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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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From the Vault: WrestleMania 20

What’s up Diva Dirt readers? It’s been a while!

I’m a little bit rusty (cracks knuckles) but let’s get this ball rolling again, shall we? For my first go around on the ‘From the Vault’ series, I’m looking back on the moment that changed the way the world saw Trish Stratus. Now, I know she came into WWE as a heel with T & A but it wasn’t until this moment, for me at least, that she truly shined as a bad girl. Sure, she took some horrendous bumps and she kissed not one but two Hardy boys in the space of a few weeks (Trish and Jeff 4eva!) and she definitely got on people’s bad sides (ahem, the McMahons), but the moment I’m talking about ignited an era in Trish’s career that was brilliant, and arguably the best of it all.

I’m talking, of course, about WrestleMania 20, and that slap. The slap that started it all. Or ended it, depending on which way you look at it.

For months, Trish had been on again and off again with Chris Jericho, so much so that Christian, Jericho’s then-BFF-4-lyf got a little jealous about having to share Jericho’s admirations and took matters into his own hands. In a match set up by Eric Bischoff (boy, bye) Christian lured Trish into a false sense of security, pretending to lay down in the middle of the ring so she could get an easy win and they could avoid any physicality. But he turned out to be a big fat liar and trapped her in the walls of Jericho. Trish beau was nowhere to be seen; Jericho was at home with a knee injury.

Trish was out of commission in the run up to ‘Mania, but Jericho was on hand again to defend his girl’s honour and his rivalry with Christian turned bitter as he sought to avenge Trish. It all lead to a match between the former best friends, and towards the end, when things looked a little bleak, things actually looked up. You know, before they went to colossal crap.

So anyway, this is how it went down.

A returning Trish rushed out to ringside to encourage her man to get it together and win the damn thing. I remember the first time I saw this. I thought Trish’s outfit was the bees knees. She arrived at ringside, cheering Jericho on, and he and Christian went at it again. Christian got the upper hand, and Trish tried to get involved so he dragged in through the ropes. He threw her down, face first into the turnbuckle. SO. RUDE. Jericho made it to his feet and gives Christian a one way ticket to the outside, before going to tend to Trish.

But she mistakes him for Christian and elbows him right in the face. Jericho turns around right into Christian’s roll-up for the three count, and that’s that. Or so we thought.

Trish tries to reason with Jericho after the match, to apologize and make him see reason, but he seems more concerned with dealing with Christian at this point. She yanks him back, forcefully, and then delivers several almighty slaps right to the face. Christian nails Jericho with a Killswitch just to seal the deal, and the two of them leave the ring together.

Up on the apron, when Jericho’s had enough time to pull himself together and realize what the duck just happened, Christian and Trish lock lips in quite the embrace. It was just such a betrayal. Fans had been waiting for Jericho and Trish to finally figure it out when DUN DUN DUN, Trish turned out to be the mastermind behind the disintegration of Jericho and Christian’s friendship. It was the WWE soap opera at its finest.

This remains one of my all time favourite Diva moments. It was such a turning point for Trish in her career, and she just owned as a heel. Even after her relationship with Christian ended, she was on top of the division with the women’s championship around her waist. She went on to a downright incredible feud with Lita later on, even assigning herself the role of maid of honour at Lita’s wedding to Kane (soooo creepy). She did, of course, turn up in only some white lacy underwear, and there were some memorable one liners too.

“All you have to do it open your heart. Just like you opened your legs.”

Heel Trish was gold. Pure gold.

Next up? The Hair vs. Title match.

This goes down in history for many reasons, least of which being that it was a bout between two of the all time greats in Molly Holly and Victoria. Molly doesn’t get enough love, and that sucks. She was one of the best. Mighty Molly anyone?

This was a feud that began after Molly lost the title to Victoria in February of 2004, and went all the way to WrestleMania. It was a great match, but the best part? The aftermath, of course.

Victoria reversed a Widow’s Peak by Molly into a pin and got the win, retaining the women’s championship. Molly tried to hightail it right to the back but Victoria caught up to her and knocked her out. She then strapped her to the barber’s chair and got to work on Molly’s locks.

You have to give credit where credit is due. It was Molly’s idea in the first place to have her head shaved. She wanted to go big at WrestleMania, and boy did she. Go big or go home! It was a decent – though short – match, but there was one sick moment where Molly clotheslines Victoria on the outside and you could practically feel the impact of her head hitting the floor. Ouch.

Our final stop on this redux is the Playboy Evening Gown match, and it was Raw vs. Smackdown. Miss Jackie and Stacy Keibler represented the reds, while Sable and Torrie Wilson – who had tag teamed together on the cover of Playboy recently – batted for the blues. It was the match that men all across the world had been waiting for, and I’m not talking about the technical prowess of the competitors.

When all the ladies had made it to the ring, Sable took the mic to declare that she was feeling a little uncomfortable and a little… restricted. And so it became an underwear match. Unsurprisingly, the crowd lapped it up. Despite (I’m sure) constantly worrying that they might have a wardrobe malfunction, this was a decent match. There was a great series of counter roll ups between Stacy and Torrie, and Stacy looked pretty good on the offense.

And then there’s the bit where Torrie and Miss Jackie steam-rolled the referee, though I’m sure he didn’t mind one little bit.

In the end, Smackdown prevailed and Miss Jackie nearly had it all hanging out.

Until next time!

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