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Top Five Failed Attempts By WWE to Create the Next Trish Stratus


Trish Stratus, even at her peak, was never something out of All Japan Women, circa 1994. She was a decent worker, although Victoria (now Tara in TNA) and Molly "Nora Greenwald" Holly (two performers she often  feuded with in 2002-2004) were superior to her in the in-ring department. She was over, but never had the connection with fans that, say, Sunny or Lita did in their primes (indeed, after Trish’s brief in-ring return this year, she just disappeared. Fans didn’t seem to notice or care.)   She was never a huge ratings draw like Sable (who in 1999, believe it or not, was actually pulling in bigger ratings than Steve Austin.) In short, Trish was a decent all-rounder, but never excelled in any area (although her heel promos were occasionally very good.) but still WWE brass has placed her on a lofty pedestal.  She was brought into be a trainer for Tough Enough. She’s likely to go into the Hall of Fame next year. Announcers and fellow wrestlers will often lavish praise on her and refer to her as a legend. Why, all the adoration? Well Trish is the only tangible proof management have that they can take a model and turned her into a good performer. It likely justifies their whole attitude to the women’s division: why bother hiring actual female wrestlers (who usually don’t have the looks), when you could just get models in and train them to be good wrestlers? Accordingly, they’ve tried to replicate the Trish experiment since. Even if, as I have noted, the original was probably a bit over-rated anyway. But, nonetheless, they’ve still tried. And, needless to say, most of the results have been a dismal failure. So, let’s have a look at five of the most blatant failures:

5.Ashley Massaro

What She Had Going For Her: She was a rock chick! She was totally different from all the other blond models! Well, okay, she really wasn’t. But the glimmer of personality she showed during the second Diva Search contest allowed her to win and gain the $250,000 contract. Also, Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon liked her. A lot. This was mainly why she got the WWE spot on the CBS show Survivor, when the company was asked by the show to submit a contestant, even though most thought she would be a disaster and it would be ample opportunity to push an up and coming male star (indeed, Ashley lasted about 1 week and a half before getting kicked off).    

What Went Wrong: Ashley was an atrocious wrestler. Like, unbelievably bad. Sloppy, un-coordinated, injury-prone...frankly, Manami Toyota would have dug up her grave to roll in if she ever saw one of Massaro’s matches. Jenna Morasca even thought Ashley was a crappy women's wrestler and could have put more of an effort in. Massaro also battled personal issues (reportedly, getting sent him from a Raw taping, due to being in "bad shape", which in wrestling usually means only one thing); she also shrunk dramatically in size, prompting worries about her possibly having an eating disorder. No, it’s never a good sign when we can clearly see your rib cages in pictures.  Then there was the small matter of Rolling Stone Magazine outing her as a high-priced escort in their May 2008 issue after an FBI sting operation. Ashley took to her MySpace, vociferously denying the reports and claiming she was contacting her lawyer to demand a retraction. The Rolling Stone writer, Michelle Grigoriadis, stood by the claims that Massaro had worked as a $50,000 a night for a Los Angeles Escort Agency (and denied the theory that Massaro had been mixed up with a Las Vegas model of the same name.)  The magazine never issued an apology or retraction, and nothing was ever heard about Ashley and her legal action again (quite similar to the time Dave Batista dramatically announced he was taking legal action against Sports Illustrated for linking him with steroid use, and then never made another peep about it again).  She was released some time afterwards. Although it probably had less to do with the Rolling Stone story, and more with the fact that management had had it with her.

Where Is She Now: She was apparently in talks to do a reality show with VH1 (isn’t everyone?) The pitch of the show is that unknown MMA fighters would fight in gruelling matches to win the privilege of dating the supposedly stunning Ashley (for some reason, this concept conjured up the memory in my mind of GSP after he won the interim Welterweight title: “No, No, I don’t want this!”)

4.Christy Hemme

What She Had Going for Her: She was the winner of the first Diva Search and a management favourite for some time- they liked her look and her willingness to learn. Indeed, Christy was enthusiastic and worked very hard to get better in the ring. Indeed her first few performances were, for someone with limited training, very good indeed.

What Went Wrong: No-one is quite sure, actually. She was demoted to OVW in late 2005 (in a move that was speculated to have been an encouragement by WWE for her to quit on her own; although, instead,  she relished the opportunity to get better)  She was officially released from WWE in December of that year for what were apparently “budget reasons” (which makes sense: she was making quite a lot of money to not do that much, after all). Although Hemme strongly denied this and said she was more than willing to take a paycut. There were also some bizarre rumours about her and HHH (which were shot down by most reporters; after all, Christy looks way too much like a woman for HHH to be interested.) So, what was the deal? Later, Hemme writing in November 2008, claimed she had quit: “My departure from WWE was on my own terms because I stuck to my guns on my morals and values as a human being. I knew in my gut that it would be the end, but I also knew that carrying guilt for knowingly doing something against what I believed wasn't worth getting ahead. Leaving broke my heart... but doing the right thing is something I will always be proud of." Hmmm.

Where is She Now: Earning a huge pay check in TNA to do something that only mildly resembles ring announcing.  

