Pre-match: If Newmar/Louise was the best tall girl match that could be made in 1960s TV, then Eden/Wells was a classic short girl dust up that was equally compelling. Wells (Mary Anne on Gilligan's Island) had rocketed to the position of number 1 contender based on the huge popularity of her television show, and public demand for a fight with TVs Jeannie. Eden was already a certified celebrity fighting legend, having established herself as one of the best small girl sluggers in history, as was expected to show Dawn her place in this fight. Fought on the Desilu soundstage - Eden in pink bra style hipster bikini, ponytail, Dawn in yellow hipster bikini, ponytail.
R1: No feeling out process here as the girls walked to center ring with gloves at their hips, fell in together cheek to cheek and began punishing one another's compact bodies with heaps of leather. For 2 minutes, both girls leaned forward on sturdy little legs, pressing their mouths in on one another's shoulders, and churned away with rolling lefts and rights underneath as neither girl would give an inch. In the final minute, Eden began to pound insistently to the ribcage with double and triple right hands, finally forcing Dawn to clinch, and the blonde smiled as she won the battle of attrition, making Well's retreat step by step to finish out the round with her butt on the ropes.
R2 Wells refused to be intimidated, and once again met Eden on her own terms at center ring. This time, Well started stronger, snatching at Eden's waist with opportunistic left hooks as the blonde leaned in. Eden with her gloves at her chin, used her elbows and shoulders to push at Dawn, but couldn't discourage her. Barb got off some hard, hard left uppercuts to Dawn's chest as the brunette leaned forward in the final moments, enough to earn a draw in an otherwise Wells-controlled round.
R3 Dawn made no mistake this round, once again swarming Eden at the open, and this time not letting up until the final bell. Barbara felt the unfamiliar feel of vinyl at her back as Wells worked her to the ropes, and the brunette simply out-punched the blonde for points this round. Dawn using her head to rub hard against Barb's face, her forearms and shoulders to shove Barbs' back, smacked and clouted at Eden's thick waist with short lefts and rights as Barbara had no answers this round.
R4 Wells put it to Barbara once again, bodying up on the blonde, walking her back in an impressive display of leg strength, then tuning the blonde up with spanking, full bodied lefts and rights to the midriff that put a look of hurt and surprise on Barbara's face this round. At the midway point, Wells was working Eden over, wrestling the blonde's arms out of the way then gouging at the sternum with wicked hooks that had Eden's thighs quivering. At the bell, Barbara gave Wells a look of stunned awe - she had rarely lost a round fighting her own fight before.
R5 Wells seemed to grow stronger, now easily pushing Eden to the corners, smearing her along the ropes, and hurting her repeatedly with snapping right uppercuts beneath the breasts or biting left hooks in behind the elbows to leave Barbara pouty faced and dazed this round. Eden seemed exhausted by her own tactics as Wells leaned on her throughout the round, never letting the blonde get off the ropes. Eden on her heels, couldn't step into her hook, whereas Wells was pounding away with great leverage, fighting off Barbara's chest, and pouring in leather to the battered body beneath. As Eden bent forward, she was catching little clouting hooks and clipping uppercuts under her chin. By the end of the round, Eden's face had begun to puff up, and she looked shopworn, confused as she staggered to her corner.
R6 Dawn Wells posted her 4th consecutive shutout against Barbara Eden, and those at ringside began to suspect an upset for the first time. Wells was tiring slightly, and had lost some zip off her punches, but her legs were still winning the fight, forcing Eden back to the ropes, then pinning her there as the little sluggers continued to strain against each other.
R7 Eden finally got her second wind, and for the first time since the opening moments, Wells was forced to take backward steps as Barbara's legs and backside quivered with the effort of pushing the brunette into retreat. Dawn wasn't as busy this round, holding her gloves low, chin on Eden's shoulder, taking punches off her arms and elbows, but also getting clouted to the hips and ribs as Barbara put her punches together downstairs.
R8 Barbara's best round of the fight saw her palm up on Dawn's shoulders and push the little brunette back onto her heels. Barb then jabbed her way in with a short, stumping left up the middle, then went to the brunette's waist with withering Lamotta like hooks, and Wells began to slump forward, soaking up heavy leather this round. Dawn's punch output had fallen off dramatically, and she held Barbara's arms behind the elbows for breaks, but was unable to regain momentum.
R9 Dawn Wells stormed back this round to trap Barbara in her own corner for a savage beat down. Barbara, bending at the waist, crossed her arms and began absorbing fearful damage as Wells let her hands go. Dawn pounded left hands across Eden's back, and into her side, getting in behind that elbow to leave Eden wobbly butt and glassy eyed. Using her shoulder to stuff Babs back, Dawn clubbed a short right hand wide on the jaw, breaking down Barbara's guard and leaving her exposed to a series of clean lefts and rights to the body and head. Finally, unable to take any more, Barbara Eden spilled to all fours, bleeding from the corners of her mouth and looking shell-shocked. Up at 8, she was forced back in on the turnbuckle and hammered senseless by Dawn who clearly thought the KO to be just one punch away. Eden soaked up many a head snapping right hand and knee buckling hook to her belly, but hung on to survive the round as Wells stomped back to her corner, clearly frustrated at not having been able to stop her foe.
R10 Dawn Wells was arm weary, and lay on the ropes, looking only to clinch early as a badly battered Barbara Eden came at her foe with hard, single lefts and rights to the hips and stomach. Getting her left shoulder into Dawn's chest, Barb levered the brunette up straight, then crumpled her forward with short left hooks to the belly that traveled maybe 6 inches. Wells began to swoon, and Eden kept up the methodical pounding, pushing and shoving her way past Dawn's weak attempts to clinch. Midway through the round, Eden's last reserves were spent, and Wells clinched, then turned Barbara into the ropes, reversing their positions. The final minute of the brawl saw both girls fighting with eyes closed, heads in together, mouths open, fists just slapping and clubbing up underneath as Dawn's legs held Barbara up against the ropes to the bell. Although Eden had taken the final round, the decision came back a shocking Unanimous duke for young Dawn Wells, leaving the assembled Hollywood elite open jawed in surprise.
After: This fight would be suppressed for years to protect Eden's international standing, and has been spun so often as an exhibition or sparring session that the facts have been largely distorted or forgotten all together. The truth remains that on this night, Dawn Wells went toe to toe with Barbara Eden, fighting the blonde's fight, and beat her to her knees in a sensational war of attrition. Years later, Eden would come clean in her autobiography, giving Dawn credit for having won fair and square. For Wells, the praise may have come too late to repair a reputation that leaves her one of history's most underated celebrity fighters.