Big Time Wrestling – December, 1961
By W.C. Shaw
Guess how Penny Banner celebrated winning the women’s heavyweight wrestling championship after defeating June Byers last August 26th.
She went out dancing, with wrestler Johnny Weaver, at a Fort Wayne spot for two hours after, what she termed, the “toughest fight of my life.”
A real devotee of rock and roll, Miss Banner’s two favorite pastimes are “dancin’ up a storm and wrestlin’ up a storm.”
The 27-year-old blond bombshell, without a doubt the prettiest of all wrestling champs, received more than her share of bumps and bruises during the eight years she has wrestled professionally.
During her ring career, which began nine years ago, she has received chipped teeth, had her nose broken three times, dislocated both elbows, had her knee caps “thrown out” and at one time was laid up for six months with a dislocated back.
Penny Banner doesn’t hesitate when she says she prefers wrestling “dirty” to fighting “clean” and she has always been tagged as “the bad guy” in her bouts.
Perhaps many wonder why a beautiful young girl like Penny would choose a ring career, and then after having been injured as much as she has, keep coming back for more punishment.
One reason is readily apparent — the money. Miss Banner earned $13,000 to $15,000 a year before she won the title. If she hangs onto the crown she should hit the $25,000 class next year.
Penny says that being a woman wrestler is much better than a college education. “I get to see so many places in this world, places most people just read about.”
Miss Banner says she plans to retire in about five years but until then she intends to keep fighting “dirty.”
“After all,” she says, “boos are better than no audience reaction at all.”
This magazine thinks there will always be an audience reaction to Penny Banner .. . . from the “oohs and ahs” when she climbs into the ring to the “boos and bahs” when she leaves.