Years removed from the spotlight, Miss Elizabeth, now 35-years-old and a living “What Ever Happened To…?” trivia question, joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in January 1996 just as many of her contemporaries from the ‘Raging 80s’ era of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) had.
While keeping a low-profile as a salesperson at a retail clothing store at Adventura Mall in South Florida, Elizabeth was bit by the wrestling bug in 1995 and made contact with Zane Bresloff, WCW’s house show promoter who she, Randy Savage and “Mean” Gene Okerlund had often traveled with when touring the Rocky Mountain region in the WWF heyday. Appearing before WCW hierarchy at a show in Jacksonville, Florida, she was not offered a job right away due to the perception by management that she looked older than she had in the past and was not pretty enough to appear on television. It should be noted that Kevin Sullivan, who was the booker, was trying to get his then-wife Nancy (a/k/a Woman), back into the company, and there wasn’t room for more than one woman by the thought pattern of the time. One idea broached was for Nancy to be called “The New Elizabeth” and manage Savage in a feud with Hulk Hogan. Eric Bischoff, however, later felt her return would provide a ratings boost and that various angles could be scripted with ex-husband Savage.
Elizabeth’s return on Clash of the Champions on January 23, 1996 as a valet for Savage and Hogan, her first appearance on television in nearly four years, garnered a 4.5 cable rating, which ranks as one of the most-watched wrestling programs in the history of TBS. She showed up two days earlier near the event’s site in Las Vegas, Nevada and her looks immediately became a prime topic of discussion among management. Numerous critical remarks were made over her lack of tan and appearing facially older. It was not until she appeared made-up that hierarchy felt she looked adequate for television.
Elizabeth turned on Savage in short order to align herself with Ric Flair in The Four Horsemen — on February 11, 1996 at SuperBrawl — and was depicted as having spent all of the money he gave her in their divorce settlement. Her involvement in the program brought life to WCW’s floundering house show business, just months before the company had a major turnaround with the success of WCW Monday Nitro and the nWo (New World Order) storyline.
Elizabeth deserted Flair and The Four Horsemen in the fall to join forces with Hollywood Hogan in the nWo, but appeared to still care deeply for the “Macho Man.” They would reunite in February 1997 when Savage joined the group himself. In May 1998, Elizabeth joined Savage in the nWo Wolfpac, but the duo split for good the following month when he took time off from wrestling to undergo major knee surgery. Though able to professionally co-exist during their reunion tour, Elizabeth confided to friends that it was uncomfortable for her to work in the same company as Savage at times, particularly since many angles were based on their marriage. It was noted by many people in WCW that when he brought his 22-year-old buxom blonde girlfriend to the company in 1998, Stephanie Bellars (a/k/a Gorgeous George), Elizabeth suddenly had cosmetic work done including a sizable breast augmentation.
Albeit still very attractive, the world of professional wrestling had changed and so had she. Elizabeth could no longer portray a symbolic beauty and was instead cast as a new woman — no longer in ballgowns but in a leather skirt and tank tops with the widely imitated “Rachel” haircut. Her ’80s success largely stemmed from her beauty since she was a mediocre at best performer, but was now several years older and in a completely different environment. Though she was often relegated to the background, she would play a pivotal role every now and then.
Following a brief hiatus from television, Elizabeth resurfaced on the January 4, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, where she accused Bill Goldberg of “aggravated stalking” to law enforcement. WCW’s creative writers had originally intended for Goldberg to be accused of rape in the storyline, but he refused to go along with proposed idea. He was arrested during the show at the Georgia Dome, but released later that night because Elizabeth could not keep her story straight. It was then revealed that Elizabeth was a pawn for the nWo so that Goldberg would be unable to challenge Kevin Nash for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship later that night. With Goldberg absent, Nash and the returning Hollywood Hogan masterminded the infamous “Fingerpoke of Doom.” The match saw Hogan poke Nash in the chest with his index finger, prompting Nash to fall to the mat and allow Hogan to pin him to capture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Elizabeth remarried during her time in WCW, to Cary Lubetsky, a South Florida attorney she began dating shortly shortly after divorcing Savage. Having been romantically involved for four years, the couple wed on December 6, 1997 at the Cuban Hebrew Temple in Miami Beach. The marriage was short-lived as they separated in short order and were officially divorced on April 19, 1999. It was during that period where she met Lex Luger, who was married at the time. They began dating in 1998 and would eventually live together at a townhouse in Marietta, Georgia. Due to his relationship with Elizabeth, Luger left his family and had a falling out so severe that when his son Brian played college basketball for Mercer University, he requested that his famous father not be mentioned in programs and media guides.
In January 1999, Elizabeth began accompanying Luger, to ringside, and Kevin Nash as well at times. They put Elizabeth’s hair on the line in a tag team match against Konnan and Rey Mysterio at SuperBrawl IX on February 21, 1999 — Mysterio put his mask on the line. Luger, however, could not compete in the contest due to a subsequent biceps injury. An angle was then devised to explain “The Total Package”‘s absence from the match.
