In the meantime, an enterprising promoter suggested a singles match with a member of each team and, he was willing to pay headliner money for the bout. Molly, the blonde Doll, was still nursing tender ribs from injuries suffered in the title match. That left her partner, the brunette Iris, to accept the offer. Their manager, Harry, suggested Tiger Diane as her opponent. It was an obvious choice; both women were the tactician of their respective team and they were also the physically stronger member; their individual styles worked well against the another and it was clear after their tag confrontations Diane and Iris had a deep personal animosity toward each another - that always translated into hot action in the ring (the promoter made it clear he expected a shoot match which suited both ladies just fine).
The fight was booked for the International Amphitheater in Chicago on a card also featuring the likes of Nick Bockwinkle, Mad Dog Vachon, and Andre the Giant so a packed house was guaranteed. Both women's managers insisted that the ladies match be the co-headliner, and the promoter quickly consented, knowing a winning hand when he saw one.
The card was sold out within a day of the tickets going on sale. Holding the bout in Chicago also heightened the tension revolving around this fight. The last time the Dolls and the Tigers met in the Windy City, Iris and Molly had suffered a painful defeat and Iris was anxious to avenge that loss. As for Diane, she was eager to prove that the Dolls' victory in Vegas had been a fluke, beating Iris in this singles match would go a long way towards shaking the confidence of the new champions for the rematch.
When the night of the match finally arrived, both women were too keyed up to relax. Each prowled around her dressing room like a caged cat. Iris wore her maroon suit, Diane donned her tiger skin. Their bodies were fit and toned, powerful without sacrificing feminine curves (a far cry from the boorish stereotype of the lady wrestler as a virtual wrecking ball!). As they stood in opposite corners while introductions were made, the two stared daggers into one another.
This was going to be personal!
At the bell, the two women dispensed with caution and immediately locked-up. Their bodies tensed as they struggled to overpower the other. After several stalemated seconds, they mutually broke the lock-up.
But as they moved to lock-up again, Iris suddenly shifted tactics and grabbed Diane by the wrist. Twisting the Tiger's arm, she maneuvered her towards a hammerlock. However, with a surge of strength, Diane managed to reverse the pressure, and suddenly it was the Doll whose arm was being painfully twisted.
Diane held Iris's right wrist in both hands as she increased the pressure on her limb. Each time she saw Iris's body grow rigid in preparation for an escape attempt, Diane gave the arm an extra twist. Still, she knew it was only a matter of time before her rival would find some way of breaking free so she decided to keep her off-balance with a new maneuver.
Diane suddenly released the armlock, but before Iris could react she grabbed her from behind in a reverse bearhug. Then, with a burst of raw power, Diane hoisted Iris into the air and over, sending the Doll crashing backward to the mat in a suplex, the full brunt of the impact being taken by her head and shoulders. Hoping this had stunned Iris, Diane continued to hold her around her waist as she bridged her own body, holding the brunette's shoulders pinned to the mat.
However, it was far too early in the match for Iris to be overwhelmed so easily and she managed to kick out of the pin attempt before the referee's hand could hit the canvas a third time. Iris rolled to a corner to collect herself, while Diane got to her feet and warily approached her.
Had Diane struck quickly, she might have regained the upper hand but her caution cost her. After a brief hesitation, when she finally charged into the corner and grabbed Iris's wrist for an Irish Whip, the Doll was ready. Iris reversed the whip, so it was the Tiger who went colliding into the corner. Before Diane could recover, Iris sent her soaring through the air with a Monkey Flip.
Diane landed with a thud in the center of the ring and the impact left her momentarily dazed. That was all Iris needed to grab her left leg and twist it into a figure four leglock. Diane gritted her teeth as she tried to block out the pain. A wicked smile crossed Iris's lips as she poured on the pressure. As the force increased, the Tiger moaned in agony, and the referee asked her if she wanted to submit.
