Stratus’ induction into the WWE Hall of Fame immediately creates questions regarding the fates of some of the industry’s most talented or prominent women. She opens the doors for other women who made a tremendous impact on the sport, as either in-ring talents or trend setters.
Lita is the most obvious of potential candidates for induction. A performer as popular as many of the men during her days with World Wrestling Entertainment, Lita made it cool for the company to feature women’s wrestling again.
With her high-flying, death-defying offense, Lita was a female wrestler unlike any who had stepped foot in Vince McMahon’s promotion. She revolutionized women’s wrestling in the 2000s and opened the door for the hiring of other talented in-ring performers.
Her heel turn in 2005 also helped give Edge the, well, edge needed to take that next step to the main event level. Their relationship helped cement the Toronto native as the “Rated R Superstar” and led to both him and Lita becoming featured stars on WWE programming.
Lita retired from in-ring competition in 2006 and, outside of a rare return, has been away from the spotlight for the majority of the last seven years.
Alundra Blayze, better known to some as Madusa, was a tremendous in-ring performer whose sheer toughness was on display in matches against the likes of Japanese great Bull Nakano, Luna Vachon and Bertha Faye.
In the mid-90s, Blayze was the face of a revived women’s division within the then-World Wrestling Federation. She reintroduced women’s wrestling to a North American audience whose last real exposure to it was in the days of Wendi Richter, Rockin’ Robin, the Fabulous Moolah and Sherri Martel.
Unfortunately, Blayze would jump ship to World Championship Wrestling in late 1995 and toss the WWE Women’s title in the trash can, showing great disrespect to it and her former employer.
As one could imagine, there was great heat between her and Vince McMahon’s promotion for years, but in recent months, it appears hostility has calmed quite a bit, and her potential inclusion in the Hall no longer seems so far-fetched.
Sable was a pioneer for today’s Divas. Regardless of whether one likes her or not, during the Attitude Era, she brought sex appeal to the forefront and, as a result, became one of the immediately recognizable women in the sport.
She was everywhere, from talk shows, to television shows, to magazine covers, most notably the April 1999 issue of Playboy.
Whereas Sunny was the first female breakout star in the 1990s, Sable took female involvement in wrestling to a new level. She was a star on par with the Stone Cold Steve Austins, Rocks and Undertakers of the era, and for that reason, she deserves consideration for Hall of Fame inclusion.
Finally, Beth Phoenix carried a Divas division through very dark days in the late 2000s and early 2010s. She was the one consistent amid a ton of turnover and easily the most talented in-ring performer of her time.
A three-time Women’s Champion and Divas Champion and 2008 Diva of the Year Slammy winner, Beth starred when the company had no idea where, if anywhere, it wanted to take its women’s division.
Beth was the epitome of consistency and, more importantly, she was a legitimate role model for girls and young women. She was beautiful and sexy, but also strong and confident.
She had a body chiseled from stone and would not back down from men's threats, as evidenced by her brief, yet explosive entry into the 2010 Royal Rumble.
Like Chyna, who also should be inducted but will not because of her post-wrestling ventures, Beth proved that a successful woman did not have to be a toothpick model type. She could be whatever she wanted and still achieve success.
All of these women, as well as a handful of others who made significant contributions to the sport, deserve recognition in the Hall of Fame. Thanks to Stratus’ entry into the Hall of Fame, they may finally get what they have earned.