Thursday, February 6, 2014

Penny Banner Tribute



Banner Days

I remember when I was doing research on Women of Wrestling the golden era and during my research a lot of Women in wrestling came up but the one and only Penny Banner was always on top of the list in my research when trying to understand what Women in Wrestling was Like in the 1950's.
I was very lucky to have got a chance to talked to her for a couple years before Having the opportunity to Interview her, Believe it or not, It took me a couple years for her to agree to the interview which was a great opportunity to help her promote her book banner days
It was an honor for her to tell her tails of her spot in wrestling for 23 years and for the last maybe 5 years and three interviews later, it was so much fun being able to work with her on different projects
I remember Having a friend who I work with was diagnose with Cancer and I was pretty shook up and actually contacted Penny for any advice being that she also had the cancer. She was so sweet and gave me advice to stay strong and be there for her and her family and always pray and she also said she will also pray for me during this hard time in my life in 2005
Unfortunately my friend died within two weeks from finding out she had the cancer and It was a very tough time, and Penny was so sweet being a true friend to me during my healing process.
one of the last projects I worked with her was that She was to release a shoot DVD and I was helping her with questions for her to answer on the DVD and although I haven't seen the DVD, I contacted her about a quote for the Web site during one of the anniversary updates and she responded very politely and turned me down due to her being very Ill and apologized and I of course responded and understood the situation, within the next week or so around the Anniversary update, She passed away and I of course was very sad when I found out about her death..

It was very difficult for me to cope with her death as I enjoyed working with her, cherish the advice she gave me, and appreciate the good friendship I got out of it. She truly is a legend in this sport and I wouldn't have it any other way...



1953

--Penny Banner began working as a cocktail waitress in St. Louis, while also acting as a nanny to three children. During this time, Sam Muchnick, owner of the National Wrestling Alliance, came into the lounge where she worked, and her boss told him that Banner was capable of doing 200 sit-ups. Muchnick bet her she could not complete the task, and after she did, she began getting calls to be a female professional wrestler.



1954


--July 10, Penny Banner wrestled her first match at the age of 19 against Cathy Branch



1955


-Canadian & USA Women's tag team champion w/Betty JO Hawkins



1956


--Penny Banner began Dating The King of Rock N Roll Elvis Presley

--Canadian & USA Women's Tag Team titles w/Bonnie Watson



1957


--Penny Banner formed a tag team with Lorraine Johnson (The Mother of NWA Valet Baby Doll)

--Penny Banner & Lorraine Johnson won a tournament to win the NWA Women's Tag Team titles and held them until 1959



1958


--Penny Banner last Dated Elvis Presley a week before he went into the service and she never saw him again


--Canadian & USA Women's Tag Team titles w/Lorraine Johnson

--Female professional wrestlers Kay Noble, Lorraine Johnson, Penny Banner, and Laura Martinez were charged with inciting a riot when they began fighting outside of the ring, but pleaded not guilty in court.



--Penny Banner wore a 2 piece wrestling suit which was shocking and unheard of at that time, making her the first woman in wrestling history to do so..



1959


--April, Penny Banner married pro wrestler Johnny Weaver

--Penny Banner wrestled with NWA Champion June Byers, which ended in a draw, although Byers had consistently beat her in matches for three years prior.. Banner was the first person to end with byers in a draw

-- Banner and Johnny Weaver both had a daughter Wendi



1960


--September 9, - Atlanta, GA: The Mighty Yankee beat Johnny Weaver with Penny Banner as special guest referee..



--September 30, - Atlanta, GA: Johnny Weaver & Penny Banner beat Dick Steinborn & Fran Gravette in a mixed tag match..

--November 25, Penny Banner won the NWA Southern Women’s champion (Georgia version) from Gloria Barratini

--November 30, Penny Banner lost the Ladies title to Barbra Baker



1961


--March 8, Penny Banner defeated Neil Stewart for the NWA Texas Ladies title

--August 26, AWA ceased to recognize June Byers as women's champion after she no-showed a title defense. Banner won a battle royal to become the first AWA World Women's Champion due to Byers no show.



