By Joshua Modaberi
Trish Stratus is the most decorated woman wrestler in the history of the WWE having won the Women's Championship seven times, the WWE Hardcore Championship once, the 'WWE Babe of the Year' award three times as well as being declared 'Diva of the Decade'.
The Canadian grappler had many memorable feuds with the likes of Lita and Mickie James, while she is also well remembered for her on-screen work with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in a story-line where she was having an affair with the boss.
Since leaving the world of wrestling behind on a permanent basis, Trish has begun her own yoga program and is beginning a career in acting with her first film Bounty Hunters.
caught up with the lovely Trish to talk about her new movie, yoga and wrestling.
Q. What was it like being involved in your first film Bounty Hunters and working with the other cast members?
It was a blast, it was a new project for me to go and do an acting role and a movie role, so it was something new for me entirely and you never know what to expect when you step into something new for the first time, but thankfully I went in there and it was great.
The people I worked with were really professional and there were a lot of veteran actors on set so that really helped me with this new thing called acting, and I had an awesome time.
We did most of the filming during the night so I kind of turned into a vampire for a couple of months, where I would sleep all day and film throughout the night. That process lasted a couple of months but it was a blast and I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out, it was worth all the late nights.
Q. Can we expect to see you in any more films in the near future?
I've had a couple of scripts lying on my desk, but nothing has really stood out to me like Bounty Hunters did. The main reason I took this role was because the writer wrote the film with me in mind, he said he was looking for a strong female lead and he envisioned me as the role for Jules Taylor.
When I was reading the script for my character I thought it was really cool, there were also quite a lot of fighting scenes in the movie and I thought it would be really good to learn a new fighting art, and I had full control over my fighting scenes which was great and the film really kicks ass.
Q. Your of course well known for being a wrestler in the WWE, was acting always a route you wanted to go down?
Not really to be honest, actually when I was involved with wrestling I was always being offered roles for different things but I was just focused on being a wrestler and that was kind of all I wanted to do. Being a wrestler also allowed me to be an actor but I got to be athletic and entertaining at the same time, which was a neat combination.
I never actively pursued the acting but obviously as a WWE performer you inadvertently become an actor, you don't plan to be an actor, you go out there and slowly you turn into one because your performance level evolves and the crowd expectance levels goes up. It comes to the point when you are going out there and portraying a character and you're given a scene.
But I never pursued a career in acting I just kind of fell into it and when I retired from wrestling the question everyone was asking me was if I was going to go into acting because it seems like the next logical step for people after wrestling. I always said I would leave the door open to acting and if something amazing lands on my desk I would consider it and certainly something amazing landed on my desk and I loved the role and it was a lot of fun.
Q. How did you first get into the sport of wrestling?
It's a long story, I was kind of in the right place at the right time, I think it was in 1999 and the WWE was in Toronto and they were announcing they were going to be prime-time on one of our networks. They had a big announcement at the Sky Dome, then they had this sports television show with a panel of guests and I was asked to be on the show as I was there go to guest when it came to wrestling as I was a massive wrestling fan and had been doing some modeling and been on a few magazine covers so that is where my notoriety came from.
That same evening I actually attended the WWE show at the Sky Dome and it was really exciting as a fan to get to go to the show. During the night a bunch of people kept coming up to me and asking if I was in wrestling because they heard Vince had signed me. It was a false rumour that had started after my appearance on the TV show, but it spread like wild fire on the internet that I had been signed by the WWE, and I kept doing these interviews saying I hadn't been in contact with the WWE.
I can honestly say I think the internet created such a buzz that the WWE found me and contacted me saying send us your press kit, which I did but I didn't hear back straight away, so I started to prepare the best possible package incase they did call. I went out and did some wrestling training and ended up at the gym Edge trained at and got some training done, they finally called me a few months later and were pretty impressed that I knew how to wrestle as well.
They then flew me into the head quarters in Connecticut for an interview and I told them I had been wrestling for a few months at that point and they were pretty excited about that and then they signed me to a deal right on the spot. That was in 1999, I then made my television debut in 2000 and won the Women's Championship for the first time in 2001.
Q. Who were some of the wrestlers that inspired you when you were growing up?
I was a huge fan of the Macho Man Randy Savage, and I was very much a Hulkamaniac just like everybody else was into Hulk but there was just something about Randy and his persona that resonated with me. I don't know if it was his confidence or his cockiness but just the way he held himself just hooked me. His style is something I tried to emulate, he had a bit of everything, very athletic, a brawler, a bit of a high flyer, his promos were great, he just combined everything and he always showed showmanship, so I tried to model myself on him.
Being a proud Canadian I always used to cheer for the Canadian guys and Bret Hart is a very close friend of mine now and sometimes when we are having lunch together I just think to myself 'I can't believe I use to watch you and was in awe of you', so it's a cool thing for sure.
