1st lineup

GRAPPLERS

Membership: (Original team) Letha, Poundcakes, Screaming Mimi, Titania;
    Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation (Auntie Freeze (trainer/manager/leader), Battleaxe, Capriole, Butterball, Cowgirl, Gladiatrix, Magilla, Sushi, Vavavoom, unidentified others)
    Kowalski (former manager)

Purpose: Monetary gain through mercenary jobs and wrestling gigs

Affiliations: Beetle (Abe Jenkins), Brand Corporation, Mechano-Marauder, Melter, Mirage, MODOK, Mole Man, Power Broker Inc., Rhino, Roxxon Oil, Superia’s Femizons, Whiplash (Mark Scarlotti)

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Dazzler, Giant-Man (Bill Foster), Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), Scourge of the Underworld, Thing, Thundra, X-Men (Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine)

Base of Operations: Mobile;
    formerly New York City, New York;
    Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Marvel Two-in-One#54 (August, 1979)

History:

(Thunderbolts I#21 (fb) ) - While in prison, Poundcakes met Screaming Mimi and invited her to join the Grapplers.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#5: Grapplers) - Poundcakes, Screaming Mimi, Letha and Titania became protégés of Auntie Freeze. They became famous wrestlers, but despite Auntie Freeze's promotion, they didn't earn as much money as their male counterparts. A Roxxon operative saw them wrestle and offered them the chance at some extra money.

(Thunderbolts I#21 (fb) / All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#9: Roxxon) - The four Grapplers all received cybernetic enhancements from Roxxon' subsidiary, Brand, to aid them in their mercenary work.

(Marvel Two-in-One#54) - At Kowalski’s Gym, Thundra prepared to rehearse the choreographed battle with Poundcakes. When the battle started, Thundra immediately flipped Poundcakes and wrapped her legs around her waist, defeating her. Kowalski sent Titania, Screaming Mimi, and Letha after Thundra, but she tossed each of them aside.

(Marvel Two-in-One#55) - During their wrestling match in Madison Square Garden, Thundra was able to get the best of Titania, until Titania pricked Thundra with a needle laced with a paralysis solution. Thundra was defeated, and Titania won the match.

(Marvel Two-in-One#56 (fb) ) - The Grapplers, along with Thundra, were hired by Roxxon's Nth Command to smuggle equipment into Project: PEGASUS.

(Marvel Two-in-One#56) - The Grapplers and Thundra broke into Project: PEGASUS and placed a device at a particular spot. The Grapplers immediately split from Thundra and branched off in pairs in order to destroy the Project: PEGASUS headquarters under Roxxon’s command. Letha and Screaming Mimi were confronted by Quasar, who underestimated them due to their gender. Screaming Mimi used a sonic scream against Quasar, which began to drive him insane. Letha then attempted to scratch at him, but Quasar bombarded them with energy blasts and trapped them in an energy cage, eventually defeating the pair with a wave of energy. In the Thermal Research Module, Titania and Poundcakes devastated anything they saw until Giant-Man (Bill Foster) discovered them. Poundcakes immediately shoved him into a vapor-tube. As soon as he made it out, Titania and Poundcakes attacked him once again, Titania using her energy-blasting rod and Poundcakes using her seismic boots. However, Giant-Man was able to get the best of them, and smashed the two women together, knocking them unconscious. Giant-Man, Quasar, and the Project: PEGASUS security brought the Grapplers to Thundra, who realized she had been tricked.

(Dazzler#13 - BTS) - After their mission with Thundra, the Grapplers were imprisoned at Ryker’s Island. They made the best of their time in prison by ruling the women’s wing with an iron fist, with Titania as the leader.

(Dazzler#13) - Poundcakes, Letha, and Screaming Mimi entered Dazzler’s room at night while in prison and brought her to Titania. They planned to punish her for supposedly killing the villain Klaw. After the three Grapplers beat her, Dazzler was able to defeat Titania with a swift kick. Poundcakes then knocked her around, until Screaming Mimi used her powers on Dazzler. Dazzler was able to absorb the energy from Mimi’s attack and use it against the Grapplers, knocking all four of them out.

(Marvel Two-in-One#96) - Having somehow escaped prison, the Grapplers planned to attack the Thing in the hospital. Before they could enter the hospital, they were confronted by Captain America. He was able to defeat Poundcakes and Letha, and though Titania and Screaming Mimi attempted to use teamwork, they were eventually defeated, as well. However, all four Grapplers quickly recovered. The X-Men suddenly appeared and forced the Grapplers away. They later joined alongside several super-villains, including Rhino, Mole Man, and Whiplash, as they battled the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and the X-Men.

