Decades after making her debut in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), Miss Elizabeth’s impact is still felt today. Appropriately nicknamed the “First Lady of Wrestling,” her gentle-yet-influential contributions helped pave the way for generations of female performers.
In 1985, WWF newcomer “Macho Man” Randy Savage set out on a search to find a manager. In the end, the sought-after wrestler unveiled the beautiful Miss Elizabeth as his choice. Over the next seven years, Savage and Elizabeth’s very public rollercoaster relationship provided fans with a soap-opera type romance never seen in the World Wrestling Federation.
Fans and WWF Superstars were instantly smitten by her innocent smile and impeccable style. The admiration she received, however, didn’t sit well with Savage. The jealous WWF Superstar continually took his frustrations out on his harmless manager even though she never acted on anybody’s advances.
The always-classy Elizabeth took Savage’s verbal attacks in stride, instead of simply walking away, she stood by her man and helped guide him to greatness. At WrestleMania IV, Elizabeth led Savage to the ring an impressive four times as the “Macho Man” defeated “The Natural” Butch Reed, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, One Man Gang and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase en route to becoming the undisputed WWF World Heavyweight Champion. The win made Elizabeth the first woman to manage a WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Elizabeth’s relationship with Savage reached its boiling point in 1989 when her friendship with Hulk Hogan sent “Macho Man” into a jealous rage. The couple split soon after, sending Elizabeth into a more private lifestyle and Savage into a working relationship with Sensational Sherri.
After Savage lost a Retirement Match to Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII, Elizabeth reemerged to save Savage from an attacking Sherri. Following the save, the reunited couple shared a loving embrace that drew tears of happiness from nearly everybody watching.
The devotion Elizabeth and Savage showed each other over their years together would fully blossom at SummerSlam 1991, when the two entered into marriage. Reunited with Elizabeth, “Macho Man” would come out of retirement and once again capture the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, this time at WrestleMania VIII. And although Elizabeth got banned from ringside, she rushed by to watch his victory.
As sweet as Elizabeth was, that did not stop her from joining the New World Order (nWo) in 1996, once again supporting Savage and Hogan. She finished her career in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where she spent time aligning with Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen, as well as Lex Luger.
After her departure from WCW in 2000, Elizabeth vanished from professional wrestling. Sadly, she died on May 1, 2003, as a result of a drug and alcohol overdose.
Miss Elizabeth was born Elizabeth Ann Hulette on November 16, 1960, in Frankfort, Kentucky. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in communications.
Elizabeth Hulette got introduced to the professional wrestling industry as a camera operator working at a Kentucky television station, according to Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. She then became an announcer and show host for International Championship Wrestling (using the name Liz Hulette, as she was known to her friends while growing up). While there, she met Randall Poffo, who wrestled under the ring name “Macho Man” Randy Savage. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, Hulette and Poffo were officially married on December 30, 1984.
In the summer of 1985, Randy Savage made it to the big time and entered the World Wrestling Federation. Managers Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, and Mr. Fuji immediately offered their services to Savage, who got billed as professional wrestling industry’s most coveted free agent.
During a match against Jim Young on July 30, 1985, in Poughkeepsie, New York, all five managers were at ringside in hopes that Savage would select one of them as his new manager. After pinning Young with the elbow drop off the top rope, Savage thanked the managers for their consideration before introducing the person to steer his career.
An attractive, unknown woman then came down to the ring, which led announcer Bruno Sammartino to remark, “Is this a movie star?” Her name was later revealed as Miss Elizabeth. Her debut aired on WWF Championship Wrestling on August 24, 1985.
It was then that Savage added “Macho Man” to his name and began coming to the ring to the song, “Pomp and Circumstance Marches,” dressed in extravagant sequined robes, headbands, and wraparound sunglasses with Elizabeth by his side.
Savage immediately made his presence felt in the World Wrestling Federation. He made his pay-per-view debut at The Wrestling Classic on November 7, 1985, participating in a 16-Superstar tournament. He beat Ivan Putski, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and Dynamite Kid before losing via count-out in the tournament finals to Junkyard Dog. Though the “Macho Man” wasn’t victorious that night at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, he caught the eye of WWF Superstars and fans everywhere.
Elizabeth led Savage to success when he beat Tito Santana in the Boston Garden on February 8, 1986, for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. With the title firmly wrapped around his waist, Savage garnered a reputation for retaining it by any means necessary. This included everything from getting himself disqualified or counted out to even stoop so low as to put Elizabeth between himself and a charging opponent. Oddly enough, Savage’s next challenge came in the form of someone who was more interested in wrapping his arms around Elizabeth than getting his hands on the “Macho Man.”
