Ringbelles Retro: Trish’s WrestleMania in-ring debut

Trish Stratus‘ first ever pay-per-view appearance was a WrestleMania back on April 2, 2000 – quite a high profile start for a woman who was brand new to wrestling. Her role wasn’t big – just standing there while her team of T&A (Test and Albert) defeated Head Cheese (Al Snow & Steve Blackman). The following year at WrestleMania X-Seven, she played a part in Vince McMahon getting his comeuppance against son Shane and getting revenge on daughter Stephanie in the process, as the Billion Dollar Princess had been lording it over the Canadian for the previous month.

On March 17, 2002 at WrestleMania X8, Trish made her WrestleMania in-ring debut in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the SkyDome in front of 68,237 fans (me included). Unfortunately, her three way match against Lita and Women’s Champion Jazz was given the slot of death on the show, and is largely forgotten as a result…

Trish had claimed her first Women’s Title back at Survivor Series the previous year when she won the vacant belt in a six-way challenge that also featured Jazz’s WWF debut. The two engaged in a feud, with their first high-profile match taking place at the 2002 Royal Rumble which Stratus won to retain the title, though she dropped the belt to the former ECW star on Raw on February 4. When Lita was added to the mix, the Divas match for WrestleMania X8 was set – however, its positioning after Hollywood Hulk Hogan v The Rock and Chris Jericho v Triple H for the WWF Undisputed Championship meant that the contest was showcased in front of a set of deflated fans who struggled to care, even though the girls tried hard.

Admittedly, the match is a bit of a shambles and the result was a head scratcher, but it was better than many Divas matches these days – and that’s a bigger indictment of WWE’s current women’s division than anything else.

As an awesome addition, this video also has the backstage brawl between Lita and Trish at the SmackDown before WrestleMania, which was utterly tremendous.