"Never!" was her response, but there was no hiding the edge of suffering in her voice.
If this continued, she would have to give up, or else risk a possible broken leg. Both women leaned forward...Iris to increase her leverage and Diane to resist it. As their heads came close the Tiger saw her opportunity to escape so she raked her nails across her rival's eyes. Iris screeched in sudden pain and the pressure on the hold slackened, but the figure four remained applied.
However, with Iris momentarily unfocused, Diane suddenly shifted her weight, rolling both women onto their stomachs. This effectively reversed the leverage and pressure of the figure four, so that now it was Iris who was suffering. The Doll tried to break the hold, but she had applied it to effectively and now only Diane could release it.
Iris mewled in pain as the Tiger slowly, laboriously, dragged herself closer to the ropes, pulling her victim along with her. When she was close enough to the edge of the ring, she told the referee to ask the Doll to submit. As the referee did so, he turned his back to Diane, allowing her to reach up and grab the middle rope. Pulling herself up from the mat by the cable, she massively increased the pressure on the figure four, and Iris responded with an agonized howl.
This continued for several more moments, until the ref turned his head back and saw what the Tiger was doing. He ordered the hold broken, but Diane cannily waited until he reached 4 in his 5 count before letting her victim go.
Using the ropes, Diane pulled herself up to her feet, then limped over (her leg still sore from when she was caught in the Figure Four) towards Iris, who was struggling to get to her hands and knees. A brutal stomp to the side of the head sent the Doll face down back to the mat. The referee warned Diane to keep it clean, but the Tiger ignored him. Diane then grabbed Iris by her mane of hair and pulled her up to her feet.
This time, the Doll couldn't reverse the Irish Whip and it was she who crashed into the corner, her upper back slamming painfully on the thinly-padded turnbuckle. Diane charged at her prone foe, driving her shoulder hard into the Doll's abdomen. A whoosh of air escaped from Iris followed by a low groan.
Diane grabbed her arm and whipped her clear across the ring into the opposite corner. Again charging her rival, Diane leapt into the air for a splash but Iris, blocking out the pain that wracked her body, managed to move out of the way at the last instant and Diane hit the turnbuckle full speed.
Both wrestlers now took time to gather their wits and marshal their waning strength. Slowly, they circled until they drew close enough to meet. Iris raised her right hand in the air, signaling a test of strength. Diane guardedly clasped her hand with her foe's; then, their other hands grasped together.
Their powerful bodies strained as each struggled to overcome the other. There was little tactical advantage in such a maneuver...this was strictly a test of ego's, each woman eager to prove her superiority over the other. Their bodies glistened with sweat as they warred, every ounce of their precious strength pouring into their contest.
Slowly, however, it was clear Iris was the one being forced back. The glint of intensity in her eyes gradually became one of alarm, then desperation as Diane gradually gained the upper hand. Finally, near exhaustion, Iris could no longer resist as the Tiger powered her down to her knees.
Flush with a sense of triumph, Diane sneered at the woman kneeling helpless before her, then drove her boot hard to the Doll's stomach. Iris grunted, then groaned when Diane followed with a knee to the jaw. Releasing Iris's hands, Diane let the brunette topple over backward to the canvas, her body limp.
Diane placed a foot across Iris's throat in a blatant choke. The referee ordered her to stop, but Diane pushed him away. He responded by grabbing her hair and pulling the Tiger off of her hapless foe. Enraged, Diane began shouting at the official, who yelled right back at her. Iris was momentarily forgotten.
The Doll painfully rolled over and got to her knees. Every fiber of her body screamed at her to surrender and end this torment, but she had decided going into this match that, come what may, she would NEVER submit to Diane.