George “The Animal” Steele was one of the World Wrestling Federation’s most bizarre Superstars, and his infatuation with the lovely Elizabeth enraged Savage to no end. The “Macho Man” lashed out when the beastly Steele got calmed by Elizabeth’s stunning beauty. This resulted in a series of brutal matches around the country, with the feud climaxing at WrestleMania 2 on April 7, 1986, in Uniondale, New York. In an impressive WrestleMania debut, Savage’s rage fueled him to victory and he left the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with the Intercontinental Championship and Elizabeth in hand.
Savage and Steele continued to feud through 1987, leading to two rematches for the Intercontinental Championship on Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC. The Intercontinental Championship was on the line both times and the managerial services of Elizabeth were at stake the second time; Steele lost both matches.
“The matches with Randy were a natural fit. People felt such sympathy for my character,” Steele said in an interview for 30 Years of WrestleMania. “I never won a match against Randy, and it became so strong, after a while I didn’t need to win. It was more about getting distracted by Elizabeth. Randy was very protective of Elizabeth backstage. I would do things to get him worked up. Those practical jokes helped our matches because Randy, who was a phenomenal talent, really got angry with me.”
Elizabeth stood by her man through the peaks and valleys of his career. Savage had an intense feud with Hulk Hogan but was unsuccessful in beating him for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Then when Savage lost the Intercontinental Championship to Steamboat at WrestleMania III on March 29, 1987, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, she helped him progress with his career.
Elizabeth consistently displayed her loyalty to Savage, especially during his match against Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man on Saturday Night’s Main Event on October 3, 1987. When Savage got blindsided by Bret “Hit Man” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and then beaten down, Elizabeth stepped in front of Savage to protect him from The Honky Tonk Man smashing a guitar over his head. After the cowardly Honky Tonk Man threw her down to the mat, Elizabeth got up and went to the locker room for help. When she returned with Hogan, fans cheered in unison as “The Hulkster” and the “Macho Man” cleared the ring of the unscrupulous trio. Not only did she save her man from imminent danger, but she was responsible for forming one of the greatest alliances in World Wrestling Federation history as Savage and Hogan became known as The Mega Powers.
A key reason for the feud was The Honky Tonk Man’s allegations that Elizabeth secretly wanted him more than Savage. In many of their matches, Honky would attempt to corner Elizabeth, leading Savage to beat him away. In some of their matches, Honky got accompanied by a mysterious woman named Peggy Sue. While WWF Women’s Champion “Sensational” Sherri portrayed the character at television tapings, more often than not, Peggy Sue was “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart dressed in drag. Peggy Sue would harass Elizabeth at ringside, creating an advantage for The Honky Tonk Man. At the 1987 Slammy Awards, The Honky Tonk Man and Hart presented Elizabeth with the Woman of the Year award. The Honky Tonk Man, however, harassed her, which angered Savage. Savage quickly ran Honky off.
1988 was a pivotal year for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan, who had been WWF World Heavyweight Champion since 1984 and the foundation upon which built the World Wrestling Federation, lost the title to Andre the Giant on NBC’s The Main Event on February 5, 1988.
During the latter part of the match, Andre executed a suplex on Hogan and went for the pinfall. Referee Dave Hebner made the three-count and awarded the match to Andre, despite Hogan clearly raising his left shoulder. As “The Hulkster” disputed the outcome, Andre got presented with the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. He then handed it to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, who pronounced himself the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
WWF President Jack Tunney ruled that when Andre surrendered the WWF World Heavyweight Championship to DiBiase, he unknowingly forfeited the title. The WWF World Heavyweight Championship was then considered vacant and a new undisputed Champion would be crowned in a 14-Man Single Elimination Tournament at WrestleMania IV on March 27, 1988, at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall (referred on television as the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino) in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
At WrestleMania IV, Elizabeth led Savage to the ring an impressive four times as the “Macho Man” beat “The Natural” Butch Reed, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, One Man Gang and finally DiBiase en route to becoming the undisputed WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Fans applauded loudly when Savage perched Elizabeth on his shoulder after beating DiBiase. The victory made Elizabeth the first woman to manage a WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
The Mega Powers trio of Hogan, Savage, and Elizabeth took the wrestling world by storm, becoming the top attraction in the World Wrestling Federation. Behind the scenes, however, their relationship required careful management.
“[Hogan and Savage] both wanted the spotlight and would do a number of things to edge the other one out, which I thought was humorous,” Vince McMahon said in an interview for 30 Years of WrestleMania. “But that also needed to be managed because otherwise, you could have a real problem … You had the woman between the two guys, and that always led to one thing or another, which made it a far more interesting scenario.”
At the inaugural SummerSlam on August 29, 1988, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, Hogan and Savage battled DiBiase and Andre in a match dubbed “The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks” (with color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura as the special guest referee). Most of the pre-match build-up centered around Elizabeth, who by this time was at the peak of her popularity. While Elizabeth did pose with Savage for a bikini poster that was a big seller, she was always dressed up like she was going to a prom when she appeared. The tease for the match was that if things went bad, Elizabeth — billed as The Mega Powers’ secret weapon — was going to wear a bikini under her fancy clothes.
