An article by Mike Mooneyham
(Published March 25, 2000)
Trish Stratus may be one of the most celebrated divas in the wrestling business today, but just a few years ago she was a self-admitted tomboy with plans to attend medical school in her native Canada.
Never in her wildest imagination did she ever believe she’d realize her biggest fantasy – appearing in a World Wrestling Federation ring. The 24-year-old blonde bombshell is now living that dream as one of the WWF’s hot new superstars and loving every minute of it.
” I’ve been a fan for years,” Stratus says. ” It was part of my routine growing up. I never thought I’d be able to actually do that one day. It’s a dream come true to be here.”
Only a few years ago Stratus was a dedicated student at York University in Toronto where she was pursuing a double major in biology and kinesiology (the science of muscular motion). A shutdown of the school during her senior year, however, resulted in a career change when she was approached by the publisher of Musclemag about becoming a fitness model.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]Stratus took to the modeling and fitness world like a duck to water, becoming an instant success in her new profession and signing a contract with Musclemag. She graced the cover of Musclemag’s annual ” glute special” swimming issue earlier this year and also was that issue’s centerfold. An appearance on TSN’s popular ” Off The Record” show in Canada, her first of four guest shots on that program, with WWF performers marked the beginning of yet another career.
The 5-4, 118-pound Stratus, who became one of Canada’s top fitness models, took the initiative and began training with WWF stars and fellow Canadians Edge (Adam Copeland), Christian (Jay Reso) and Val Venis (Sean Morely) at Ron Hutchinson’s gym in Toronto. She later met some WWF road agents backstage at a house show in Toronto who were familiar with her work in the fitness world.
Stratus’ big break finally came when Jim Ross, after viewing her portfolio, invited her to come to Connecticut last November. Stratus signed a multi-year contract and made her WWF debut on the March 20 edition of Sunday Night Heat.
The blond-haired, hazel-eyed Stratus, who is single, says she initially was skeptical about the prospect of life on the road, but now she looks forward to it.
“At first it was like, `Oh, my God, what am I going to do?’ Now I can’t wait to get to TV every Monday. It was just a matter of getting used to it.”
Stratus, whose traveling companion is WWF ring announcer Lilian Garcia, says she enjoys the camaraderie among the WWF troupe and admits the company has it share of ribbers, practical jokers and comedians.
“Dean Malenko is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met,” says Stratus. ” He’s got such a quick wit. Road Dogg is also very funny.”
Stratus relishes the fact that she is now able to combine her looks and athleticism into an attractive sports-entertainment package. But she eschews comparisons to performers such as the artist formerly known as Sable.
“I’m not really sure what her character was, as far as being that definitive, but I really don’t try to be like anybody else. I just want to be the best that I can be. I know that one day I’ll be able to go out there and cut good promos. I just want to be able to reach my potential.”
Stratus, who is very athletic and excelled at soccer and field hockey as a youngster, also says she has no qualms about taking bumps, and proved it when she recently took the Dudley drop off the top rope through a table.
” It was one of my first major angles. He (Bubba Ray Dudley) is very professional and very wise in the business. It’s helped me watching and learning how they’re going to get a story through a match.”
Stratus cites a number of performers who have given her tips and helped accelerate her progress in the wrestling business.
“Everyone has been so helpful and given me a little of their experience. It has helped me tremendously. Chyna has opened up a lot of doors for females. She can relate to my experiences because she’s been there before. I also admire Edge and Christian’s style in the ring. The Rock also has been really great helping me out with promos. I do my promos at every house show, and each week I’m getting a little more comfortable.”
Stratus is enjoying her current character as part of T&A with Edge (Andrew Martin) and Prince Albert (Matt Bloom).
” I love it. I like being a character and every time I go out there I feel more confident. It’s given me an opportunity with a tag-team and with Val Venis as well. “
Stratus downplays the content on WWF shows and points to parental supervision for younger audiences.
” I think it’s important and necessary to make the show interesting and intriguing, but it’s no different than the movies you see people renting from the video store or whatever’s happening on the soap operas every afternoon. As far as pushing the envelope, maybe it is for younger audiences, but that’s not our problem. The parents need to be aware of that.”