Wrestling: Madusa

Debrah Miceli is a retired Italian-American pro wrestler and valet best known for her work in the 1980s and 1990s as Madusa and, less frequently, Alundra Blayze (in WWE). In 1995, she crossed the floor to WCW, becoming the Helen of the Monday Night Wars. More on that below.

Born in Milan, she began wrestling for the AWA in the mid-eighties under an Italian (actually Jewish) runway model gimmick. While there, she feuded with other iconic 80s women like Sherri Martel and Wendi Richter, and even managed Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page. In 1988, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named her "Rookie of the Year," ahead of Chris Benoit, Maxx Payne and Scott Steiner. She was a 1x AWA Women's Champ.

She would also compete for All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling, facing off with Asian legends like Chigusa Nagayo and Aja Kong, before arriving in WCW as the valet for the Dangerous Alliance, a role she would hold until Paul E. F-I-R-E-D! FIRED!! her at Halloween Havoc '92.

In 1993, she debuted in the then-WWF as Blayze, bringing with her AJW vets like Bull Nakano. She would hold the WWF Women's Title three times, but when the company's fortunes started to go south, Miceli was released. In retaliation, she stunned everyone by appearing on WCW Monday Nitro and dunking her belt in the trash. Which rustled some jimmies back in Connecticut. (Madusa Miceli's Career — 1985-1995)

Within the IWC, that work is considered the first shot of the Monday Night Wars. It was hatched by Eric Bischoff, basically ripping off Shane Douglas' stunt from a year earlier; his message here was, "Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away", a sentiment which benefited WCW alot and Madusa very little. She would proceed to accomplish nothing for close to two years, being forced into "retirement" after losing a match to Akira Hokuto at WCW The Great American Bash 1997.

She surprised everyone, again, by returning in 1999 as part of Randy Savage's Team Madness group. She would go on to become the first woman to hold the WCW World Cruiserweight Title. She retired in 2001 and has gone on to compete, very successfully, in... monster truck competitions. The hours are good and she doesn't need to buy a new wardrobe.

WWE finally caved in 2015 and inducted Miceli (under her WWE ring name) into their Hall of Fame as penance for inducting Lita so soon.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

Not to be confused with Medusa or with Alundra.

"These tropes are Made in the U.S.A.":

