As has been reported, the annual "Where Are They Now?" issue of Sports Illustrated currently out on newsstands features an in-depth look at WWE, as well as stories on Rikishi, Tito Santana, and Debrah Miceli (also known as Alundra Blayze and Madusa). SI.com has published its story on Miceli, where she talks about crossing paths with Vince McMahon for the first time in 20 years last March.
In December 1995, WWE—then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)—opted not to renew Miceli's contract. She signed with WCW, and as part of an angle concocted by Eric Bischoff, showed up on a live episode of WCW Monday Nitro to throw the WWF Women's Title belt into a trash can. After years of feeling like a pariah, she contemplated showing up at WWE's headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut to return the belt, which she kept in her home safe. In January, Miceli received a phone call from a WWE executive informing her the company was inducting her into its Hall of Fame. During a run-through before the ceremony in San Jose, California, she met McMahon for the first time since leaving the sports-entertainment organization. They exchanged pleasantries before having an emotional embrace.
"We both just held each other and I squeezed him so tight," Miceli says, who was told by McMahon that she could keep the belt. "I started getting emotional and kind of crying."
During their hug, Miceli apologized to McMahon for what she did. The WWE Chairman and CEO told her that she was the kind of performer his company needs today.
"I think I almost fainted," says Miceli.
In response to constant questions about dumping the WWF Women's Championship belt in the trash on WCW Monday Nitro, Miceli's inductor, Natalya, brought out a trash can during the ceremony. Miceli withdrew the belt, which she stressed was a good-looking "women's wrestling belt," and said it was finally "back home where it belongs." She held the belt on her shoulder, and referred to herself as the reigning WWF Women's Champion. Miceli told Sports Illustrated that she was taken aback by the warm reception she received that weekend.
"I never knew people felt this way," Miceli says. "I always thought they hated me." Even the younger generation? "I didn't think they gave two s--ts."
Miceli noted to Sports Illustrated that she signed a five-year contract with WWE that includes merchandise and personal appearances. Regarding this, she cryptically says, "It could be anything."
Miceli has also stayed in touch with a handful of WWE's current crop of women and has grown particularly fond of those in NXT. The group, headlined by NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte, reminds her of time wrestling in Japan. She is optimistic they will shake things up in WWE.
"There's gonna be a great, great change," Miceli says. "Watch and see what happens. It's gonna be wonderful."
In addition to monster truck racing (her contract with Monster Jam expires at the end of the year and she is currently in negotiations for a new deal), Miceli is working on her doctorate in naturopathy and recently spent a month studying in the Bahamas to become a certified yoga instructor. She is also writing a book about her career.
"There's something more coming," Miceli says, who hopes her next chapter is her best yet. "I can feel it."
Miceli also discusses her entry into professional wrestling, competing in Japan, facing bankruptcy in the early 1990s, being let go by WWE, infamously dumping the Women's Title belt into a trash can, the tail end of her wrestling career in WCW, and of course, monster truck racing.