By Bill Barnwell
July 25, 2008
- Here's a controversial statement: Trish Stratus was the most valuable member of WWE this decade. Did she do the biggest buyrates? Of course not. The biggest ratings? Not those either.
What she did do, though, was give legitimacy to a women's division that was farcical most of the time when she wasn't in it, re-legitimizing female wrestling in the country -- without Trish Stratus, there'd be no TNA Knockouts division -- and, more importantly, giving that same level of legitimacy to any person she stepped in the ring with, male or female. When she retired, Stratus got a standing ovation from Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler -- two men who have been in the business over 30 years, and aren't exactly impressed by whoever the latest Diva is. That's why Trish is a likely Hall of Famer, and why she deserves to have this latest edition of the Friday Wrestling List look back at her ten most memorable moments.
10. Trish Barks Like A Dog (RAW, February 2001)
Admittedly, the list isn't off to a great start, but as humiliating and embarrassing as the whole experience was, it was undoubtedly memorable. Trish was involved in the Linda McMahon instutionalization angle, in which Vince's wife and the "Chairwoman of the Board" was hospitalized following Vince's demand for a divorce. As part of the storyline, Stratus became Vince's new toy, but after several months, he announced that he'd grown tired of her and began to have Stratus do things for his amusement. That culminated with Stratus stripping down to her underwear and barking like a dog, in tears, for Vince in the ring. Storyline? Sure. Acting? Of course. Seemingly fun? Certainly not.
9. Debuts as manager of T&A (March 2000)
The latest WWE double entendre was the team of Test and Prince Albert (whose name itself was a double entendre), a team of large men who weren't really very good at wrestling. The team broke up after a few months, with Albert going to become a star in Japan and Test sticking around to date whoever the hottest girl in the company was.
8. Wins the Hardcore Title (May 6, 2002)
Taking the title off an 18-time champion is always a good thing, but when it's the Hardcore title, it's not really as exciting. Winning a title is always a good day, though, although Trish's reign only lasted moments before being defeated by Stevie Richards. That's perhaps the most disappointing way we could get Trish and "drops the strap" in the same thought bubble.
7. Trish-Lita Streetfight (July 24, 2000)
The first big Trish-Lita match was a strap match. Sure, it only went a 1:38, but it did a 7.7 quarter hour rating, more than twice what anything on WWE does these days, and up from a 7.5 quarter hour rating in the previous segment. Of course, the next segment did an 8.4, but doing a 7.7 in the traditional "dead-end" quarter of the show did huge things for Trish's career.
6. Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus (WrestleMania 23)
Although Trish lost this match and was booed throughout, the match itself got one of the loudest reactions on the show, while creating a new star in the process in Mickie James. As the culmination of a six-month storyline that started with Mickie being a fan from outside the company and ended with her as the woman's champion, Trish basically carried an entire program on her back and showed off that she really can do pretty much anything.
5. Trish Wins Her Retirement Match (Unforgiven, 2006)
We're getting to Trish's biggest feud now; her on-again, off-again feud of five years with Lita. After Triple H vs. The Rock and Rock vs. Austin, Stratus vs. Lita has to be the biggest feud of the Attitude era. At different times, each served as the face or the heel, each won and each lost, and each managed to make the other more popular. In this final match, Lita was the hated heel by virtue (wrong word) of her relationship with Edge, while Trish was the babyface by virtue of being in her final run. The match itself played off previous encounters, ending when Trish tapped Lita out to the sharpshooter to earn her seventh and final Women's championship.
4. Diva of the Decade (January 14, 2003)
Sure, it's a competition determined by WWE, and it was likely that a current diva would win, but when you consider that Trish was up against Chyna, Lita, Sunny and Sable, it was still quite an honor for her to be given that title by the company.
3. Beats Jazz in Toronto For The Belt (May 13, 2002)
Although Trish was unable to win the title at WrestleMania X8 in Toronto, her hometown, she managed to pick it up in May, albeit in a bizarre tag-team match where she teamed with Bubba Ray Dudley against Jazz and Steven Richards. The victory likely resulted in one of the most gratifying crowd reactions of her entire career.
2. Turns on Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XX)
Lots of people turn heel or babyface in wrestling. Very, very few do it with the skill shown off by Trish Stratus, and this was a perfect example. In another long-term storyline, Chris Jericho and Christian bet a loonie that they could bag Trish Stratus or Lita before the other. Of course, in the process, Jericho actually fell for Trish, while Christian attempted to convince Jericho that he was an idiot for doing so. Three weeks before WrestleMania, a match booked with Christian and Trish ended with Christian pretending to "lay down" and lose to Lita, only for him to kick out and pummel her, putting her in the Walls of Jericho.
It was even more shocking, then, that Stratus came out to save Jericho at WrestleMania, only to take out Jericho with an "accidental" elbow and then slap him, distracting him long enough to give Christian the victory. The resulting makeout session that ensued on the top of the ramp was a legendary moment. It also started the relationship that, had we had the chance, we would've made sure was known simply as "Trishtian".
1. Trish and Lita Main Event RAW (December 6, 2004)
It's weird to put a match Trish lost on the top of this list, but it was probably the biggest sign that she'd succeeded as a member of the company. While the bizarre Lita-Kane pregnancy storyline is better left unmentioned, the storyline that evolved out of it with Trish and Lita became compelling television. It led to this match, which was considered important enough to serve as the main event of RAW, the only time a singles match featuring two women was ever the main event of either RAW or Smackdown. The match is most famous for Lita's tope, in which she caught her feet on the ropes and nearly killed herself by falling head-first to the floor. Instead, Lita got her bearings back, continued the match, and eventually defeated Trish with a moonsault to lay claim to the Women's title.