As Luger and Elizabeth were exiting a limousine on the February 18, 1999 episode of WCW Thunder, Mysterio, Jr. grabbed the door and slammed it into Luger’s biceps, injuring him in the process. Elizabeth, horrified, screamed at Mysterio, who yelled “thug life!” As Elizabeth shut the door, the limousine left the E-Center in Salt Lake City, Utah with the couple inside. Luger was immediately replaced by Scott Hall as Nash’s tag team partner for the contest. The Outsiders successfully defended Elizabeth’s honor and hair in the match as Nash pinned Mysterio following an Outsider’s Edge from Hall, thus forcing the high flying wrestler to unmask. Following Spring Stampede on April 11, 1999, Elizabeth took time off from the road to assist Luger in his injury recovery.
Luger returned to WCW television in August 1999, injecting himself in the feud between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and the man he considered to be his best friend, Sting. This culminated with Luger helping Sting wrest the gold away from “The Hulkster” at Fall Brawl on September 12, 1999. Following the pay-per-view event, Luger proclaimed that Lex Luger was “dead” and that he would be known going forward as The Total Package. He debuted the persona on the September 27, 1999 edition of WCW Monday Nitro with a Terminator-style entrance symbolizing his “rebirth” and Elizabeth returning to the fold as his manager. The reborn grappler’s ring entrance would conclude with Elizabeth tearing off his tracksuit in the middle of the squared circle. He would then pose as if he was competing in bodybuilding competition and conclude the theatrics by doing a pose in fireworks.
As 1999 concluded, The Total Package began to have some disagreements with Sting. He also treated Elizabeth in a poor manner, which prompted Sting to intervene. Elizabeth then switched her allegiance to the Sting and would accompany him for his match against The Total Package at Starrcade on December 19, 1999. Prior to the contest, Sting was shown handing Elizabeth a can of what he said was spray, and told her to use it if forced. The former Lex Luger attacked Sting as he entered the squared circle, giving him the advantage early in the contest. Elizabeth soon climbed onto the apron, thus allowing Sting to fight back. After the former WCW World Heavyweight Champions knocked each other down with a clothesline, Elizabeth entered the ring and revealed her alliance with The Total Package by attempting to spray Sting. Unfortunately for the veteran vixen, it was actually a can of silly string, revealing that Sting anticipated being betrayed by his confidante. Sting then hit The Total Package with the Stinger Splash and tried to finish him off with the Scorpion Deathlock. Elizabeth then struck Sting with a baseball bat, which caused the Total Package to lose by disqualification. Immediately following the contest, The Total Package attacked Sting’s right arm with a steel chair and the bat. With Sting out of commission, The Total Package began dressing as his former best friend to mock him, with Elizabeth wielding a baseball bat.
Shortly thereafter, a storyline was set up where The Total Package would break the arms of his opponents by placing the limb inside a closed steel chair and stomping on it. In February, both he and Elizabeth joined forces with Ric Flair. Known as Team Package, the trio’s main goal was to take out Hulk Hogan, whom The Total Package had been publicly challenging to a match. “The Hulkster” made his return to WCW television on the February 2, 2000 episode of WCW Thunder, and while his back was turned during an interview segment, Elizabeth entered the ring, baseball bat raised. Hogan, however, quickly turned around and easily out-muscled the bat from her possession. As a receipt for her sinister act, and in a throwback to his attacks on Sensational Sherri in the WWF, Hogan picked up Liz and hoisted up high in the air to deliver his patented atomic drop. The veteran vixen, however, no-sold the maneuver and quickly rolled out of the ring. Later that week, Hogan claimed on Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show that Elizabeth refused to take a bigger bump because she wasn’t wearing panties underneath her skirt.
Team Package went their separate ways in April when WCW was reformatted under the creative helm of Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff — The Total Package resumed appearing as Lex Luger. Elizabeth and Luger stayed together and turned face. During this time, Elizabeth engaged in brief feuds with Russo and Kimberly. Elizabeth competed in her first wrestling match on the May 8, 2000 edition of WCW Monday Nitro, against Daffney — it was declared no contest following interference from Madusa. She faced Rhonda Singh two nights later in a brief match on WCW Thunder, with the contest immediately ending after Luger placed Singh in the Torture Rack.
Elizabeth and Luger often butted heads with Russo. To Russo, a life-long fan of the World Wrestling Federation, the only redeeming value he felt she had left was for her to titillate the audience by appearing in a state of undress. To have the famed wrestling starlet appear in her underwear is something that had never been seen by fans, some of whom, in Russo’s age bracket, would have lusted at for over a decade. Elizabeth, however, was a matronly figure by this point, and while there is little doubt she would not have wanted to appear undressed, Luger vehemently nixed ideas for her strip or wrestle. Due to professional difficulties, the couple was sent home in June 2000 — with pay. She was released from her $156,000 per year contract in August 2000 in a cost-cutting measure and never appeared before wrestling fans again.