On September 15, 2021, Debrah “Madusa” Miceli — who wrestled as Alundra Blayze in WWE — was presented with the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Iron Mike Mazurki Award, the industry’s top award. Here’s the transcript of what she said, preceded by her presenter, her husband, Alan Jonason.
ALAN JONASON: Good evening, everybody. My name is Alan Jonason. I’m Debrah Miceli’s husband. And I’m here to present her for the Iron Mike Mazurki Award for 2020. You’re probably wondering who the heck I am. Well, I’m her husband and she chose me to present her for this incredibly prestigious award. And I’m not so sure that was a good idea, babe. But just to give you a little background on me, I served over 30 years in the United States Army.
I appreciate that, thanks for your support. I retired in 2018. While I was in the army, we had a unique language for everyday things like chow, latrine, hooah, you know, just hundreds of different sayings in the military. And then, after being married to Deb for over 10 years now, I’ve learned a whole new language, including words like heel and babyface and highspot and bump and gimmick. What the hell is a gimmick? And where do I find this thing? I have no idea where it is, because she constantly asks for it.
Anyway, in the army, we are a family, a unique bond between warriors unlike any other, or so I thought. This week while attending my first CAC, I observed another family. Day after day I watched young and old exchange stories and knowledge. I saw old friends and colleagues pick up where they left off years ago. I heard decades of advice and knowledge being passed to other members of the family. While interacting with everyone I was made to feel like I was family. This is what makes up a family, the respect within the business and those that become invested in it. Yesterday, I invested in it, and I gladly became a lifetime member of this family.
While I was doing research for this award, I saw that the prerequisites for the award are such that, and I quote, the nominee must be immediately recognizable both to those in wrestling and to many people outside wrestling. The nominee must be recognized as having achieved success in more than one field — recognition and success in more than one field. Hmm, wife, stepmother, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, certified master dog groomer, poster model — anybody here have a copy of that poster? Anybody? I do! Actress, recording artist and singer, although we don’t talk about that when we’re at home. “Whooo’s Madusa?” It’s so good. Look it up on YouTube, it’s amazing. I’m serious. Look it up. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic.
AWA Women’s Champion 1987; Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year 1988, the first woman to ever win the award; IWA World Women’s Champion 1989; first American woman to sign a contract with All Japan women’s wrestling; three-time WWE World Champion; first woman to hold the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship; 2004 Monster Jam freestyle World Champion — she is the first and only woman to win a freestyle World Championship in monster trucks; 2005 Monster Jam racing world champion — she is the first and only woman to win a racing world championship in Monster Jam; Number 7 among the 50 greatest WWE female superstars of all time; WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2015; Guinness Book of World Records holder, first woman to drive and backflip a monster truck, 2018; WWE 24/7champion, 2019; Pro Wrestling Illustrated Stanley Weston Lifetime Achievement Award winner, 2020. The list goes on and on. And she is just getting started.
Recognizable in and out of wrestling? Check. Successful in more than one field? Check. Ladies and gentlemen, Debrah Miceli defines success in any field. Please join me in welcoming the 2020 Iron Mike Mazurki Award winner, my beautiful wife, Debrah Miceli.
DEBRAH MICELI: There’s a lot to follow here tonight. … There’s so many that I haven’t seen here tonight, and some I’ve just met. And I want to give the applause to you in the room. And everybody here. Thank you.
So, now we’re gonna have some fun. Rob [Van Dam], I need a joint. I’ve never smoked. … Just kidding. I’ve never been one to do drugs or get high or anything but that sounds pretty good, to calm my nerves.
We were talking about, I think it was Tim [White], Tim and I were talking a little earlier about age and how you get older. And it was right when I hit 40 my eyes went. So I need my glasses for my speech.
Also, when you hit 50, your body starts slowing down. And you know, it’s a little hard to move around and, now I’m going to be 60 and I’ve always got to pee. I get that. But being a pro wrestler, and a pretty good one at that, because I don’t know if any of you can relate, but when you’re going down the road and you’re traveling with all guys, and you’re the only girl, you learn how to pee in a cup. I’m just saying, it’s a true story. Y’all think I’m crazy, but when you traveled with some of these legends, they don’t let you out for nothing.
All right, honored members of the CAC, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I’m extremely honored and humbled to be standing here tonight, alongside all of the 2020 CAC honorees to accept the prestigious Iron Mike Award. Thank you.
