In 2001, the Commissioner of the Professional Girls Wrestling Association (PGWA), Penny Banner, wanted
to use her prestige as a pioneering legend of women’s pro wrestling to honor others who had likewise
exemplified the best in wrestling. Thus, the PGWA established the Penny Banner Spirit of Excellence
Award and the very first woman to be honored was Leilani Kai.

Although Penny passed away in 2008, her legacy lives on, and in her memory, the Spirit of Excellence Award has been given to a small but elite list of amazing women.

Never was that truer than on the evening of Saturday, April 13, 2024, as the award was presented to none other than Debbie Combs.

Debbie was not only a legend of the ring herself, but she is the daughter of another pioneering icon, Cora Combs, the pair of them having forged a two-generation dynasty that helped shape the course of women’s professional wrestling for five decades.

The award presentation was made at the USWO/SAW show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, during an in-ring ceremony by Tony Falk and Gordon Dunaway. Accepting it, Debbie declared, “I appreciate this with all my heart.”

She recalled her mother, Cora, and spoke of how dear she was to her, as well as how she grew up in the business, sitting in the locker rooms as a child when her mother wrestled. She concluded by expressing her love for all her fans, and she was met with a rousing ovation from the capacity crowd.

Without a doubt, throughout her long and illustrious career, Debbie Combs has embodied that which is best in professional wrestling, and she exemplifies everything that the Penny Banner Spirit of Excellence Award was endowed to honor!