WWE Turning Point: Analyzing Historical Impact of Stephanie's in-Ring Career

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Correspondent IIAugust 2, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

There is no doubt that Stephanie McMahon, the "Billion Dollar Princess," is one of the most influential and powerful women in the history of professional wrestling.

But she does most of her work behind the scenes or by yelling into a microphone. At SummerSlam, she will be trading her business suit in for wrestling tights.

Stephanie will climb into the squared circle for the first time since October of 2003, unless you count her recent Mud Wrestling match against Vickie Guerrero.

That night in 2003, she faced her father, Vince, in an "I Quit" match. In fact, Stephanie has been in the ring with several other male Superstars, including A-Train and Brock Lesnar. She has also taken part in Mixed Gender tag team matches.

But where Stephanie seems to thrive is when she is working with one of the divas, like she will be when she faces Brie Bella in just over two weeks.

Like it or not, the storyline between Stephanie and Brie is the most entertaining aspect of WWE at the moment. Both women, Stephanie in particular, have done a great job in putting it together.

Brie is a former Divas champion, but much can be gained for her in the match at SummerSlam. Stephanie is nowhere near a regular competitor, but she has had a hand in some of the top Divas of all time rising to the top of WWE.


Stephanie Wins the Women's Title

On March 30, 2000, a reluctant Stephanie took on the Women's champion, Jacquelyn. Not only was it the first singles match of her career, but she was in there with one of the more established women on the roster.

Though she had a lot of help, Stephanie won the match and the title. Many fans probably hated the idea of seeing Stephanie with the belt, but it was all done to set up something bigger.


Stephanie vs. Lita

Stephanie actually held on to the title for nearly five months before defending it against Lita on the August 21, 2000 edition of Raw.

At that time, Lita was as popular as just about any of the male Superstars on the show, and fans couldn't wait for her breakout moment.

With The Rock as the special guest referee, it happened. Who can forget Lita crashing down onto Steph with a moonsault off the top rope to win the match?

This was Lita's first championship in WWE, and it stood out as one of the top moments in her career.


Stephanie vs. Trish Stratus

If you think of Stephanie's in-ring career, this is likely the first match that comes to mind.

Stephanie and Trish Stratus were at odds after Trish became involved with Vince, much to the chagrin of Stephanie.

In February of 2001, the two women met in the ring at the No Way Out pay-per-view. Neither woman was a polished wrestler at that time, but they still managed to put together a highly entertaining match.

The crowd that night in Las Vegas was very much into the match, which lasted about eight-and-a-half minutes. In the end, Stephanie got a big assist from William Regal to get the win, but the match meant so much more.

Prior to this match, Trish was not considered anything but a valet with a pretty face. This match changed that and allowed her to show what she could do in the ring.

After refining her skills, Trish would go on to become one of the greatest female wrestlers in history. However, it was the match she had with Stephanie that helped push her in that direction.


Stephanie vs. Sable

After helping build the careers of both Lita and Trish, Stephanie once again was out to defend the honor of her father, whether he wanted her to or not.

This time, Vince had become romantically involved with Sable, a hugely popular diva from the Attitude Era who returned to WWE in April 2003.

Not long after her return, Sable and Stephanie engaged in many brawls due to Steph's displeasure with the relationship between Sable and her father.

Fans were treated to a food fight and a brawl in the parking lot between the two women, but at the Vengeance pay-per-view in July 2003, they went at it in the ring.

Much like her match with Stratus more than two years earlier, Stephanie fought with Sable both inside and outside the ring, taking advantage of the No Count Out stipulation that had been placed on the match.

Late in the match, Steph tried to rip Sable's top off, but that allowed Sable to distract the referee while her new ally, A-Train, came out and attacked Stephanie.

The assault allowed Sable to get the pinfall victory and score what had to be considered an upset.


Historical Impact

Stephanie is not the best in-ring technician in the world, but she is great at building up a feud and getting an emotional investment from viewers.

In her rivalries with Trish and Sable, fans were interested in seeing the matches due to how much the women disliked each other. The same can be said for her new rivalry with Brie.

Much like her father and brother, Shane, Stephanie knows how to promote a match.

Vince has been in the ring with some of the top Superstars in recent memory, including "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Bret Hart. Heck, he had a match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania.

Fans cared and wanted to see those matches happen because of the way they were built.

Shane McMahon had classic matches with Superstars such as X-Pac, Test and Kurt Angle. Yes, Shane was gifted as a performer, but he also knew how to sell a match.

Stephanie is no different. And while many fans may find her obnoxious or annoying, she deserves credit for being one of the best heels in WWE history.

Brie has been in the ring with the likes of Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Victoria and just about any relevant Diva of the last several years. As stated before, she has held the Divas title.

Still, none of those opponents did for her what Stephanie will do. None of those matches were as important as the one facing her at SummerSlam.

By the time the match goes down, fans will be ready for it to happen because of the way the two women involved have set it up.

Will it be a mat classic? No, but it doesn't have to be. What it will be is a highly entertaining match that will likely surprise anyone with low expectations.

And just like Lita and Trish over a decade ago, Brie will receive a career-defining moment by facing Stephanie.


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