In the late goings of the match, The Mega Powers looked physically devalued by The Mega Bucks. DiBiase, having monetarily secured himself with a behemoth partner like Andre and “impartial” officiating from Ventura, was proving too much to handle. Elizabeth, watching her two men struggle, suddenly hopped up on the apron and tore off her skirt, exposing a bikini bottom that dropped the jaws of everyone inside the sold-out Madison Square Garden. Most importantly, it completely distracted The Mega Bucks and Ventura long enough for Hogan and Savage to recover, rally and pick up the win. Ventura reluctantly counted, but Savage rode his arm down to the mat to finish it. Seeing Savage and Hogan hoist the hot-red bikini-bottomed Elizabeth on their shoulders remains a memorable sight for every man who saw the show.
SummerSlam provided a pivotal chapter in The Mega Powers storyline when Savage disapproved of Hogan’s post-match celebration with Elizabeth. Months later at the second annual Survivor Series on November 24, 1988, at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield Township, Ohio, the “Macho Man” once again looked with disdain at Hogan’s post-match behavior toward Elizabeth. Ventura also picked up on this and asked Savage about it during a post-match interview. Savage emphatically denied any animosity between himself and Hogan, but Savage would become increasingly jealous and wary of his tag team partner as the weeks went by.
On episodes of Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hogan was insistent on Elizabeth appearing at ringside for his matches against King Haku, Bad News Brown, and Akeem. In the latter instance, Akeem and his allies, Slick (Akeem’s manager) and Big Boss Man (Akeem’s tag team partner), endangered Elizabeth. After the match ended in a disqualification when Big Boss Man nailed Hogan in the back with his trusty nightstick, he grabbed Elizabeth and placed her in handcuffs — she entered the ring while The Twin Towers brutally attacked Hogan. Before Big Boss Man could get violent with Elizabeth, Savage stormed the ring with a chair and made the save. While Savage showed concern for Elizabeth, he disregarded Hogan, who was still reeling from being attacked by Akeem and Big Boss Man.
Concurrent with The Mega Powers’ feud with The Twin Towers was a feud between Savage and Bad News Brown. The feud began when Brown alleged on The Brother Love Show that Elizabeth was “doing favors” for WWF President Jack Tunney — this interview segment aired on WWF Superstars of Wrestling on November 26, 1988. The implication was that she wanted to protect Savage and his WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Brown. Savage got his revenge on Brown by beating him in multiple matches, including the main event bout at Madison Square Garden on December 30, 1988.
The tension between The Mega Powers continued to boil at the Royal Rumble on January 15, 1989, when Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage during the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match – Hogan dumped Brown out of the ring, causing Savage to get eliminated as well. An incensed Savage quickly confronted Hogan in the ring, causing Elizabeth to rush to the ring to play the role of peacemaker. Following the Royal Rumble Match, Ventura told Savage during an interview that he could see problems between The Mega Powers. Savage, however, denied there were any problems between himself and Hogan.
The speculated rift between The Mega Powers became a talking point throughout World Wrestling Federation programming. The scenario beckoned fans to Milwaukee’s Bradley Center on February 3, 1989, for the second broadcast of The Main Event, where Hogan and Savage faced Akeem and Big Boss Man in a tag team match. The match took a turn when “Macho Man” was thrown outside the ring by Akeem and landed on Elizabeth, knocking her unconscious. Torn between bringing Elizabeth to medical attention and helping his partner, Hogan carried Elizabeth to the dressing room, leaving Savage alone to fend off The Twin Towers. When Elizabeth got revived, she implored a distraught Hogan to return to the ring to help Savage, who had been left to fight the gargantuan grapplers on his own for several minutes. Hogan eventually called in the tag, but Savage, who was furious with being abandoned during the match, slapped him in the face. After some choice words to a confused Hogan, Savage took the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and retreated backstage. Hogan ultimately beat The Twin Towers by himself.
After the match, Hogan checked on Elizabeth in the dressing room. Savage was there too, who was in mid-tirade yelling at Elizabeth. As WWF World Heavyweight Champion, he got tired of taking a back seat to both her and Hogan in The Mega Powers pecking order. Upon Hogan’s arrival, Savage turned his frustration to him, accusing Hogan of trying to steal Elizabeth and manipulate the title away from him. Hogan implored Elizabeth to try to talk some sense into him before Savage attacked “The Hulkster” by hitting him in the face with the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, sealing the end of their partnership.