… Names like Mike Mazuki and Madusa Miceli are symbolic. Though I do not have the trademark cauliflower ear as he so rightfully earned, I do have an ear for the business. As we gather here annually, it is important to recognize and continue to carry out their tradition of the ring of friendship. At the end of the day, we are brothers and sisters with an incredible opportunity to honor and give back to those in need.
A while ago, I ran into Brian Blair, and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff at the airport. We ended up conversing all the way to the Delta Sky Room. We chatted, got caught up, and at the same time I’ve learned of Paul’s decline in health. This validated that spending more time with friends and family is very important. I didn’t realize that that was the last time I was going to see Paul. And I was crushed to hear of his passing. I knew right then and there I wanted to be a part of CAC and called Brian the next week and said I want to be a lifetime member, damnit, and I became one.
I love you, Brian.
I’ve had so many friends and colleagues pass in these businesses, and it doesn’t get any easier. I am happy with what the CAC does for others, and that is why it’s so important to me to promote the importance of the CAC, what it represents, and what it can do for those in need.
I did not grow up planning to be a wrestler, nor was I planning to do backflips in a monster truck. As a child, I had no idea where I was going or what I wanted to do when I grew up. Survival has always been instinctual for me. And I learned early on as a child that I didn’t want to survive, I wanted to thrive. I was bullied and mocked because I came from a broken family, with hand-me-down clothes and was on welfare. All of the adversity I survived as a young girl helped shape me into the tenacious woman I am today.
As a young woman, my initial introduction into the entertainment industry was due to Ky Michelson. Ky Michelson was a premier Hollywood stunt coordinator, so immediately my thoughts raced towards acting and becoming a stuntwoman. However, that’s not exactly what happened. Instead, he introduced me to Ed Sharkey, who was an independent wrestling promoter in Minnesota. My time with Ed Sharkey taught me many lessons. I went broke, lost my car, lived with friends, depleted my savings, and ended up living on the streets. I lost everything. I tell you this because not only is it true, it taught me some amazing lessons. Little did he know, it forced me to toughen up and never give up. His tough tactics would be considered barbaric by today’s standards. But it worked. I didn’t like it, but it made me tougher and gave me more incentive to fight to change the trajectory of women’s wrestling. I mean, after three years he finally frickin’ paid me $5 — that’s a shoot, that’s real, it is.
While wrestling for Ed in Minnesota, I discovered that some of the most legendary wrestlers in the business were right in my backyard. The Gagnes, the Hennigs, Road Warriors, Paul Ellering, Rick Rude, Nikita Koloff, Nick Bockwinkel, and so many more were right there wrestling in the AWA. I had no idea where I was going into business until one day I got that call from Wahoo McDaniel.
Yes! Really quick, I’m going to tell you, so Wahoo, whenever we would wrestle, he’d always say, “Madusa, come over here, I’ve got a spray can.” He’d make me spray paint the back of his bald spot every time he wrestled and I was the one that had to spray paint his head. And I had black crap all over my hand, and then, oh my gosh. I had to tell a story.
That one phone call changed my life and was a pivotal moment in my introduction to the world of professional wrestling. I love my time in AWA and became the Women’s Champion in a tournament after the great Sherri Martel, she left to go to the WWE, and shortly afterwards, at the Showboat in Las Vegas, I wrestled Chigusa Nagayo. After the match, I was introduced to promoters from Japan, who invited me to go to Japan and wrestle with All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling. I knew how important it was to go to Japan, to hone my craft, as well as earn respect and legitimacy within the business. I spent three years in Japan and while there, again, lost everything due to a unscrupulous management, and again was forced to start all over again and reinvent myself.
Once back in the United States, I immediately began wrestling in the independent scene to showcase everything I had learned in Japan. I applied what I learned in Japan with my existing skills, which became a style unlike anything anyone had seen. That style caught the attention of World Championship Wrestling, so quickly that they signed me to the contract.
After my first stint with WCW, I began to wrestle in the independent scene for about a year. I met Brandon Pender of the martial arts world in California. After meeting Brandon, I finally made a few movies, and my Hollywood dreams are starting to come true came to fruition.
So during this time of independents, we had fun, you get to travel the world, you get to go to different countries and have some fun.
