Heyman Hustle on Yahoo Sports: Madusa was the Ronda Rousey of her day

The Turnstile
Heyman Hustle on Yahoo Sports
Heyman Hustle on Yahoo Sports

The “Heyman Hustle” and Yahoo Sports have partnered up to provide wrestling fans with exclusive content during WrestleMania week on The Turnstile blog. In his fourth blog post, Paul Heyman talks about his dear friend and WWE Hall of Famer, Madusa.

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One of the people I am most looking forward to seeing this WrestleMania week is the former Director of Covert Operations for The Dangerous Alliance, Madusa. The Fifty-and-Fabulous Fighting Femme Fatale is one of my favorite people in the world, and it's because she has scratched and clawed and struggled for every single solitary thing she has in life.

Paul Heyman with Madusa and Rick Rude.
Paul Heyman with Madusa and Rick Rude.

When Madusa broke into the sports entertainment world (around the very same time I did), she burst upon the scene in Verne Gagne's Minneapolis-based AWA. Madusa was brought in to replace "Sensational" Sherri Martel, who was as well-liked behind the scenes as she was hated by the audience who bought into her villainous persona. The Gagnes never made it a secret that Madusa was there to replace Sherri, which put Madusa in a terrible position with the rest of the locker room. To her credit, Madusa never backed down, never blinked. She befriended those who showed her respect, and stared down anyone who didn't. All rookies and newcomers have an assimilation process to survive in this industry, and Madusa's was rougher than most.

Madusa packed her bags and moved to the Far East, where she trained in combat arts. This is the part of the story where I have to confess I am not a Yahoo! Sports journalist but a guest columnist offering an insider's perspective on the personalities that make WrestleMania Week so interesting. I wish I could tell you "Madusa trained shoot fighting in a Japanese Dojo and kick boxing in Taiwan," but every time "Deuce" and I start talking about her experiences training to be a sports-driven bad-ass fighter, we end up veering off onto 20 other topics. That's just the dynamic of our relationship, how we talk with each other. We are the ultimate dysfunctional long time buddies!

Madusa's experiences in Japan (and, I believe, elsewhere in the Far East) led her to WCW, where we got to work together in The Dangerous Alliance. Madusa was my Director of Covert Operations, and our group included US Champion Ravishing Rick Rude; WCW World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton; Larry Zbyszko; and the young upstart in the group, WCW TV Champion THEN-Stunning but "NOW" Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Being the new female in WCW couldn't have been easy for Madusa, especially when her job was to be a pre-Chyna female who was willing to fight the men. Whether it was kicking Ricky Steamboat in the head, or climbing to the top of the domed War Games cage to go face-to-face with WWE Hall of Fame Inductee Sting (and this was in 1992, before Mick Foley and The Undertaker battled on top of Hell in a Cell), Madusa was always breaking ground in a business that found her to have come along a few years too early.

Even WWE's presentation of Madusa as the fiercely competitive, fit-but-feminine athlete ready to take out an entire division was ahead of its time, as the public in the mid-1990s didn't know how to react to such a character. Of course, today, one of the biggest box-office attractions in sports is UFC's Ronda Rousey. You know, a fiercely competitive, fit-but-feminine athlete ready to take out an entire division. Sound familiar?

Madusa's foray into WCW has been covered ad nauseum. She provided one of the most memorable moments of the Monday Night War by trashing the WWE Women’s Title, and eventually migrated to the sports entertainment universe of Monster Trucks. Her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame last year was well-earned and long overdue. Her emotional shoutout to her husband, a veteran Master Sergeant in the U.S. Military, showed the world her softer side. And it's a soft side she has been willing to reveal to only a select few over the years, as that rough and tough exterior has always been Madusa's calling card. But it's that rarely seen soft side that has defined her to her friends, even though we all know Madusa at her softest can still be harder than most people at their hardest.

Wonder if that includes Ronda Rousey?

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