Wendi Richter Never Looked Back, Still Loves The (Rock ‘N’) Wrestling Business
Image Credit: WWE
Wendi Richter still loves professional wrestling, and she still loves the song that helped catapult her career into superstardom.
Richter recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of her live virtual signing with ’80s Wrestling Con. Wendi Richter’s WWF career was short-lived, but she ultimately enjoyed a 25-year wrestling career that was capped off with multiple women’s championship win and WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2010. She now spends her time as show dog breeder and has a career in occupational therapy, and Richter says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“After the WWF, I had to get saved, and that changed my life. I started going to college then and I got an associate of science in physical therapy, and I went on to get my bachelor’s in occupational therapy, and then my master’s in occupational therapy. And I really enjoy it. People say once wrestling is in your blood, it never goes out. Well, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Everyone’s different. I still love wrestling,” Richter said, “but I absolutely love what I’m doing right now.”
Richter’s WWE run ended prematurely and on bad terms due to a pay discrepancy, insisting that she should be paid more than she was in her role. When it came time for the WWE Hall Of Fame induction, Richter says that was the first time the company had asked her to come back in any form, and she explained why she never sent out any feelers either.
“No, and I didn’t look back either. I didn’t reach out to them, either. I probably would have shown some interest if they would have, but I couldn’t have gone to college because I was still wrestling. I wrestled for 25 years and I made more money as an independent wrestler. That was my problem with the WWF,” Richter said, “they weren’t paying me what I should have been making. What a man, a comparable lineup on the card would have made. The entry match was making more than what I was making, so being an independent contractor, I was able to basically work on the weekends, wrestle on the weekends and go to school through the week.”
Richter’s role in the “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling” connection with Cyndi Lauper launched her career into superstardom, including high-profile matches at WrestleMania and on MTV, as well as a role in Lauper’s “She Bop” video. When asked if there was a “pinch me” moment to really grasp what was happening, Richter says she caught on when Lauper herself reached out to her about the collaboration.
“When Cyndi Lauper wanted to contact me, that’s when I realized it—she was my favorite singer and I couldn’t believe it. So that’s when I knew that it was really big, and she helped my career so much. She’s such a good person, too. I can’t say enough of her. She’s so kind. When I would meet with her in New York,” Richter said, “she would give money to the homeless, and quite a bit of money, too. What a kind person. I think the world of her. She helped wrestling in general, not just me. She helped all of wrestling.”
Richter said she doesn’t follow the current product anymore (according to her, she tapped out when Mae Young gave “birth” on WWE TV), but said there’s no denying the impact that crossover angles can have on the business. Bad Bunny’s current involvement in wrestling proves there’s still a draw to pairing wrestling and music, but Richter says she’s always been a competitive person and it still all comes down to the anthem that “brought her to the dance” in the first place.
“For me, Cyndi Lauper’s hit that year was, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.’ And that’s what I did…I enjoyed it. I like competition. In high school, I was in volleyball and the track team. And before that, I used to show quarter horses horses at horse shoes, rodeos, so I started riding horses when I was two. So I’ve always been competitive,” Richter said, “and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, to me, that’s the perfect entry to the ring. Because I was having fun.”
“I don’t know about Bad Bunny but all I can say is that just nailed it for me, the ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun.’ It was perfect. I still like it. When you go to the gym, you wanna hear some good music that gets you in the mood. Same thing when you enter the ring. When I heard that,” Richter noted, “I was ready. That’s my fighting song.”
Check out the full interview below: