When WWE fans hear about the “Golden Era” from 2002-2005, we automatically think of Trish, Lita, Molly, Victoria, Jazz, Gail Kim, Ivory, and Jacqueline. These women were physical and tore it up in the ring; they had good matches, there were different characters and some fun storylines that kept RAW interesting. There were steel cage matches, street fights, hardcore matches, and the women on RAW delivered each and every week. However, there are some women who get overlooked. There are some women who deserve credit for producing must-see TV from 2002-2004. The women of SmackDown.
While it could be argued that the women on the Blue Brand weren’t as talented in the ring as their RAW counterparts, they still had pretty good matches and even better storylines. When we hear of the golden era, we think of Trish and Lita as THE FEUD, but who can forget that of Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson? Who could forget the sneaky underhanded Dawn Marie who seduced Torrie Wilson and her late, dearly-departed father, Al? Who can forget the hotel scene, the stepmother vs stepdaughter match, the wedding in underwear and funeral home brawl?
While Lita and Matt Hardy were the IT couple, who could forget the trailer park trash couple that was Jamie Noble and Nidia? Who could forget the inheritance? The implied group action between Torrie, Nidia, Noble and Billy Gunn? What about the blind angle where Nidia was blinded by Yoshihiro Tajiri’s black mist, which led to the implosion of their relationship and even a match?
There was Stephanie McMahon, who played a plucky babyface going against her egomaniacal father, Eric Bischoff and the returning Sable. Stephanie also managed to deliver two well-performed matches, one against Sable, and another in an emotionally stirring Father/Daughter I Quit Match. Who could forget that image of a jacked-up Vince McMahon choking Stephanie out with a lead pipe? Who doesn’t remember seeing Stephanie wrestle men like Big Show, A-Train and Brock Lesnar? The saga to get her to quit or face damning physical punishment kept people glued to the TV and had my 8th-grade class all abuzz.
If Trish was the golden girl on RAW, Torrie was every bit so on SmackDown. She was a playboy CoverGirl with all-American looks and appeal and one who always had to fight from underneath. She fended off Dawn, Nidia, Stacy Keibler, Sable, Shaniqua, and was the catalyst to Kurt Angle winding up in a wheelchair, which also led to a match with Rene Dupree and inciting Kurt’s wrath. Torrie had numerous romances, storylines, feuds, and flings, and when it came to the women, she was front and center and nearly always involved. She delivered one of the most remembered bikini contests, participated in a number of gimmick matches and time again showed us the viewers that she was pretty, but could kick ass.
Of course, lastly, there was Dawn Marie, the vamp, the conniving seductress who in addition to snatching the Wilsons, also conducted an affair with Charlie Haas when he was engaged to Miss Jackie Gayda, and feuded with an at the time, newly-debuting Michelle McCool. Even though she ate a lot of pins from Torrie, she usually was the one in control of her matches, until she became a tweener and was demolished by Shaniqua.
While Shaniqua, Jackie Gayda, and Jacqueline Moore were on the SmackDown roster, the Fab Four were Torrie, Stephanie, Dawn, and Nidia. To round out the team was the returning Sable, who wrestled more, improved on the mic, and had great feuds with Torrie and Stephanie and a cool mini-feud with Tazz after dousing him with water twice.
On this side of things there were more bikini contests and gimmick matches than on RAW (who could forget the infamous school girl match or kimono match?) but to say that these women did not deliver good matches, promos and moments would be absurd. Were any of them ring generals or workhorses? No, but they didn’t need to be. However, they do deserve credit for their contribution to the women’s division as a whole. They put their bodies on the line just like the women of RAW, but get none of the praise, and I think it’s time we give them their roses, even if it is 15 years after the fact.
What do you think of the SmackDown Women during this period? Any favourite matches? Memories? Comment below!