It’s a happy 41st birthday to Patricia Anne Stratigias, best known to millions as Trish Stratus.
Born to Greek parents and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, she was one of three children, all girls. Stratigias didn't have plans on becoming a wrestler. She was enrolled at York University studying biology and kinesiology and was a two-sport athlete. She was looking to get into medical school, but a faculty strike at the university in 1997 put those plans on ice.
While working as a receptionist at a local gym, she was offered by MuscleMag International to do a test shoot for the magazine. She appeared on the magazine's May 1998 cover and signed a two-year deal. She would appear on numerous magazine covers over the next few months, while hosting Live Audio Wrestling on Toronto sports radio station The FAN 590 (today, the show runs on TSN Radio 1050). Her modeling caught the eye of WWF officials, and Patricia signed a deal with the company in November 1999; shortly after, she was assigned to Ron Hutchinson's Sully Gym for in-ring training.
Stratigias debuted as the heel Trish Stratus, a scout for WWF superstars on Sunday Night Heat in March 2000. The two men she scouted, Test and Albert, would become her team, T&A. Her first significant bump wouldn't occur until over a month after her debut when she was put through a table by Bubba Ray Dudley. She was on the receiving end of a stinkface from Rikishi later in the year and briefly managed Val Venis to the Intercontinental Championship. That summer, Trish made her in-ring debut, winning the match for T&A against the Hardy Boyz and the woman she would be most linked with in her career, Lita. The ladies met in a strap match on RAW in July 2000 and won with help from Stephanie McMahon. She would challenge unsuccessfully numerous times for the WWF Womens Championship for the remainder of the year.
Trish's first high-profile angle came in 2001 when she was the mistress for Vince McMahon while his wife Linda was "institutionalized" following him demanding a divorce. The relationship would anger Stephanie-and later Shane-McMahon. After being little more than Vince's plaything for a few months, Trish turned on Vince at Wrestlemania X-Seven.
Trish and Lita had a brief feud with Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler during the Invasion angle, but an ankle injury not only ended the feud prematurely, but an on-screen romance with Jeff Hardy (a storyline that would be briefly revisited in 2003). While rehabbing, she co-hosted the late night Saturday show Excess.
She made her television return at Survivor Series, and on her first night back, she won the vacated WWF Womens Championship. She held it until losing it to Jazz on RAW in February 2002. She was unsuccessful in regaining the title at Wrestlemania X8 in her hometown of Toronto. In May, Trish would become one of four women to win the WWF Hardcore Championship after defeating Crash Holly (she lost the title less than a minute later to Steven Richards). Just a week later, Trish won the women's title for a second time in a mixed tag match. She lost the title to Molly Holly at King of the Ring, but would win it back at Unforgiven in September.
Around that time, she feuded with another ex-fitness model, Lisa Marie Varon, aka Victoria. The duo feuded well into the new year, including a hardcore match at Survivor Series won by Stratus. In March 2003, Jeff Hardy came to the rescue of Trish while Victoria and Steven Richards were on the attack. Jeff kissed Trish, teasing another on-screen romance. Their previous relationship was not acknowledged. The two had a budding romance, but Jeff would be released shortly after Wrestlemania XIX, leaving the storyline unresolved again. By the time Jeff returned to the WWE in 2006, Trish had retired.
At Wrestlemania XIX, Trish would win the WWF Womens Championship for the fourth time in a triple threat match involving Victoria and Jazz, but would lose the title to Jazz a month later. During the spring and summer, Trish would have an alliance and rivalry with Gail Kim and Molly Holly.
In November 2003, Trish began a romance with Chris Jericho, but as it turned out, the romance began over a bet; she overheard a conversation with Christian (who was trying for a relationship with Lita) over who could bed their woman first. The conversation led to a "Battle of the Sexes" bout at Armageddon won by Jericho and Christian. They rematched the next night, going to a no contest.
Jericho developed feelings for Stratus, something Christian did not approve of after he turned on Stratus. The two former friends (and tag champions) briefly feuded, culminating at a match at Wrestlemania XX. That night, Trish turned on Jericho, the "lovesick puppy" and sided with Christian, "a real man". Trish and Christian would be joined by their "problem solver" Tyson Tomko. The alliance would be brief, as Christian would suffer a severe back injury in May 2004.
