PGWA PRESENTS ‘A BANNER NIGHT’
An Evening of Women’s Wrestling in Tribute to a Legend
Penny Banner was more than just another lady wrestler. During her 23 year career (1957-1977), which coincided with the so-called ‘Golden Age of Women’s Wrestling’, she set standards and achieved successes that made her a major figure in her day and an icon for the generations that followed.
Some fans know her as the first woman to hold the American Wrestling Association’s Ladies Championship, others for her years of packing arenas across the United States and Canada; some even recall her having dated Elvis Presley in the 1950s (Elvis was a big wrestling fan, and whenever Penny would work in Memphis, he and his friends were always at ringside to cheer her on!). Outside of the ring, Penny was also an accomplished competitive horsewoman and businesswoman, and in her latter years she was a multi-medalist in the Senior Olympics.
Penny Banner was also the Commissioner of the PGWA, a position which she held since the organization’s founding in 1992. Although no longer a wrestler herself, Penny took seriously her duty as a role model for newcomers to the sport. She was also disturbed by the growing trend in women’s wrestling at the time to focus on what became known as “T&A” rather than actual athletic ability. In her estimation, the ‘Evening Gown Catfights’ and such gimmicks were killing the sport she loved. In her position as commissioner, she dedicated herself to the PGWA’s mission of preserving and promoting the ‘Old School’ style of pro wrestling. The means of doing so were to host all-ladies shows, to book individual women’s matches on various independent promotions’ cards, and to publicize the ladies in both print and, with the development of the internet, online.
And the PGWA’s success speaks for itself. At the time of its founding, women’s pro wrestling was seemingly on the verge of extinction in the U.S., with few organizations even bothering to book female wrestlers on their shows any longer. But in 2008, women wrestlers are more popular than ever, and a number of other all-female promotions have joined the PGWA in presenting women’s shows. And the PGWA’s official website, LadySports Online, has been visited nearly three million times since its relaunch in 2003.
Through it all, Penny Banner served as not only a symbol of the PGWA’s growth, but also a cornerstone of its success.
Sadly, after a valiant battle for several years, Penny succumbed to cancer early in 2008.
Now, in honor of both the woman and the legend, the PGWA is presenting “A Banner Night”, bringing together some of the most talented women in the sport of professional wrestling today, with each match on the card dedicated to Penny’s memory.
Headlining the card will be a PGWA Title Match, featuring the champion, Nikki Roxx (aka TNA Knockout ‘Roxxi Laveaux’), against former WWE Diva, Tracy Taylor of Hawaii. Also slated to appear will be Mia Martinez, Scarlett Rose, XTC, Sassy Stephanie, Angel Dust, Sarah Lynn, Josianne Pussycat and Jamie D (both from Canada), and Tennessee’s own Tasha Simone, Susan Morton and Su Yung.
Additionally, joining us will be Wendi Weaver, the daughter of both Penny Banner and another pro wrestling legend, Johnny Weaver. Wendi will present a Penny Banner Spirit of Excellence Award to one of the participants at the show.
The ultimate result will prove to be, we hope, a fitting way to honor our friend and idol.
This very special show will be held on Saturday, November 15 at the SAW Arena,
1214 B Louisville Hwy in Millersville, Tennessee (just north of Nashville). Bell time is 7:30 PM, and tickets are $10 at the door.
For further information about ‘A Banner Night’, visit www.LadySports.com or contact our office at Spevent123@aol.com.
Credit: Shannon Rose @ www.wrestleview.com