From a manager to one of the most respected female wrestlers around to someone who left the wrestling business on her own terms, Trish Stratus has always played the game her way.
28. TRISH STRATUS
Real Name – Patricia Stratigias
Hometown – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Debuted – 19th March 2000
Retired – 17th September 2006
Titles Held – WWE Women’s (7); WWE Hardcore
Other Accomplishments – Pulse Wrestling’s 2005 and 2006 Best Female Wrestler; Pro-Wrestling Illustrated’s Woman of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006; WWE’s Babe of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2003; WWE Diva of the Decade; Recipient of Fighting Spirit Magazineâ€™s Double X Award and Three Degrees Award in 2006
Trish Stratus never planned to be a wrestler. In 1997 a teacherâ€™s strike forced her out of college and into a position as a receptionist at a local gym. While here, she was spotted by a photographer and she soon agreed to pose for a test shoot for MuscleMag International. Her first layout ran in the May, 1998 issue and she spent the next six months doing fashion work.
Her layouts soon caught the eye of the WWF. She was signed to a contract in November of 1999 and sent for training.
On March 19, she debuted on Sunday Night Heat while scouting talent. The next night on Raw, she debuted her finds â€“ a new tag team consisting of Test and Albert that was known as T & A.
In June she competed in her first match as she and T & A took on the Hardy Boyz and Lita. T & Aâ€™s win led to a feud between Trish and Lita, which culminated in an Indian Strap Match on July 24. Trish won with help from Stephanie McMahon.
At the end of the year, T & A was history and Trish was entering a new role â€“ that of Vince McMahonâ€™s on-screen lover. With Linda institutionalized following a breakdown, Trish found herself feuding with Stephanie. Shortly after No Way Out, McMahon dumped Stratus after humiliating her in the ring. At Wrestlemania 17, Trish, Linda, and Stephanie all helped Shane defeat his father in a match that ended the storyline.
After that, Trish began wrestling but soon went down with an ankle injury that kept her out of action for the summer. She returned in the fall and capped off 2001 by winning the WWF Womenâ€™s title for the first time at Survivor Series.
Trish soon found herself feuding with Jazz over the title. After Jazz won the belt from her, Trish defeated Crash Holly to win the Hardcore title, and then lost it to Steven Richards.
Trish, assigned to Raw by the brand extension, finally regained the womenâ€™s title in May and lost it a month later to Molly Holly at the King of the Ring. This time period saw Trish feuding with Molly as well as the newly-debuted Victoria. Trish had regained the belt in September, only to lose it in November to Victoria at Survivor Series.
At Wrestlemania, Trish finally managed to defeat Victoria and reclaim her title. Although Trish lost the belt back to Jazz in April, her next onscreen pairing was with Jeff Hardy. However, the angle was scrapped when Hardy was released that summer.
Trish next allied with the newly-debuted Gail Kim. Kim wound up turning on Trish and the two feuded throughout the summer. Finally, after Kim had allied with Molly and Trish had allied with Lita, Trish managed to defeat Gail to end the feud.
In November, Trish began an onscreen romance with Chris Jericho. However, things soon turned rocky as Jericho was spotted with Christian (who was dating Lita at the time) making a bet as to who could sleep with their date first. Lita and Trish allied and began feuding with Christian and Jericho.
As 2004 opened, Jericho had a change of heart and began trying to win Trish back. This culminated in a match at Wrestlemania where Jericho faced Christian and lost after Trish turned on him and allied with Christian. At Backlash the two defeated Jericho in a handicap match and the next night picked up a problem solver â€“ Tyson Tomko.
In June, Trish defeated old foe Victoria to win the womenâ€™s title for an unprecedented fifth time. In July, Trish was sidelined for a month with a broken hand but continued defending the belt upon her return. She lost the belt to Lita on December 6.
2005 quickly took an unexpected turn as Trish won the belt back from Lita at New Yearâ€™s Revolution after Lita suffered an injury. Trish then began feuding with Christy Hemme over Hemmeâ€™s Playboy centerfold. That culminated in a match at Wrestlemania which saw Trish retain her title.
In May, Trish was once again out of action with a herniated disk in her back. She returned in September still holding the belt. Now Trish allied with Ashley Massaro against Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, and Victoria. New diva Mickie James also soon figured in as a stalker of Trish.
Trish also began having problems with MNM after defeating Melina to retain her title on November 14. Melina challenged her at Survivor Series and Trish retained with help from Mickie. The year closed with Mickie catching Trish under mistletoe the day after Christmas and kissing her.
Trish soon tried to back away from Mickie and the two finally split in March when Trish told Mickie she needed space. Still, the two teamed at Saturday Nightâ€™s Main Event against Candice and Victoria. After they won the match, Mickie turned and attacked Trish.
At Wrestlemania, Trish lost the title to Mickie. The two faced off again at Backlash in a match that saw Trish dislocate her shoulder.
In June Trish returned to action and fell into a romance with Carlito. They feuded with Johnny Nitro and Melina and Edge and Lita.
Things soon changed as word leaked that Trish was planning to retire after her contract expired in August. At Unforgiven, Trish defeated Lita with a sharpshooter to win the womenâ€™s title for the seventh time. Trish retired as champion. The title was vacated following her retirement and a match the next night on Raw crowned a new champion.
Trishâ€™s last WWE television appearance was on the fifteenth anniversary episode of Raw. She and Lita joined forces to attack Jillian Hall and celebrate afterwards.
So why is Trish on this list, and why is she ranked so highly? Simple. Trish Stratus showed something very rare in WWE womenâ€™s wrestling â€“ she wanted to be more than eye candy. It was obvious that Trish wanted to improve herself in the ring, and she did. She had the raw talent that was melded to make her a true superstar.
While most WWE womenâ€™s matches are dull and go for cheap thrills, Trish waged athletic wars against Lita, Victoria, Gail, Molly, and Mickie. As a matter of fact, Trish once fought a match against Lita that served as the main event of Raw!
Throughout her career, Trish also stuck to her guns and didnâ€™t allow herself to be changed by her fame. One example is the fact that she refused to do a layout for Playboy. She explained that she wanted her career to be remembered for her wrestling.
Is Trish Stratus the greatest womenâ€™s wrestler of all time? Itâ€™s not likely. But it could be argued that she laid the groundwork for women to be just as respected as men in the ring. While other WWE divas were busy smacking each other on the rear end during matches, Trish was out there actually wrestling. She showed that women wrestling athletic matches could draw on the national level. It could be argued that both SHIMMER and TNAâ€™s womenâ€™s division have followed in Trishâ€™s footsteps and have taken that athletic style of competition to the next level.
Because of her accomplishments and contributions to womenâ€™s wrestling, Trish Stratus has definitely earned her place on this list of the top 100 wrestlers of the modern era.