Don't let her sugary-sweet voice, well-groomed appearance and yes, those "puppies" fool you—Debra is a sexy and savvy woman. This Lieutenant Commissioner is a force to be reckoned with in the Federation.
In an industry that has been run almost exclusively by men since its inception, any woman looking to take an administrative role in the World Wrestling Federation must possess extraordinary self-confidence and strength. Unquestionably, Debra has such strength as well as exceptional courage.
Debra is a true pioneer in sports-entertainment. True, Chyna broke ground for female competitors, with Lita following her trail, but for the first time in World Wrestling Federation history, a woman—outside of the McMahon clan—has the power, authority and ability to call the shots. It ain't no Boyz Club anymore!
"If you think about it," Debra told World Wrestling Federation Magazine, "next to Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Linda McMahon, I am the most powerful woman in the Federation. I work hand in hand with Mick Foley, and together we make decisions concerning all the Superstars—and no one can overthrow what we decide."
Debra's position as Lt. Co,missioner isn't a simple one by any means. Being in such a powerful position, she has pressures most of her male counterparts would never have to endure, like being taken seriously.
"Being Lt. Commissioner isn't an easy job," Debra said. "My greatest challenge comes when Superstars try to schmooze me, thinking I'll be easier to deal with than Mick—but that won't get them anywhere with me. I think the Superstars are beginning to finally realize that I'm just as tough as Mick Foley."
Debra and Mick are like night and day. She's soft-spoken, well-dressed in tailored Italian suits and a bit of a neat freak, while Mick is loud, dresses in yesterday's laundry and, quite frankly, a slob. When asked what it's like to work with Mick, Debra laughed, calling them "the Odd Couple".
"Mick is very easy to work with. He's very smart, he knows this business, and it's an honor to work right beside him," Debra said. "Sometimes I do get my own little office space, but usually we have to share one. And yes, he's messy, but it really doesn't bother me because the bottom line is to work for the fans and to please them."
To work for the fans—to give them what they want—is Debra's No. 1 priority. But is she just like any other politician, placating the people with empty promises she doesn't intend on keeping? And why did Mick Foley appoint her, over all of the other Federation Superstars, to be his right arm? Did Mick see in Debra the ability to sweet-talk fans and the Superstars?
According to Debra, it's the other way around. Often, the Federation Superstars—male and female alike—try to sweet-talk her, attempting to weasel out of matches or work their way into title shots that the Commissioner and his Lieutenant have already booked.
Take Edge & Christian—the master weasels—for example. One night, Mick was away due to family responsibilities, so Debra was in charge of all Federation happenings. Thinking she'd be easy to bamboozle, Edge & Christian tried to talk her into letting them face the Hardy Boyz, against whom they were barred from competing.
Debra, with her hands on her hips, said clearly, "Yes, Mick's not here, but I'm not an idiot. Request denied."
Debra stands strong to the orders she doles out—as Foley knew she would.
"[Mick] knew he needed help," Debra said. "And he also knew that my sex didn't matter; I'd get the job done. Mick know what's best for the World Wrestling Federation fans, and he knows that I will do whatever it takes to please the fans—and that includes, if I have to, showing the 'puppies' from time to time!"
Women in power positions face a serious dilemma: They often have to sacrifice their femininity to be taken seriously. Those who take on leadership roles are often disliked and disparaged as arrogant, aggressive and unfeminine. It's been said that the road to authority is tough for women, and once they get there, it's a bed of thorns.
There was a legitimate concern that with Debra's new authoritative role, she'd turn into an iron maiden—a stern and austere woman—abandoning the sexy, fun-loving Debra of yesteryear that the fans had come to know and love.
But Debra has refused to compromise her femininity in her new position. She knows how much the fans love that side of her personality, so she refuses to change. However, keep in mind that while she can still be her fun, sexy seld, she still demands respect—and gets it too. Perhaps Debra can bring women as a whole to a new height—one in which they can be in power and still be their sexy, feminine wonderful selves!
Does Debra have higher aspirations for her career in the World Wrestling Federation? Or do they end with Lt. Commissioner?
"I don't think that anyone could fill Mick's shoes, because he really is a genius. Right now, I'm very happy in the Lt. Commissioner's spot, but if something ever happened and he had to step down, I would be more than willing to fill it."
Fun and games aside, no one should forget that at heart Debra is still a businesswoman.
When she first came to the Federation, Debra made it very clear, before she agreed to sign any papers, that she would be the only one handling her business matters. It can therefore be said that Debra has only reached the tip of the iceberg of all she dreams to accomplish in the World Wrestling Federation.
All women have power—more than they realize. Debra simply has chosen to use hers.
— Story by Laura Bryson