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DEBRA'S AOL CHAT
July, 1999 / With Bill Banks

Original credit for the transcript goes to the site I found it on (WrestlePlex) and the reporter who posted it (Nasir). I made a few edits to it, mostly spelling and punctuation. If you spot any other mistakes please let me know.


Debra McMichael chatted on AOL Wednesday night. This is the FULL transcript of the event:

WWFBBANKS: Welcome Debra, let's get started.

WWFDeb: I'm glad to be here talking to you guys and I'm looking forward to the Pay Per View this Sunday, July 25. It will be a great show!

WWFBBANKS: How do you like working with Jeff Jarrett?

WWFDeb: Jeff is great to work with. I've worked with him for a number of years now. I've really worked a lot working with him. I think we have great chemistry. It will actually be strange working with someone else. I know right it feels very odd us not working with Owen, because we all worked so well together, Jeff, Owen and me.

WWFBBANKS: Debra, do you ever see yourself working without Jeff?

WWFDeb: I'm sure on down the line it may happen. But I don't have any control over that. It depends upon how the storylines are going. I'm sure if they ever did that it'd be for a great storyline. But I hope not because I really enjoy working with him. When you're out in the ring, it takes time to get to know their moves. Working with Jeff, I know all his moves, I know where he's going to be standing. I feel very comfortable with him. Working with someone new would really be scary in the beginning. I trust Jeff and Jeff is very good with the psychology of wrestling. He's really good at saying, "Debra we're going to do this, we're going to do that." Jeff really wants it to make sense. And our fans expect that.

WWFBBANKS: Debra, when are you going to get back in the ring and wrestle?

WWFDeb: I'm really not sure. I would guess I am going to have to leave that up to the writers. I really enjoyed being the Women's Champ, it was a wonderful feeling to win that belt from Sable. But I do want the girls to have a chance at the belt. They deserve it too. They've worked really hard in wrestling. And I think it makes for a more interesting storyline if more women have a chance to win. I believe Sable had the belt for way too long. This is sports-entertainment and we have writers who write these storylines. If they write it in that I have the belt down the line, then so be it.

WWFBBANKS: How does WWF compare to WCW?

WWFDeb: I am really thankful that I had a chance at WCW because it makes me really appreciate working for the WWF. The WWF is very professional, they treat you with respect. They definitely know how to make stars out of their talent. They see something in each character that can help make you a star. Just like when they started telling me, do the business suit and start revealing parts of your body on TV. And I'm going, "Where is this going?" And then the puppies thing started. But they've really marketed me well and I'm really getting over with the fans. The WWF is just excellent at making stars out of the talent. Another thing is the WWF has writers and WCW users wrestlers as writers. Which is terrible because they'll write in their best friends in the storylines. And so the most talented people will be left out. The WWF uses everyone to their full extent. That's why we have the No. 1 and best show. That's why the WCW is so boring to watch now.

WWFBBANKS: Debra, you were seen with Stone Cold, what's going on between you guys?

WWFDeb: Yes we are a couple. I will not elaborate any more on that because that's my personal life

WWFBBANKS: How did you get your start in the business?

WWFDeb: I got my start. I was married to a guy that played in the NFL and he retired so the WCW hired him, and therefore they brought me in to be his manager. And so I worked with my ex-husband for a while and then they put me with Jeff Jarrett. And then I got a divorce and they fired me. So it's funny how that all worked out. Once I got fired, I had heard through the grapevine that the WWF was interested in me. I just called and told them that I was available and I would love to work for the company. They offered me a contract and I took it. And then they started out using my last name, just to bring in my fans from WCW. Now they've dropped the last name. But my background, I've studied acting for 6-7 years in N.Y. I always wanted to do soap operas and now I'm doing a male soap opera. But I will admit the script is a lot shorter to memorize.

WWFBBANKS: What advice do you have for a female that wants to break into the business?

WWFDeb: I would say it's very hard and from what I can tell most of the women are usually brought in by husbands, boyfriends...usually they know someone in the industry. that's how they're brought in most of the time. A small percentage is brought in by them sending in tapes.

WWFBBANKS: What do you think of Vince and Shane McMahon?

WWFDeb: I think Vince and Shane, on camera, are great characters. They know how to raise your blood pressure & get under your skin. Which makes for a very entertaining show. But off camera they're very nice and very classy. Very respectful. They always speak to you They always tell you how glad they are that you work for the company. I like that Vince does all these crazy things--bleed, get cut--he'll do all these things, that when you are asked to do it, you feel better about it. Because Vince doesn't have to do it, he owns the company and is worth millions. And he would do it too!

WWFBBANKS: Debra, what do you like to do in your spare time?

WWFDeb: In my spare time, I'm actually very boring and quiet. I'm an outdoors person. I actually go hunting believe it or not. I'm actually a bit of a tomboy off camera. I like to go four-wheeling. And I love to go water skiing and go to the gym. Any kind of activity outside. I really don't watch TV and I really don't stay inside a lot.

WWFBBANKS: What is life on the road like?