What began as a subtle show of disapproval at SummerSlam 1988 helped develop The Mega Powers’ storyline into the marquee match at WrestleMania V. The narrative was a different form of drama involving Hogan and, for that matter, the World Wrestling Federation. It contained a layer of complexity that earlier Hulkamania storylines did not have.
“The subject matter was a bit adult in terms of the love triangle, but the way it was executed really wasn’t,” Vince McMahon said. “If you’re writing well, there are double entendres that can mean one thing to a younger audience and something else to an older audience … Part of the dynamic was [that] Randy was so incredibly jealous of anyone who would do or say anything to Elizabeth. It was a natural, evolving, real-life story.”
In the weeks leading up to the match, Savage appeared in a series of television promos accusing Hogan of “lusting after Elizabeth.” Footage of past incidents would air and get edited in a context to push Hogan as a jealous, sore heel. Hogan defended his behavior, with complete footage from the same incidents shown to push him as the face. After weeks of speculation about whose corner she would stand in at WrestleMania V, Elizabeth announced on Saturday Night’s Main Event on March 11, 1989, that she would stand in a neutral corner.
On April 2, 1989, The Mega Powers exploded at WrestleMania V at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall (referred on television as the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The main event truly was a blurring of the lines between art, entertainment and real-life. The fans became so invested in The Mega Powers’ love triangle that Savage requested extra security for Elizabeth since he wasn’t comfortable with her walking to the ring alone.
“I knew if a fan somehow touched her that would’ve been it,” WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson remembered in an interview for 30 Years of WrestleMania.”
Savage might have lost control and gone after a fan. Patterson continues, “I told Vince [McMahon] and Randy I was going out there with her because this was the main event; it was WrestleMania; everything needed to go as planned.”
Though Elizabeth remained neutral during the bout, she was eventually ejected from ringside after causing too many complications by attempting to aid both men at different points in the match. Hogan ultimately prevailed after kicking out of Savage’s elbow drop off the top rope before “Hulking up” and executing his signature Leg Drop to become WWF World Heavyweight Champion for the second time.
The couple officially split following WrestleMania V, sending Elizabeth into a more private lifestyle and Savage into a working relationship with Sensational Sherri. At SummerSlam on August 28, 1989, Elizabeth appeared in the corner of Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake for their match against Savage and Zeus (Sherri appeared in the villain’s corner). Elizabeth, who rarely got physical, tripped Sherri during a critical point in the match. Hogan took advantage of the opportunity and hit Zeus with Sherri’s loaded purse, followed by a scoop slam and a Leg Drop for the victory.
As 1989 concluded, Elizabeth managed Hogan and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in matches against Savage before taking a brief sabbatical. She also co-hosted WWF Wrestling Spotlight with McMahon for a brief period.
Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri became royalty when Savage beat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan for the World Wrestling Federation’s “King of the Ring” crown on August 29, 1989. It wasn’t long after that “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes became a hated rival of Savage. Not only did Savage do everything he could to make Rhodes’ career miserable, Sherri — now known was Sensational Queen Sherri — would also attack “The American Dream.” Her attack would draw the ire of Rhodes’ manager, Sapphire. To settle this unusual rivalry, Savage and Sherri faced Rhodes and Sapphire in a Mixed Tag Team Match at WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990, at the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
With Sherri having far more ring experience than Sapphire, Rhodes and Sapphire appeared at a disadvantage. That is until Rhodes revealed his team’s secret weapon — they had Savage’s former manager, Miss Elizabeth in their corner. The shocking revelation worked at first, as Savage and Sherri were clearly thrown for a loop. The two cheated to regain the upper hand, particularly Savage, who used his scepter as a weapon to take down Rhodes.
Although the men were only supposed to battle each other, and the same with the women, all four competitors broke that rule. Elizabeth had enough of Sherri’s antics and got involved in the match, allowing Sapphire to roll up Sherri for a stunning pinfall victory for her team.
Elizabeth disappeared from WWF television until WrestleMania VII on March 24, 1991, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, where she showed her soft spot for the “Macho Man.” After Savage lost a Retirement Match to Ultimate Warrior, Sherri entered the ring and kicked “Macho Man” when he was down. Elizabeth, who sat ringside, emerged from the audience to defend Savage. She then grabbed Sherri by the hair and threw her out of the ring. With tears streaming down her face, Elizabeth opened her arms and embraced the “Macho Man.” Savage punctuated the reunion by holding down the ropes for Elizabeth after years of doing the same for him.
A few weeks after WrestleMania VII, Savage returned to television in a non-wrestling role as a color commentator on WWF Superstars of Wrestling alongside Vince McMahon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Meanwhile, his storyline with Elizabeth continued, culminating with Savage proposing to her in the ring at a WWF Superstars of Wrestling television taping on June 17, 1991. Elizabeth accepted his proposal and the couple got married in a special ceremony dubbed the “Match Made in Heaven” at SummerSlam on August 26, 1991, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York (they actually got married on December 30, 1984).
