By Paul Heyman
LET’S get a disclaimer out of the way. If this blog leads you to believe that it was penned by a writer who feels like a schoolboy-with-a-crush, your assessment is accurate.
Trish Stratus does that to a lot of men.
The Canadian fitness model, with only cursory knowledge of the art of wrestling itself, broke into World Wrestling Entertainment in March 2000, when blonde hair and a kickin' hot body was all you needed to land a prime gig on global TV in sports entertainment.
In front of an audience that had already seen Sable, Sunny, Terri Runnels and a host of other disproportionately-built femme fatales, Stratus still commanded attention.
As a heel, she got enormous heat. At times, she made the audience forget what was going on in the ring, with their focus shifting to the busty blonde sex symbol.
As a babyface, she got the audience to actually care what she said, not just wait for her to strip down to the skimpiest of clothing.
Although, when she did strip down, no one ever complained!
I can't seem to recall any objections I ever raised to a script that involved a scantily clad Trish Stratus.
Hey, hey hey. Easy. It was good for ratings. Uh huh. And I read Playboy for the articles, too!
But here's where Trish really earned everyone's respect.
In an environment where she could have made fantastic money just taking an occasional bump, doing the typical bra and panties matches and stealing the show on all the Divas In Paradise DVD releases, Trish Stratus wanted to offer more.
She wanted to give the WWE audience a more complete package than just a busty glamour girl.
She desired to be respected by her peers not just for her awesome looks, but for her drive, ambition, and talent.
Trish was not satisfied just being pro wrestling's hottest babe. She felt compelled to push herself past her own limits and learn how to be a great female wrestler.
So Trish trained in the ring with the same vigour that she attacked the fitness world a few years earlier. She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be the best. And that was no easy task.
While Trish had to devote so much of her time to building her body, it would be even harder to learn how to become a top notch wrestler.
As gruelling a workout schedule as Trish must have had in the 1990s to become a famous cover girl, learning the tricks of the wrestling trade required dedication, sacrifice and pain.
None of which she had to endure because Trish would have survived, even THRIVED, for years "just being Trish".
But that wasn't enough for her.
“I want to do it because I know I can,” she'd tell people. “And I'm going to do it, because it's the type of challenge that drives me!”
While no female wrestler's career can truly be compared to The Fabulous Moolah's, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say that Trish Stratus wasn't the greatest female wrestler of the modern era.
And when she was at the height of her popularity, having achieved enough respect that she actually had hands-on influence in her own storylines, Trish decided to conquer other worlds.
She could have easily made big money for no less than another five years in WWE.
But instead, she ventured out into the unknown and tried her hand at other things that interested her.
Though Stratus had travelled the globe with WWE, she really never got the opportunity to sample all the many cultures of the continents she performed on.
An avid lover of different customs and beliefs, Trish put together Stratusphere - a new television show for the Travel and Escape Channel in Canada.
Bungee jumping in Bali, sword fighting in Northern India, Vo Binh Dinh grappling in Vietnam, the woman whose outfits left so very little to the imagination on WWE Raw gets to show you even more of herself as she experiences different lifestyles around the world.
From all accounts, the show is a critical and ratings success.
It's poignant, funny, and informative.
But most of all, it's centred around a host who is never content with just doing enough.
And while I'm sure the next time I see Trish Stratus I'll have to tell myself to "stop staring", the human being underneath all that beauty is a truly remarkable person.