WWFDeb: Life on the road I think takes a special kind of person. In the beginning you have to just get used to it. You learn how to pack & wash your clothes. You learn how to eat healthy on the road. And you have to make sure you go to the gym every day. But the weird thing is you're body gets used to it. You become a big family with all the people you work with. If I didn't have this job, I'm probably be in a traveling theatrical group. And it's kind of the same thing. And I really will miss working for this company because it becomes addictive. When I'm at home a lot I actually get bored.

WWFBBANKS: Can we expect to see you in a Playboy spread in the future?

WWF Deb: I would love to do a Playboy spread. But only if the money is right. I think it's a very classy magazine. I normally would never do something of that nature. Playboy is the only magazine I would do that for.

WWFBBANKS: Who do you hang out with backstage?

WWFDeb: Backstage my best friend is Chyna. I hang with every night at the show and I talk to her every night at home when I'm not working. We're opposites on the outside, but on the inside we're the same person. We both think alike. We like the same things. But we just look different on the outside.

WWFBBANKS: What are you excited about concerning Fully Loaded?

WWFDeb: Pay Per Views are always high energy. It's always our best work. All our shows are really top quality. But all our storys build up to the PPV. There's a lot of energy backstage at PPV. Everyone wants to go a good job. And I think all our PPVs are exciting.

WWFBBANKS: What's in the future for you Debra?

WWFDeb: I wish I knew that myself. I hope that I can be a big part of the WWF. I would hope that one day I would be one of the top lady stars of the WWF. After this job, I hope to work in public relations for a company. I know this job will not last forever. Especially as a female. That's why I'm thinking PR because I really love this company and I really would want to do it for them. Last year I signed a two year deal with a third year optional. I would hope for another two or three year contract. I'm hoping for another four years or five years.

WWFBBANKS: Besides Jeff, who is your favorite superstar?

WWFDeb: Of course, Stone Cold. I like Chyna and Hunter. Those three are my favorites. I think those three are very educated with the psychology of wrestling. They put their heart and soul into each match. They know what they're doing out there. They know how to play the fans and put on a very entertaining match. I personally have learned a lot watching these people. And they've helped me a lot too, with my character backstage. I didn't know who to root for when Stone Cold stunned Jeff! But seriously, when I'm on camera I'm Debra the character 100 percent. The fans paid a lot of money to see us perform. My character is supposed to be very tough, very sexy and sensuous. And I try to be all those things. When they say my name I'm Debra 100 percent. And I do try to show the puppies every time.

WWFBBANKS: Do you keep in touch with anybody from WCW anymore?

WWFDeb: No. The other day I was in San Francisco and I ran into Elizabeth and Lex Luger in the gym. And that was the first time I've actually talked with anyone from that organization in a very long time. We talked for a while and it was nice to see them. But it's pretty much two different worlds. Those people, all you have in common is wrestling, and you don't want to talk about what your company is doing. So it's pretty much, "Hi, how are you?" So pretty much I don't talk to people from other companies.

WWFBBANKS: What do you think of the current "puppies" craze?

WWFDeb: I love it. I think it gives me more of an identity with my character. That even people can relate to and find it entertaining to chant. It's amazing being at the arenas now and when I walk out I can hear thousands of people chanting for the puppies. And it makes me laugh every time. And then again it's an excellent marketing tool. I've got a couple of T-shirts coming out. I'm on the cover of an upcoming RAW with two puppies. And they're making a poster of that, and they're actually going to do some hats too. So that puppies craze is definitely a good thing for me.

WWFBBANKS: The NEW puppies T-Shirt can be found in the Shopzone on WWF.com

WWFBBANKS: When you were a child, what were your career aspirations?

WWFDeb: I was a big ham. I loved to be in front of people. I was always a clown I would always act goofy to get a laugh out of people. In school I was very outgoing. I was cheerleader, homecoming queen and the most popular. And I was in the drama club. So doing this is pretty much on track with what I wanted to do. I didn't think I'd be in wrestling, but I love it. I did think I'd be in some sort of entertainment as a child.

WWFBBANKS: Did you watch the WWF when you were growing up?

WWFDeb: Growing up I never watched the WWF. I hate to admit to that. But I never did. That's why working with Jeff has helped a lot learning the business and the psychology of it. I never knew that wrestling had storylines and build up. I never knew how loyal the fans were to wrestling. And I've found out that wrestling fans are very smart and loyal and you can't trick 'em, they know what's going on. And they're very dedicated. It's so nice to work with the WWF and talk with the fans and they say "what about this storyline?" It makes you know that your work isn't going unnoticed and the fans appreciate what you do. And I know I wouldn't have a job without the fans. And I try to give the fans my heart and soul so they can enjoy the match I'm involved in.

WWFBBANKS: What was your most embarassing moment?

WWFDeb: I've had so many. Let me think. That's a tough one. I've had so many stupid and embarassing moments I can't even list them. Some of them are so embarrasing I wouldn't want anyone to know about them!

WWFBBANKS: Thank you very much Debra. Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?

WWFDeb: I just want to thank the fans for all their support and helping make our ratings so super! For you I have a job
[I don't understand that last sentence I think it was supposed to be along the lines of "without you I wouldn't have a job".]