The current theme of The Wrestling Match Review is reviews of matches that feature recent WWE Hall of Fame inductees. The first two Hall of Fame inductees this year were Mick Foley and Bob Backlund. The third inductee of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class is Trish Stratus. It is strange to me when I hear Trish described as the greatest WWE Diva of all-time because I remember her mostly as a WWE manager who was a terrible wrestler whenever she was forced to compete in a match. Look up her mixed tag match with Val Venis against Eddie Guerrero and Chyna from SummerSlam 2000. I shouldn’t be surprised that Trish went from a manager to a Hall of Famer. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin started his WWE career as The Ringmaster and former World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan lost all of his matches in season one of NXT during his first year in WWE. When I heard that Trish was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I started thinking about which Trish match I was going to review.  The Trish vs. Lita match from Unforgiven 2006 is the first match I thought of (another match I considered was Trish vs. Mickie James from WrestleMania 22). I saw the match for the first time about a year ago when I watched it on the “Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century” DVD.

The Facts:

  • This match happened on September 17, 2006 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The attendance was 16,105.
  • Toronto is Trish Stratus’s hometown.
  • This was Trish’s WWE retirement match.
  • Lita’s WWE Women’s Championship was on the line in this match.
  • According to Wikipedia, “Lita engaged herself in a feud with Trish Stratus, after Lita and Edge interrupted Stratus’s title match with Mickie James. Lita and Edge then went onto attack Stratus, only to involve Carlito, who was in an on-screen relationship with Stratus, to brawl with Lita and Edge. A scheduled tag team match between Lita and Edge versus Stratus and Carlito occurred, in which Edge and Lita were the winners. On the August 28, 2006 edition of RAW, Lita revealed that Stratus would retire following Unforgiven, which was later confirmed by Stratus. On the September 4 edition of RAW, Stratus challenged Lita to a match at Unforgiven for the WWE Women’s title, for her retirement match, in which Lita accepted.
  • Trish did not wrestle in a WWE match for two years after this match. Her next match was on the December 22, 2008 episode of RAW when she and John Cena defeated Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella in a mixed tag team match.
  • Lita’s WWE retirement match was two months later. She lost the match to Mickie James at Survivor Series on November 26, 2006.
  • At the age of 37, Trish is the youngest WWE Hall of Fame inductee.
  • Trish is the only seven-time WWE Women’s Champion.
  • Trish is a four-time winner of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Woman of the Year award.
  • The announcers for this match were Jim “JR” Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
  • The time length of the match was 11:34.

The Match:

The Toronto fans chant “Thank you Trish” at the start of the match. Jim Ross on commentary says Trish has never lost at an Unforgiven Pay-Per-View. After a lock-up, Lita pushes Trish a couple times. Lita slaps Trish in the face.  Trish gets whipped into the turnbuckle, but quickly gets out of the corner and hits Lita with a clothesline. Pin by Trish. Lita kicks out at two. Trish hits a nice head scissors on Lita and Lita leaves the ring. Trish jumps off the ring apron and lands on Lita. JR says the move is called Air Canada. It looks like a Lou Thesz Press like Steve Austin used to do, but Austin never did it by jumping off ring aprons. And just after I typed that, JR says it is her version of the Thesz Press. Trish does another head scissors, but this one is outside the ring. JR says those mats outside the ring don’t offer a lot of comfort. Trish throws Lita back into the ring. Lita tells the referee that she is hurt so the referee temporarily stops the match to check on Lita. Trish walks towards Lita and Lita kicks her in the gut. Good job by Lita using the referee to stop the match just long enough so she can recover from the attacks she has taken from Trish. Lita is now in control of the match. Lita does a good job keeping Trish grounded. Lita puts Trish in a sleeper hold. Trish fights out of the hold, but Lita pulls Trish down by her hair.

Lita attacks Trish in the corner. Lita stops to talk to the referee and Trish is able to put Lita in the corner. Ric Flair Chops to Lita. JR calls Trish the Nature Girl. Lita climbs to the second turnbuckle and Trish goes for another head scissors. Lita counters it and they are fighting on the top turnbuckle. Both of them fall off the top turnbuckle and land on the floor outside of the ring. Lita gets up and starts to climb up the turnbuckles, but Trish stops her from doing any aerial attacks. Trish and Lita are fighting on the turnbuckles again. Lita falls down to the ring apron and pulls Trish off the turnbuckles and into the ring. Lita does a moonsault off the top rope, but Trish avoids contact. Trish covers Lita. One…two…kick-out.