3.Kelly Kelly

What She Had Going for Her: Signed at 19 when Johnny Ace spotted her photo in a bikini magazine (prior to that the only wrestling match she had seen was Andre vs. Hogan at Wrestlemania III)   Kelly was probably far too young when she got called up in 2006, but she is, nonetheless, an enthusiastic performer and well-liked backstage (It’s been noted that Randy Orton got a ton of heat for his criticisms towards her in his infamous interview with Arizona's Real Rock Radio Interview, because of her popularity in the locker room). She worked hard to get better in the ring and was given the divas championship after she won a title match in the fan voting for the interactive edition of Monday Night Raw. She even cried when she won her title(presumably because she was happy, not because she was distressed at being burdened with the ugly thing.) Also, she can count Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn among her biggest supporters backstage.

What Went Wrong: She’s deathly afraid of the ring ropes, for a start. She’s also had some absolutely atrocious matches (Notably with Brie Bella at Money in the Bank) as champion. Also, in recent times, she’s become far more well-known for her turbulent love life than she has for any of her in-ring contributions. In the past, she’s been romantically linked with Dolph Ziggler, Andrew “Test” Martin, Chris Jericho and Batista (who admitted that, shockingly, he found the girl was dating “immature”, apparently not realizing that’s what happens when you date someone young enough to be your daughter.) It was all this that apparently inspired Orton’s harsh remarks last month.

Where Is She Now:  Still hiding in fear from the ring ropes, I assume. Also: shooting Randy Orton evil glares if she spots him backstage at a taping.

More after the cut.

2. Candice Michelle

What She Had Going for Her:  Former fetish model Candice worked hard to improve her in-ring skills after joining WWE in 2004. Eventually, her hard work paid off and WWE rewarded her with the title at the notorious WWE Vengeance in 2007. Oh, and Vince liked her. A lot.

What Went Wrong:  While she improved a lot as a wrestler, she still wasn’t that great. She was never particularly over either. Of course what really killed her career was broken collarbone in a late 2007 match with Beth Phoenix, an injury she was never able to fully recover from. She also committed the ultimate diva infraction of Not Being In Totally Perfect Shape and was released soon afterwards. After her release, she put up an incredibly gracious goodbye note on her official WWE blog, thanking the McMahon family and everyone else at WWE for everything they had done for her. It was rather coldly yanked from the site an hour later.

Where Is She Now:  She got married to a doctor and had a daughter called Aki-Anne (almost as bad as a NXT name, isn’t it?). She can occasionally be found on the convention circuit, but appears to have moved on from wrestling for the most part.  

1. Melina

What She Had Going For Her: Upon her debut, former beauty queen and Tough Enough contestant Melina Perez gained notice for her wrestling talent, presence and mic skills. Indeed, many predicted that she, along with her on and off screen boyfriend John Morrison, would become a major star in wrestling. Also, Mick Foley was a big fan. And Batista. And Bret Hart (who, in something he will probably never live down, once called her the "best wrestler in the world".)

What Went Wrong: Where to start? She was a heat-magnet for a start: shortly after her debut, she got sent to wrestler’s court in Australia for being rude to the other women and hitting on the wrong people (in their infamous shoot, Paul London and Brian Kendrick noted that she cried the entire time, and they thought the whole thing was awkward, needless and a complete waste of time) She apparently got into a catfight with Sharmell at one point, too. Melina’s erratic behaviour eventually got her and Morrison sent over to Raw. Later, she was kicked out of the locker room by Lita for her attitude. She was often compared to Tammy “Sunny” Sytch, who was also known for being a handful backstage during her run. She also allegedly got Brooke Adams fired for daring to wear furry boots, like she did (for her part, Brooke denied the story on Twitter, but acknowledged Melina was extremely difficult to be around in WWE, calling Melina a "rude, fake b****.")

More recently, Melina convinced herself that Trish Stratus had “stolen” her spot at Wrestlemania and instructed Morrison (who really does need to grow a pair) to give Trish the cold shoulder, bringing down an avalanche of heat on herself and Morrison. She also suffered a fair amount of injuries, including a torn ACL in early 2010, which seem to have affected her wrestling too: She has went from being a decent women’s wrestler to being as bad as the rest of the models turned wrestlers. Even if Ariane from Tough Enough claimed she had a five star classic with Alicia on Superstars once. And, worse still for any diva, years on the road and bad plastic surgery have also taken their toll on her looks: Melina has went from being a pretty girl to looking a bit like Michael Jackson.  In such a cosmetic business (even the always- thin Maria Kanellis once claimed she had been dragged into WWE offices and told to lose weight) this likely doesn’t bode well for her future in WWE.  

There’s also the strange behaviour: the odd tweets, the strange Youtube videos, her new work-shoot persona (as for whether the angle is any good, let’s put it this way: she’s no CM Punk) and, of course, the skittles. Don’t forget the skittles. You know it’s never a good sign when Michael Cole (who is usually receiving instructions from Vince McMahon) refers to you as a “wackjob” on air (as Cole did last Monday) and it has nothing whatsoever to do with your on screen character.

Where Is She Now: Still munching down skittles and bossing Morrison around, I guess.

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