20 years ago today, one of the earliest shots in the pro wrestling Monday Night Wars of the ’90s was fired.
On December 18, 1995, WCW Monday Nitro opened as it often did, with Steve “Mongo” McMichael pointing out his chihuahua Pepe’s mariachi costume. The moment was interrupted by Madusa, also known as the World Wrestling Federation’s Alundra Blayze, making her return to WCW with the WWF Women’s Championship in tow. From the Best and Worst of Nitro:
This is Madusa. If you don’t remember her, she used to be in WCW as the flea market Sherri Martel; a good worker without any competition stuck in a valet role based around how less pretty she is than the popular girls. If you want to know how bad stateside women’s wrestling was in the early 90s, she had a Clash of the Champions match against Paul Heyman. In case you were wondering why it’s “Madusa” instead of “Medusa,” it means “made in the USA.” Not a joke.
She left WCW in 1993, winning a six-woman tournament to become the new WWF Women’s Champion. They wanted to build the women’s division around her and revitalize it, so they supplemented her with some of the best female workers ever. Female wrestling in Japan in the early 90s was as good as the US stuff was bad, and is arguably the best any wrestling has ever been. WWF brought over Aja Kong and Bull Nakano, and from 93-95, WWF women’s wrestling was one of the coolest things in the world. In 1994, Madusa (calling herself Alundra Blayze) lost the WWF Women’s Championship to Nakano at Big Egg Wrestling Universe in Tokyo in front of 40,000 fans. It was a big deal.
1995 happened, and attitudes started to change. WWF brought in Stampede’s Rhonda Singh as “Bertha Faye,” an overweight lady who lived in a trailer park. Faye broke Alundra Blayze’s nose so she could take time off to get fake boobs and a nose job. A few years later the Women’s Championship would be held by folks like Miss Kitty, Mongo’s ex-wife Debra, a 76-year old Fabulous Moolah and “Harvina,” Faye’s ex-boyfriend Harvey Wippleman in drag. At some point between that — December 18, 1995 — Madusa unexpectedly returned to Nitro. With the WWF Women’s Championship. And she threw it in the garbage.
You’ve probably seen this clip on all the Monday Night Wars shows, and with good reason. Before, WWF and WCW rarely acknowledged one another. They’d say something passive-aggressive in passing, like Bischoff’s “we’re the only show on Monday night’s that’s LIVE,” but it was nothing. Luger showing up on the first episode of Nitro was something, but he didn’t show up and rip a WWF shirt in half and call Bret Hart a homo. Madusa stood in the center of the screen, said “the WWF belongs in the garbage,” then tossed it in the f*cking garbage. Shots. Fired.
Fun fact: the WCW Women’s Championship was around for less than a year, and Madusa never won it.
Things worked out okay for Madusa, as the memorableness of the incident (as well as her stellar in-ring career) saw her inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2015. Funny how things work out. Two decades later, we’re hoping somebody fishes a Women’s Championship out of the bin so Sasha Banks and a generation of talented women caught in a Divas Revolution can claim something more thematically fitting than the sparkly butterfly belt.