WWE: Remembering the Greatest Women's Rivalry in WWE History
Hey Bleachers, my name is PS Singh, and I think I can safely say at this point that my hiatus from Bleacher Report is officially over. And I have two people to thank for inspiring me to start writing again; believe it or not, those people are none other than the Bella twins, Brie and Nikki.
You see, one of the twins—I think it was Nikki—recently posted on Twitter (in response to an article on WWE.com) that she, Brie and Kelly Kelly were the best divas in WWE and better than anyone in the past.
No, you did not just misread that.
These comments by Ms. Nikki Bella, as well as the current mediocre state of the Diva's Division in WWE, have inspired me to remind everybody here of a better time for women in WWE—a time when the divas were not only smoking hot, but also entertaining and able to wrestle. We have many women to thank for that time, but the two main ones would definitely have to be the "Diva of the Decade," Trish Stratus, and "The Queen of Extreme," Lita.
And until Trish's retirement after Unforgiven 2006 these two women had arguably—actually, no, not arguably, without a shadow of a doubt—the greatest rivalry in the history of WWE's Diva's Division.
This epic on-and-off feud started in 2000, when both women were just managers to respective tag teams (the Hardy Boyz and T&A). By the time it ended at Unforgiven 2006, both women were multiple-time champions and had cemented their places in history as two of the greatest female athletes to ever lace up a pair of boots. The feud literally saw it all: great matches, stellar promos, championships, hometowns, Wrestlemania, ace turns, heel turns—basically everything you could ever want in a rivalry and more.
In this article, I will be recapping and analyzing the entire classic rivalry, from beginning to end. So brace yourself, and get ready to join me on a trip to the WWE's past.
Chapter 1: Humble Beginnings
Unlike many great rivalries, this one started fairly small. The year was 2000 and Lita was the manager of the Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) while Trish was manager for a tag team called T&A (Test and Albert, although most male fans, as well as Jerry Lawler, misunderstood quite a lot).
The teams started a feud later in the year, which Lita and the Hardy's won when Lita pinned Trish in a six-person intergender match at the pay-per view Fully Loaded. (This was Trish's first official match.)
There's not much to say, really, about this part of their feud. Both women had only recently debuted in WWE and Trish hadn't even learned how to wrestle yet.
Luckily, the feud would only get better and better from here.
Chapter 2: First Taste of Gold
Our next chapter took place during the midst of the critically panned Invasion angle. Lita and Trish Stratus both aligned themselves with the WWF, which led to them teaming up with Jacqueline during the angle to face "Alliance Divas:" Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Ivory and Mighty Molly.
The angle culminated in a fairly good six-pack challenge at Survivor Series, between Trish, Lita, Ivory, Jacqueline, Molly and Jazz. Trish eventually won the WWE Women's Championship for the first time ever by pinning Ivory after a Stratusfaction.
This was still all pretty much a prelude to the feud that was still to come. Lita took a hiatus for a short while in December, returning in February, just in time for Mania.
Chapter 3: The Grandest Stage of Them All
Wrestlemania 18 will be remembered more for Hogan vs. Rock than anything else, but it's also significant in my book because it was the first time we got to see both Lita and Trish on the biggest stage of them all. They competed in a Triple Threat match for the Women's title against then-Women's champion Jazz. (Yes, there was a time when the women's title was actually defended at Wrestlemania.)
The match itself was a decent one, which lasted about six minutes and was fairly even. Unfortunately, neither Trish nor Lita would win the title that night as Jazz emerged victorious after pinning Lita.
This match was the only time that the Trish and Lita would wrestle each other at Wrestlemania, and after it, they would not meet up in the ring again until the next year.
Chapter 4: One Small Step for Divas
In 2003, Lita returned from injury to the WWE and subsequently teamed with Trish for the remainder of the year.
It was in 2004, however, the feud between the two would finally be reignited. A lot of you probably remember that in 2004, Trish turned heel during the whole Chris Jericho/Christian/Stratus angle. She won her fifth WWE women's title at Bad Blood in July, and she feuded with Lita over it after the latter returned in November.
In my own opinion, the rivalry between the two reached it peak during this time. Lita faced Trish for the title at Survivor Series, but thanks to months of verbal abuse by Trish (centered around Kane and Lita's pregnancy angle), Lita's rage got the best of her and she ended up getting herself disqualified.
A week later, Lita received a rematch in the main event of Raw in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C. That's right, a divas match was featured in the main event of Monday Night Raw. (This was actually the second time; the first time was when Lita faced Stephanie McMahon for the women's title on Raw in 2001.)
The two women tore it up that night, having a match that K2 and the Bella Twins wouldn't have been able to survive the first four minutes of. Lita herself narrowly escaped serious injury at one point. In the end, The Queen of Extreme managed to win the women's championship for the second time in her career, after finishing Stratus with a reverse Twist of Fate followed by a gorgeous Moonsault. I recommend watching the entire match right here if you haven't already seen it. It's probably the second best match that this feud gave us.
The pair then had another match at New Years Revolution. Unfortunately, though, Lita injured herself yet again just a couple minutes into the match, forcing her to stop wrestling for the rest of the year and most of '05. She still feuded with Lita by proxy, through her new protegee, Christy Hemme, and her (kayfabe) husband, Kane.
Chapter 5: Role Reversal; Back to the Roots
Until the infamous Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita angle in 2005, Lita had been a beloved face for her entire WWE career. Every time she and Trish feuded, Trish had been the heel and Lita had been the face. But in 2006, Trish Stratus' career was coming to a close. She was involved in a (kayfabe) relationship with Carlito, and the pair would feud with the much-despised team of Lita and Edge (both of whom were champions at the time) during the last few weeks of Trish's career.
I especially enjoyed the six-man intergender tag team match where Edge, Lita and Randy Orton defeated the team of John Cena, Trish Stratus and Carlito. Lita pinned Trish in the end to get the win for her team. The main reason I enjoyed watching this match, personally, was because it was reminiscent of Trish's first ever match in WWE, when she was just a hot manager of a going-nowhere tag team. It really was a great reminder of how far both women had come since that fateful night at Fully Loaded 2000. And it was Trish's third-to-last match as an active WWE Diva.
Chapter 6: The Grand Finale
Finally, it came down to this. Trish Stratus' legendary WWE career was finally coming to a close, and she couldn't have possibly asked for a better ending. She was facing her greatest rival in her hometown of Toronto, Canada, for the WWE Women's Championship.
The match itself may have been the best women's match I have ever seen in WWE. Great storytelling, awesome counters, more than 15 minutes long, fast-paced action—hell, it was better than most male superstars could have done.
The most epic moment of this match would have to have been the ending. When Trish sets up for the sharpshooter, she gets perhaps the biggest pop tat a female wrestler has ever gotten, ever. Kelly Kelly couldn't get a pop half that big if she showed up to work naked.
Trish Stratus came into the WWE as eye candy, she left as a record-breaking seven-time women's champion—a legend at the top of her game.
It was honestly, one of the greatest nights in WWE history and a fitting end to the greatest female rivalry of all time.
For that I say thank you to the greatest WWE Divas of all time, Trish Stratus and Lita.
Chapter 7: Legacy
Trish Stratus and (especially) Lita revolutionized women's wrestling in WWE. Like the divas in this video said, Stratus and Lita helped define the term "diva" in WWE as women who can be beautiful, like Sunny and Sable, but also be able to wrestle like The Fabulous Moolah.
Both of them, I think, will go into the Hall of Fame someday, and without a doubt they both deserve it.
Thanks for Reading
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