWF.

In addition, Iryna Merleni, who won a gold medal in freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, among countless other titles, is from the Ukraine and is a hero of her country outside of the sport as well.

The show GLOW was also honored for being a groundbreaking all-female TV show and promotion.

Founded in 2022, the Women’s Wresting Hall of Fame was created to preserve the history of women’s wrestling, both amateur and professional. The Hall of Fame was founded by Christopher Annino, Angel Orsini, Susan Tex Green and Gary Wolf.