The recent news that Trish Stratus will retire on September 17 following Unforgiven sent shockwaves resonating throughout arenas and television sets across the nation, surprising even Trish herself as Lita broke the story on WWE.com before the six-time Women's' Champion could make the announcement herself. Trish will get one last chance at the Women's Championship when she challenges Lita at Unforgive, and while Lita is determined to rain on Trish's hometown retirement party, most everyone else will be sad to see Trish go.
The announcement caught some of the Divas by surprise. Candice told WWE.com that she was shocked to hear the announcement that Trish was hanging up the boots after such a long run of consistent success in WWE.
"I was really surprised. She's at the top of her game, and I guess she's just leaving on a good note. In her mind, it's her time to retire, and I'm just happy for her."
Candice's fellow Divas experienced a marked sadness over the departure of the WWE women's icon. Last year's Diva Search winner, Ashley, told WWE.com that she looked at Trish as a mentor.
"I was really upset when I found out Trish is retiring. She has obviously been a very good friend to me. She was the first one to take me under her wing, she was my first tag partner, she taught me a lot and I was really upset when I found out. I'm not gonna lie, I really felt it," a choked-up Ashley remarked.
Mickie James, who rose to prominence as a Diva by attempting to emulate all things Trish Stratus, was also especially upset to learn about her idol's retirement.
"When [Trish] started on WWE, I was actually starting on the independent level, so watching her grow as a performer at the same time as I was doing it in a much smaller league was really cool. Just to see how far she had come in all that time, it was truly amazing," she said.
Mickie went on to have more than a few battles with Trish, which only served to increase her admiration.
"I think that she is a wonderful athlete and competitor and she is truly someone to be admired for the women in this business. I'm going to miss her dearly," Mickie remarked.
Candice shared similar sentiments.
"I'm just glad to have had the opportunity to work with her and get a chance to touch Trish in the ring," the Diva said.
While Mickie and Candice spent many hours training and grappling with Trish in the ring, Melina's sadness over Trish's retirement stems from the fact that she was not able to work with Trish in the same way during her still young WWE career.
"It makes me really sad that I do not have the chance to be able to work with her the way other people have. For me, she represents so much, and to be able to work with her and to be around her, that means a lot to me because of how I feel about this business and how I feel about her personally. She's a great person and I really wish she was able to stick around just a little bit longer," Melina said.
Whether they experienced shock, anger or sadness upon hearing the news of Trish's upcoming retirement, the common denominators in all of the Divas' reflections on Trish Stratus were respect and admiration. Not a single Diva let her interview end without fondly remembering how Trish had taught her the intricacies of the WWE lifestyle and helped her grow into the Superstar Diva she has or hopes to become.
Said Ashley, "I don't think I would be where I am right now or where I got to on RAW if it wasn't for her. [Trish is] the pinnacle of what I think all of us want to do in this business, and that's work hard, get to the top."
Candice agreed, and reminisced over the lessons she has learned from Trish.
"She's been so caring and taken me in. Explaining things to me, how so many things work -- how to put on three bras and top-stick. I never listened to that, of course, but at least she taught me how to do it!"
There may not be a more respected individual in WWE than Trish Stratus, a sentiment summed up perfectly by her long-time friend and rival, Mickie James.
"It's going to be sad to see her go, but if this is what she wants, then I respect that."
by steven schiff