Trish Stratus has always believed that things happen for a reason. But when she chipped a bone in her ankle during plyometric training - "I was jumping off levels," Stratus said. "I sprained my ankle and my bone chipped off." - and was put on the injured list, she said there was no reason this was supposed to happen to her. She had been Mr. McMahon's mistress entering WrestleMania. She had displayed rapid improvement in the ring with each passing week. And suddenly, she was stuck with the new challenge of rehabilitation and sitting out of competion longer than she has in her entire life.
But during the time off, she rested, took part in a Stacker 2 commercial, a Fleer trading card commercial, as well as starring in a Smackdown commercial. Trish was also handed a job as co-host on Excess with Jonathan Coachman. Today, she's back 100 percent physically, and a more well-rounded World Wrestling Federation Superstar than she has ever been. "Things do happen for a reason," said Stratus, who returned to RAW Monday night after a three-month absence. "Alot of oppurtunities came my way during my time off - many of which would not have came my way if I was involved in the regular mix of things - one of these opportunities I'm grateful for is the chance to play a different 'role' so to speak by co-hosting Excess".
"It took me a lot longer than I thought to get stronger," Stratus said. "There was a bump there where it felt like nothing was going well and it was going to take forever, and then suddenly I went to a physical therapist. He put me on a regular program and I was able to focus on it. It all been uphill since then, and now I'm good to go."
Following surgery to remove the chipped bone, Stratus expected to hop back on a treadmill immediately, but it was a slow progression just to walk normally. I had to be like, 'Don't push it,'" she said. "By pushing it, you strain it and you go backwards."But instead of regressing, Stratus' career took some big steps, the biggest being her role on Excess, which has provided her the chance to develop her true personality beyond the ring. "It lets me be myself, and my personality comes through."
Excess was a difficult adjustment because it's something completely different from what Stratus is used to. In the past, she has been the subject, but on Excess, she's on the other side of the table. "The toughest part was trying to pitch storylines or a product because I usually am the product," Stratus said. "That's why it was unique for me. The way you commentate, you have to speak a certain way, and you have to say something that means something else to the audience.
"I had no idea how hard that job is. I love challenges so this is a great thing to do. Now I'm at the point where I can watch myself and say 'Now I'm getting there.' But for the first couple of weeks I was like, 'Oh gosh!'"
Back in the Federation loop as a performer, Stratus proclaimed herself ready to "Stratusfy" the audience. On Monday, she told Commissioner Mick Foley he needed a little Stratusfaction, and took off her coat to show off some sexy lingerie. "I'm sure I'll stir up some trouble like I always do!" she said. Stratus has always prided herself with constantly meeting and beating challenges.
The biggest test will be trying to pick up where she left off competing inside the ring. "I'm starting a few steps back because of my injury."
Can the Women's Championship be in her future? "That's not my call," Stratus said with a laugh, "but if the opportunity is there, you know I'll grab it!"