Q. When you were involved in wrestling it was a great period for Women's wrestling, what were some of your favourite story-lines you were involved in?
I would say the on-going rivalry between Lita and I, we were both new to the company and I was lucky to have this on-going rivalry with her from the minute I started to the minute I left the company and that was cool.
There were a few things that were definitely turning points in my career, my feud with Jazz was probably one of the most intense feuds that really allowed me to develop as a wrestler and working with a veteran like Jazz with her guidance and her amazing in ring skills set aloud me to get better in the ring. Some of the matches we had together were so brutal and that aloud the fans to see us in a different light from 'Yay, puppies' to "these women can wrestle and kick ass', I think the Jazz feud really elevated women's wrestling to the next level.
My next feud with Victoria, we had the first ever women's hardcore match, so that also broke ground in a lot of ways and that is when I first started to have some real story-lines.
The Mickie James feud was probably the pinnacle of women's wrestling, I think people at that point saw us as a legitimate part of the roster, the women's division was the same as any other division in the company. We built it to the point where we were able to have a long story-line that went on-and-on that concluded with a match at WrestleMania and we really had the crowd invested in our story-line.
Q. You also worked very closely on screen with Vince and his family, what was that whole experience like and what was Vince like as a boss?
Vince is amazing, he is a great man and I can truly say that the reason I was probably so keen in the business is because I was given the privilege of working side-by-side with him. I was new to the company and four days a week I would be side-by-side with Vince so I really got to look into his mindset and saw the way he worked and saw what a perfectionist he was and what a performer he was and I tried to just soak it all in.
I also worked really closely with Stephanie McMahon and I couldn't produce anything thing more than excellence when I was performing with her and having Vince there at ringside, I think it just elevated my game and allowed me to become a great performer.
I learnt a lot from Vince and he is a really good friend of mine to this day and a mentor as a businessman. Since I've left wrestling I look back at a lot of the stuff he's done and I think I've adapted some of his philosophies in what I've done, running my own Yoga studio and programs.
Q. What are your thoughts on the state of women's wrestling at the moment in the WWE?
I think it is definitely lacking the dedication from the writers and the production team that we had during my time with the company. It's no fault of the girls, the girls are amazingly talented right now, there is a bunch of girls that are just waiting to break through and they really have the look and they have the talent which is obviously what it took to change the women's division from not just being having to look good in the ring but also being able to kick some butt in the ring.
The girls all have that but what I think is missing is the story-line development, the way we got approached back in the day was just like the way The Rock and Stone Cold would get approached. Someone would come to us and say, 'here's two characters, here's a story-line and here's where it's going to go, lets work towards a PPV match'.
Unfortunately nowadays that's what is missing, there's no real defining characters, there's no real outside story-lines that really create the moment because the fans can only become invested in a match when there has been a story-line they have invested their time in.
Q. What have you made of Kharma, is she someone you feel could bring some fresh air to the women's division?
Oh my god absolutely, this woman makes me excited about women's wrestling every time I see her. When she first debuted I remember just going, 'Oh my god, this is so exciting', and the fans were the same way, it was something fresh and something new and I know the WWE are really excited about her as a character.
It was a great surprise to see here coming back during the Royal Rumble match which is a male dominated match so it was really cool to see her make an appearances. That alone sets her up for some great matches and it will be really exciting again for the women's division if she comes back and picks up from where she left off.
Q. You've been having a bit of a Twitter feud with current WWE Diva's Champion Beth Phoenix - how did that come about, and could we see you and Beth square off in the ring at a WrestleMania?
Beth was saying that she was the most dominant champion, so I thought I would just let her know that title is already taken. As for a match between Beth and myself at WrestleMania that is an excellent proposition and I think the fans would love that. I've actually had the opportunity to tangle up with Beth Phoenix a couple of times and I think that she is amazing in the ring and I would love to kick her ass actually.
Q. Would you ever consider going back to the WWE or even TNA on a full time basis?
Like I said I always keep the door open, if I'm presented an amazing opportunity and something where I feel I can create a great moment and a memorable moment for the fans then absolutely I would pursue it.
I returned to action last year at WrestleMania and was a part of the latest series of Tough Enough as a trainer alongside Booker T and Steve Austin. If I was given the opportunity to create another great opportunity at WrestleMania and definitely yes.
Q. Did you want to tell us a bit more about your Yoga studio?
I've just launched my yoga and fitness line which is called Stratusphere living, and I've had my yoga studio in Canada so people here and in the US have known me as this yoga and health and fitness person and it's taken me back to my roots, as I started out as a fitness model. When I produced the DVD I didn't know how it was going to be received and if my wrestling fans would care but it turns out it's been so well received and I've had such an amazing response. I send out over seas and ship world wide and in fact my number one clients are from the UK, so you guys are definitely into yoga or something.