Well, one of the things that keeps women`s wrestling champion Trish Stratus young is a weekly smackdown on the WWE`s "Monday Night Raw." And we do mean smack. Look at some of this footage. It`s unbelievable.
The former fitness model and premed student is the reigning champ of the WWE`s divas. And this weekend, she`s going to put her golden belt up for grabs in Wrestlemania 22. She`ll probably tell me nobody`s taking it away from her.
Welcome, Trish. Nice to have you here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
TRISH STRATUS, REIGNING WWE WOMEN`S CHAMPION: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
HAMMER: Looking at some of that footage we were just rolling as I was introducing you here, that`s got to hurt.
STRATUS: Ouch. Ouch.
HAMMER: Come on.
STRATUS: No, not at all. I mean, it might hurt for some, but some people...
HAMMER: Oh, yes, right. No, come on, a couple of bruises covered up by make-up maybe?
STRATUS: Oh, you can see that? Yes. Yes. I`m always -- I`ve got some war wounds to show, for sure, yes.
HAMMER: I`m always curious, if I`m watching these shows, how you know what`s coming. Do you see it? Is it in the script? They say, "This is going to happen then"? Do you work it out in rehearsal? Are there actually signs that you guys give each other before you`re about, you know, to get clotheslined or whatever it is?
STRATUS: What you see in the ring -- you know, I like to say it`s like we`re telling a story, two wrestlers telling a story.
STRATUS: And each sort of person has a sort of repertoire, a set of moves that they`re kind of known for.
HAMMER: And you are certainly well-known for your moves that others have been trying to rip off, but more about that later.
STRATUS: And so it kind of turns into a dance, kind of. We kind of - - like, she does her part; I do my part. And it turns into the dance, which is a little, you know, violent and hurts sometimes...
HAMMER: I was going to say...
STRATUS: ... but it has a beautiful story.
HAMMER: Occasionally. A beautiful story, along with an elbow in the jaw every now and then.
STRATUS: Right. And usually, you know, the great ending is usually me getting my hand raised, you know, things like that.
HAMMER: So here you are, sitting on my couch. You are the female WWE champion. Is this something that you were fantasizing about as a kid? I know you had a different path that were originally on. But when you were a kid, was there some sense that this might happen in your life? Were you wrestling with your friends?
STRATUS: You know, I kind of grew up as a tomboy. And I was kind of always trying to be a part of the boys, with my cousins growing up.
But I mean, I don`t think there was really -- I don`t think many women or young girls kind of grew up thinking, "I want to be a wrestler," because there weren`t really many women in the industry, certainly not doing what we`re doing now.
STRATUS: I mean, there was Ms. Elizabeth and there was ballets at the time. But, I mean, I just I fell into it. And I was actually premed. And when that sort of didn`t develop, and I said, "Mom, I`m not going to be a doctor, I`m going to be a wrestler instead"...
HAMMER: Mom must have been thrilled.
STRATUS: The family was happy. They accepted it.
HAMMER: Yes, right. Tell me they didn`t.
STRATUS: They were happy.
HAMMER: Very supportive of what you wanted to do?
STRATUS: Very supportive of what I wanted to do, yes. Plus, the university went on strike at the time, so that`s why...
STRATUS: ... while this is happening, go ahead. But, you know, you go back to school later.
HAMMER: Well, you mentioned it was predominantly male-dominated.
HAMMER: It really still is.
STRATUS: Oh, yes.
HAMMER: And there`s, of course, you know, a big male machismo that goes along with this. Despite the fact that no guy I know, at least my crew in this room, would stand to mess with you, is it difficult still being in this predominantly male business?
STRATUS: Oh, I think so, yes. I mean, on a couple of different notes, because, from fan perspective, they kind of -- they have been trained to look at us as ballets or eye-candy sort of things. And over the last couple of years, we`ve kind of, like, grown into this role where we`ve become more active.
And the fans have really kind of caught on. And the neat thing is, is like they`ve caught onto the point where now even our female demographic has increased. We`ve got more kids watching that are women and girls, and they`re looking up to us as role models who are like strong, powerful women. It`s really empowering to be in that position.
And it`s just a neat time for us right now, because we have more women than ever that are wrestling. And we have characters and storylines developing, you know, just for the women, so...
HAMMER: But what about the work environment with the actual other male wrestlers or the male employees of the WWE?
STRATUS: We`re kind of just one of the boys, you know? It`s like we`re one, big family.
HAMMER: So that`s really it, it`s still -- you know, you mentioned you were kind of a tomboy growing up. It`s still sort of falls into that mode?
STRATUS: Totally, absolutely, yes. And, you know, we`re all kind of like -- we have the same goals. We`re going out there to entertain the crowd every single week. And we`re on the same tough road schedule, 250 days a year sometimes.
And we`re away from our friends and family. And we get it, so we`re all in that same thing. We can relate to each other, and that`s why it becomes this great family environment.
HAMMER: Well, Wrestlemania 22, we`re going to see it all happening this coming weekend. Have you seen the script yet? Do you know what`s going to happen?
STRATUS: No, is that it right there?
HAMMER: So when will you find out what`s going to happen?
STRATUS: Actually, we`ll just sort of -- it`ll unfold before your very eyes.
HAMMER: It`ll magically unfold right before our very eyes.
STRATUS: Yes, yes.
HAMMER: Well, Trish, it was a pleasure...
STRATUS: I`ll tell you one thing: It`s definitely going to be entertaining. I mean, when we go out there, our main goal is to entertain the fans.
HAMMER: And always a few surprises.
HAMMER: Trish Stratus, thanks for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
STRATUS: Thank you.
HAMMER: And once again, you can catch Wrestlemania 22 this Sunday. It`s live on Pay-Per-View.