  • '80s Hair: Madusa always had loads of hair (unlike Alundra, her well coiffed alter-ego), but in the 80's, she looked like a glam aerobics video.
  • Advertised Extra: One issue was that aside from a few guest appearances, the girls (big or otherwise) Did Not Play™ in WCW, so she sat at home for a month... until they inserted her into a romance angle between two non-wrestling managers.
  • All American Face: Her name is a Portmanteau of "Made in the U.S.A."
  • Alliterative Name: As Madusa Micelli.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Her big appeal was being a tall, attractive blonde in the ring. What people forget is that 80's Madusa was also RIPPED as hell. (Like Aysa, but without pharmaceutical aids.) Add to that her martial arts skills, and you have a UFC-caliber monster.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Luna Vachon. Even when the two did not wrestle each other, Vachon was known for managing other people so she could direct them at Alundra Blayze.
    • Madusa was Luna's first major enemy when she joined the big leagues. By her later admission, she wasn't ready to work a match with Madusa because she'd mostly worked as a valet and didn't have the cardio fitness needed to keep up with her. It doesn't help that Madusa was just back from a long stretch in Japan, where they take this business very seriously. Madusa took that opportunity to beat the stuffing out of Luna and put herself over. And so it began.
    • Ed "Oklahoma" Ferrera, a boss heel who became fixated on proving the inferiority of woman wrestlers in WCW. Unlike Paul Heyman, who got decked by Madusa after making sexist remarks about her, Oklahoma actually scored a few victories. The character was universally reviled and viewed as little more than a mouthpiece for Vince Russo and Ferrara to air their dirty laundry.
  • Belly Flop Crushing: She adopted the Stinger Splash.
  • Blondes Are Evil: As a heel.
  • Boobs of Steel: In 1995, Rhonda Singh (known in the WWF as “Bertha Faye”) made her debut by breaking Alundra Blayze’s nose. This was done so she could take time off to get a nose job. Seven months after that, Madusa unexpectedly returned to WCW with her new nose. Also, her breasts had mysteriously grown to the size of her head.
    Brad Meltzer: The implants looked ridiculous but this is a business of excess.
  • Curbstomp Battle
    • When Team Madness split, it split hard, and Miss Madness ended up on the receiving end of a harsh beating from Madusa. Madusa did lose the match but Miss Madness left worse for wear. All of Mona's, as she would come to be known, subsequent attempts to fight Madusa saw Madusa give Mona progressively worse beatings while no selling most of Mona's offense.
    • Madusa gave plenty to Oklahoma, particularly after he got involved in the cruiserweight title scene, only to see him usually slip away somehow. And he's one of the bookers, imagine that.
    • She also bum rushed Sherri on two separate occasions: once during her drive-thru wedding to Col. Parker (the brawl spilled over into—what else—the buffet table, turning this into a Garbage Wedding Match), and again that following night during an interview with Gene Okerland (who rabbited). This was surely the most one-sided brutal beatdown Sherri had ever received. Even the commentators were imploring her to stop. It had to look "real" enough to put Sherri in traction for a year, during which time Martel entered treatment for pill addiction.
  • David Versus Goliath: Madusa was often the Goliath many women and some of the smaller guys were afraid to face and was often cold blooded enough to fit the role but this was reversed when she was pitted against Monster Ripper. (or if you watched the WWF, when Alundra Blayze was pitted against Bertha Faye). She was taller than Bull Nakano and Aja Kong but they outweighed her by enough margin to make her play David too.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At WCW Halloween Havoc 92, October 25, 1992, Big Van Vader (w/manager Harley Race) defended the WCW United States Heavyweight Title against "The Russian Nightmare" Nikita Koloff, retiring him in the process, for "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who was challenging Masahiro Chono for the NWA World Heavyweight Title that night. After the match, Paul E. fired Madusa from what remained of the Dangerous Alliance (Paul E., herself, and Rude)note , saying that he only hired her "because the other hooker had a prior engagement," and finished with "And because you're a woman and I know that means that you're stupid, I spell it out for you: F-I-R-E-D! FIRED! FIRED! FIRED!" Madusa, of course, proceeded to kick Paul E.'s ass right off of the stage, even scaring away Vader, who would go on to become the company's resident monster heel, and Race, an 8-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Madusa normally wore footwear in WCW but would normally discard it when it was time to wrestle.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: Shockingly won the IWA Women's title (Canadian/Japanese version) from Chigusa Nagayo only to lose it back in a day.
  • The Face: She worked in every major US promotion in her time and held women's belts in all of them. She was the first woman to achieve cross over success in Japan and introduced American audiences to several Japanese female stars. She had ongoing feuds with women who have already been inducted like Sherri Martel and Wendi Richter. She was part of the Dangerous Alliance with a young Steve Austin and Paul Heyman, and had her own small but significant moment in the Monday Night Wars when she unveiled the WWE belt on WCW TV. So yeah, she had clout.
  • Femme Fatale: When it comes to her actual career, probably her best remembered role was part of The Dangerous Alliance.
  • Five Moves of Doom: She had a lot of moves but when she had taken a beating and was teasing a comeback Alundra Blayze's would usually kip out, three flashbacks/flying mat slams, missile drop kick, German suplex.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She has her own grooming/pet spa/doggy bakery in Lecanto, Florida called Koolkats and Hotdogs.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Usually after someone attempted a lateral press on her without hooking the leg. She would back bridge out of the pinfall and go back on the offensive.
