It’s Flashback Friday once again, and it’s time to showcase a professional wrestler that changed the industry. After Nikki Bella was knocked off her crown last week at Night of Champions, the Divas Revolution finally has a new champion. With Charlotte now the face of the division, this week’s Flashback Friday honouree resembles a few traits of the newest divas champion.
Trish Stratus is not only one of the most beautiful women to step foot into the squared circle, but she’s arguably the greatest diva to ever live. She turned a division that was only focused on sex appeal and brought someone who could actually wrestle. Although her looks helped people want to tune in and watch, it’s her wrestling that kept people entertained.
As one of Canada’s greatest exports to professional wrestling, this occupation sort of fell into her lap. Stratus’ modelling caught the eyes of some World Wrestling Federation (WWF) executives and as a result, she was sent to train.
After training, Stratus began her career in WWF in 2000 and started as a manager for Test and Albert. Drawing heat for a few weeks with Bubba Ray Dudley, during the days where the WWF didn’t mind incorporating man on woman violence, Stratus was sent through a table, receiving a devastating bump, which was one of her first interactions as a wrestler.
After separating form Test and Albert, Stratus tried to win the WWF Women’s Championship but was unsuccessful. Following her failed attempts, she began an affair with Vince McMahon, which ultimately led to her amazing run within the company. After being associated with McMahon, Stratus was victimized by both Stephanie and Vince McMahon, as she essentially become the toy that he began to grow tired of.
After being forced to bark like a dog in her bra and panties, Stratus got her revenge at WrestleMania X-Seven when she slapped Vince during a match against his son Shane. Turning face in the process, Stratus became loved by the crowd and championship glory would soon follow her.
At Survivor Series in 2001, Stratus won her first career WWF Women’s Championship in a six-pack challenge. Holding the belt until Jazz defeated her in February 2002, Stratus was actually able to win the WWF Hardcore Championship not too long after. As a result of the 24/7 rule in the Hardcore Division, Stratus won the belt, but lost it very soon after. Fortunately, it was only one week later that Stratus had a belt around her waist once again, when she regained the WWF Women’s Championship.
Feuding with Victoria and Molly Holly for a few months, Stratus’ match at Survivor Series against Victoria one year after she won her first career title is looked at as one of the best divas matches in women’s history. If the Divas Revolution is looking to gain even more fans, bringing back a Hardcore match stipulation could do the trick. Using trash cans, mirrors and fire extinguishers, Victoria and Stratus told a compelling story and despite losing her title, it didn’t hurt her one bit.
Stratus’ career would then involve a relationship with Jericho and Christian, but it was her work after that highlighted her career and has recognized her as the greatest diva to ever live. The feud between Lita and Trish Stratus may never be duplicated. The current Divas Revolution is attempting that and may find something with Charlotte and Paige, but the pop that the crowd had with Stratus and Lita was something that had never been seen before with women’s wrestling.
The date December 6, 2004 should be in the WWE Hall of Fame because it gave the women’s division something that had never been seen before. On that date, Lita and Trish faced off in the main event on RAW for the Women’s Championship. In a brilliantly constructed match, Lita was the winner, but it was the division that benefited the most. Though the feud’s between Stratus and Lita were somewhat short lived, the moments that they had in the ring together changed the way people viewed women’s wrestling forever.
While Stratus regained the title once again short after, Lita’s injury caused the feud to end for the time being. Trish’s time would now be focused on Melina, then followed by Mickie James where the two produced a few memorable moments. In an awkward storyline that showed James with an extreme love for Stratus, she began to feel uncomfortable, which eventually angered James. As a result, she attacked her and a feud began.
With the feud heading into WrestleMania 22, Stratus faced James for the Women’s Championship. Holding one of the longest title reigns in women’s wrestling history at 448 days, James ended her streak. With her streak finished, it wouldn’t be much longer until Stratus would never wrestle again.
In a perfect ending, Trish faced Lita in her hometown Toronto at Unforgiven 2006 for the Women’s Championship. Using Bret Hart’s sharpshooter finisher, Stratus was able to make Lita tap to win her seventh career Women’s championship, thus retiring a champion.
With her career ended, it was only fitting that she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. Possibly the most influential women to ever participate in a WWE match, Stratus changed professional wrestling forever and it’s taken almost a decade after she left to finally bring women’s wrestling back to what it once was.
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