It was at this time that Jake “The Snake” Roberts targeted Savage. On an episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling before SummerSlam, the announcers and several WWF Superstars threw a bachelor party for Savage. Roberts showed up to offer some kind words to Savage, but his name wasn’t on the guest list to his displeasure.
The nuptials of Savage and Elizabeth quickly turned into a nightmare when Roberts and his new associate, The Undertaker, invaded their wedding reception. First shocking the couple by hiding a venomous snake among the various toaster ovens and silverware they received as wedding presents, The Undertaker blindsided Savage by knocking him out with the urn before Roberts terrorized the screaming bride with a deadly cobra. The villainous duo ran off when Sid Justice arrived wielding a chair.
Savage, who was still unable to wrestle due to his loss to Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII, immediately began a public campaign to have himself reinstated as an active competitor to gain revenge on Roberts; however, WWF President Jack Tunney refused. Meanwhile, Roberts cut a series of promos berating Savage. The feud began to boil over during a WWF Superstars of Wrestling television taping on October 21, 1991, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Roberts spoke on the microphone to goad Savage – who was providing color commentary – into the ring. After being lured into the ring, Roberts attacked Savage. He then tied Savage in the ring ropes and allowed a king cobra to sink its teeth into the arm of the “Macho Man.” The attack prompted Elizabeth to run to the ring and scream in horror.
Savage then urged fans to lobby Tunney to reinstate him as an active competitor, under the rallying cry “Reinstatement, that’s the plan! Reinstate the Macho Man!” In response, Tunney reinstated Savage and announced a match between him and Roberts for the World Wrestling Federation’s This Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view event on December 3, 1991, at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. After Savage gained the pinfall victory, Roberts beat down “Macho Man,” prompting Elizabeth to beg him to stop. In response to her plea, Roberts grabbed Elizabeth by the hair and slapped her across the face.
The feud continued throughout the winter and on Saturday Night’s Main Event on February 8, 1992, Savage beat Roberts once again. Following the match, Roberts, with a steel chair in tow, was waiting in the backstage area for Savage and Elizabeth to come through the curtain. Roberts was about to strike Elizabeth with the chair, but The Undertaker stopped him. This ended Roberts’ feud with Savage and Elizabeth and started a new one between himself and The Undertaker.
Following the announcement that Ric Flair would defend the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Savage at WrestleMania VIII, “The Nature Boy” began an intense campaign of mind games designed to force Savage into questioning his relationship with Elizabeth. While showing an enlarged photo of a swimsuit-clad Elizabeth canoodling by a hot tub, Flair alleged that he dated the beautiful brunette well before Savage ever came along. Flair went so far as to tell the notoriously jealous Savage that his wife thought of “The Nature Boy” as the world’s greatest wrestler, as well as the world’s greatest lover.
Saving the best for last, Flair told Savage that he had an even more provocative photo of his wife that he was going to display for the world to see at WrestleMania VIII. The embarrassment was too much for Elizabeth to handle. In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania VIII, she became visibly distraught, while the rage continued to build inside the “Macho Man.”
When Savage’s name was finally announced on April 5, 1992, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana, the challenger bolted down the aisle as if he got shot out of a cannon. Less than 20 minutes later, the “Macho Man” gained the vengeance he was after when he defeated Flair with a roll-up from behind.
Although Elizabeth got banned from ringside, she jumped into the ring to celebrate with her husband. As she tended to her battered man, a defeated Flair grabbed her and kissed her on the lips. In a rare moment of rage, Elizabeth slapped “The Nature Boy” across the face, followed by another slap, and another. Just as Savage had done early in the match, she was releasing weeks of pent-up anger on Flair.
Flair recalls, “It was just a tremendously well-written program. It was like Randy was married to Liz back then and she was a huge commodity and a huge star with the WWE. And the thing was, ‘She was mine before she was yours.’ We had a really good match. We gave them a hell of a show and it was awesome. That was my first Mania and one of the finest moments of my career.”
Elizabeth made her last WWF appearance on April 19, 1992, at UK Rampage — a pay-per-view event produced exclusively for the United Kingdom — where Savage defended the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels. Savage pinned Michaels after Elizabeth, who got sent backstage earlier, returned to prevent Sensational Sherri from interfering on Michaels’ behalf.
Despite her absence from the World Wrestling Federation, Elizabeth’s storyline with Flair continued through the spring – the most notable highlight was Flair and Mr. Perfect playing a voicemail from a woman identifying herself as Elizabeth, saying she was “waiting at home” and that she “loved” him. In June, Savage and Elizabeth got vindicated when WWF Magazine revealed that Flair had doctored photos of their private moments; Flair had simply superimposed himself in place of the “Macho Man.”
