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Newsday: Former WWE Diva Trish Stratus considered MMA but is happy she joined Lita as 'Team Bestie' instead
Courtesy Newsday / By Josh Stewart
Business and blowing bubbles -- welcome to Trish Stratus' world.
The WWE Hall of Fame ex-Diva is talking about the former during a recent phone interview. But when 1-year-old son Max makes his way into the room, she goes into giggling, blissful mom-speak, and the latter clearly takes priority.
"Whether I was wrestling, starting my own business, balancing business and baby, it's still hectic and I love it," Stratus explains. "That's how I like it, it keeps me creative, keeps me inspired, which makes me the best me, which in turn makes me a better mom."
This mom still like to scrap, showing off a fit-to-kill -- literally -- physique in a promotional shot for her role as a special-ops agent in the upcoming movie "Gridlocked," co-starring Danny Glover.
But she'll be re-connecting with her most famed former combatant, Lita, Saturday at the Masters of Ring Entertainment "Lasting Legacy: A Tribute to Women in Wrestling" event in Wilmington, N.C. The former archrivals are now "Team Bestie," forming an outside-the-ring tag-team for life when Lita became Max's godmother.
The personal relationship steadily grew since the pair retired, and morphed into a new opportunity when Trish inducted Lita into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 (a year after Trish famously announced Max's impending arrival during her 2013 Hall acceptance speech).
"Ever since the induction, I think people have been keen on seeing us aligned because all these years they saw us fighting each other," Trish said. "So, now the Trish fans and the Lita fans are kind of united, I guess you could say. Whereas before there were distinct sides.
"Fans really dug it, so we turned it into a little thing and booked the 'Team Bestie Tour.' We started our first tour last year. We hit the road and started doing conventions and signings together, and people really loved it -- and so did we. I hadn't really done the circuit in a while because I had been focusing on my business and my family, so I hadn't had a chance to get on the road and get with the fans."
It's been a fairly constant evolution for Trish since stepping away from WWE. Her first movie, "Bounty Hunters," helped spur an idea that is a big part of her yoga DVD releases.
She thought her yoga training was going well post-retirement until she realized that she didn't look like a fighter anymore for the flick.
"I started getting skinny and my booty was gone and my arms were kind of stringy and I was like, "Woah!'" she said.
The epiphany caused her to train so exhaustively for "Bounty Hunters" that when she returned to her yoga studio, 'People were like, 'Wow, you are rocking the gun show.'"
That led to her developing her own yoga discipline, which she describes as a hybrid of strength-training moves integrated into a yoga flow. Had the stars aligned, all that newfound muscle could have found itself in a different fighting arena than the squared circle -- namely, the Octagon.
A TV show she was filming several years ago included her participating in 10 days of muay Thai training in Thailand.
"I had a fight with one of their prizefighters there," Trish said. "It was a pretty intense fight. I remember thinking, 'Ma, I could pick this up and pursue this.' Of course, it kicked in afterward, 'Where do I do this?' It wasn't really like it is now, where MMA competition for women is more accessible."
But she adds, "I was thinking about it, yeah. I think I would have been pretty good at it, I've been good at most physical things I've taken on, like any sport, and I know I have a fighter in me."
It was that kind of spirit that kept her going during a fast and unconventional transition into WWE.
"I didn't do the indy circuit or minor leagues when I was coming up," she said. "I was basically very lucky, I came in and was put right to work and I had the chance to learn as I went. I started off kind of ... but that was part of my journey, you know, it was like, 'Oh look at her, she's really trying.' Kind of the underdog story."
In recent years WWE Divas have also been challenged, with limited time to develop in-ring ability and story lines. Although Trish says that her schedule prevents her from watching a lot of WWE, she thinks stars like the Bella Twins and Natalya have a lot more talent compared to the opportunities they have had to showcase it.
She has kept up with the recent #givedivasachance social media campaign that the WWE Universe organically created, and thinks that the company is making some of the right strides to change the culture of women's wrestling. She was very complementary when asked about Sara Del Rey, a storied independent women's wrestling competitor who joined WWE's developmental system, NXT, as a trainer and recently was promoted to assistant head coach.
"I read something Triple H said recently -- he said, don't think of it as me hiring a female trainer, I hired a trainer to train the girls," Trish said. "And really that's great. In our time, we had Fit Finley helping shape and guide our development, so I guess you could say Sara Del Rey is the Fit Finley of this generation.
"Because we had that guidance, and that's why our stuff stopped looking so fluffy and became real fights. And if you know how he wrestled -- a known brawler -- that certainly translated into our work. I think we'll definitely see the same thing with Sara Del Rey and her girls as well. I'm sure they have captured Sara's fighting spirit."
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