Debrah “Madusa” Micelli’s place in wrestling folklore is perhaps secured as the unwitting catalyst for the Montreal Screwjob; as the story goes, it was her decision to defect to WCW with the WWF Women’s Title and casually dump it in a trashcan live on the air in 1995 that apparently went someway to convincing Vince McMahon he could not allow Bret Hart to remain WWF Champion after Survivor Series 1997 and risk a similar thing happening. There was much more to Madusa’s 17 year career than that one incident though.
She trained under Eddie Sharkey in Minnesota in 1984 before grabbing a spot in the American Wrestling Association in 1986, catapulting into a feud with Sherri Martel. She spread her time between wrestling and managing the likes of Kevin Kelly and AWA World Champion Curt Hennig. In December 1987 she won a tournament to become the AWA World Women’s Champion (defeating Candi Devine) and held the belt for almost a year before dropping it to Wendi Richter. She also appeared at the only AWA pay-per-view, teaming with Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka – who would later appear in the WWF as The Orient Express) to take on the Top Guns (Ricky Rice & Derrick Dukes) and Wendi Richter, in a match ending with Richter pinning Madusa.
In 1989 she embarked on a tour with All Japan Women, having a one day IWA Woman’s Title reign in the process as she swapped the belt with Chigusa Nagayo. This led to her becoming the first non-Japanese wrestler to sign a permanent deal with AJW.
A return to North America in 1991 saw her in WCW and being part of the much remembered faction the Dangerous Alliance. Her main alliance within the crew was as Rick Rude’s manager until she was kicked out of the faction by Paul E. Dangerously, whom she defeated at a Clash Of The Champions special in November 1992. Her only other memorable storyline was a “feud” with Missy Hyatt, which included a Bikini Contest at Beach Blast 1992 (which was third billed on the poster for the event, behind Rude Vs Steamboat and Sting Vs Cactus Jack).
In 1993 the WWF reintroduced the Women’s Title and chose Micelli, now known as Alundra Blayze, to spearhead the division. Early competition was of the decidedly uninspiring kind (she defeated Leilani Kai at WrestleMania X to successfully retain her title) but things picked up in the middle of 1994 when Bull Nakano joined the WWF. The two had a great bout at SummerSlam that year, before Nakano defeated Blayze for the title at the Big Egg Wrestling event in Japan in November. Blayze regained the title in April 1995 before segueing into a terrible feud with Bertha Faye (Rhonda Sing, who was actually quite impressive as Monster Ripper in Japan) which signaled the death knell of the division. Micelli was cut from the roster and, as we started off with, went to WCW with the belt and threw it in the bin.
Back as Madusa, she once again battled Bull Nakano before losing to Akira Hokuto in the finals of the WCW Women’s title tournament at Starrcade ’96. The following June she lost a Title Vs Career match to the same opponent and wasn’t seen again until 1999 when she showed up as one of Randy Savage’s entourage. Symptomatic of the booking “issues” in WCW at the time, Madusa entered the tournament for the WCW Championship, losing to Evan Karagias before managing him for a while before then pinning him at Starrcade 1999 to lift the Cruiserweight Title. That she dropped the belt to Oklahoma (Ed Ferrara’s low rent and generally offensive parody of Jim Ross) says it all. She turned her hand to training talent at the Power Plant before deciding to leave the company when it became clear that Vince McMahon was about to buy it. The anger over her title in the bin stunt precluded any return to the WWE and she retired for good in 2001, lamenting the state of women’s wrestling at the time.
Post-wrestling, Micelli found some success as a Monster Truck driver, where she continues to this day. She recently posted a tongue-in-cheek online challenge to AJ Lee, which provided great amusement. The sheer fact that Micelli made worthwhile contributions to the AWA, WCW, WWF and Japanese promotions makes her a worthwhile performer and on her day she was very effective in the ring. Perhaps as importantly, she is a wrestler who has managed to thrive after her wrestling career was over.
MAJOR TITLES WON: IWA Women’s (x 2), AWA Women’s (1 time), WWF Women’s (x 3), WCW Cruiserweight (1 time). RECOMMENDED MATCHES: & Norito Tateno Vs Yumi Ogura & Lioness Asuka) 18th June 1989), Vs Bull Nakano (SummerSlam 1994).
– By Matthew Roberts