  • Humiliating Wager
    • Madusa and Eddie Gilbert defeated Luna Vachon and Cactus Jack in a tag team hair versus hair match.
    • At WCW Hog Wild, Bull Nakano put her motorcycle on the line in a match against Madusa. Madusa destroyed it after winning.
  • I Know Karate: Before signing with All Japan Women's Wrestling, she took up training in Muay Thai, boxing and kickboxing. The result? When she got tired or frustrated with wrestling she could really lay down an ass kicking.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Not her, but Jobber Mike Thor at WCW Clash of the Champions XXI. She was scheduled to face Paul E. (w/Michael Hayes) in a "Battle of the Sexes" Exhibition Match. Before the match, Thor ran in dressed as her with his face disguised. Paul smashed the phone over "her" head, which was considered pretty shocking right there, until Paul and Hayes discovered it was Thor. Madusa herself then showed up to beat up Paul, including no-selling his one move, a flying axhandle, hitting a missile dropkick and ripping his pants off until the 5-minute time limit expired.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Madusa deserves a share of the blame for the decline of women’s wrestling in the United States, which still hasn’t recovered. The WWF women’s division was pretty much dead before she tossed away their hunk of plastic and metal, but that sealed it in a visible way, which gave WWF a pretext for scattering it to the winds. In 2015, she Tweeted proof that she didn't actually throw away the belt.
  • Multicolored Hair: Near the end of her WCW career, she began putting blue and/or red highlights in her hair, tying them into oversized pigtails like a pair of pom-poms.
  • Murderous Thighs: Applying her powerful knee to an opponent's face, threatening to squash it like a grape on the mat. It's not strictly legal, not that the referees cared much. (At best, the ref gently taps the knee with a "naughty, naughty" gesture.)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Meng defeated her in the tournament for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title on the October 25, 1999 Nitro. To be fair, he mostly just roared at her until she actually hurt him with a missile dropkick. Then he flipped out and put her in the Tongan Deathgrip.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Madusa's reaction to seeing Sherri turn up in WCW.
  • Omniglot: She speaks Japanese and recorded a music CD in the language.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: She rescued the women's division from irrelevance once, and doomed it once.
  • Power Stable:
    • In the AWA: The Diamond Exchange
    • In WCW: The Dangerous Alliance w/Paul E. Dangerously, Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Barry Windham, Larry Zybysko, Bobby Eaton
      • Team Madness w/ Randy Savage, Miss Madness, Gorgeous George, and Sid Vicious.
  • Perky Female Minion
    • She replaced rival Sherri Martel as "Mr. Magnificent" Kevin Kelly's manager in the AWA At that time Madusa also managed the AWA World Heavyweight Champion Curt Hennig. Randy Savage brought her out of "retirement" to be part of Team Madness with Gorgeous George and Miss Madness/Mona.
    • Madusa would eventually get her own perky female minion in Nitro Girl Spice.
  • Precision F-Strike: At WCW Halloween Havoc 99, the beginning of the first Vince Russo regime, she walked out in a bikini to shill the new WCW cologne. She said "This is BULLSHIT!", poured it on Bobby Heenan and left.
  • Pretender Diss: She got a lot of flak from fans of AJ Lee for proclaiming the belt was hers because she never lost it (erm...), and challenging AJ come and face her for the right to wear it. All because WWE did a photoshoot of AJ with the classic belt design. In normal situations, the OWC would recognize when they're getting worked, but with Madusa the backlash should have been expected.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Used Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" in the AWA.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Madusa thought WCW was going to take her and the other women wrestlers seriously. They didn’t.
  • Signature Move:
    • When whipped into the ropes, she would often do a handspring over the top rope to the apron, similar to Ric Flair.
    • She would slide out of a lateral press pinfall attempt by doing a back bridge.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's 5'10", which is tall enough to do the top rope headscissor pull off Trish Stratus became known for without putting her hands on the bottom ropes for aid.
  • Suplex Finisher: Ironically, she used the German Suplex despite being an Italian native and an all-American face.
  • Take That/Nice Job Breaking It, Heroine: Will be remembered not for her wrestling ability, but the time she threw the Women's belt in a trashcan on Nitronote , killing off the division until 1998. She proceeded to have a very slow-moving feud with manager Sonny Onoo and whichever wrestler he was managing (first Bull Nakano, then Akira Hokuto). This finally ended when she lost a Title vs Career match for the WCW Women's Championship to Hokuto in June 1997.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Especially in her last Survivor Series match.
  • Ur-Example: First American wrestler to sign with All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling (but far from the first American to wrestle there, as they had been relying on foreign wrestling heels for the first ten years of their existence, back in the 1960s)
  • The Rival
    • Sherri Martel was Madusa's first big one, and they faced each other in a few promotions. Madusa also faced Bull Nakano under a few different banners.
    • Missy Hyatt after Paul E. Dangerously fired her from the Dangerous Alliance.
  • The Vamp: Distracted Sting to set up Lex Luger attacking him.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Madusa won a tournament for the vacant AWA women's championship, defeating Candi Devine
    • Alundra Blayze won a tournament for the vacant WWF Women's title, pinning Heidi Lee Morgan.
  • Wham Line: "Now, this is where big GIRLS play!" *mic drop*
  • Woman in White: Micelli wrestled in all-white during her AWA and WWF runs.