1962


--October 27, Penny Banner defeated Ms. Pancho Villa (Anne Laverne)



1963


--March 26, Penny Banner won the Texas Ladies Championship a  2nd time  from Nell Stewart



1964


--Penny Banner Vacated the AWA Women's Champion when she moved to North Carolina with Johnny Weaver and their daughter Wendi



1965


--March 2, Penny Banner beat Judy Grable



1966


--May 5, Penny Banner Wrestled Fabulous Moolah to a draw



1967


--October 27, Penny Banner beats Donna Christenello



1968


--September 9, Penny Banner beats Donna Christenello



1969


--November 27, Penny Banner & Vivian Vachon beat Tammy Jones & Toni Rose

--December, Penny Banner was ranked #1 best girl wrestling in Ring World Magazine



1970


--April 24, Penny Banner beats Toni Rose



1971


--August 2, Penny Banner beats Toni Rose



1972


--January 1st, Penny Banner beats Kay Knoble



1973

--March, Penny Banner graced the cover of the Wrestling Magazine: the girl issue

--March 3rd, Fabulous Moolah beat Penny Banner



1974



--January, Penny Banner graces the cover of Wrestling Revue

--December, Penny Banner graces the cover of Wrestling Revue



1975


--February, Wrestling Magazine features an article on the feud between Penny Banner & Bella Star



1976


--Penny Banner's former boyfriend Elvis Presley started to show signs of going down hill in his professional and personal life






1977


--June, Penny Banner Retired from Pro Wrestling

--August 16, The King of Rock N Roll Elvis Presley and also the former boyfriend of Penny Banner passes away of a drug over-dose at 42 years old


1978

--Penny Banner's husband Johnny Weaver returned to the mid-Atlanta territory for one more main event run after a 3 year absent



1979

--Penny Banner's Husband Johnny Weaver debuts in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE) as a commentator

 

1980


--April, Wrestling Revenue Magazine did a piece with Photos on Penny Banner


1981


--Johnny Weaver won the CWF Tag team titles with Dewey Roberston


1982


--November 23, Penny Banner makes a one time return for CWF in Florida teaming with terry Allen defeating Terri Shane & Texan



1983


--Johnny Weaver wrestled at NWA Starrcade



1984



--Fabulous Moolah who has real animosity towards Penny Banner 28 year streak  as WWF women champion ended when Wendi Richter beat her for the title

1985



--April 28, The Barbarian beats Johnny Weaver in MACW



1986



--Johnny Weaver signs with NWA



1987



--Penny Banner tag team partner and best friend for over 35 years Betty Jo Hawkins passed away



1988



--Johnny Weaver leaves the NWA



1989



--Johnny Weaver became the oldest person to take the law enforcement test and once passed, join the sheriffs department



1990



--Banner was diagnosed with emphysema and began swimming competitively for her to quit smoking. She competed in the Senior Olympics doing swimming plus the shot put and discus throws.



1991


--American Wrestling Association where penny worked for in the 60s, closed down


1992


--Penny Banner served as the Commissioner of the Professional Girl Wrestling Association



1993


--Penny Banner real estate business started to grow

 

1994


--Penny Banner divorces Johnny Weaver after 35 years of marriage


--May 22, Penny Banner made an appearance on WCW Slamboree PPV as a guest legend, however wasn't inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame



1995


--Penny Banner won a Silver Medal in the Senior Olympics in the 50 meter butterfly in San Antonio, Texas

--Penny Banner held the "weight Pentathalon Record" in the North Carolina Masters for "95-96-97..


1996



--Penny banner holds the record in north Carolina masters


1997


--Penny Banner was honored with the Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cauliflower Alley Club

--Penny Banner won a Silver Medal in the Senior Olympics in the discus throw in Tucsan, Arizona..