Trish goes for Stratusfaction, but Lita throws Trish out of the ring! The fans ringside are talking to Trish and I can hear them saying, “You are so hot” and “Will you marry me”. Lita rolls Trish back into the ring. Cover by Lita. Trish kicks out at two. Lita hits Trish with a suplex and gets another near-fall. Trish starts to fight back, but Lita quickly stops Trish’s comeback. Another cover and Trish kicks out. Lita puts Trish in a sleeper hold. During the hold, JR says that you gotta believe that someday Trish will go into the WWE Hall of Fame. Good prediction JR. Trish fights out of the sleeper hold. Neckbreaker by Trish. Lita gets up and Lita and Trish start a slugfest. Lita gets whipped into the corner, but hits Trish with an elbow when Trish runs towards her. Lita climbs to the top turnbuckle. Trish hits Lita with a head scissors off the top rope! Chick kick by Trish! Cover…one…two…no! Lita kicks out. Trish sets up the Stratusfaction and when they get to the ropes, Trish tries to turn it into a sunset flip. Lita grabs the ropes. Trish is able to pull Lita away from the ropes and puts Lita in the Sharpshooter! That’s Bret Hart’s move and they are in Canada! The crowd goes crazy! Lita tries to get to the ropes, but Trish pulls her away from the ropes. Lita taps! Trish is the new Women’s Champion! Everyone in the arena is giving Trish a standing ovation and that includes Lillian Garcia, JR, and Jerry Lawler. Trish celebrates in the ring and JR says, “Congratulations Trish. There was never anyone any better.”

Winner: Trish Stratus  

Rating: ***1/2

That match was one of the best Divas matches I have ever seen. I don’t know where it ranks among the greatest WWE Divas matches of all-time, but it was a lot better than the Divas matches I see today. If they got five more minutes and did a couple more good spots, the match would be close to four stars which is extremely rare for a WWE Divas match. What is so great about this match is that it had a great crowd reaction. It was in Canada and hot crowds are expected there, but not usually for Divas matches. If a Hell in a Cell match and a TLC match for the WWE Championship wasn’t enough to convince people to buy a ticket for Unforgiven 2006, then I think adding Trish’s WWE retirement match in her hometown to the match card gave Toronto fans enough reasons to attend this PPV. Wanting to see a Divas match at a PPV sounds crazy today, but this Divas match was not like today’s Divas matches. There was a three minute promo video before the match. Today’s WWE Divas PPV matches don’t have much of a storyline and they don’t get promo videos. The last Divas Championship match on PPV had a 3:07 time length. That’s barely longer than the Trish-Lita promo video! WWE put more effort into promoting their Diva division in 2006 and the fans cared about the matches a lot more back then. WWE fans are standing at the end of WWE Divas matches today, but they aren’t giving the Divas a standing ovation. They are coming back to their seats after visiting the restrooms during the match. It was nice to see a Divas title match get more than 10 minutes and it was nice to see the crowd treating the match like it was a WrestleMania main event. Also, the announcers actually cared about the match and weren’t making comments like, “This is terrible” and “Someone please end this match”. JR and The King were going crazy when Trish had Lita in the Sharphshooter.

Here is how JR and The King called the end of the match:

JR: What’s Trish doing here?

King: Wait a minute. JR look at this!

JR: Wait a minute here. Wait a minute.

King: JR!

JR: SHARPSHOOTER!

King: IT’S A SHARPSHOOTER!

JR: SHARPSHOOTER! The crowd’s on their feet! The crowd’s going crazy! The Sharpshooter! Trish’s got the Sharpshooter on the Champion!

King: Lita’s desperately trying to get to the ropes to save herself, but Trish has it locked in!

JR: That hold is as Canadian as Canadian can get. IT’S OVER! IT’S OVER! AND TRISH WINS WITH THE SHARPSHOOTER!

I’m not a big fan of Divas matches, but I enjoyed this match and I think WWE should try to get their Divas division back to the level it was at in 2006. I think Trish is a good inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame and I expect Lita to be inducted in the next few years.

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