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20 years later: The story of 'Heel Trish'

Abbi McMillen     March 14, 2024

Trish Stratus slaps Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XX

Trish Stratus has had her fair share of heel turns and villainous tendencies throughout her time in WWE; however, her post-match heel turn on Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XX on March 14th, 2004, might be one of the most shocking turns of her career. Her betrayal of Chris Jericho was not only a shock to him, but also to all the fans that had been hoping for a romance to finally blossom between Trish and Chris after a rollercoaster of emotions lasting for several months before the big WrestleMania turn. It wouldn’t be the first time that Trish turned bad and it most definitely wouldn’t be the last as we’ve seen in the past year, but it was definitely memorable.

RELATED: A career changing storyline

Back in October 2003, Chris Jericho started to make advances towards Trish. He would save her from being attacked by some of the male roster, call her all the time, flirt with her backstage, get her gifts, and even tag with her in intergender tag team matches. At first, Trish and viewers of Monday Night Raw were not quite sure why Jericho was doing all of this for Trish and it seemed very random. Jericho was a heel at the time and worked closely with the evil Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff, and he also had a tag team with Christian, who also was not well liked during this time. At the same time that Chris Jericho was trying to win over Trish, Christian was also trying to win over Lita which wasn’t going nearly as well as Jericho wooing Trish. Trish and Lita would also regularly team up during this time period and would discuss Jericho and Christian with each other. Trish was starting to fall for Jericho, while Lita seemingly wanted nothing to do with Christian.

As the weeks and months passed, Trish and Chris Jericho grew closer to each other and it seemed as if the two could be considered an item. Unfortunately, that would all change in December 2003 when Trish overheard Jericho and Christian talking about a bet they had made over one Canadian dollar on who could get with their respective woman first. Jericho was calling Trish pathetic and saying how it was so easy to manipulate her without knowing that she was standing outside the locker room and heard everything. The following week, Jericho and Christian were in the ring with flowers and decided to apologize to Trish and Lita even though they weren’t sure why the women were mad at them since they still didn’t know that Trish overheard them talking about the bet. The women did not accept their apology and later, much to Christian’s delight and Jericho’s dismay, Eric Bischoff set up a Battle of the Sexes match for the upcoming Armageddon pay-per-view which would consist of Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Christian and Chris Jericho. The men would go on to win the match, but one very interesting aspect of the match was Jericho refusing to do anything to actually hurt Trish. There would be a rematch the following night on Monday Night Raw where, once again, Jericho refused to hurt Trish.

Chris Jericho tried to get back on Trish’s good side over the following couple of months by bringing her flowers, gifts, helping her when people would try to attack her after matches, and sacrificing his own WrestleMania Championship match since Eric Bischoff was not a fan of either person and made Jericho choose between a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania or Trish Stratus having to face Kane in a match. Jericho was spending a lot of his time trying to win Trish back which eventually led to Christian growing resentment for Jericho as he thought that Jericho was putting himself and their tag team on the back burner in order to impress Trish. The two would regularly argue about this with Jericho firmly believing that what he was doing for Trish had no effect on their tag team and Christian continuing to argue that Trish has caused a rift between them and has been messing with Jericho’s head. The two men almost came to blows when Jericho injured his knee trying to save Trish from an attack by Kane. Jericho and Christian seemed to mend their friendship after Christian apologized to Jericho, but it seemed very shady and Christian was now also seen flirting with Trish backstage. Trish never reciprocated and always seemed confused as to what Christian was doing.

Everything came to a head, though, when Eric Bischoff scheduled a match on Monday Night Raw between Christian and Trish Stratus on the week when Chris Jericho was stuck at home with his knee injury. Earlier in the night, Trish and Christian had an agreement that Christian would lay down in the ring and Trish would be able to pin him and get the victory without actually having a match. Unfortunately for Trish, this plan did not happen as Christian kicked out when Trish attempted to pin him. Christian then hit Trish with a brutal clothesline and put her in the Walls of Jericho and refused to let go of the submission even though she had tapped out. Trish had to be carried to the locker room by referees and medical professionals. The following week, Christian held an episode of the Peep Show and explained that everything he did, he did it for Jericho because Trish had ruined their friendship and ruined Jericho’s life. Christian also announced that he had talked to Eric Bischoff and requested a match against Jericho at WrestleMania which was granted. Jericho, who was not supposed to be at the arena, came down to the ring and the two men had a brawl.

RELATED: Top 10 Trish & Chris Jericho moments

The big match was on March 14th, 2004, at WrestleMania XX. The WWE Universe was firmly behind Chris Jericho as they wanted him and Trish together and wanted Jericho to get Christian back for hurting Trish a few weeks prior during their match. Trish came out to the ring towards the end of the match to seemingly cheer on Jericho and give him some positive momentum. At one point, Christian attempted to leave the ring and Trish tried to tell him off, when Christian grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the ring. Chris Jericho grabbed him and threw him out of the ring and went to check on Trish who was in the corner with her back turned to him. When Jericho tried to grab Trish to check on her, Trish seemed to assume it was Christian and elbowed him in the face. As Jericho was covering his face from being hit, this was all the time Christian needed to slide back into the ring and roll-up Jericho for a surprise victory. Trish and Jericho both looked shocked as Christian was announced the winner with Trish seemingly realizing that she accidentally hit Jericho instead of Christian. The two seemed to apologize together and the live crowd and viewers at home were all hoping the two would finally end up together. Christian came back towards the ring and Trish was attempting to hold Jericho back from attacking him and then, to the shock of everybody, slapped Jericho twice and grinned as Christian jumped into the ring and hit Jericho with an Unprettier. Trish and Christian left the ring together and kissed at the top of the entrance ramp while an extremely angry and upset Jericho looked on.

The following night on Raw, Trish gave her reasoning for turning on Jericho, which was hard to hear at times over the chorus of boos coming from the audience. She explained that Jericho did this to himself when he made that bet over one Canadian dollar and she thinks it’s funny that he was the one who got screwed over in the end and she ended up with somebody else. Christian added that Trish did what she did because she wanted a real man like him, not a “love-sick puppy” like Jericho. Christian and Trish and their new bodyguard, Tomko, would continue to feud with Jericho over the following couple of months until Christian was unfortunately taken off of TV due to an injury he sustained in a match against Jericho.

The WWE Universe would see a very similar situation unfold in 2023 when Trish Stratus had made her return to the company to team with Becky Lynch and Lita only to end up surprisingly turning on Becky Lynch when she least expected it. The two would feud for several months ultimately leading to a steel cage match at Payback September 2023.

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