Tomorrow is another one of those Divas anniversaries – fourteen years to the day since Trish Stratus and Lita wrestled in the main event of Monday Night Raw in a Women’s Title match.
This is a big one, not only because it was just the second time a women’s match headlined an episode of Raw without any pesky men around, and not only because it was the biggest bout yet between the two biggest stars of the era, but also because it was the culmination of a nine month feud that was far and away the best thing about Raw in 2004.
On a personal note, this is the 20th Deep Dive I’ve written for you kind folks, and in an extraordinary and uncharacteristic show of restraint, I Dove Deep nineteen whole times while barely mentioning the greatest of all time, my sun and stars, moon of my life, Trish Stratus. Now, that’s simply because I’m so excited to talk about ALL of these women and there’s so much to cover, but that streak is well and truly over today because for real dudes, Trish Stratus in 2004 is the greatest gift that He ever sent down from the heavens to grace this wretched wasteland of a planet.
She is God tier.
The entire feud is fantastic, in fact, so let me spin you another yarn. There are about three different soap opera storylines to get through here so the short version of this preamble is that in late 2003 Trish and Lita, bestest best friends, were being pursued by Jericho and Christian respectively, the boys made a bet for $1 (Canadian) that they could hit that, Jericho ended up catching feelings and turning babyface, only for Trish to kick his ass to the curb and turn heel and mack on with Christian on the WrestleMania XX stage.
Thank u, next.
You may wonder how Trish goes from breaking Jericho’s heart to making Lita’s life a living hell. After all, last we saw they were bestest best friends! I’ll tell you how. This was all the fault of a women’s battle royal. In wrestling, some battle royals are throwaway. Others change the course of the next nine months of television. This was the match that launched a thousand skits.
It was a couple weeks after WrestleMania, and this particular battle royal was for No. 1 Contendership. Basically all of the other dorks got tossed during the ad break and we end up with Trish and Lita facing off in a big finishing stretch to determine the winner. Despite Trish and Christian still being in the middle of their feud with Jericho, and despite Jericho’s interference late in this match handing Lita the victory, Trish seems FAR more offended at Lita beating her than at anything Jericho is doing. It’s a subtle shift in Trish’s motivation, where the focus of her vitriol becomes her bestie/archrival, Lita, someone she’s comfortable fighting against, instead of a man that she isn’t really a physical threat to. Heel Trish liked to punch down, and Lita was a much easier target.
She had NO IDEA how much of an easy target Lita would soon become.
For reasons that remain unbeknownst to this day, I believe, one fateful day on Raw, Kane decided to interrupt a Divas tag team match, corner Lita in the ring, and forcibly kiss her. Oh yes my dudes, THIS WHOLE THING THAT HAPPENED.
Kane began stalking Lita on Raw every week, with her then-boyfriend Matt Hardy often getting in the middle. Trish Stratus observed her best friend being relentlessly stalked and molested by a psychopathic monster and decided, “Yep. I am going to ROAST THE SHIT OUT OF THIS BITCH LMAO”
She started out with the gold standard of fuckwithery, “Oh no! Look out! Kane’s behind you! BAHAHAHAHAHA!” And just stepped it up from there.
When Kane defeated Matt Hardy at SummerSlam 2004 for the right to marry Lita (I know, I know…) Trish was kind and thoughtful enough to corral the other heel Divas and throw Lita a bridal shower! (And let me tell you, the way that Trish utters the phrase, “Because you have to marry *KANE*” is just… I saw God.)
Then we ALL saw God when she crashed the wedding itself.
If you can get past the outfit, this run in is also basically the greatest speech anyone has ever made at a wedding. “All you have to do is open your heart! Just like you opened your legs!”
When Lita was impregnated with Kane’s demon baby as a result of Kane coercing her into sex to protect Matt Hardy (hmmm why does this sound so familiar??) who else was there to greet her backstage with jokes about it “festering” inside her but King Dick Trish. That whole episode in fact (Raw, September 6th) was basically a one woman show. She dragged Lita mercilessly for getting knocked up by Kane, turned around and dragged Nidia for yelling at her in Spanish (“I don’t speak German!”), then dragged Nidia in the ring to one of her best matches like the GOAT she is, and then when Nidia started making her comeback, Trish could super not be fucked dealing with it and just straight up RIPPED NIDIA’S SHIRT CLEAN OPEN to distract her and kicked her head off.
I have no words for that kind of thuggery.
But back to our bullshit, when Lita then lost the aforementioned demon baby after an unfortunate and definitely-not-his-fault incident with Gene Snitsky (I KNOW, I KNOW OKAY!), who was there waiting to savage her some more about losing her pregnancy weight and drop lines like “At Survivor Series you’re gonna lose to me, just like you lost your baby” ?? You guessed it! King Dick Trish, the fucking asshole. What kind of prick trolls someone about having a miscarriage? Jesus.
Speaking of Survivor Series, let me catch you up on other, more normal events. At Bad Blood 2004, after an original Victoria vs. Gail Kim defense was changed to a four way with Trish and Lita, Trish, of course, stole the winning pin from under Lita’s nose and won the belt. From there it’s a tale of two women; Trish ruling atop of the Women’s Division as champ, and Lita toiling away in the Utter Bullshit Division. For months they only really ever met in these backstage skits and promos where Trish would body her over and over when she knew Lita couldn’t retaliate. And that was all they needed to make it the hottest feud on Raw.
