Ida Mae Martinez

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Ida Mae Martinez
Ida Mae Martinez.jpg
Birth name Ida Mae Martinez
Born September 9, 1931[1]
New London, Connecticut[1]
Died January 19, 2010(2010-01-19) (aged 78)[1]
Residence Baltimore, Maryland[2][3]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Ida Mae Martinez
Ida May Martinez
Billed height 5 ft 2 in (157 cm)[1]
Billed weight 125 lb (57 kg)[2]
Debut 1951[1]
Retired 1960[1]

Ida Mae Martinez Selenkow (September 9, 1931 – January 19, 2010) was an American professional wrestler in the 1950s, known as Ida Mae Martinez. After her retirement in 1960, she appeared in the 2004 documentary Lipstick & Dynamite about the early years of Women's professional wrestling in North America. In addition to wrestling, Martinez was a yodeler, releasing the CD The Yodeling Lady Ms. Ida also in 2004. Martinez also obtained a Master's Degree in Nursing and was one of the first nurses in Baltimore to work with AIDS patients.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

After watching a female professional wrestling match between Johnny Mae Young and Gloria Barattini, Martinez sought out promoter Billy Wolfe.[1] Wolfe invited her to train in Columbus, Ohio.[1] She debuted professionally in August 1951 in Ohio.[1] She won the Championship of Mexico in 1952.[1][3] She held the title until 1953.[2]

She retired in 1960 after remarrying.[1] In the 1980s, she became a board member for the Cauliflower Alley Club.[1] Martinez also was featured in the 2004 documentary about women's wrestling, Lipstick & Dynamite.[1] In 2006, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame awarded her the Senator Hugh Farley Award for her contribution in and outside of the ring.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Martinez was born in New London, Connecticut and raised in North Stonington, where she lived with relatives after her mother abandoned her. She never knew her father.[4]

Her guardians were reportedly abusive [3] and she left home sometime between the ages of 13 and 15 to live with her cousin.[1][3] She attended Norwich Free Academy,[1] but eventually dropped out of high school.[3] In addition to school, she worked as a yodeler and singer at country and minstrel shows.[1] She married at age 17 and claimed that her husband was abusive.[1] Her wrestling career began in 1948, when a customer, who was a wrestler, asked her if she wanted to wrestle. She said yes.

She retired from the ring in 1960 to marry a Baltimore businessman, Herbert Selenkow. They later had two daughters, but later divorced.[1] She received her GED in 1971, an Associate's Degree in nursing in 1975, and a Bachelor's Degree in nursing in 1980.[1][3] Ten years later she received her Master's Degree from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.[1] She was inducted into the Nursing Honor Society Sigma Theta Tau.[2] She was one of the first nurses in Baltimore to care for AIDS patients.[1] She also published writings about her work with AIDS patients.[2]

She later converted to Judaism.[1] In 2004, she released a yodeling CD, The Yodeling Lady Ms. Ida.[1] She appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell Show as a yodeler in April 1999.[1][2][3] She was also a member of the Western Music Association.[2]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Oliver, Greg (January 19, 2010). "Ida Mae Martinez was wrestler, yodeler, nurse". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ida Mae Martinez". GLORY Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bryla, Bob. "Ida Mae Martinez". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  4. ^ Baltimore Sun obituary