UCWF

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#5: Grapplers) - Auntie Freeze scouted for new female wrestlers and found some promising candidates. She contacted Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation promoter Edward Garner to negotiate a women's division.

(Thing I#33 - BTS) - Some time after their stint with villainy, the original Grapplers along with new members became assimilated into the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, and they were completely willing to give up a life of crime for a higher paying (legal) gig as wrestlers. They were also granted superhuman strength and durability from the Power Broker.

(Thing I#33) - During a wrestling match, newcomer Battleaxe thoroughly thrashed Titania and took her place as spokesperson of the Grapplers. Titania, enraged, attacked Battleaxe and had to be pried off by the Thing, and then held back by Butterball, Gladiatrix, Vavavoom, and Magilla. Later in the locker room, Poundcakes and Auntie Freeze scolded Titania for her behavior. Titania, feeling betrayed, stormed off into the showers. New girl Golddigger, who was really the Scourge, followed her and shot her to death. Battleaxe and the Thing find Golddigger, who said she saw a man run off. The other Grapplers entered and, furious over Titania’s death at the hands of a man, attacked the Thing. Butterball was the first to strike, bodyslamming into the hero. The rest of the Grapplers piled on him until Sharon Ventura entered and convinced them to stop. Battleaxe revealed she was with the Thing. Auntie Freeze, who has taken a liking to Sharon Ventura, gave her the Power Broker’s business card. Battleaxe asks the Thing if he’d be interested in fighting the Grapplers in the ring, but he refuses to fight women. Battleaxe, on television, taunts the Thing into battling her. In the ring, Battleaxe beat the Thing, but felt cheated and refused to acknowledge the fact that she won.

(Thing I#34) - The Grapplers (Battleaxe, Poundcakes, Capriole, and several unnamed members) watched as the Thing wrestled Dennis Dunphy. Capriole commented they could learn a lot from the Thing, to which Poundcakes agreed. Battleaxe, weary, noted she would’ve defeated him had he not “copped out.” Sharon Ventura appeared and told the Grapplers she has decided to join them. Battleaxe expressed her excitement, hinting that Sharon would have to get physically augmented as the Grapplers all had.

(Thing I#35) - After being attacked at the Power Broker’s, Sharon Ventura ran to Auntie Freeze’s. After a phone call, Auntie Freeze left and returned with the Grapplers and several other Unlimited Class wrestlers. She reveals that the Power Broker wants her dead, and they must abide by his orders or they would be cut off from his power supply.

(Thing I#36) - The Grapplers, along with the UCWF wrestlers, found the Thing, Sharon Ventura, and Michael Lynch and attacked. Ms. Marvel convinced them to end the battle by stating they will all die without the stabilization pills. The wrestlers all helped restrain the Thing, who began to convulse. However, Ms. Marvel later discovered the Power Broker had lied to the Grapplers and the UCWF wrestlers, and that the Thing’s problems are completely unrelated. The only recognizable Grapplers are Poundcakes, Battleaxe, and Magilla.

(Captain America I#389-391) - Several members of the Grapplers were invited to join the Femizons, formed by Superia -- Poundcakes, Screaming Mimi, Battleaxe, and Gladiatrix.

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), John Byrne (penciller), Joe Sinnott (inker).

    The Grapplers had a team entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#5.

     It’s safe to say that the Grapplers disbanded. After Titania and Letha died, Screaming Mimi became Songbird and joined the Thunderbolts, Poundcakes continued to work as a mercenary, Battleaxe was last seen battling Ms. Marvel, Gladiatrix became a hero during Civil War, and the rest of the group has not been seen since Thing I#33.

     As stated in the Poundcakes entry, the Grapplers seem to be an analogue of DC’s Female Furies, members of Darkseid’s elite forces. Each of the members bear resemblances to the Furies – Titania would be Big Barda, Letha would be Lashina, Poundcakes would be Stompa, Screaming Mimi would be Mad Harriet, and Auntie Freeze would be Granny Goodness.

     The later members of the Grapplers are ridiculous and even slightly offensive - the Asian wrestler is named Sushi, the hairy wrestler is named Magilla, and the overweight wrestler is named Butterball. Their names might be the reason these girls were never seen again.

Profile by Nyssane.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Grapplers have no known connections to


Auntie Freeze

Auntie Freeze (Ann Fraley) was the trainer and manager of the Grapplers who had formerly been a wrestler herself in the 1950’s. The original four Grapplers were protégés of Auntie Freeze, and she was the one to get them, plus the newer members, enhanced by the Power Broker.

