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Forbes: WWE Hall of Fame Diva Trish Stratus talks WrestleMania, video games and AJ Lee
Courtesy Forbes / By John Gaudiosi
Patricia Anne Stratigias is better known to millions of professional wrestling fans as WWE Diva Trish Stratus. On April 6 at Madison Square Garden, Stephanie McMahon will induct Stratus into the WWE Hall of Fame. The seven-time Women’s Champion was a pioneer for female wrestling and one of the icons of the Attitude Era celebrated in the current WWE 13 video game. She’ll be honored in New York City alongside legends like Booker T, Bruno Sammartino, Mick Foley and Bob Backlund.
Stratus took some time to look back at her career and discuss how WWE video games have evolved through WrestleMania 29 with the 2K Sports Superstar Challenge as part of WrestleMania Axxess. She even reveals a Trish Stratus Yoga game could be in her future. And she believes she could kick WWE Diva AJ Lee’s butt. Check out the exclusive interview below that celebrates one of the most influential female wrestlers of all time.
What does being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame means to you?
It’s a huge honor. It’s the nod from your industry that you’ve achieved greatness. It’s something obviously you always strive for. You always want to be the best at what you do. Winning the championship for me was accomplishing what I wanted to go after in the industry. Now to be called into the Hall of Fame, it’s about all the hard work that I’ve been putting in over the years and it’s nice. I feel like if your industry gives you a nod, you know you made a difference within the industry.
What legacy do you feel you left in pro wrestling for future female wrestlers?
I’d like to think that we made a point of – we wanted to go and redefine how women’s wrestling was perceived. I think we really wanted to represent –to showcase a woman that could be strong and powerful. Being a female and making it in a male-dominated world was important for me to showcase that. I think we accomplished that. At the time, when we saw a lot of the female demographic it’s easy enough to see them come up and say, “We love what you do.” They were looking at us not just like, “Oh, you do this cool thing called wrestling on TV.” They were looking at us like, “You went after your goals and you tried, you showed us a different side of what women could do and you showed us a strong, powerful female.” Now that we’ve accomplished all that we wanted to, that’s what the women’s division in the WWE is all about.
What are your thoughts on the current Diva landscape and how things are progressing?
The nice thing to see is there are a lot of women who are just completely capable in the ring. We have these great athletes I think what’s missing maybe is there’s a little bit of element of character development that’s missing right now. That’s something that I feel from my era isn’t really what you’re seeing in the current division. I was able to work with a handful of different women, but each match meant something different because we came in with a different story line and there was a real depth of character to each person that worked the matches. Now there’s a little bit of that lacking and hopefully there will be some time to develop that. There was a time when we were missing the athleticism from the women and now we’ve definitely got that side of things and they’re beautiful in the ring. I see nothing but great things with Kaitlyn as a champion. She represents a really relatable woman and someone that people can look up to and girls can look up to as a really great role model.
What do you feel separates WrestleMania from other live WWE events?
Oh, just the grander of the event. It’s a spectacle. There is a kind of a build-up after the Royal Rumble around January and there’s just this hint of a feeling in every match and every story leading up to. Your great moments are made at WrestleMania because that’s what people remember. If you have a WrestleMania moment it’s going to be forever in history. It’s bigger than life and it’s at the MetLife Stadium. There’s going to be 80,000 people and there’s going to be entertainment and it’s going to be an entertaining evening and you’re just going to know that this is something special.
What’s a favorite WrestleMania memory from your career?
My last WrestleMania was WrestleMania 22 in Chicago. It embodied all of the work that we were working for at the time as women. We went in there and we have this character storyline which probably about six months of a storyline, which is a rare thing, especially for women. We had a real in-depth character development. There were twist and turns that got us to that point and you could just tell because the crowd was into every single move we made. That was probably the highlight of my career, just knowing that we had accomplished that as women. In my humble opinion on that card we contributed as much as any of the male matches as a whole. It was a real peak for women’s wrestling at that time.
What role do you feel the Superstar video game challenge plays as part of the whole fan experience at WrestleMania?
It’s awesome to see how the video games themselves have evolved. For kids watching and when they’re playing – I say kids, but I have the game and I play it. You play the game and it’s a real experience. I’ve seen it for years, how it just evolved and you see a true experience they get. You get the action, you get the excitement, you get the crowd feeling as well, so I think it’s a really cool experience.
You said you play yourself. What’s it like seeing yourself virtually in those games?
Oh, it’s awesome. I totally do that. They have your mannerisms down, they have your looks, like the way you walk. It’s quite fascinating. I remember when they first started making the action figures and they were making them so close to you, you literally could see your smirk that you made. And now the video games do that so to watch that today, it’s pretty awesome. I’m not going to lie.
Do you ever go back and like relive matches or play the game now that you’re not in the ring anymore?
Yes. I dominate in the ring. That’s probably why I don’t miss wrestling because I can still dominate in the ring.
One of the features in the more recent video games has been the ability for Divas to go up against Superstars in the virtual ring. Who would you want to take on if you could do that in real life?
I think I could take on John Cena. Just for like a straight-up baby face vs. baby face match, just cause.
It’s funny because in the most recent video game, WWE 13, everyone likes to put Trish Stratus vs AJ Lee.
Oh, is that the go to?
For the Divas it is, yeah.
Cool. Actually that’s a good match-up. I’ve seen a lot of stuff on Twitter. I’ve seen a lot of looks at what I’m playing now. So, yeah, I totally would take her on and kick her butt as well.
WWE 13 focuses on the Attitude Era. Do you have a favorite memory you can share from that period of wrestling?
I would say DX probably embodied the whole era. That’s why I think wrestling became so exciting again was that era. There was so much being offered. The feud between Stone Cold and Rock was probably what drew me every single week and I just remember watching DX and they were just so cool, it made wrestling cool. What everybody was doing made wrestling cool again and it just took it to a whole other level of mainstream popularity. We’ve never seen anything like it. It was a special time for sure and I came in just after that so I remember entering that era thinking, “Wow this is a special thing I’m doing right now.”
Every year they have to come out with a new video game. What would you like to see added to the one that will come out this fall from 2K Sports?
I’d like to see them do a Yoga session before your matches. Wouldn’t it be cool – okay maybe it’s not Yoga. I’m a little biased because I have my Yoga stuff that I run, and I can tell you as an athlete, it’s what made me a better performer towards the end of my career. But wouldn’t it be cool if you did this conditioning thing where you had to tune up your wrestler and you had to do the stuff to increase your power and you could do these things to increase your stamina in the ring and it would get kids off the couch. It’s just my thought.
There’s a huge market out there for fitness video games if you ever want to take your Yoga to gaming.
Yes. Yes. I’ve inquired – at least we’ve had chats.
How have you seen the popularity of the WWE games grow with the new generation of Divas and Superstars?
The more real they get with the realism that’s added to it, I think that’s what makes it more appealing. And that’s just the day and age today. That’s what people do. They play video games now and you can live vicariously through your video game character because it really is a real experience. From a female perspective, my move used to be a slap in the game. I think that was about all I did in the early game was move and slap. I knew what I did in the ring and I remember having chats with the video game folks saying, “I do more than a slap and a hair pull so work on that.” Now, you see the girls and they have real moves and they actually get in there and wrestle. I love the fact that we can mix it up with the boys too because, why not. If you’ve seen the evolution, you’ve seen the realism change and it allows you to have a real true experience.
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