Elizabeth walked out of her relationship with Savage that summer, and when she did, with no fanfare, she was gone from the World Wrestling Federation. After their divorce got finalized in August, Savage issued a statement via WWF Magazine announcing that he and Elizabeth were no longer together. Savage’s statement marked a rare acknowledgment of the private lives of WWF Superstars. Savage continued to appear for the WWF through 1994 and his divorce from Elizabeth was never referred to again.
Years removed from the spotlight, Miss Elizabeth, now 35 years old and a living “What Ever Happened To…?” trivia question, joined World Championship Wrestling in January 1996 just as many of her contemporaries from the “Raging 80s” era of the World Wrestling Federation had.
While keeping a low-profile as a salesperson at a retail clothing store at Aventura Mall in South Florida, Elizabeth got bit by the wrestling bug in 1995 and made contact with Zane Bresloff, WCW’s live event promoter who she often traveled with Randy Savage and “Mean” Gene Okerlund while touring Colorado in the WWF. After being invited to meet WCW officials at a WCW Monday Nitro taping in Jacksonville, Florida on November 6, 1995, she was not offered a job right away due to their perception that she looked old and was not pretty enough to appear on television.
Kevin Sullivan, who was WCW’s head producer, was also trying to get his then-wife Nancy (aka Woman) back into the company, and there wasn’t room for more than one woman by the thought pattern of the time. A storyline got pitched for Nancy to go under the name “The New Elizabeth” and manage Savage in a feud against Hulk Hogan. Eric Bischoff, who reigned as WCW Executive Vice President, later felt that Elizabeth’s return would boost television ratings and that various angles could be created with ex-husband Savage.
Elizabeth’s return on January 23, 1996, at Clash of the Champions at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada as a valet for Hogan and Savage in a tag team match against Ric Flair and The Giant drew a 4.5 cable rating, which ranks as one of the most-watched wrestling programs in the history of TBS. She met WCW officials two days earlier in Las Vegas and her looks immediately became a prime topic of discussion among management as they made remarks criticizing her lack of a tan and appearing facially older. It was not until she appeared made-up that they felt she looked adequate for television.
At SuperBrawl VI on February 11, 1996, Elizabeth turned on Savage by handing Flair her high-heeled shoe during a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match inside a steel cage, which Flair used to nail Savage and regain the title. Along with Woman, she became Flair’s co-manager in The Four Horsemen. Woman aligned herself with Flair the week before on Nitro after turning on Savage during his match against Horsemen member Chris Benoit.
Now a heel for the first time in her career, Elizabeth got characterized as having spent the money she received from Savage in their divorce settlement to party with Flair. Deep down, many fans didn’t believe that Elizabeth could be so cruel and manipulative. But she looked great and they were happy to have her back. Her involvement in their feud brought life to WCW’s floundering house show business, just months before the company had a major turnaround with the success of Nitro and the New World Order (nWo) storyline.
Elizabeth left The Four Horsemen in the fall and sided with Hollywood Hogan in the nWo, but appeared to still care for her ex-husband. They reunited in February 1997 when Savage joined the group himself. During Savage’s feud with Diamond Dallas Page, she belittled his wife Kimberly for being featured in Playboy’s Nude Celebrities and helped Savage attack the couple, even taking the opportunity to spray “NWO” on Kimberly.
In May 1998, Elizabeth joined Savage in the nWo Wolfpac, but the duo split for good the following month when she decided to side with Hogan and Bischoff in nWo Hollywood. She then accompanied Bischoff at events for the next few months and derided Savage. In response, Savage coldly reminded Elizabeth that he “got over her a long time ago.”
Though able to professionally co-exist during their reunion tour, Elizabeth confided to friends that she felt uncomfortable at times working with Savage, particularly since they did so many angles based on their marriage. Although when Savage introduced his 22-year-old buxom blonde girlfriend, Gorgeous George, as his valet in December 1998, 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 different woman. Her success in the World Wrestling Federation largely stemmed from her looks since she was a mediocre at best performer, but she was now several years older and in a completely different environment. Though Elizabeth was often relegated to the background in WCW, she occasionally played a pivotal role in storylines.
Following a brief hiatus from television, Elizabeth resurfaced on Nitro on January 4, 1999, where she accused Goldberg of “aggravated stalking” to law enforcement. WCW’s creative writers had originally intended for Elizabeth to accuse Goldberg of rape, but he refused to go along with the proposed angle. Goldberg got 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 nWo Hollywood so that Goldberg would be unable to challenge nWo Wolfpac leader Kevin Nash for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship later that night. With Goldberg absent, the returning Hogan took his place in the match. On this night, they reunited in shocking fashion when Nash intentionally fell after Hogan poked him in the chest. This allowed Hogan to pin Nash to capture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The incident, which has infamously become known as the “Fingerpoke of Doom,” unified nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac into one villainous supergroup.
