The Career of Wrestler June Byers

June Byers, born DeAlva Eyvonnie Sibley on May 25, 1922, in Houston, Texas, was a trailblazer in the world of women’s professional wrestling. Her career spanned two decades, from her debut in 1944 to her retirement in 1964, and she is remembered as one of the sport’s most influential figures.

Growing up as a tomboy in Texas, Byers was introduced to wrestling through her uncle, who worked for a local wrestling promoter. Her natural athleticism and interest in the sport caught the attention of promoter Billy Wolfe, who offered to train her. Facing financial difficulties and having already experienced a divorce, Byers accepted Wolfe’s offer, setting her on the path to wrestling stardom.

Byers adopted her ring name from her family nickname “June” and her ex-husband’s surname. She began her career in Wolfe’s promotion, initially losing to more established stars but gradually climbing the ranks. Her first major victory came in 1952 when she and Millie Stafford captured the Tag Title. That same year, the Women’s World Championship was vacated due to a dispute, and Byers seized the opportunity by winning a 13-woman tournament to claim the title.

As the Women’s World Champion, Byers became a fan favorite, known for her technical wrestling style and signature move, the Byers Bridge. Her popularity extended beyond the ring, with appearances on game shows like “What’s My Line?” and “I’ve Got A Secret.” Despite her success, Byers’ career was not without controversy. The Baltimore Athletic Commission stripped her of the NWA Championship when she announced her retirement plans while still champion. This led to a battle royal to determine a new champion, which The Fabulous Moolah won. Byers later came out of retirement to challenge Moolah but was unsuccessful.

Byers’ impact on women’s wrestling is undeniable. She was a three-time women’s world champion and held the Women’s World Championship for ten years. Her legacy was further cemented with her posthumous induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017 as part of the Legacy wing.

Off the mat, Byers’ personal life was as eventful as her career. She was married to fellow wrestler Sam Meneker and was known for her robust personality. Her career and life story have inspired many, and she is often cited as a pioneer for women in the wrestling industry.

June Byers’ career was a testament to her resilience and skill, and she remains a celebrated figure in the history of professional wrestling. Her contributions paved the way for future generations of female wrestlers, and her name is etched in the annals of wrestling history as a true champion.

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