Threatened with disqualification, Diane finally quit arguing with the ref and turned her attention back to Iris. She grabbed the Doll by the hair with both hands, preparing to pull her back up to her feet in order to set her up for a Bodyslam. However, Iris threw a fist deep into the pit of Diane's belly. The blow stunned the Tiger, as did the next punch to her stomach that followed the first. Drawing on a second wind, Iris staggered to her feet and delivered a backhand chop across Diane's chest, the sound of the impact echoing to the upper reaches of the arena. A roundhouse punch to the jaw left the Tiger's own legs wobbly.
Still, Diane was far from finished. She suddenly unleashed an uppercut of her own to the brunette's chin that snapped Iris's head back violently. Iris roared right back with another fist to the stomach and suddenly, the wrestling match had become a bareknuckle boxing bout. The referee ineffectually warned both women not to use closed fists, but he wasn't about to stop the fight over it, so they disregarded him. They traded blows, rocking each other with sledgehammer punches to the face and abdomen. Again, the battle had become a contest of sheer physical brawn.
This time, though, it was Iris who proved mightier. She landed a combination of blows that sent Diane crumpling to the canvas. Dropping to a sitting position behind her dazed foe, Iris wrapped her legs around Diane's waist in a bodyscissors. As Iris's legs crushed her ribs, the Tiger felt as if they would break. She screamed in pain, but still stubbornly refused to submit the fight. Like her rival, Diane had promised herself that she wouldn't give up, no matter what.
Still, Iris was determined to break her foe's pride and make her submit. To that end, she used her powerful legs to suddenly lift the Tiger up into the air, then brought her down again forcefully with a keister bump. An electric jolt of agony shot up Diane's spine. Iris repeated the move and this time Diane moaned in anguish, yet, she still wouldn't surrender.
Knowing she couldn't stand such torment for long, Diane desperately pulled at Iris's legs, hoping to pry the muscular limbs from around her waist. Were Iris not so pained and tired, Diane's struggle wouldn't have succeeded, but the Doll's reserves of strength were fading fast and she couldn't muster the power to keep her scissors locked.
Each woman had pushed herself beyond her endurance and it was only their hatred for one another that kept them going. As she had earlier, Diane used the ropes to pull herself to her feet, but she could barely stand. Iris was unable to rise at all, her legs now numb and unresponsive to her commands.
Diane knew she had to finish Iris off now, before she could recover. Running on pure instinct and a warrior's pride, the Tiger awkwardly climbed the nearest corner and stood on the middle rope. Then, with a gracefulness that belied her exhausted condition, she threw herself into the air.
Iris watched it all, unable to stop it. She ordered her body to roll out of the way, but it no longer heeded her commands. She thought she could hear her manager Harry's voice, begging her to move, but the roar of the crowd drowned him out. Through slightly blurred vision, it seemed the Tiger was soaring through the air in slow motion...coming closer and closer.
The body splash landed squarely atop Iris, crushing the last vestiges of power from her battered body. The Tiger was a dead weight upon her...the impact had nearly knocked Diane out as well. Beads of sweat dripped from Diane's face onto that of the woman trapped beneath her.
In a raspy voice, the Tiger taunted the Doll, "Those belts are ours, bitch! Next time, the Tigers are gonna kick your asses right out of wrestling!"
Iris growled in response, but lacked the energy to form coherent words, only sounds. The referee counted to three, but Diane ordered a ten count; one last humiliation of the defenseless Doll. Iris squirmed, but couldn't throw her hated rival off. Diane laughed cruelly.
The Tiger was unable to stand on her own, so her manager had to carry her back to her locker room. Likewise, Harry had to tenderly lift Iris's battered body in his arms and carry her to her dressing room backstage.
Diane had avenged, in part, the Tigers loss of the titles to the Dolls. All that remained now was the actual rematch, which the Tigers would now go into with the psychological advantage.
But Iris wasn't about to let this loss frighten her. Diane had proven herself the better wrestler...this night...but Iris was still convinced the California Dolls were a better team. With Molly at her side, she knew they would be victorious.
But that would have to be a battle for another night. Tonight, all Iris wanted to do was sleep and heal.