From Alberta’s Hart Family to Quebec’s Rougeau Brothers to Ontario’s Edge and Christian, the tradition of Canadian wrestling is full of larger-than-life personalities and unforgettable matches. Join us every week as we count down to Wrestlemania XXVI by taking a look at the Great White North’s finest contributions to the squared circle.
Editor’s Note: The “Modern Era” is defined as the period of wrestling that exists from
SummerSlam 1988 to the present day. Why 1988? Because that’s when I started watching wrestling. I know, I’m lame.
5: Trish Stratus
Weight: 125 lbs.
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Greatest Match: Stratus vs. Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley – No Way Out 2001
If this were a ranking of the top women wrestlers of the modern era, Trish Stratus would be a no-brainer pick for the top spot.
Of the handful of women who have been legitimate draws in the past few decades, none of them have combined the superstar look, promo-cutting ability, and in-ring talent into one package the way Trish Stratus has. Sable had a million-dollar look but couldn’t talk or work. Lita could throw an impressive highspot or three when she needed to, but couldn’t cut a promo to save her life. And Chyna…well…I never quite got the appeal of Chyna…maybe the less said about her the better.
So, if Trish is the undeniable best female wrestler of the past twenty years, I think it’s fair to say she’s the Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, or Rock of women wrestlers.
But how do you rank a woman wrestler against male wrestlers?
Sure, the in-ring and microphone basics are the same, but from a business standpoint, the pressure and drawing ability of a female wrestler isn’t as great as that of a male wrestler. Not to open up a sexual politics debate, but from a money-making standpoint the Women’s Champion isn’t as important to the company as the male World Champion. The Women’s Champion rarely main events shows and is rarely given enough time to put on a classic match.
I’m not saying that’s the way it should be, I’m saying that’s the way it is.
Comparing Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock to Trish Stratus isn’t exactly fair. It’s like comparing apples to super hot oranges.
So here sits Trish, arguably the greatest female wrestler of all time sitting at the number five spot on a list of the best Canadian wrestlers of the modern era.
Is it fair? Probably not. Is that the way I’m going to leave it? Yes.
That being said, Trish deserves credit for much more than her wrestling character and in-ring ability. She was The Miz before The Miz was The Miz.
Basically The Miz and Trish got their jobs based on something other than their wrestling-based talents. The Miz was a minor celebrity from his appearance on MTV’s “The Real World.” Trish was hired because she was a nuclear-hot fitness model.
Both could have coasted for a while and enjoyed some success without ever improving. We’ve seen it before. Yes, I’m looking at you, Maven.
However, neither was content to rest on their laurels. Both worked to improve all facets of the craft. And now, The Miz walks around with three championship belts and Trish Stratus is considered to be the best female wrestler of all time (or a close second to the Fabulous Moolah.)
So, why didn’t Trish follow the standard eye candy route that The Kat and Terri Runnels paved for her? Because she’s a wrestler.
While Diva Search contestants were signing with the WWE because it was a paycheck that kept them out of strip clubs, Trish signed because she was a wrestler.
And by wrestler, I mean someone who when they enter the ring and are about to do something violent doesn’t think “Gee, I hope this doesn’t hurt too bad.”
They think, “This better look awesome.”
It may sound simple, but it’s not a mindset many outside the business have.
As someone with a wrestling background, I’ve been asked several times why I’d allow myself to be smacked with a steel chair or thrown through a table. The answer is simple; the mental pain of something looking terrible is way worse than the physical pain of something that looked awesome.
I’m not special. I’d say 95 percent of wrestlers have this same attitude.
Trish Stratus is a perfect example of this. She’s missing a knuckle from a match with Victoria (now Tara). She never had it repaired because it looks cool and she likes to tell the story. When given the choice of experiencing a hand taser or a shooting taser on the dreadful reality show “Armed and Famous” she chose the more painful shooting taser because it’d look better.
And that’s just one facet of what Trish brought to the table.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say if Vince McMahon were allowed to head into a lab and create the perfect Diva; she’d have the looks of Trish Stratus, the attitude of Trish Stratus, and the work rate of Trish Stratus.
The only thing I’d change? The catchphrase: “Stratusfaction.” I’ve always kinda hated that.
Gordon Holmes is the wrestling correspondent for Comcast.net’s SlamCast wrestling coverage and the “Survivor” correspondent for Fancast.com. He was also trained to take a beating by WWE Hall of Famer Afa “The Wild Samoan” Anoa’i. You can follow Gordon on Twitter at twitter.com/gordonholmes.