As a Stratuspherian, you know the Trish Stratus moments that are forever etched into WrestleMania history. But now, she is taking you behind the curtain and providing insight into each appearance that may surprise you.
What was up with the cheese guy?
There were thoughts that the cheese guy and I should get into a bit of a tousle... but apparently it's not as easy to take a bump outfitted as a giant slice of cheese as you think it might be. And, we wouldn't have wanted anything to look cheesy, so...
Did Vince McMahon instruct you on how to slap him?
Vince told me to go for it. 'Don't hold back' is exactly what he told me. We had a long discussion beforehand as this was a big moment that we had crafted for my character. As a hated heel, this moment was to bring the crowd over to my side. The Trish/Vince storyline was culminating to this as we had put the 'Trish' character in a bunch of scenarios that was slowly getting the crowd to be on my side. After months, by this point, it was almost like they cheering me on to take a stand and stand up for myself! So, we had come to the point where it was the final straw for Trish Stratus. She took the grandest stage of all for her moment to finally stand up to Vince and tell him wasn't taking anymore of his crap and she did that by slapping the taste out of his mouth at WrestleMania. Message sent! Heel turned. Babyface run begins.
Was there any last minute discussions between you, Lita and Jazz after seeing what transpired with The Rock & Hulk Hogan?
We were absolutely inspired by the match between Rock and Hogan. To be that close to it – in the Gorilla position, behind the curtains, to feel the energy they generated was unforgettable. I got a personal 'go get it' send off from both Superstars, so although the positioning of our match was not as advantageous as it could have been, getting that send off was a moment I will never forget. Also, I think us girls held our own out there and the crowd showed us a lot of love, especially as the hometown girl – I felt it!
When did you find out you were winning the title? Who's idea was it for the confetti during your entrance?
That day! The confetti was Kevin Dunn's idea. I remember him personally telling me about the plans – I was so excited and felt so special to be getting an enhancement to my entrance! It did produce a cool moment, one that is replayed a lot – he has great vision for things like that.
You have stated the infamous heel turn on Chris Jericho was not the original plan. How did the change come about?
Originally the plan was for me and Jericho to finally ride off into the sunset together, a move the crowd had been pining for after weeks of encounters with us and at this point, the crowd had basically turned Jericho into a babyface. WrestleMania day, Jericho, Christian and I met with Vince backstage in the afternoon to discuss how it would go down and that's when he hit us with it. We were hours away from going live and the whole plan was scrapped! Vince said he thought the right move was to turn me heel and side with Christian. He said the crowd would never see it coming... and he was right (like he always is!). We actually all weren't feeling it at first – we were set on this new babyface couple of Trish-topher... but Vince was right, creating Trishtian – was a far more effective move. It was the beginning of one of the best phases of my career. After being a babyface for so long during my rise from valet to competitor, this was a new challenge for me that I was excited to embark on. My previous run as a heel was fun – but now I was a 4-time champion, so it was on like Donkey Kong... I love being #heelTrish
Christy Hemme wasn't the original opponent, was she?
No, originally it was to be Lita. Lita and I had just gotten back into a storyline after only crossing paths here and there since our initial feuds with T&A and The Hardys. We were on a roll and the idea was to work towards WrestleMania. However, Lita got injured at the New Year's Revolution PPV, so we went back to the drawing board. We then crafted the Christy Hemme storyline, which I thought turned out great! We spent a lot of weeks facing off in the ring smack talking rather than laying the smack down which was a good chance for us to cut promos, something the girls don't have as much opportunity to do.
I really enjoyed working with Christy. Besides being a sweetheart personally, she was brand new, hungry and both excited and appreciative about the WrestleMania opportunity she was given. She was a quick learn and as such a beloved fan favorite being voted as the Diva Search winner, she was a perfect opposite for my heel character to interact with. I thought our segments were awesome and very effective for both of our characters. Also, the way we incorporated Lita back into the storyline once she was cleared to return really worked as it gave Christy the rub so to speak, and that added fire to our rivalry.
You were scheduled to film a 'WM goes Hollywood' spoof but it didn't work out, why?
I suffered a black eye in one of my matches and the swelling was so prominent we were not able to even hid it with makeup. Just part of the work hazards we dealt with!
Did you have any convo in the ring with Mickie James about the boos & cheers – any attempt to change up the match based on the reactions? How did you feel about being boo'd as a babyface?
We didn't need to have a convo about what was happening – we were both fueled by the engagement of the fans. It is a real blessing to have a crowd that vocal and engaged like we did that night. You have to remember it was about 6 months of storyline culminating to this point, so the WWE Universe was on board for this ride and they let us know it! Boos or cheers, to me all I'm listening for is the decibel of the reaction – I'm still so proud of us, being able to hold a crowd like that and get them so invested into what we were doing in the middle of the ring. It was an interesting dynamic we were presenting – the heel wanted to be frisky with the babyface and the babyface was refusing... that's an instant boo generator! Almost as instant as bringing up your husband at MSG...
It's been said that Mickie's non-PG gesture was not approved ahead of time and it was frowned upon backstage
Mickie and I had discussed it and thought it was going to be a great spot actually (in hindsight – talk about an instant babyface moment – oops). When you give the details of your match, you usually don't include those kinds of idiosyncrasies or mannerisms, so that's why it wasn't brought up.
Was it your idea for Snooki to do a backflip?
Not sure if it was exactly my idea to do that backflip. But while we were privately discussing our stuff, Nicole had mentioned she used to be a gymnast. So, i was like 'sooo, tell me what can you do?' And that's when I brought that up to our agent and we worked to incorporate something cool into the match. That move couldn't have come at a better time. The crowd was booing her, and as she was part of our babyface team – that was not a good thing. But the minute she pulled out that move, she turned 70,000 people in an instant! They couldn't deny how cool of a move it was for her to bust out. And, it was totally unexpected. So that set up for a nice finish, one that achieved the reaction we were hoping for. She rocked that backflip I have to say!