The MADUSA Story
By Debrah “Madusa” Miceli and Greg OIiver
Foreword by Paul Heyman
March 2023, ECW Press
Through four decades of entertaining, in the wrestling ring and on the monster truck circuit, Debrah “Madusa” Miceli never could sit still. But her desire to learn, grow, and inspire legions of followers masked deep secrets … Her upbringing was a lie from the start, and the dark truths of her childhood, revealed here for the first time, are the earliest examples of Debrah’s determination to persevere.
Professional wrestling may have been an odd choice for a nursing student, but Madusa went all-in, toughening up in Japan before conquering WWE as Alundra Blayze. She held the WWE Women’s belt … until being fired. In the rival WCW, Madusa infamously tossed the WWE belt in the garbage on live TV.
Then, in 1999, Madusa changed lanes and revolutionized the monster truck world. At meet-and-greets, girls in pink “Queen of Carnage” t-shirts would wait alongside ogling fanboys. By 2004, she was the world champion in a sport dominated by men.
Only one thing has eluded her: motherhood.
This is the spellbinding story of how one woman survived child abuse, financial disaster, death-defying injuries, heartbreak, and chaos to emerge triumphant.
- Goodreads has a few already; some highlights: “Madusa doesn’t really pull any punches but doesn’t go out of her way to get sued either.”; “Recommended for wrestling fans, and for people who enjoy stories about people overcoming adversity, and succeeding in what they love, and actually loving themselves while doing it.”; and “The ghostwriter she worked with did a phenomenal job capturing her voice and attitude.”
- John Lister at Pro Wrestling Books: “Definitely more of a life story than a wrestling book, this should still appeal to Miceli’s fans.”
- Lavie Margolin at www.lioncubjobsearch.com: “Overall, every chapter was immediately engaging and one could follow along with Madusa’s journey (even if most could not imagine overcoming the difficult circumstances in order to succeed that she did).”
- Lance Lumley at his LanceWrites blog writes: “If the reader wants to know more about who the person behind the spotlight, they will get a wonderful glimpse of the person with struggles and views on various topics, including at times the current wrestling world.”
- Alan Wojcik, who has been covering pro wrestling since 2001, noted that Madusa truly put it all out there in a Facebook post on April 3, 2023: “I commend Ms. Miceli for not holding anything back and she deserves praise for her courage and honesty.” And I appreciated this note: “Turns out the drama and politics in wrestling has nothing on the monster truck world” since so little has ever been written (for adults) about the monster truck world.
RACING TO NO. 1
I hadn’t really been paying attention to sales for The Woman Who Would Be King, but on March 21, 2023, I poked into Amazon.com and there we were #1 in Motor Sports Biographies. It got my motor running!
I do want to point out that, while it’s all well and good to be excited about a No. 1 book, the fact is that Amazon does not release its metrics, so that could mean that a book sold 10 copies to be #1, or it could be 1,000. Let’s hope on the latter!
A COVER! TWO COVERS!
It can be a long, slow process putting a book together. At least when you’re writing it, it’s in your hands. However, the actual cover is definitely out of the writer and subject’s hands, and there’s a certain amount of faith in the publisher needed as we don’t get to be hands on. Do we make suggestions? Of course. But in the end, it’s the designer, working with a variety of people, including the sales team, that put together the finished project.
The cover for Gibby: Tales of a Baseball Lifer was finished first, and the complication was finding the actual owner of the photo that the fine folks at ECW Press found and loved. Eventually, we figured it out, and it’s a sweet cover.
With The Woman Who Would Be King: The MADUSA Story, Debrah Miceli knew what she wanted and fought hard to get it. She hired a photographer for a private shoot with all the props, and then submitted her favorites. ECW Press played around a lot with ideas — once the title was decided upon, and that was a process in and of itself.
In July 2022, I went down to Florida to work further with Madusa on her book, and to do a deep dive into all the stuff she has accumulated through the years — memorabilia, photos, paperwork, outfits, shoes and boots. It was sweaty but rewarding work.
Press Release: ECW Press to publish Debrah “Madusa” Miceli’s memoir
(TORONTO, SEPTEMBER 2021) Through 40 years of entertaining fans, in the wrestling ring and on the monster truck circuit, Debrah “Madusa” Miceli never could sit still. Her constant desire to learn, to grow, to inspire legions of followers masked deep secrets.
Her upbringing was a lie from the start, and evolved into pain and torture. The forbidden truths of childhood, revealed for the first time in her untitled memoir, coming in Spring 2023, are the earliest examples of Miceli’s determination to overcome, listening to her voice, never wavering in a belief that things would get better.
Professional wrestling was an odd foray for a nursing student, but she went all-in, setting high standards in the ring and for herself. The punishing style she learned and adopted in Japan suited someone who needed constant challenges. In WWE, she was known as Alundra Blayze, and held the company’s Women’s title … until being fired out of the blue by a letter delivered via FedEx. The rival WCW hired her, and Madusa made waves by tossing the WWF’s Women’s title in a trash can on live TV.
It was not an easy ride in the misogynistic world of professional wrestling. The colorful villains on the screen were one thing, but the behind-the-scenes power brokers were more vile, harassing and abusing with impunity, deft in sowing distrust by pitting employees against each other, and lightning quick to cover up any scandalous behavior.
In 1999, Madusa joined the world of motorsports, thinking she was ready for the southern boys that make up the Monster truck motor sport world. The lessons learned in pro wrestling prepared her for another male-dominated profession, and this time she rolled over them—quite literally—ignoring their lack of respect for women. Instead, she began a whole new revolution for women in that revved up world.
Soon enough, she was a rarity, a driver who was more famous than the monster truck itself. At meet and greets, little girls in pink “Queen of Carnage” t-shirts would be alongside ogling fanboys. The pinnacle for Miceli and her Madusa truck were world championships in 2004 and ’05.
Wrestling and monster trucks were hardly the only paths for the restless Miceli. At various points, she taught yoga, groomed dogs, designed custom motorcycles, was a personal trainer, practised Reiki healing, and studied natural health. Through it all, she was a public figure, trying to balance out the demands of speaking engagements and personal appearances with real life.
Yet for all her triumphs and championships, and a WWE Hall of Fame induction, one thing has eluded her: motherhood. While involved in two macho sports, Miceli tried repeatedly to get pregnant, and even when she did, naturally or artificially, it was never successful. Even an adoption fell through dramatically at the last minute in a courtroom.
This is a tale you have never heard, and it will leave you wondering how one woman survived through so much chaos, heartbreak, bumps and bruises.
The Madusa Story is about turning tragedy into triumph, relying on hard work and determination, finding inspiration and motivation in the darkest times, and not letting your past define you.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Debrah “Madusa” Miceli is a force of nature. Originally a Minnesota home girl, she has lived around the world, but currently calls Florida home with her husband, Alan, and their dog, Daisy. Engaged and active on social media, her online home is www.madusa.com
Greg Oliver is the author or co-author of 17 books, from entertainment to professional wrestling, from hockey to kids books. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Meredith, and their son, Quinn. Visit www.OliverBooks.ca for all his books and projects.
Both Miceli and Oliver will be honored at the upcoming Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, September 13-15, 2021, in Las Vegas. Oliver will be receiving the James C. Melby Historian Award and Miceli will receive the Iron Mike Mazurki Award, named after the CAC’s founder, Mike Mazurki, which is considered the top award in the pro wrestling industry.