Elizabeth remarried during her time in WCW to Cary Lubetsky, a South Florida attorney she began dating shortly after divorcing Savage. Having been romantically involved for five years, the couple wed on December 6, 1997, at Cuban Hebrew Congregation in Miami Beach, Florida. But like so many others who became indoctrinated to the closed society of professional wrestling, she had difficulty relating to outsiders. The marriage dissolved as they quickly separated before getting officially divorced on April 19, 1999.
During 1998, Elizabeth became romantically involved with Lex Luger. In January 1999, Elizabeth began accompanying him to ringside, and sometimes Nash. They put Elizabeth’s hair on the line in a tag team match against Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Konnan at SuperBrawl IX on February 21, 1999 — Mysterio, Jr. put his mask on the line. However, a few weeks before the match could take place, Luger got sidelined due to a legitimate biceps injury. An angle was then done to explain his absence from the bout.
On WCW Thunder on February 18, 1999, a limousine pulled up to the E Center in Salt Lake City, Utah with Luger and Elizabeth inside. As they were getting out of the limo, Mysterio, Jr. grabbed the door and slammed it into Luger’s biceps, injuring him in the process. Elizabeth screamed at Mysterio, Jr., who yelled, “Thug life!” Elizabeth then got back in the limo, which quickly left the premises.
Scott Hall replaced Luger as Nash’s tag team partner for the match against Mysterio, Jr. and Konnan at SuperBrawl IX. The Outsiders successfully defended Elizabeth’s hair as Nash pinned Mysterio, Jr. following an Outsider’s Edge from Hall, thus forcing the high-flying wrestler to unmask. Elizabeth continued to go with Nash to the ring until Spring Stampede on April 11, 1999, at which point she took time off from the road to aid Luger in his injury recovery and get her divorce with Lubetsky finalized.
Luger returned to television in August 1999, injecting himself in the feud between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and the man he considered 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 as The Total Package going forward. He debuted the revamped character on Nitro on September 27, 1999, with a Terminator-style entrance symbolizing his “rebirth” and Elizabeth returning to the fold as his manager.
This time around, Elizabeth didn’t merely escort the Total Package to the ring — she often assisted him in matches. In one particularly gruesome episode, Elizabeth slipped Sting’s infamous black bat to The Total Package and he proceeded to ruthlessly beat Flair and Bret Hart with it. The deceptive vixen would also distract referees during The Total Package’s matches and spray wrestlers in the face with mace to protect her man.
As 1999 concluded, The Total Package began treating Elizabeth poorly, which prompted Sting to intervene. Elizabeth eventually switched her allegiance to Sting and accompanied him for a match against The Total Package at Starrcade on December 19, 1999.
Prior to the contest, Sting handed Elizabeth a can of mace and told her to use it if forced. The Total Package attacked Sting as he entered the squared circle, giving him the advantage early on. Elizabeth soon climbed on the apron, thus allowing Sting to fight back. After the former friends found themselves laid out by a double clothesline, Elizabeth entered the ring and tried to spray Sting. To Elizabeth’s embarrassment, it was actually a can of silly string as Sting anticipated her betrayal. Sting then hit The Total Package with the Stinger Splash and tried to finish him off with the Scorpion Deathlock. Elizabeth, however, struck Sting with a baseball bat, which caused the Total Package to lose via disqualification. The Total Package then attacked Sting’s right arm with the bat and a steel chair.
With Sting out of action, The Total Package began dressing like his former best friend to mock him. A storyline was then developed where The Total Package would injure the arms of opponents by placing the limb inside a closed steel chair and stomping on it. In February, the tandem joined forces with Flair. Known as Team Package, the trio’s main goal was to take out Hogan, whom The Total Package had been publicly challenging to a match.
A face once again, Hogan returned to television on Thunder on February 2, 2000. When he turned his back during an interview segment, Elizabeth entered the ring, baseball bat raised. Hogan, however, quickly turned around and easily outmuscled the bat from her grasp. In a throwback to his attacks on Sensational Sherri in the WWF, Hogan picked up Elizabeth and held her up high in the air to deliver his patented atomic drop. Elizabeth, 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.
When WCW got rebooted in April under the creative helm of Vince Russo and Bischoff, Team Package went their separate ways — The Total Package changed his name back to Lex Luger. Elizabeth and Luger stayed together and turned face as they fought various members of The New Blood. More reminiscent of her 1980s character, Elizabeth resisted Buff Bagwell’s advances and endured Russo’s routine humiliation of her, which included leading her around by a tether rope and forcing her to wrestle.
