M: Mitzi Mueller
Probably the most famous of all of Britain’s female wrestlers with a longevity that gains her a well deserved place in any chronicle of Britain’s wrestling history. It was in 1965 that we saw the name “Mitzi Mueller, the Kinky Blonde” on the poster at Chorley Town Hall and more than twenty years later she retired from the ring following her match in the first female tag matcht to be held at the Royal Albert Hall. Now the Chorley Town Hall may well be a lovely little venue, but that is quite a journey by anybody’s standards.
For almost a quarter of a century Mitzi travelled the world, working as hard as many of her male counterparts and overcoming much prejudice to gain their respect. Eddie Rose was one who always had respect for Mitzi, “Mitzi went on to be the best known of the girls and was immensely popular with audiences. She had a good figure, moved gracefully and had excellent timing and mastery of holds and moves.”
Time for a confession. We didn’t actually see Mitzi and her opponent, Naughty Nancy Barton, wrestle that night because the local council stepped in to ban the match. Such occurrences were common in those days and just one of the hurdles the females had to overcome
Mancunian Mitzi had made her wrestling debut in 1963, two years before the planned Chorley show. Mitzi was only fourteen at the time and her first opponent the aforementioned Nancy Barton. She was trained by her father, Pat Connolly, who doubtless never imagined when the training began whilst Mitzi was at primary school that she would become Britain’s best know female wrestler, and long term holder of the British and European championship. Female wrestling at the time, which had been a niche feature of British wrestling since the beginning of the Twentieth century, was by the late 1950s and early 1960s confined to private clubs.
Although female wrestling did not benefit from a place on ITVs World of Sport wrestling Mitzi was the best known of female wrestlers outside of wrestling circles and found a place in Britain’s popular culture, being the inspiration of Trafford Tanzi, a play by Clare Luckham. Mitzi trained actress Toyah Wilcox for the part of Tanzi, which told the story of a champion female wrestler who challenged her husband to a wrestling match. In real life Mitzi’s husband was not a wrestler, but was promoter Brian Dixon. The pair became “an item” one night in 1970 when Brian was refereeing a match between Mitzy and Hellcat Haggerty at Neston Leisure Centre.
Dismiss any thoughts that it was Brian’s position as a promoter that brought Mitzi success. It would do no harm but Mitzi was established as a successful female wrestler before the two married, or even met.
Mitzi also has an impressive filmography, having played credited parts in numerous television dramas and films that have included Play for Today (1981), The Chinese Detective (1982), God Rot Tunbridge Wells (1985), Emmerdale (1985), Minder (1985), The Children of Dynmouth (1987), and A View of Harry Clark (1989).
Mitzi’s wrestling career took her around Europe, a very popular performer wherever she travelled. Mitzi’s final appearance in the ring, twenty-four years after starting out, was at the Royal Albert Hall on April 24th, 1987, aided by husband Brian who was the promoter of the tournament. In the tag match Mitzi partnered Rusty Lee against Klondyke Kate and Nicky Munroe. There could have been no more fitting conclusion to a career worthy of celebration.