Finally, in November Lita moved from the Utter Bullshit Division back into the Women’s Division and immediately set her sights firmly on Women’s Champion King Dick Trish Stratus. The match is made for Survivor Series. Jericho hosts a Highlight Reel featuring the both of them in the lead up, and he brings a referee out with him because he’s TERRIFIED of having them in the same room together.
With good reason. They’ve barely laid a hand on each other since that title match back in June. There is five full months of angst packed into this powder keg.
And it well and truly goes off at the PPV.
Trish comes out first and is STILL making puffy cheeked chubby faces as Lita makes her entrance, determined to make absolutely sure of her own death I guess. Lita walks down to the ring and punches Trish right in her fucking face. And punches her again. And again.
Then they go outside and all hell breaks loose. Lita grabs a chair and absolutely WALLOPS Trish for the DQ. Trish BLEEDS. Women NEVER bleed on WWE TV, but Trish got that juice brother. Lita kept going crazy and blasted Trish from behind right into the stairs in one of the greatest camera shots of all time. Trish freaks out spectacularly at the sight of her own blood. And somehow, considering this was an immediate DQ finish for a PPV title match they spent half the year building, this was some great business.
From this point forward Lita is fascinating to watch. You might think she’d go on some crazy tear of babyface revenge going after Trish’s title, but she’s actually the complete opposite. She’s not frantic or wild or in a hurry. She’s… calm. Almost serene. It’s as if she knows at this point that she HAS Trish. She’s got her. She’s finally free to fight her, she already beat the shit out of her at Survivor Series, now Trish is wearing a face mask on her broken nose that Lita can gleefully target, and she knows her day is coming. Lita is completely free to punch Trish in the face all she wants for all of the shit she’s been talking all year. Lita is free. Finally. And so she doesn’t chase Trish. She takes her time. She enjoys it. After all of the crazy shit she’s gone through in 2004, it’s actually a relief to just enjoy beating up a familiar foe in a wrestling match.
I bang on a lot about Trish here, and it’s always the heels that get to have more fun, but don’t sleep on Lita. She was also great during this entire angle (while having to do some truly horrid bullshit) and this part of it in particular was some fantastic work.
So the return match for title is finally made (by the ever-present Chris Jericho in his role as guest GM, in a nice touch) for the December 6th Raw. This show happens to be in Charlotte, not very far at all from Lita’s hometown at the time of Sanford, NC. The Women’s Title gets that main event slot baby. They spent the whole night recapping the feud to build up to it. Jim Ross dropped a great line about how to these women, this title means as much as the World’s Heavyweight Title does to the guys. The scene is set.
But not before one last backstage skit. We couldn’t really have it any other way. Trish had taken to calling Lita “The Walking Kiss of Death” and jokingly asked who’s career Lita was going to kill tonight, to which Lita obviously replied, “Yours” and gave her a big smackeroo. Now, Lita was just being smart here because as we know from this and Mickie James in the near future, kissing Trish before a match increases your chances of having a motherfucking BANGER with her by at least 1000%.
That’s just science.
What is a lot harder to explain with science is how Lita actually survived the match.
Y’all remember THAT bump. Lita hit a tope and landed so hard on her face her body scorpioned ov-argh. Nope. It’s fourteen years later and we know she was fine but man is it still hard to watch. She only came back from the broken neck a year earlier! Lita is officially a cyborg.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it, but it’s a shame that the scorpion bump is sometimes the only thing people remember about this match. What’s important to remember about this match is that IT FUCKING RULED.
The tension was palpable from the bell, and the crowd was ready. Trish took off her face mask and used it as a weapon BECAUSE HER FACE WAS FINE AFTER ALL in a move so dastardly it caused Jim Ross to wig the fuck out on commentary. Lita’s bad bump ended up serving the match, lending a lot of weight to Trish working over Lita’s head and neck during the heat. Lita came back with a powerbomb and the rare and elusive women’s superplex. There were a bunch of great, close nearfalls, and at this point the crowd was going insane chanting for Lita. When she finally went up and hit the redemptive, life affirming Moonsault for the win, people went APESHIT. J.R. literally screamed himself hoarse raving about Lita coming back from all that punishment and winning the belt.
A trillion and three quarter stars.
Revolution or no Revolution, this is still one of the very best women’s matches in company history. And the perfect capper, at that point, to a rivalry that had started all the way back in 2000, and boiled over so spectacularly in 2004. I just love these women.
You can actually watch the full match on WWE’s Youtube here.
That was a lot, and yet like, I feel like I didn’t even scratch the surface with Trish, or even get into half of the stuff with Kane and Lita and all of that nonsense. I’m going to suppress the masochistic urge to dive into it that further, and come back next week to talk about another one of my favourite girls, the unfairly-maligned Divas of the world.
Check it out:
No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal (Raw, April 5th 2004)
Trish Stratus vs. Lita (Raw, April 12th 2004)
Trish Stratus vs. Lita (Raw, May 17th 2004)
Victoria vs. Gail Kim vs. Trish vs. Lita – Women’s Title (Bad Blood 2004)
Trish Stratus vs. Lita – Women’s Title (Survivor Series 2004)
Trish vs. Lita vs. Molly – Women’s Title (Raw, November 22nd 2004)
Trish & Molly vs. Victoria & Lita (Raw, November 29th 2004)
Trish Stratus vs. Lita – Women’s Title (Raw, December 6th 2004)