On Nitro on May 8, 2000, Elizabeth competed in her first wrestling match. Taking on Daffney, the referee declared the match a no contest due to interference from Madusa. She faced Rhonda Singh two nights later in a brief match on Thunder, with the contest immediately ending after Luger placed Singh in the Torture Rack. On Nitro on May 15, 2000, Russo ordered Elizabeth to wrestle Madusa inside a steel cage, but Luger clutched Madusa in the Torture Rack before she could get her hands on Liz.
Elizabeth and Luger often butted heads with Russo behind-the-scenes over their creative direction. To Russo, a lifelong fan of the World Wrestling Federation, the only redeeming value he felt Elizabeth had left was for her to arouse fans by appearing in a state of undress. To have the famed wrestling starlet appear in her underwear is something that had not been seen by fans since the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988. While there is little doubt that Elizabeth would not have wanted to take her clothes off, Luger vehemently nixed ideas for her strip or wrestle.
Due to professional difficulties, Elizabeth and Luger got sent home on May 30, 2000, from a Thunder taping in Boise, Idaho. While Luger eventually returned to television, Elizabeth did not. On August 17, 2000, WCW released Elizabeth from her $156,000 per year contract during a talent purge.
Despite offers from several independent promotions, Elizabeth Hulette never made another wrestling-related appearance following her departure from WCW. She kept a low profile and began working at the front desk of Main Event Fitness in Marietta, Georgia, a gym that Lex Luger had owned since 1992 when he opened it with Sting.
In November and December 2002, Hulette accompanied Luger to Europe for a World Wrestling All-Stars tour. Despite being advertised, she did not make any public appearances. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, Hulette never left her hotel room except to get on a bus or plane to the next show. Those on the tour said she looked bloated and that her behavior worried people.
During the tour, Luger won and lost the WWA World Heavyweight Championship in matches against Sting. However, he looked out of shape — by his standards — and his cardiovascular conditioning was poor in the ring. He missed a few shows after several sweating spells led to him fighting pneumonia.
“While on the tour, he was always sweating. No matter how cold it was,” Meltzer wrote. “He was blowing up in a minute because of carrying so much weight at his age (44). It was largely all muscle, although he had lost his freakishly small waist that was the trademark of his physique.
“He looked to have what is known in bodybuilding circles as GH gut, a distended large stomach, but with ripped abs, which comes with bodybuilders because the overuse of GH has made the internal organs grow so the stomach expands.
“During the tour, he complained so much that nobody could stand him being around except some of the veterans who detached themselves from the situation and looked at it as comedy entertainment.”
Friends of Hulette said she and Luger were planning to get married in 2003. However, on April 19, 2003, a domestic disturbance emanated from the townhouse they shared in Marietta, Georgia. Cobb County police arrived on the scene and found that Hulette had suffered a bruise above her left eye and a contusion under it, a swollen right eye, a bump on her head, and a busted lip. According to the police report, Hulette said their dog caused the marks by playing too roughly. Her claim, however, didn’t stop officers from arresting Luger for misdemeanor battery. He was later released on a $2,500 bond.
Two days later, Luger got arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after his 2002 Porsche rear-ended another car near his home. According to the police report, he had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and couldn’t find his driver’s license. Police also found a handgun in the car (it is not known if Luger had a permit for the gun). Hulette, who was a passenger in the vehicle, got sent home by police in a taxi. Luger was driving with a suspended license for not appearing in court on March 5, 2003, for a hearing on offenses of driving with expired tags and having no proof of car insurance.
On May 1, 2003, Elizabeth Hulette died in the townhouse she shared with Lex Luger in Marietta, Georgia. According to Luger, Hulette drank two glasses of vodka, took medication for back pain, sat on the couch, and began choking on food. Luger tried frantically to remove the food from her mouth with some napkins and shook her to create an airway but was not successful. She turned purplish and Luger called 911. Hulette was unconscious when rescue people arrived on the scene. She got pronounced dead on arrival at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta.
During a search of Luger’s townhouse immediately following Hulette’s death, Cobb County authorities reported finding 1,700 pills, leading to 14 drug possession counts, 13 of which were felonies. The substances warranting felony charges included Xanax, OxyContin, anabolic steroids, testosterone, hydrocodone, and several others. The sale and distribution of Saizen, a synthetic Growth Hormone, accounted for the one misdemeanor charge. Luger got arrested after the search but released the following day on $25,000 bail. Luger pleaded guilty to the charges and was given a $1,000 fine, sentenced to five years probation, and required to submit to periodic drug testing.
According to the autopsy report from the Cobb County Medical Examiner, Hulette died from a lethal combination of alcohol and prescription drugs. The coroner determined that her death was an accident resulting from “acute toxicity-multiple drugs.” A toxicology screen found evidence of anxiety, muscle relaxation, nausea, and pain drugs in Hulette’s system. Her blood alcohol level measured at a whopping 0.299, more than three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in Georgia.