RondaRousey.com’s Classic Match series takes a closer look at significant and super cool matches from wrestling history. For WrestleMania Week, the RondaRousey.com staff is covering an entire week of some of our favorite WrestleMania matches.
For most of the history of WrestleMania, there haven’t been significant opportunities for female wrestlers to show their skills on WWE’s biggest show of the year. They were often in segments that were either more like sketches than matches or that served as five-minute “pee breaks” between men’s matches (which, of course, had heavier storylines). But in 2004 at WrestleMania XX, Victoria and Molly Holly created their own opportunity for a Women’s Championship match and delivered a memorable WrestleMania Mania moment.
Molly Holly was one of the most experienced female wrestlers on the WWE roster when she first joined the company, and that was also true at the time of this match. She started her career on the independent circuit, wrestled for WCW starting in 1999, and when she joined WWF, she teamed up with Bob and Crash Holly, before moving on to The Hurricane.
As Holly became more of a force in the women’s division, her likable girl-next-door persona morphed into that of a villainous prude. She prided herself as someone who didn’t use her sexuality to get ahead and berated other women for their “loose morals,” but she didn’t seem to have a problem with cheating in wrestling matches. In contrast, the version of Victoria who won the Women’s Championship from Holly in a four-way elimination match in February 2004 was in rare fan favorite form. (See: Victoria doing a sexy dance before hitting a standing moonsault.)
When the two characters collided, the desperate Holly had to put her hair on the line in order to get the chance to win the women’s title back from Victoria. However, in real life, Holly put her hair on the line to get a championship match on the WrestleMania card. She recalled on Table for Three in 2016:
“So I was women’s champ and they said ‘Oh, we’re just going to have a pillow fight match with the other girls. We’re not going to have a women’s title match…’ So I just really wanted to be on WrestleMania. I mean, who doesn’t? If you’re a champ and you’ve been working really hard you want to be part of the biggest show of the year. I just said that I was willing to put my hair on the line if they would let me defend my title on the show and they said, ‘Okay.’”
At WrestleMania XX, the Women’s Championship match didn’t get a video package but was instead prefaced with shots of an elaborate barber’s chair set-up on the stage.
After an aggressive lock-up, it soon appeared like Holly was in little danger of being shaved. Victoria made one showy escape of her opponent’s offense with a kip up to a cartwheel, but Holly quickly dominated again with a clothesline outside the ring, a suplex, and a series of elbow drops.
It looked like things might be over for the champ as Holly stretched her neck with a submission, but she managed to fight her way to her fight and get a two-count after a bridging pin. As Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross discussed “panties of choice” on commentary in relation to Holly being pantsed on WWE TV during a previous feud, Victoria continued her offensive comeback with clotheslines and a powerslam.
When Victoria climbed to the top rope, Holly regained the advantage after hitting a delayed powerbomb. Victoria kicked out of the move, but Holly was now so confident that she attempted her opponent’s finisher, the Widow’s Peak. But Victoria, the move’s innovator, obviously had this scouted and quickly countered it into a backslide to win the match and retain her title. It was a sudden finish to a match that didn’t get as much time or hype as others on the card, but the wrestlers made the most of the opportunity they had.
The end of the match wasn’t the end of the spectacle of this encounter, as Molly Holly visibly realized what was next after the shock of her out-of-nowhere loss wore off. She tried to run backstage to escape losing her hair, but Victoria gave chase. Holly managed to get her in the barber’s chair first, but Victoria freed herself with the help of a can of hairspray. Holly was soon strapped to the barber’s chair and Victoria gleefully began to shave her head as she screamed and struggled. It took the entirety of the video package for Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle for Holly to be shaved completely bald.
For many, the shock of seeing a public shaving might be the most memorable thing about this match. But it was also technically sound, told a clear story, and was an important part of the history of women’s wrestling at WrestleMania and in WWE, especially considering how hard the performers fought both in and out of the ring to make it happen.
You can go back and revisit this match (and the entirety of WrestleMania XX) on the WWE Network.
And don’t forget: You’ve got until April 10th to cop this new LIMITED EDITION Ronda Rousey shirt.