Well, this first time I went to Africa, I went to Zimbabwe. Wow. I felt really guilty wrestling there after seeing what was around me. But I had fun — so much fun with all the other wrestlers. It was the Bushwhackers. We were at the bar in Africa — hold on — we were in the bar in Africa with the Bushwhackers, it was Cheryl Rusa and I, of GLOW. And we were just minding our own business, having a few beers, and we turned around and there were the Bushwhackers all bloodied from their nose. We’re like oh my god. Of course, us wrestlers all have fun, they were drinking and they got into a scuffle. And they were going absolutely bonkers. One of them was bleeding so bad, I just turned around and handed him a tampon. Well, you know what they do? They absorb blood, whatever. So I thought, as a woman, here, use this. Well, he shoved it up his nose with this string hanging, and he’s going, “Hey, mate, all the way down to the airplane, bloody hell.” Oh my gosh, I really am sorry, but it was a true story.
That’s the stuff that we dealt with too. So good.
During this time, I was also introduced to Pat Patterson of WWE. My introduction into the WWE was eye opening, as I had never wrestled on such a grand stage, and expectations for me were high. I became Women’s Champion in a tournament against my very dear friend, Heidi Lee Morgan. And with that my life changed forever. I went on to win the WWE Women’s Women’s Championship three times during my tenure, and as WWE was transitioning, the women’s division was eliminated yet again. And I was forced to adapt and overcome and survive.
However, I got fired by a guy in here. He’s here tonight. I still have that letter of termination that came to a FedEx — not even a phone call and said you’re done. Right, JJ Dillon?
That’s okay. I love him. JJ was so good to me. He was just doing his job. That’s all. I’ve still got that letter. Oh my gosh.
So again, I was forced to adapt and overcome to survive, but this time, I was going to be noticed and heard.
After my release from WWE, legend has it that a phone call was made by someone to someone asking about going to work for World Championship Wrestling. This phone call made by whoever from whoever led to probably the most iconic moment in wrestling history, and a moment that will forever be remembered. I still have the belt and your letter.
In WCW, I was booked to wrestle in bikini and BBQ matches. And I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the direction the wrestling business was headed for women. I hated the way I was being booked. Was that you Kevin Sullivan? I just remembered, Kevin. Okay, no, maybe it wasn’t. I love you. I hated the way I was being booked. I gave notice that I was retiring from professional wrestling at the end of my contract in 2001.
While still under contract with WCW, I received a call from Mike Weber, who used to work for WCW, asking if I was interested in driving monster trucks. I was like, “Um, I’ve never seen one. Okay, but I’m a gearhead. I ride Harleys, four wheelers. But, okay, I’ll check it out.” So not knowing anything about monster trucks, I quickly realized that this is a great moment and it would be great to be the first woman to drive a monster truck for Monster Jam. So I did. And within five years, I became the Monster Jam freestyle champion. And the following year, I beat the legendary Dennis Anderson of Grave Digger and became the first woman racing champion.
Let me tell you about that night. Oh my god. So I’m sitting in my truck, and it’s like 1,500 horsepower underneath your ass. Yeah! If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can understand right? I’m like, whaaaat? It’s like so cool. And you have trees, they’re lights, they’re trees for racing. So we are getting ready to race, and I can barely hear anything, and I hear the announcer Scott Douglas in the back. And all you have is like, “Oh my god, can you can you imagine? Do you believe what is happening? You have man against woman, Chevy against Ford” — I’m a Ford girl — “and teacher against good student!” I’m like inside my head, “Can you just shut up and just go?” Because your adrenalin is so high, right? Well, and the rest is history. So that was a great moment. In 2018, I officially retired from Monster Jam.
So throughout my life, I continued my education. I became a master dog groomer, a certified life coach, a Reiki Master, a yoga instructor, a personal trainer, and during the lockdown, I became immersed into the world of professional gaming on Twitch. I mean, what almost 60-year old-woman does that? … Hey, my intuition has always guided me and kept me ahead of the business curve. Using all that I have learned. I am launching the next chapter of my career. So tonight, I’m really proud to announce, very, very excited that I have signed with ECW [Press] to publish my biography.
Thank you, Greg Oliver for not spilling the beans earlier in your speech. Thank you to Michael Holmes at ECW, and my co-writer Greg Oliver, as he navigates through the years of memories to write and publish my story. Greg Oliver was honored this evening with the James C. Melby Historian Award, and I can’t thank him enough for his patience. Thank you.