1998


--July 20, June Byers who feuded with Penny Banner in the 50's and 60's passed away of pneumonia at 76 years old

--December 30, at the age of 93, Sam Muchnick who first discovered Penny Banner died of internal bleeding



1999



--September, Penny Banner's rival in wrestling makes a return at 76 years old in the WWF (now WWE)


2000


--April. Insider wrestling magazine featured Penny Banner in whatever happen article



2001


--It's been reported that former WWF Ladies champion Leilani Kai won the Penny Banner Excellence award ... it was reported by Penny Banner herself that the award never existed

 

2002

--# 61 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated top 100 hottest women in wrestling in 2002



2003


--Penny Banner won the bronze medal in Newport News, Virginia for the 50yd Backstroke..
~~~Penny also placed 6th in the 50 Butterfly and an 8th in the 100 yd Backstroke!



2004


--Penny Banner's up coming film Lipsticks & Dynamites begins filming


2005


--June, Penny Banner entered the National Olympic Games in Pittsburgh, Pennylvania......
~~~She won a Bronze Medal in the 50yd BackStroke.. and two 4th places -100 and 200 back strokes


--Penny Banner's autobiography, Banner Days was published. The book took her three years to write.

--Penny Banner was featured in the documentary film Lipstick & Dynamite.

--Late 2005, Penny Banner was diagnosed with cancer

--November 25, Penny Banner was operated on by Oncologist-Dr. Robert Higgins at the Carolinas Medical Center.

--December 21, The pathologist believes Penny's fallopian tubes are in the advanced stages, but is curable.

--Penny Banner was Inducted in the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame



2006


--January, Penny Banner begins her six treatments of chemotherapy, which are three weeks apart.

--February, the cancer had shrunk considerably after a doctor's check-up

--April 27, former AWA Women's Champion Kay Noble who feuded with Penny Banner passed away from Carcinoma cancer of the Stomach at the age of 67

--November 16, Insane Wrestling Interviews Penny Banner discussing her career, Fabulous Moolah, her book and her battle with cancer..



2007


--St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductee


--August 11, Penny Banner was inducted into the Hall of Hereos Hall of Fame by NWA valet & daughter of Tag Team Legend Lorrine Johnson.... Baby Doll

--November 2, Fabulous Moolah who has a real life feud against Penny Banner dies at the age of 84 due to complications of a shoulder injury

--In late 2007, Banner suffered several health crises, including pneumonia, resulting in severe weight loss.



2008


--February 15, Johnny Weaver the ex-husband of 35 years to Penny Banner passes away of natural causes at 72 years old

--May 9, Judy Grable who feuded with Penny Banner in the 1960s passed away

--May 12, Penny Banner died in her sleep at the home of her daughter, Wendi, in Charlotte, North Carolina

--Penny Banner was honored with the Frank Gotch award at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz International Wrestling Institute

--November 15, PGWA a fed that Penny worked as acting commissioner from 1992 until her death dedicated a tribute in her honor titled "A Banner Night" Her daughter Wendi Weaver was a special guest selling Her Autobiography book and Shoot DVD, Debbie Johnson & Candi Devine also were special guests in the audience and former TNA Knock-out's Jamie D and Nikki Roxx competed in the event



2009


--August 12, Gladys “Killem” Gillem known for her wrestling days in the 1940's and one of the subjects on the Documentary Lipstick & Dynamite with Penny Banner passes away due to Alzheimer’s at the age of 88



2010


--January 18, 1950's wrestler Ida Mae Martinez passes away due to health complications at 78 years old.. Ida and penny was in the movie lipstick and dynamite together



2011



--August 25, Donna Christenello who wrestled Penny Banner in the 60s passes away



2012



--Mae young who Penny wrestled in her early career made several cameos in the WWE



2013



--Mae Young passes away at age 90

2014



--January 14, Mae Young passes away







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