Sunday 6 May 2012

The Fave Five #3 - Trish Stratus

And now we're moving onto a wrestler in my Fave Five who actually is one of my top five wrestlers of all time and certainly my favourite Diva of all time. Yeah I'll cheer for Mercedes Martinez, Jessie McKay, Daizee Haze etc any time I watch them but Trish will always be my favourite wrestling female. She was truly the whole package - stunning good looks, excellent charisma, great comic timing, athleticism, a desire to be the best and an overall presence that made people want root for her. I present the top five moments in the career of the Diva of the Decade herself.

5) Crossing The Boss
Trish's first big storyline came in 2001 when she was placed into a notorious affair with Vince McMahon on screen. This involved all manner of steamy backstage segments and the inevitable feud with Daddy's Little Princess Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley which led to a surprisingly intense match at No Way Out. Vince turned on Trish soon after and decided he would degrade her as much as possible. First the poor girl had rummage dumped all over herself, secondly she had to strip to her underwear in the middle of the ring and finally she was made to crawl around the ring and bark like a dog for Vince. Trish has gone on record to say that she went along with those segments because she knew there would be a big payoff in the long run. And what a payoff it was - I mean how many people can brag that they got to slap their boss in the face on national television? This capped off Trish's face turn in 2001 and helped her become one of the most popular women WWE has ever known. It's so controversial that there isn't actually a clip of it on Youtube so I had to make do with this little part.

4) Taking One For The Feud
These days chair shots to the head are banned in WWE for good reason. But back in the Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression Era they were all over the place so they had almost lost their shock value. However, the likes of one woman delivering a chair shot to another had never been seen on WWE television before. That night the Trish/Victoria feud started in a big way, first with an attack backstage, secondly with an aggressive match and thirdly with Victoria whacking Trish over the head with a steel chair to disqualify herself. With all due respect to Trish/Lita, to me it will always be Trish/Victoria that was the best Diva feud of all time. Given what is now known about chair shots to the head, I guess we can count ourselves lucky that Trish is still happy and healthy ten years later.

3) The Ultimate Betrayal
By the time the year 2004 rolled around, Trish was already one of the biggest stars in the WWE. She was perhaps the biggest babyface they ever had, even with Lita in action on the roster as well. But Trish had already done the underdog babyface routine for two years now so what was there left for her to do? Well she was entered into a romance angle with Chris Jericho that included a lot of complicated drama that isn't really necessary to explain in this entry but the stage was all set at WrestleMania XX for a match between Chris Jericho and Christian, Jericho sort of defending Trish's honour. Towards the end of the match Trish ran down to the ring to seemingly defend Jericho but accidentally caused a distraction that lead to Christian getting the win. After the match Trish entered the ring to apologize to Jericho...but shock! horror! She slapped him in the face and turned heel before our very eyes. WrestleMania XX is considered a disappointment by many but this heel turn was praised as being one of the high points of the night. It seems WWE learned from this by the success of Eve Torres's heel turn as her WrestleMania moment had big shades of this.

2) Four The Record Books
WrestleMania XIX will always be my favourite Mania for many reasons. And one of them is this. The best WrestleMania women's match ever. I mentioned earlier about the epic Trish/Victoria feud that started in 2002 and continued all the way into WrestleMania XIX. But there was also another element in the psychotic Jazz who returned to action in early 2003 and interjected herself into this feud. I watched this match live and saw Trish take her lumps, genuinely afraid for her health and well being but I was on my feet when she blasted Victoria with that Chick Kick to win the title back. It was truly a great WrestleMania moment and that title win marked Trish's fourth run with the belt, matching the record previously set by The Fabulous Moolah.

1) Off Into The Sunset
Diva departures are always a hit and miss affair. Some Divas get to go out in good ways and unfortunately a good few of them get really disrespectful farewells. But thankfully it was not to be so for WWE's Golden Girl. In 2006 news broke that Trish would be retiring from WWE after the Unforgiven PPV in September. Not only was that a scandal in and of itself, Trish reignited her classic rivalry with Lita whom she had also faced in her first WWE match. A special match was made for Trish's retirement - she would face Lita for the title in her hometown of Toronto, Canada. The crowd was on their feet the whole night with "thank you Trish" chants erupting everywhere. These two had delivered a brilliant match in the main event of Raw but had never actually had a proper PPV match. This was rectified here as they battled through an aggressive and intense 11-minute match that had a storybook ending as Trish locked Lita in the Sharpshooter and submitted her to win her seventh Women's title. She received a standing ovation from the fans, the announcers and even a teary-eyed Lilian Garcia.

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