Cyndi Lauper was a club singer from New York who had recently made it big with a hit record in the charts. It’s not clear who came up with the idea (perhaps Lauper’s manager Dave Wolf), but one evening out of the blue she turned-up on a WWF television show where an altercation broke out between her and long-time wrestler/personality, Lou Albano.
After several weeks of of this routine and a lot of hype on MTV, they decided to settle their differences in the ring. Of course Lauper had no intentions of wrestling Albano so she needed a stand-in. This angle gave birth to the so-called “Rock & Wrestling” connection. Richter would represent Cyndi Lauper against Albano’s stand-in, “The Fabulous Moolah”, for the world title in Madison Square Garden.
The WWF had promoted women wrestlers on numerous occasions but never as headliners. Nevertheless, for the first time in memory a girl wrestler was being billed as a main attraction by a major promotion. This stroke put women’s pro wrestling back on the map, and culminated in Richter being crowned WWF world champion after defeating Moolah. Richter’s popularity and marketability mushroomed and the WWF took advantage by promoting her heavily. However, as in the past, things would change.
The introduction of cable television would change the landscape of pro wrestling and create the super promotions that basically control wrestling to this day. As far as women’s pro wrestling is concerned, it’s been an on-again, off-again affair. Richter, a major star, went on to defend her lady’s title for another two years but the WWF, as it had in the past, began to phase the girls out of the picture. In a dispute with WWF about the direction of its women’s division, Richter decided to leave and jobbed the title to Moolah, masquerading as a wrestler called the Spider. Ironically, this ridiculous story-line also signaled the end of Moolah’s storied career as a wrestler. Richter left the WWF and moved on to various promotions, eventually winding up with the AWA, Verne Gagne’s ailing promotion out of Minnesota.
Cyndi Lauper Interview
An Interview with Cyndi Lauper By Michael Lano and Evan Ginzburg
At the top of the today’s charts is Cyndi Lauper, who helped give Hogan and McMahon credibility and attention by participating in the Rock and Wrestling Connection. She originally sang for the [Other] group Blue Angel. Although she was one of the top celebs at the We Are The World taping.after going multiplatinum with her debut album, She’s So Unusual , U.S. sales skidded for one of the best singers in the business. She’s recently made an amazing comeback. Mike Lano and Evan Ginzburg interviewed her after she cut the opening day ribbon at Virgin Records’ S.F. store on 8/17/95.
You seemed to be having fun singing. You sang 4 more songs than anyone else.
CL: You mean I could’ve gotten away with just one? (laughs). I’m having fun here. It’s a hot day, [Japan] very sunny. Very beautiful here.
ML: Your new cd, 12 Deadly Cyns has one of the more creative titles next to Bette Midler’s Bette of Roses. You’ve redone several of the songs like Time After Time and Girls Just Want To Have Fun in a different musical style.
CL: A friend came up with the title, after my name. We had a great time, changing the presentation and there’s some new songs I’m proud of on the album. It was only recently released in this country, but it’s sold well like my other albums abroad.
ML: Did you know it’s already sold 3 million copies and has eclipsed Michael Jackson’s History on the billboard charts?
CL: Thank you. That’s great! I don’t usually read that stuff because I’m too busy writing songs. I don’t read the papers much either-too much negative out there. I’m just really unaware on some levels and on others I’m like a sponge.
ML: Wasn’t Hatful of Stars your most moving, personal work that few people heard? And what are your latest projects?
CL: Yes, thank you. I was frustrated, but I’ve just added songs to the new To Wong Fu, Julie Newmar movie. I wrote a song for Cassavetes son’s movie starring his wife Gena Rowlands and for a new movie I Love You, I Love You Not. . I’ve been writing a lot and I’ve been nominated for an Emmy twice for Mad About You. They let me go and play with them, but I can’t stop doing the music. That’s who I am. Sometimes I feel a little odd being a celebrity by day and doing my music at night.
ML: Evan has some questions… EG: I’m from WBAI-FM in New York.
CL: Oh, that’s a great station!
EG: Thank you. Can you tell us about some of your musical influences? You mentioned Ella, Billie, Sarah Vaughn.
CL: Lester Young. Charlie Parker. That was my foundation.
EG: You sing with a lot of soul also. Are there any R&B singers that influenced you?
CL: When I was young, I couldn’t tell the difference. I listened to just great voices. I was lucky enough to learn and listen to Patty Labelle, Aretha Franklin. Even the Supremes, and the Beatles.
EG: And was your family very into music also?
CL: Yeah. My mom listened to a lot of Pucini and Satchmo. Being Italian-American, a lot of the Pucini operas and the way my family acted was the same(laughs)! I went to see a great tragedy and I thought-that’s not so strange. I’ve seen that before! I’m only kidding. It’s a little joke.
ML: You’re not involving your family or your mother any more in your videos?
CL: Oh yeah. My mom is still involved. She’s kind of shy. I discovered I was like a stage daughter. I kept prodding her to do this and that and now one day she was really shy. And she say’s to me “I’m really shy. I don’t want to do this.” And she told me it was because she was only working (in my videos) so we could spend time together. I said, “Look, ma. I’ll just make time in the schedule; you don’t have to do this.” She does other things behind the scenes with me.
ML: Was Time After Time the last video she was in?
CL: Oh no. She was in a video called Take Hold Of My Heart, that was the last video she did. But SheBop, had my Aunts Gracie and Helen, and my two Aunt Maes were in it.
EG: How did you like working with Lou Albano?
CL: He’s a very funny, funny guy still. He was very much into the M.S. charities and I still do as much as I can, but not as much as him.Women’s rights, AIDS projects and all. A very good guy.
ML: Do you feel your association with pro wrestling negatively affected your career at the time, or did you take some positives from it?
CL: No, it was positive. Me with Hulk at the Grammies just got more attention from different areas than from people watching MTV. My ex, Dave Wolf, was always into the wrestling. He loved it. I remember watching Bruno and my Ma loved wrestling. Dave just thought we could reach out to a bigger and different audience by getting involved with the wrestling. He did everything, and set it all up. He still loves it, but I don’t follow it as much. It’s not like it used to be. Poor management and my pr guys not doing their job was what hurt me, I think. Not the wrestling. I enjoyed my time with it. If it was up to Dave, I’d still be involved with the wrestling. He and I are still friends, and talk. Who said it was a negative? P.R. is P.R. and I will always look at it as a positive. Dave just wanted more p.r., but we were doing pretty good airtime on MTV then. I learned a lot about hype and production from the wrestling, I have to say.
ML: Have you seen some of these Japanese lady wrestlers with the makeup? You started all this. How about the wrestlers on a personal level?
CL: They were really nice to me. They’re all characters-forget about it. You think the people in music are “different”…I tried to make my music like wrestling-an event. And that’s how I want to get back to it now-my music. Music is my great joy. It’s a very freeing experience for me, despite the movies, and tv and everything else. The music is the most important to me. I just heard Burning Spear and that band really inspired me.
ML: You looked like you had a lot of fun with the creative Lost Boys video that had Lou, Moolah, Blassie, Sheik and Volkoff, Wendy Richter…