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35, 36 - BTS








Butterball

Butterball (Vivian Dolan) was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. After witnessing her teammate, Titania, lose against Battleaxe in a wrestling match, Butterball attempted to restrain her with the other Grapplers. She was later seen when the Thing is accused of killing Titania, where she used her massive body as a weapon, hurling herself at the super-hero. She was presumably with the other Grapplers as they attacked the Thing and Ms. Marvel at the Power Broker’s order.

Butterball possesses superhuman strength and durability, and her favorite move is to body slam her enemy.

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35-36 - BTS







Capriole

Capriole was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She was first seen with Battleaxe, Poundcakes, and a few others as they watched the Thing wrestle Dennis Dunphy. She thought the rest of the Grapplers could learn a lot from the Thing. She later joined the Grapplers as they discussed the Power Broker with Sharon Ventura. She was presumably with the others when they attacked the Thing and Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura) under the Power Broker’s command.

--Thing I#34 (Thing I#34, 35-36 - BTS






Cowgirl

Cowgirl (Deb Lowry) was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She participated in the pummeling of the Thing after he was accused of murdering Titania, and later presumably joined in the battle against the Thing and Ms. Marvel under Power Broker’s command.

Cowgirl possesses superhuman strength and durability, and carries a gun holster (though it’s unknown if it is a prop or an actual pistol).

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35-36 - BTS







Kowalski

Owner of Kowalski’s Gym, Kowalski was the original manager for the Grapplers. After Thundra thrashed his wrestlers, Kowalski became enraged and vowed that Herkimer Oglethorpe and Thundra would pay. He later attended Titania’s match with Thundra.

--Marvel Two-in-One#54 (Marvel Two-in-One#54-55










Magilla

Magilla (Sandy Stalmaster) was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She was first seen helping Butterball, Gladiatrix, and Vavavoom keep Titania away from Battleaxe. Later, she grabbed the Thing after the Grapplers thought he had killed Titania, which allowed the other wrestlers to beat him. She also participated in the assault on the Thing and Ms. Marvel after the Power Broker ordered the entire Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation to kill them (though they did not succeed).

Magilla possesses superhuman strength and durability, and is recognizable for her thick, excessive body hair.

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35 - BTS, 36



Sushi

Sushi (Susan Hayakawa) was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. After Titania lost to Battleaxe, Sushi joined in the argument between Titania and the other Grapplers. After Titania’s death, Sushi participated in the battle against the Thing and later (presumably) battled him again with the other Grapplers, under the Power Broker’s orders.

Sushi possesses superhuman strength and durability, and appeared to have some knowledge of karate (she was often seen with her hands in a “karate chop” position).

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35-36 - BTS





Vavavoom

Vavavoom (Dawn Middlebury) was one of the new Grapplers from the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She was first seen attempting to hold Titania back from Battleaxe, alongside Butterball, Magilla, and Gladiatrix. Later, she participated in the battle against the Thing after Titania was murdered. Presumably, she joined in the battle against the Thing and Ms. Marvel under the orders of the Power Broker.

Vavavoom possesses superhuman strength and durability.

--Thing I#33 (Thing I#33, 35-36 - BTS






images: (without ads)
Marvel Two-in-One#56, pg 3 (main image)
Dazzler#13, cover (group shot)
Thing I#33, pg 10 (piling on the Thing)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition#5, pg 22 (all headshots)
Thing I#35, pg 18 (Auntie Freeze)
Thing I#33, pg 9 (Butterball, Cowgirl)
Thing I#34, pg 5 (Capriole)
Marvel Two-in-One#54, pg 13 (Kowalski closeup)
Marvel Two-in-One#55, pg 8 (Kowalski)
Thing I#33, pg 5 (Magilla, Sushi, Vavavoom)


Appearances:
Marvel Two-in-One#54-55 (August-September, 1979) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writer), John Byrne (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Roger Stern (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#56 (October, 1979) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writer), George Perez (penciler), Gene Day (inker), Roger Stern (editor)
Dazzler#13 (March, 1982) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Frank Springer (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Jim Shooter (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#96 (February, 1983) - Tom Defalco (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Mike Esposito (inker), Linda Grant & Lance Tooks (editor)
Thing I#33 (March, 1986) - Michael Carlin (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Kim DeMulder (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thing I#34 (April, 1986) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), Kim DeMulder (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thing I#35-36 (May-June, 1986) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), Sam De La Rosa (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#389-391 (August-September, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (penciler), Dan Bulanadi (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Thunderbolts I#21 (December, 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Mark Bagley (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 01/15/06.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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