It is with incredible humility that I accept this great honor, not so much as an award of what I have achieved, but as a standard to hold against what I have yet to accomplish. The largest share of credit belongs with my colleagues in professional wrestling, motorsports and the entertainment industry. It is in good conscience to give credit where credit is due, to Ky Michaelson, Ed Sharkey, Mike Weber, Brandon Pender, dear sentimental, generous, courageous men who took a chance on an unknown and untried amateur. To my friends in the business, mentors and fans. I humbly thank you. Speaking of friends in the business, Mr. Arezzi, where are you? Oh, hi.
So, if you don’t know who John Arezzi, is, he’s an amazing man, a great promoter and a great bullsh@tter — no really, he’s a great guy. So what I want to know, John is how did we not go to jail in the Philippines? How in the hell did we not go to jail?
JOHN AREZZI: Ask Kevin.
MICELI: Kevin? Wasn’t it Singapore where we almost got caned for chewing gum?
KEVIN: Yes, among other things.
MICELI: Or what about this shenanigans? Jake the Snake. Hold on, I’ll keep it good. The shenanigans from Jake the Snake was when he locked me in a dressing room, and he threw that big ass canvas bag with that cold blooded python hissing — oh no, it’s a shoot. That thing came out of the canvas. I was scared to death. And I climbed up a wall. How do you climb up a wall? All of a sudden I grabbed a pipe from above. And I looked behind me and here’s a snake climbing up a wall. I lost my cookies. Oh my gosh. It was bad. But that was with Jake the Snake.
Or better yet? How in the hell did we ever get through Customs with the ringposts stuffed with cocaine? Kevin Sullivan?
Yes, yes. And none of us knew about it. How the hell did that happen? Or did you? Is that why you [Arezzi] left for 20 years? I think that’s why you left for 20 years, that’s what you did! Yes, why else would he leave after that? I am kidding. And the other promoter, shit, he’s rich as hell and a 20,000 square foot home but we were still poor ass, golly. We were just broke.
To all of my amazing magazine writers, who were my social media back in the day, Bill Apter, George Napolitano and my dearest, dearest friend from from afar, Fumi Saito — there’s so many more that made our careers when there wasn’t social media. Thank you. The photographers and videographers, you guys were great, because when you got my way you became part of my match. Thank you so much.
Also many thanks to my dear friend Leonard Kaplan who flew me from Japan to film his wrestling talk show and meet my ultimate fanboy Carmine DeSpirito. Oh my god, he had the biggest crush on me, it was so creepy, so bad. I still have old love letters from him. I kept those too, and the letter, and the belt.
My book is gonna be amazing.
FAN: I’ll buy two copies.
MICELI: Well, thank you.
My dear friends, it is impossible to acknowledge everyone who has contributed to my success, but please know that each and every one of you have left an incredible mark on my life. And I can’t thank you enough for your love and support throughout the years.
I want to thank Mr. Vince McMahon, Sue Aitcheson and Tim, Tim White, and the entire WWE Universe. I’m so proud to be a WWE Hall of Famer, thank you.
Also, thank you to all of the hard working staff here and the CAC, everyone here at the Gold Coast casino and all of our wonderful, wonderful policemen and cops thank you so much for what you do.
I’ve had a wonderful week. As I close here, I have a message to anyone aspiring to be in the entertainment business, something I kept telling myself and just a little secret that can help you keep on path when you’re feeling defeated.
Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracies of one’s actions. Never compromise your integrity.
If there’s one thing I can say to help encourage you, it is when you feel defeated, visualize your greatest strength. Your character is louder than words and your integrity defines you.
And for me, I’m not done. I am forever growing. Do not think for one moment I would ever leave these businesses. My heart is here. I will always be back to claim it. Here’s to the past, to the present and to the future. Thank you and good night. I love you all. Thank you so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
TOP PHOTO: Madusa Miceli with her Iron Mike Mazurki Award. Photo by Brad McFarlin.
NOTE: Madusa Miceli / Alundra Blayze will be appearing live today, September 26, 2021, at The Wrestling Collector, 2772 State Route 23, 2772 State Route 23, from 2-5 p.m. Autographs and photo ops will be available. Call (973) 697-1421 for more info.
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