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"Jacqueline, former Miss Texas, ready to take on the competition at Cove "

by By TOM CONWAY - South Bend Tribune Correspondent - June 24, 2005

    Racing fans and the media justifiably praised Danica Patrick when she made history last month by finishing in fourth place in her debut at the Indianapolis 500. But she is hardly the first woman to excel in a male-dominated sport.

    Consider Jacqueline, the former World Wrestling Entertainment diva who will be pitted against Vanessa Harding in the ladies match at Clash at the Cove on Saturday at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend, as part of an Independent Association of Wrestling event.

    Jacqueline is a woman of many firsts in the professional wrestling circuit. She was the first woman to be ranked in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers poll. She was the first African-American women's champion in the WWF (now known as WWE). As Miss Texas, she was the first women's champion in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA). And she was the first woman to win the WWE cruiserweight title.

    In a recent phone interview from her home in Dallas, Jacqueline said she is proud of her accomplishments.

    "I am very honored," she said. "I hope that I am a positive role model for up-and-coming young African-American females. Not just African-American females but any female."

    Jacqueline (whose last name is Moore but who wrestles under her first name) knew since she was a child in her hometown of Dallas what she wanted to do with her life.

    "I used to watch wrestling growing up," she said. "I knew from the start that was what I wanted to be: a wrestler."

    She enrolled in a wrestling school that she discovered in Dallas.

    "I was the only female in the class with a bunch of guys," Jacqueline said. "They didn't take it easy on me. They tossed me around like I was one of the guys. That is what wrestling is all about. There is no easy shortcut."

    Wrestling men early in her career helped prepare her for the cruiserweight title match she won in 2004, which she considers to be the highlight of her career so far. At about

    5-foot-3 and 119 pounds, Jacqueline defeated the 5-6, 210-pound Chavo Guerrero Jr., although Guerrero took back the title 10 days later.

    "Winning the cruiserweight title, even participating in the cruiserweight, was exciting," Jacqueline said. "It wasn't like this was my first time wrestling guys. All through my career, I have wrestled a lot of guys. I have wrestled more males than females."

    Jacqueline said that while most of her fans can separate the fantasy of the persona that she has created in the ring from the reality of who she is outside the ring, she still runs into fans who confuse that distinction.

    "People tend to think that the way that I act in the ring is the way that I act in real life," she said. "Meaning, I am brutal, that I am rough, that I have a mean streak. But when I am away from the ring, I am a pussycat. I am easygoing. I love to have fun."

    Jacqueline said she is somewhat dismayed at the current state of professional wrestling.

    "They tend to do more soap opera than wrestling," she said. "Have you noticed that? That's OK. We need that. But I think they need to focus more on wrestling. They need to bring it back.

    "Right now, they are using a lot of Playboy models, a bunch of T & A. I have nothing against that. There is plenty of room for that, but there is room for both. People love to see pretty women, but you can see them anywhere. Get back to wrestling."

    Jacqueline said that a change away from the dramatic story lines and beautiful women that permeate the wrestling world today probably will not be coming anytime soon.

    "Apparently, it is working for WWE," she said. "They are still on TV."

    Jacqueline Biography/Photos

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