By Jon Waldman
On April 5th, at Wrestlemania XXV, WWE fans were treated to a bit of retro Diva action as former femme fatales such as Molly Holly and Victoria took part in the 25-woman Battle Royal.
One former superstar who was not part of the match, however, was Toronto's Trish Stratus. Many fans, leading up to the event, figured that Stratus would be an automatic for the bout which mixed today's Divas with past stars.
Stratus, who officially retired from a full-time wrestling schedule in September of 2006, following the Unforgiven pay-per-view in Toronto. Since then, Stratus has occasionally appeared on WWE programming, most recently in a tag match on the December 22, 2008 edition of Raw against Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix.
Soon after 'Mania took place, rumours began circulating across the Internet that Stratus had, at one point, agreed to be part of the Battle Royal, but had pulled out after being informed that Marella would go over in the match.
This past weekend, Stratus spoke with SLAM! Wrestling about her absence, stating that while she was indeed asked to participate in the match, she did not refuse based on the match booking.
"Simply, there were no finishes, no 'What's going to happen? Will I win?' discussed," Stratus said. "It was just, 'Would you like to be in this 25-woman battle royal at Wrestlemania,' and I said, 'Thank you but I'm going to decline.'"
Stratus's decision to not take part in the match, as she elaborates, was due to a couple factors. "Actually, I wanted to stay home and watch Wrestlemania for one time with my family. That was part of it," she says. "[Also], I had just made a return recently and I never want to wear out my welcome."
Additionally, Stratus also had scheduling conflicts that weekend, including a yoga conference that she took part in on the Friday as well as a fundraiser with the Canadian Liver Foundation that she was involved in on the Saturday prior to 'Mania.
Perhaps the most important factor, though, was that Stratus did not see it as an opportunity to do what she felt would be proper for her status in the wrestling world.
"I've always said to come out of retirement is a big deal to me – so if I was to come out it is for something special," she said "To be honest, I feel Wrestlemania is a place to create memorable moments in one's career and frankly, with 25 women in the ring, I was just not sure how anyone could come out having their 'Wrestlemania moment,' maybe if it was a little clearer that could be accomplished for someone, I would have been a part of it.
"If I were to go back, I would like to do something that is new and fresh, there are so many girls right now that can work, I'd want to be able to mix it up with someone I hadn't gotten the chance to before I left."
In particular, Trish identified one Diva that she has the itch to work with down the line – Nattie Niedhart, known to WWE fans simply as Natalya.
"Oh my god, I would love to work with her," Stratus revealed. "I think she has so much potential; they've just got to do the right thing with her, especially with the built-in history. I get excited when I think about what they can do with her."
She also noted that she had only been asked to participate in the match and not in any of the Axxess signing sessions or other WWE events during Wrestlemania weekend.
Until the time comes for another return to the ring, Stratus is extremely busy in her post-wrestling work life. Her studio, Stratusphere, will soon celebrate its first anniversary, and she is looking to extend her brand in the future.
"I'm slowly but surely going to get the world to do yoga," she said with a chuckle. "It's all part of my plan as I build my empire and take over the world, one yoga studio at a time."
Other plans, she teases, are in the works as well, including potential fitness and wellness television and video projects.