It’s been rumored for weeks, and with only days to go before the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony this Friday (Mar. 31) in Los Angeles, PEOPLE got to make it official. Stacy Keibler is a member of the Hall’s 2023 class along with Rey Mysterio, The Great Muta & Andy Kaufman.
A fan who debuted as a WCW “Nitro Girl” in 1999 after winning a nationwide competition, Keibler was predominantly a valet or manager throughout her relatively brief career. After coming over to WWE in 2001 as part of the Invasion storyline, she’d work alongside The Dudleys, Vince McMahon, Test, and Scott Steiner.
A former beauty pageant contestant and trained dancer, Keibler’s characters were usually based around her sex appeal. Her main run with WWE, which ended in 2006, took place during the era of lingerie and pillow fight matches — a sharp contrast to the “evolved” image the company pitches for its women’s wrestling today.
PEOPLE’s profile doesn’t dwell on how Stacy was presented, and spends as much time covering her post-wrestling life as an actress, wife & mother as it does on her wrestling career. For her part, the 43 year old from Maryland says she found out about her induction a couple weeks ago. Since then she’s been processing it, and is grateful and gracious about being recognized:
“I never thought I would be in the Hall of Fame, to be honest. I was completely shocked when I got the call... My husband’s coming, my husband’s family’s coming, my family, my kids. We have friends coming from L.A., from Austin. So it’s really exciting because a lot of these people didn’t get to see me in action.
“I get tears in my eyes every time. How am I going to keep it together? I got to keep it together.
“The fans are the ones that made it possible. I owe so much to them for getting me to this point in my career. I’ve spent time just reflecting, and I feel so lucky to have this extraordinary time with the organization, the community, but most of all the fans. And it’s shaped my life, and there’s nothing else that can get me more excited in the exact same way as being live in front of the WWE fans. Their passion is contagious. So I’m just so excited.”
Fans can, and will, debate Keibler’s credentials. But the WWE Hall of Fame has never had defined qualifications for entry, and Stacy was a very popular performer during her time in the business who worked hard to get whatever act she was a part of over. Congratulations are in order, even if you personally question her selection.
So congrats, Duchess of Dudleyville! We’ll see you Friday night at Crypto.com Arena.