WWE: Women’s Wrestler of the Week – Lita

Amy Dumas’ very public “private” life might be what some fans remember her for.  The “scandal” where she cheated on her then boyfriend Matt Hardy with the then-married Edge would have made for a wonderful wrestling storyline if it wasn’t for the uncomfortable fact that it was very true.  That Matt Hardy was essentially fired for making the story public only muddied the waters further.  To remember Amy Dumas for this though, would to be forget that she was one of the most popular, and well paid, members of the attitude era roster.

After a brief introduction to wrestling in Mexico, she returned to the US to work the independent circuit before having a brief stint in ECW as Miss Congeniality/Angelica. Her stint in the land of Extreme was uneventful but did get her an introduction to Dory Funk  and it was under his recommendations that she grabbed a spot in the WWF.

Debuting as the valet of Essa Rios, Lita (a name she initially disliked and was upset to have no prior knowledge of until the day of her debut)  quickly stood out as she copied her man’s Moonsault after he had performed it.  A mini feud with Eddy Guerrero and China was the highlight of this early period before Essa was found cavorting with the Godfather’s “Ho’s” and the duo parted ways and Lita joined forces with her natural allies, The Hardy Boys.  Debuting the visible thong look (which Michael PS Hayes, ever on the pulse along with the  rest of the WWF booking committee, thought was an unplanned malfunction)  the Team Xtreme trio quickly got over as a unit and Lita was with her men every step of the way, including a run-in spot at the WrestleMania 17 TLC ladder match, a first for a woman.

In her own right Lita begin feuds with Trish Stratus and then Stephanie McMahon; the two famously clashed in the Main Event of RAW on an August 2000 episode, where Lita lifted the Women’s title after shenanigans including special guest referee The Rock and outside interference from Triple H and Kurt Angle.  After dropping the belt to Ivory, Lita even had an unsuccessful battle with Dean Malenko over the Light Heavyweight Title .  In 2001 she even pinned Malenko in a match on RAW.

The attempt to split The Hardy Boys left Lita treading water and although she refereed a match between the two at Vengeance 2001 the team were soon reunited. However an incident whilst filming a TV show in 2002 resulted in serious injury which kept her out of the ring for eighteen months.  A spot as colour commentator on Sunday Night Heat  whilst recuperating isn’t fondly remembered by most.

She returned to feud with the likes of Molly Holly and Victoria  before first “splitting up” with Matt Hardy and then being reunited with him.  Soap opera shenanigans between those two and Kane were the order of the day (Lita was pregnant, Hardy’s proposal to her was interrupted by Kane claiming to be the father) which reached silly heights with the “Till Death Do Us Part” match at Summerslam 2004 between Matt Hardy and Kane where Lita had to marry the winner.  It was as daft as it sounds.

Once this was over, Lita was pushed back into the Women’s Title scene, which culminated with yet another RAW Main Event, this time her pinning Trish Stratus to win the title during their entertaining feud of 2004/05.  Shortly afterwards the Hardy/Edge/Lita love triangle broke out and it was a far from productive time for Lita.  The WWE tried to work in the real-life aspects, but given her on-screen marriage to Kane couldn’t do it in a way that made much sense to the casual audience.  It was even more complicated when Matt Hardy was re-hired for the worked-shoot feud.

Lita would win her third Women’s Title in August 2006 but dropped it to Trish Stratus at Unforgiven, in Stratus’ last match.  Lita won the belt back in a tournament only to lose it at Survivor Series in what was  billed as her retirement match.  She didn’t receive the heartfelt send-off that Stratus got, instead she was kicked out by Crime Time who found some rather unsavory things in her luggage.

Having been careful with her money from the “glory years” , Lita has been able to live life on her own terms since her departure from the WWE.  With her love of music and her charity work Dumas has no desire to return to a full-time schedule but she has made one-off appearances for the company as and when it has suited her.  She also continues to work selected independent dates.  The reaction she still gets to this day shows how over she was in her prime and whilst I personally wouldn’t label her a “great” worker in the ring like many do, her high-flying moves were impressive and there is no denying the genuine connection she had with audiences across the world.

MAJOR TITLES WON: WWF/E Women’s Championship (x 4)

RECOMMENDED MATCHES: Vs Victoria (Steel Cage, Monday Night Raw – November 24th 2003), & Mick Foley & Edge Vs Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer & Beulah McGillcutty (One Night Stand 2006).

– By Matthew Roberts

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