I can’t have been the only person to have been watching Trish Stratus’ debut as the manager of T&A (Test and Albert) to have assumed that despite her fitness modeling credentials we were seeing another pretty face who would step into the wrestling ring with limited results. For a time that looked as if it would be the sum of it. Although willing to take a bump from the Dudley Boys through a table at Backlash 2000, her debut in the ring later in 2000 was underwhelming and when she was put smack bang in the middle of the McMahon soap-opera shenanigans in early 2001 it seemed as if looking good was her one strength.
After turning babyface at WrestleMania X-Seven by belatedly getting revenge for Vince McMahon forcing her to strip on Raw and “bark like a dog” (an angle so beyond the pale that Sky Sports in the UK refused to show it), injuries initially took her out of the ring but she won the first of her Women’s Titles at Survivor Series 2001. Feud’s with the likes of Jazz, Molly Holly and Victoria followed, often with Stratus exchanging title reigns with her opponents, until WrestleMania XIX where Trish Stratus defeated Jazz & Victoria to become four time Champion, equaling the then-record of the Fabulous Moolah.
From there she became an integral part in a storyline involving Chris Jericho and Christian, which culminated in her turning heel on Jericho at WrestleMania XX and siding with Christian. This was arguably the peak of her career as she won the Women’s title in June 2004 and held onto it until December of that year where Lita took the belt off her in the main event of RAW.
Although Trish Stratus was part of many WrestleMania matches over her career, being given the main event of RAW must rank as one of her biggest achievements and was a testament to her enduring appeal.
A great storyline with Mickie James, who turned up as an obsessed fan of Stratus, in 2005/06 was perhaps her last compelling feud, culminating in a very entertaining bout at WrestleMania 22. In August 2006, it was announced that Trish was retiring and her last match was to be at Unforgiven 2006, in her hometown of Toronto. Knowing the WWE it was assumed that it would be a losing farewell but such was the gratitude she had built up and the reputation she had worked hard to cultivate, Trish was able to leave as Champion, by defeating perennial rival Lita to claim her 7th Women’s Title.
Trish Stratus did return on a number of occasions, most notably perhaps at WrestleMania XXVII, and was deservedly inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2013. Outside the ring she runs a successful yoga studio and has made TV and movie appearances.
From unpromising beginnings, Stratus became a genuine star. Not willing to “get by” on her looks alone, she took the business seriously and made great strides as a performer in all aspects of her work. To be hyper-critical it could be said her resume lacks a five-star classic match that will live on in the memory of wrestling fans forever, but the wealth of achievements over her career and the willingness to improve mean she is deservedly remembered as one of the great North American female wrestlers.
MAJOR TITLES WON: WWF/E Women’s Championship (7 times), WWE Hardcore Championship (1 time).
RECOMMENDED MATCHES: vs. LIta (Monday Night Raw, December 6th 2004), Vs Mickie James (WrestleMania 22)
Trish Stratus on Twitter: trishstratuscom
– By Matthew Roberts