When one thinks of the most popular female WWE managers in the past, immediately the names Sunny, Terri Runnels, Sherri Martel, Lana and Miss Elizabeth cross our minds. However, one of the most forgotten and over-looked valets of the Attitude Era is former Women's Champion Debra.
Between 1998 and 2000, Debra Marshall actively brought in high TV ratings, appearing ringside while managing the likes of Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, Chyna, The Rock and then-husband Stone Cold Steve Austin.
She has been on the cover of RAW Magazine multiple times and was also voted as PWI Woman of the Year and PWI Manager of the Year in 1999. Before WWE, she also appeared in WCW alongside Jarrett, until the duo jumped ship to WWE in the late 90s.
During her time with WWE and WCW, Debra appeared mostly as a valet and very rarely as an in-ring competitor. Towards the end of her career, Debra transcended more into backstage roles but made her presence felt.
With that being said, it's hard to look away when someone slaps Vince McMahon, Ric Flair, or the Undertaker. She left WWE in mid-2002 along with her husband and never made an appearance with the company again.
Despite being quite athletic and having trained backstage, she was not made to get too physical in the ring. That, however, did not stop her from having a handful of memorable moments during her time in backstage and in-ring segments. Below are the highlights and most memorable moments from her career:
#5 Debra's rivalry with Ivory
Debra's in-ring matches are limited in number, having competed in only 10 televised matches during her time with WWE. When she arrived in 1998, women were not considered as performers. The likes of Jacqueline, Tori, Luna Vachon and Sable seemed to be the four corners of the Women's Division, while Chyna and Terri Runnels mostly served valet roles at the time.
She aligned herself with long-time WCW ally Jeff Jarrett and the late Owen Hart, often assisting them during matches by distracting their opponents.
Her first ever-match happened to be an Intergender Tag match alongside Jarrett against D'Lo Brown and the debuting Ivory. The fans went berserk to see Debra (someone who would never expect to mix it up with the other ladies in the ring) get into a "cat-fight" with the future WWE Hall of Famer.
Although the match ended in a quick disqualification, Debra had eyes rolling when she broke Jeff Jarrett's guitar over Ivory's back, much to the crowd's bewilderment. They subsequently went brawled again on multiple episodes of Sunday Night Heat, RAW as well as on pay-per-views, with Ivory attempting to choke out Debra with her scarf on multiple occasions.
#4 Competing in the Women's division
Debra eventually won her first and only Women's Championship match after dethroning Sable in an Evening Gown match. She appeared as a champion at the Over the Edge pay-per-view where she and Jarrett competed against Nicole Bass and Val Venis. That match was all the in-ring action we got to see from Debra before losing the title next month. To her credit, she managed to get some offense against the mighty Nicole Bass by attacking her on the turnbuckle and even managing a kick on Bass' behind before quickly tagging out.
Debra soon ended up losing the title to her rival, Ivory, who was seemingly hungry for championship gold, following a major assist from a very scorned Nicole Bass. During this match, Debra managed to take a few flip bumps such as Snapmares, something we as viewers wouldn't expect from her as a valet.
Nonetheless, Debra's title reign came to a quick end and her days as an active competitor were numbered. However, she still managed to keep her name etched in the history books.
Debra carried this momentum when she turned on her partners, Jeff Jarrett and Miss Kitty. Jarrett, at the time, was involved in a heated rivalry with Chyna, and he actively berated other women performers (as a part of his gimmick) on live television.
He attacked Jacqueline, Lilian Garcia and eventually Debra after she refused to tag-in during an Intergender match against Test and Stephanie McMahon. She disappeared for a while but returned on the Unforgiven PPV when she hit Jarrett on the head with a guitar, in a match for the Intercontinental Title against Chyna.
She then teamed up with Chyna the next week to defeat Jarrett and Tom Prichard in an intergender match. Chyna eventually went on to win the Championship from Jarrett in a good-Housekeeping match at No Mercy, ending the storyline rivalry with him (in real life Jarrett was released from the WWF).
Debra competed in her final match on the 13th Survivor Series in 1999 when she began a brief rivalry with Terri Runnels. She alongside Tori, the Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young defeated the team of Jacqueline, Ivory, Luna and Terri in the traditional Eight Women Survivor Series Tag match. Although she never officially tagged in, she brawled with Runnels in the ring after the match.
