The early-90’s wasn’t the greatest time for women’s wrestling, especially in the WWF. For years, Miss Elizabeth was the most famous female in the company, but she was never seen mixing it up in the ring. The glory days of Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter were long gone. But when Vince McMahon decided it was time to reintroduce women’s wrestling, a new division figurehead was needed, and there was only one person it was decided was fit for the job
To be inducted by: TBC
Debuting under the moniker Alundra Blayze (done so because McMahon refused to pay out to use the well-known Madusa name), Debrah Miceli was instantly positioned as the standard bearer for the fighting females, winning the Womens Championship in December 1993 after a six-woman tournament. That bright start was immediately extinguished when it became clear that there was actually no challengers for the belt; slim pickings would have been a step-up. Come mid-1994 though, that would change when famed Japanese wrestler Bull Nakano debuted and things took a massive change for the better. It isn’t a stretch to say that the matches between the two quite often overshadowed that of the male wrestlers and offered genuine hope that the WWF were able to present an entertaining female division.
Blayze successfully defended her championship against Nakano in a great battle at SummerSlam ’94, but dropped the belt three months later on a show in Japan. Following this, the two continued to feud though their matches became less highlighted on television. After a promising start, it appeared that the momentum of Blayze, Nakano and the Womens Championship had slowed. Indeed, it took some five months before anything newsworthy happened in the division; on Monday Night Raw 24 hours after WrestleMania XI in 1995, Blayze pinned Nakano to reclaim the title. And before fears could set in of another stagnant aftermatch, new signing Bertha Faye appeared to beat down Blayze, leading to what would end up being a five-month absence.
Following her recovery from procedures on her nose and chest, Miceli returned to action as Blayze dropped the title to Faye at SummerSlam. While decent, the match did not live up to the high standards set previously between Blayze and Nakano, and fans were never truly into Faye as a monster heel as they were Nakano. Consequently, the ‘thrill of the chase’ so often a success when a babyface is chasing the heel for the title never reached the highs as Blayze battled to reclaim her title. So while her title-winning effort against Faye on October 23 of that year again proved decent, it failed to raise much excitement. It must be said, given the sporadic interest n the womens division from WWF management over the previous few years, fans were given no real reason to emotionally invest either.
Two months after her third WWF Womens title victory, WWF found themselves in need of a roster trim due to financial troubles, and Alundra Blayze was no more.
The likes of Trish Stratus and Lita invariably take the headlines when it comes to looking back at women’s wrestling, but they may not have had a path to tread if said path wasn’t laid by Blayze. Yes, the competition wasn’t always great, but Miceli added a dynamism to the WWF whenever she competed and she was a good, easy-to-like babyface. It goes without saying that she is fully deserving of her place in the WWE Hall of Fame.