Trish won the WWF Womens Championship for a fifth time, a company record, at Bad Blood, but her reign would be interrupted by a broken hand that sidelined her for a month. She would finally lose the title to longtime rival Lita in the main event of a RAW in December 2004. Trish would regain the title at New Year's Revolution a month later when Lita got injured. Trish would briefly feud with RAW Diva Search winner and Playboy cover model Christy Hemme in the leadup to Wrestlemania 21. Despite Lita storyline training Hemme, Trish retained the title that night.
After suffering a herniated disc a month later, she was sidelined for most of the summer, returning as a babyface in September 2005 aiding Ashley Massaro against Vince's Devils. The feud introduced "Trish Stratus superfan" Mickie James. The two would team for most of the remainder of the year, where Mickie would begin an obsession with Trish. The obsession turned sexual on the Christmas 2005 episode of RAW when Mickie kissed Trish under the mistletoe, much to the shock of Stratus.
Trish was uncomfortable with Mickie's advances, and the alliance ultimately split up. They reconciled on Saturday Night's Main Event in the leadup to Wrestlemania 22, but Mickie turned on Trish following a tag team match. At Wrestlemania 22, Mickie would defeat Trish for the Women's Championship, ending her title run at 448 days, the longest of the modern era. Stratus would go on the disabled list again after dislocating her shoulder during the rematch at Backlash.
Trish returned in June and developed an on-screen relationship with Carlito after he saved her from a double team attack by Johnny Nitro and Melina. The duo defeated Nitro and Melina at Saturday Night's Main Event in July, and briefly feuded with Edge and Lita later in the summer. It was then that Lita outed Trish Stratus' plans to retire following Unforgiven in September in Toronto. Trish confirmed as such, and in her final week in the WWE, Stratus defeated Mickie James on RAW, then Lita to win the WWE Womens Championship for the seventh and final time, this time with the Sharpshooter. It's believed to be the only time Trish won a match in WWE by submission.
Less than two weeks after retiring, Trish married her boyfriend of 14 years, Ron Fisico. There would be no honeymoon for the couple, as Stratus went to Muncie, Indiana for a few months to film Armed & Famous, a reality series chronicling five celebrities becoming volunteer police officers. Only four of the seven episodes of the series aired.
After the show's cancellation, Trish hosted The Second City's Next Comedy Legend. Trish also hosted the travel series Stratusphere in 2008 and made a guest appearance on Canadian series Da Kink in My Hair in 2009. She also starred in the Canadian independent film Bail Enforcers in 2011. The movie was released as Bounty Hunters as a straight-to-DVD the same year. In 2015, Stratus appeared in a second movie, Gridlocked.
In 2008, Stratus opened Stratusphere Yoga in Vaughan, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Despite the studio winning multiple awards (including Top Choice Awards’ Best New Business in 2009 and Best Yoga Studio in 2013), the studio closed in March 2015. The Stratusphere Yoga name lives on in her line of fitness products.
Trish made occasional appearances on WWE programming over the next few years, first on the 15th Anniversary RAW special in 2007 with Lita, on two episodes of RAW in 2008 (the latter in a mixed tag match where she and John Cena defeated Glamarella), and was the guest general manager of RAW in September 2009, winning a six-person mixed tag match with MVP and Mark Henry against Beth Phoenix and Jerishow.
In February 2011, she announced she would be a trainer on the Tough Enough reboot. That night, she also came to the rescue of Kelly Kelly. Trish lost for the first time since her retirement in March to Vickie Guerrero, due to interference from Laycool and Dolph Ziggler, setting up a mixed tag match at Wrestlemania 25. That night, Stratus, John Morrison, and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, aka the Brunette Mafia, defeated Laycool and Ziggler. She appeared on the RAW after Wrestlemania and two more times that year, and on the RAW 1000 special in July 2012.
In 2013, Trish Stratus, at age 37, became the youngest person ever inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The next year, she would induct her "bestie" Lita. In September 2014, Trish gave birth to her first child, Maximus. Earlier this month, Trish announced on Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Making Their Way to the Ring, that she’s expecting again, this time a baby girl.
A list of Trish’s many accomplishments:
- 7-time WWE Women’s Champion
- WWE Hardcore Champion
- 3-time WWE Babe of the Year (2001-2003)
- WWE Diva of the Decade (2000s)
- WWE Hall of Famer (Class of 2013)
- Fighting Spirit Magazine Double X Award winner (2006)
- Fighting Spirit Magazine Three Degrees Award winner (2006)
- 2016 Cauliflower Alley Club Iron Mike Mazurki Award winner (for contributions both inside and outside the wrestling business; first woman to win the award)
- 4-time Pro Wrestling Illustrated Woman of the Year (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)
- PWI Woman of the Decade (2000-2009)