Joyce Grable
Grable in 2012
Birth nameBetty Wade
Born(1952-11-09)November 9, 1952[1]
LaGrange, Georgia, U.S.[2]
DiedSeptember 29, 2023(2023-09-29) (aged 70)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Joyce Grable
Trained byThe Fabulous Moolah[3]
Debut1971[2]
Retired1991[2]

Betty Wade-Murphy (November 9, 1952 – September 29, 2023), better known by her ring name Joyce Grable, was an American professional wrestler. She was the long-term tag team partner of Wendi Richter. She held the NWA United States Women's Championship once and the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship six times—three with Richter and three with her other tag team partner Vicki Williams.

Professional wrestling career

Training

Joyce Fowler (who also competed as Joyce Becker) was the first female wrestler to use the ring name "Joyce Grable". Fowler was active from 1963–1974 and then retired from professional wrestling to focus on her family.[4] In the early 1970s, Betty Wade-Murphy was trained by professional wrestler Judy Grable (who was her childhood idol) to become a female wrestler.[5] Upon her professional debut, she was given the ring name "Joyce Grable" both as a tribute to her idol and trainer, Judy Grable,[3] and because Fabulous Moolah felt she bore a strong physical resemblance to the original Joyce Grable (portrayed by Fowler).[6]

National Wrestling Alliance

The team of Grable and Vicki Williams won the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship from Donna Christanello and Toni Rose on October 15, 1973 in New York City.[7] It was not until October 1975 that Rose and Christanello regained the title from Grable and Williams.[7]

In 1978 at Superbowl of Wrestling II, she defeated seven other wrestlers in an eight-woman battle royal. Later that year, she defeated Ann Casey to win the NWA United States Women's Championship.[8] In 1979, she helped train Judy Martin.[9] In August 1979, the team of Grable and Williams defeated The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Martin) to begin their second reign as NWA Women's Tag Champions.[7] During the time period from 1973–1983, Grable frequently competed in the World Wrestling Federation, often in singles matches against WWF Women's Champion Fabulous Moolah and in tag team matches with Williams.

In 1982, Wendi Richter became her tag team partner after Grable trained her for six months in Atlanta, Georgia.[2][10] She wrestled in a series of matches in Stampede Wrestling with partner Richter against Velvet McIntyre and Judy Martin. Joyce Grable also appeared in Puerto Rico for the World Wrestling Council.[11] The teams continued their rivalry into April 1983 in Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association.[11] In May 1983, she returned to Stampede Wrestling, where she once again teamed with Richter against McIntyre and Penny Mitchell.[11]

In 1986, Grable participated in a 10-woman battle royal at the American Wrestling Association's WrestleRock 86 event, losing to Sherri Martel. She continued to appear sporadically on the independent circuit and competed in the Delta Tiger Lilies promotion in 1988.

Retirement

Grable retired in 1991 and had back surgery.[2] On January 29, 2005, Grable appeared at WrestleReunion managing Sherri Martel, Peggy Lee Leather, Krissy Vaine, and Amber O'Neal in an eight-woman tag team match against Wendi Richter, Bambi, Malia Hosaka, and Jenny Taylor.[5] Grable continued to make appearances at wrestling reunions and conventions, as well as occasional independent shows. Grable appeared at a Magnificent Ladies Wrestling event on April 30, 2011, where she managed Melanie Cruise in a match against "Pryme Tyme" Amy Lee, and also managed Million Dollar Baby in a street fight against Robbie Rage. On May 20, 2011, she (along with several other retired professional wrestlers) was a guest at a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling live event in Amsterdam, New York.[12]

Personal life

Grable was originally from Columbus, Georgia.[3] Grable had one biological son, Derek Murphy and a step daughter, Melissa Wade and stepson, Richard Wade from her second husband, Richard Wade's first marriage.[2] She worked as a trainer at the women's wrestling training facility run by Fabulous Moolah and was responsible for training several notable female wrestlers, including Wendi Richter and Sherri Martel. After retiring from wrestling, Grable worked as a receptionist at a center for mentally and physically disabled people.[2]

In 2013, Grable revealed she had cancer, prompting a benefit show to be held in Florida.[13]

Joyce Grable died on September 29, 2023, at the age of 70. A few days earlier, her son had posted online that she was in hospice care.[14]

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ "Joyce Grable's Showa Puroresu profile".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Van Der Griend, Blaine (April 14, 2010). "Joyce Grable to be honoured by CAC". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  3. ^ a b c Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8.
  4. ^ "Joyce Becker's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  5. ^ a b "Joyce Grable's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  6. ^ "Wrestling's "SECOND" Joyce Grable". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  7. ^ a b c d Duncan, Royal and Gary Will (2006). "NWA Women's World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  8. ^ a b Duncan, Royal and Gary Will (2006). "NWA Women's US Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 197. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  9. ^ Johnson, Steven (August 8, 2007). "Return of a "Glamour Girl"". SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
  10. ^ Peeples, Lisa (July 5, 1989). "Crystal River woman has fought her way to the top of her sport". St. Petersburg Times. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
  11. ^ a b c Nevada, Vance (June 30, 2005). "Results for Velvet McIntyre". SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  12. ^ "Pro Wrestling Hall Of Famers Appear At TNA Live Event In Amsterdam, NY". Impact Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  13. ^ "Battling Bombshells women's wrestling event in South Florida benefits legendary Joyce Grable". The Miami Herald. July 19, 2013. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  14. ^ Tessier, Colin (September 30, 2023). "Joyce Grable Passes Away at Age 70". Fightful. Archived from the original on October 2, 2023. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  15. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2012-11-17). "Sat. update: Great TV show, WWE multiple releases, Austin talks WWE Hall of Fame, Best night for Bellator, PPV predictions, NWA Hall of Fame, James Storm headlines benefit show, Devitt takes another title". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  16. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2012-12-10). "Mon. update: Major Spike announcement tomorrow, Aces & 8s identity, TNA injury updates, Hall of Fame inductions announced, WWE two PPVs this weekend, Jericho schedule, Amateur wrestling hits MSG first time ever". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  17. ^ PWI Staff (1996). 1996 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts. Kappa Publishing.
  18. ^ Pedicino, Joe; Solie, Gordon (hosts) (November 29, 1986). "Pro Wrestling This Week". Superstars of Wrestling. Atlanta, Georgia. Syndicated. WATL.
  19. ^ Wilkinson, Nick (January 17, 2024). "Jacqueline, Rockin' Robin, Lisa Marie Varon, and More Inductees WWHOF 2024". Diva Dirt. Archived from the original on January 17, 2024. Retrieved January 19, 2024.