After this, Debra stayed off television while her real-life partner, Stone Cold Steve Austin, was recovering from neck surgery during the time.
#3 As Lieutenant Commissioner and The Rock's Manager
Debra returned to WWE programming at Backlash in 2000, serving as the special guest ring announcer for the opening match. She then reappeared several months later when Commissioner Mick Foley introduced her as his Lieutenant Commissioner. She sanctioned matches for the Women's Championship, while also appearing in memorable segments with Foley, supporting him in backstage politics with the other Superstars.
She and Foley also hosted the famous Thanksgiving food-fight episode on Smackdown, which subsequently became an annual tradition on WWE programming.
Despite the magic that two shared on-screen, she soon returned to being a valet. Mr.McMahon inserted her into a high profile rivalry between The Rock and Stone Cold's rivalry when he assigned her to manage her husband's rival. Debra was more often than not the bridge between the two, who reluctantly teamed up against the likes of Triple H and Kurt Angle.
Stone Cold and The Rock's rivalry further ignited during this time after The Brahma Bull failed to prevent Angle and Rikishi from attacking Debra, while she was out managing him ringside. On an episode of Smackdown, Rikish attempted to stink-face Debra, only to have Stone Cold break out into the ring in the nick of time for the save.
Debra was scheduled to be ringside during The Rock and Stone Cold's match for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania X- Seven but was relieved from her managerial role by McMahon after she failed to prevent a brawl between the two.
Following the end of the feud, Debra appeared only sporadically in backstage segments with Austin, slowly developing a more villainous persona. Once the Invasion storyline began in mid-2001, she and her husband aligned with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H when WCW and ECW invaded the WWF.
#2 Mrs. Rattlesnake
In 2001, Debra aligned herself with her real-life husband, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the duo was a part of WWE's most famous storylines, the Invasion. By this time, Debra completely stepped back from in-ring appearance and only supported Stone Cold in backstage segments.
She dropped her previous gimmick of the sultry businesswoman and dawned the "Mrs. Rattlesnake" gimmick, often appearing in backstage segments with Austin, Kurt Angle and the McMahon.
Superstars feared getting into a confrontation with her since it also meant that they would have to tangle themselves up with her husband. On an episode of Smackdown, Lita received a stunner from Austin, when she and Debra got slightly physical during a match between The Rattlesnake and Matt Hardy.
During this time, Debra began baking her special cookies backstage, which other Superstars such as Mr. McMahon and Kurt Angle reluctantly agreed that they liked. New arrival, Stacy Keibler was at the behest of a severe beating by Debra, when she and Shawn Stasiak accidentally crossed her by dropping a can of milk over her head.
Following a failed attempt at a peace offering of cookies, Keibler was smacked several times by Debra, suggesting she didn't take too kindly to cookie-rivals in WWE.
Austin, who often poked fun at Debra and her cookies in hilarious segments also faced his wife's temper on several occasions. She never hesitated to put him in his place, be it by dropping a cup of hot coffee on him or by clocking him in the head with her cookie-tray in the middle of the ring.
Nonetheless, Debra was one of the frontal on-screen figures during 2001, having appeared in multiple storylines throughout the year.
#1 Slap-a-thon with Stephanie McMahon
One of the most popular slaps in WWE belongs to the Billion Dollar Princess, Stephanie McMahon. However, someone who often gave her stiff competition in this department was none other than Debra, who has had her fair share of slaps throughout her career.
By early 2002, Stone Cold and Debra's alliance with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon fell through and there was seemingly high tension developing between the two top couples of the company.
On the January 14th episode of RAW, Debra and Stephanie McMahon got involved in one of the biggest backstage brawls that the viewers had ever seen. It all began when a few pushes from McMahon infuriated Debra enough for her to land a tight slap across Stephanie's face. The two brawled until backstage officials pulled them apart.
Debra would soon walk out of the company with Austin. Although, Austin returned the following year, she never showed up on WWE programming again and separated from him in real-life as well.
Despite Debra not being featured as alumni by WWE today, this backstage brawl was listed on WWE's Top 10 slap-a-thon moment, more than a decade later on their YouTube channel.
Currently, Debra is involved in judicial academics, after having obtained a Master's in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama. She frequently appears at wrestling events for meet and sessions to sign autographs but has not appeared on a wrestling show for more than a decade now.
Debra was truly, one of the most iconic figures during the Attitude Era.
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