August 27, 2004
Sheldon Kane III
TRISH STRATUS 100% STRATUSFACTION GUARANTEED
A PERSONAL NOTE
I can't think of a more deserving Diva to have an entire production devoted to her than the current five-time WWE Women's Champion, Trish Stratus. I've gained a ton of respect for Trish over the years as an athlete and a performer. I first learned of who she was through an old friend of mine, Matt Eckhardt, back in the very late '90s. He was a hardcore fitness fanatic, and he would buy fitness magazines on a regular basis. Trish was almost always featured in these publications, he was a big time admirer. When Trish entered WWE in March 2000, I was floored. I was like, "Hey that's the girl from Matt's fitness magazines!", lol. As she became a bigger part of the WWE storylines over the years, eventually becoming an in-ring performer herself, my admiration and respect for the Canadian Diva got bigger also. Last year, I met my friend Jessica Sutherland, the biggest Trish fan I have ever seen, and her enthusiasm for the Raw Diva of the Decade rubbed off on me. I had never seen someone look up to Trish that way before, it reminded me so much of how I was growing up with Hulk Hogan as my idol. Now, I sit here and I can say with complete honesty; Trish Stratus makes me proud to be a WWE fan. And this is from someone who has been watching since the Bob Backlund days, since 1982. "Stratusfaction Guaranteed"? Hell yeah, brother!
Okay, onto my review. The feature itself, which Trish had a hand in producing, was quite interesting. It takes us back to Trish's early life, with childhood pictures and interviews with many of her family members, all of whom had interesting anecdotes about Trish growing up. We find out that she was an insomniac at a young age, always having a hard time falling asleep, and that she was the "instigator" in the family, getting into mischief on an almost constant basis. We see how she first got interested in WWE through her brother, who was a big fan growing up, thus getting young Trish interested in the mat game as well. Classic footage is shown of a match between Rene Goulet and Scott McGhee from Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and we also learn of Trish's favorite WWE Superstars growing up, who were the immortal Hulkster and his sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
From there, Trish discusses her time studying in York University, and the infamous 1997 strike which forced Trish to pursue other options. Fitness modeling was her career path of choice, and by 1998 became one of the most sought-after fitness models in the world. Trish visits the Muscle Mag studios, where she first made a name for herself on their magazine covers. You can tell Trish is having a lot of fun re-visiting her past career, her covers adorn the walls of the studios today. We then see footage from 1998 of Trish's appearances on TSN's Off the Record show, where she talked wrestling on a regular basis and became one of the show's most popular guests. Trish then moves on to when she first started getting offers from WWE, and her wrestling training with Ron Hutchison, who has many great stories to share about Trish's training for the squared circle. An interesting factoid from Trish; World Championship Wrestling (WCW) actually made an offer to Trish to sign with their company just prior to coming to WWE in 2000. As we all know, Trish ended up signing with WWE.
Next up is Trish's WWE debut, from March 19, 2000 on Sunday Night Heat. Footage is shown (with the old "Scratch" logo annoyingly blurred) of Trish scouting Test and Albert (A-Train)'s matches. Lillian Garcia talks about how she and Trish went out to buy outfits that day for her debut; the cowboy hat look Trish sported early on was a spur-of-the-moment idea she had while they were shopping. We then see footage from the next night on Raw, when Trish cut her first promo. By her own admission (and I totally agree on this), she sounded very stilted and nervous, or as Jerry Lawler told her afterward, "Like a deer in headlights." T & A is briefly covered, and we also see Trish's "table" storyline with Bubba Ray Dudley covered as well. I'll tell you, Trish took that table shot like no other Diva had before her. That table looked like it exploded on impact, and Trish took the full brunt of the blow. Then the infamous storyline with Mr. McMahon is covered, though they breeze through it pretty quick.
Trish's interaction with her fellow Divas, and her various "Diva" photo shoots are covered next in great detail. Stacy, Terri, Torrie, and Ivory all have nothing but glowing comments about their contemporary, and some nice photo shoot footage is shown also. We then return to what really matters; WRESTLING. We move on to Trish's first WWE Women's Championship win on November 18, 2001 at Survivor Series, and the long hard road she had to endure to get there. Trish discusses her ankle injury, as well as her stint co-hosting Excess (remember that show?) with the Coach, who mentions that her time spent in front of the camera working the show as well as her time recuperating, training and studying tapes helped to elevate Trish to a whole new level. We then hear from Trish's other guru Dave "Fit" Finley, who mentions that Trish has qualities that other female wrestlers don't have. Again, I'm inclined to agree. There's a whole chapter on the DVD devoted to Trish's various feuds, including Lita, Jazz, Molly Holly and Victoria (this was obviously produced before Gail Kim debuted on TV). It's a nicely done chapter, and goes into good detail in explaining each of the storylines. Though I find it odd that they chose to show Lita speaking on Trish from 2001 (at the "Tropical Pleasure" shoot); they couldn't get her for a new interview?
Some of the best footage you will see on this DVD is Trish backstage at Madison Square Garden. We see Trish taking the viewer around the Divas' locker room, interacting with Linda McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin (one of the biggest highlights of the feature; GREAT interaction between Trish and the "Texas Rattlesnake" to be seen here), as well as Trish stopping in the hallway in Madison Square Garden, at a picture on the wall of the immortal Hulk Hogan. Trish talks of how important it is for her to be performing in the same arena Hulk worked for so many years (the birthplace of Hulkamania, might I add), and that it's time for her to make some history of her own at the Garden. A nice little tribute to the Hulkster! From there, the rest of the feature is mainly footage of Trish at the Much Music Awards with Chris Jericho, doing the SummerSlam commercial in 2002, her appearance on Mad TV, and other goodies. All in all, the feature itself was very informative, pretty packed for a 65-minute program. Trish did a tremendous job with this, I enjoyed it thoroughly and learned a lot of things about her that I never knew.
There's a lot of worthwhile DVD extras to be seen here. I purchased the "Special Collector's Edition", so there are actually more extras on this one than there are on the standard edition. Let's take a look at the extras on this disc, each broken down into the appropriate sections:
TABLE TIPS #1, 2, and 3 (RAW, 4/24/00)
Trish appears three times during a RAW broadcast to tease Bubba Ray Dudley about the use of tables, each vignette getting hotter than the last one. "There is something about tables that just drives me crazy." I still consider these to be some of the hottest work Trish has ever done.
TRIPLE H SHOWS TRISH WRESTLING HOLDS (SmackDown!, 7/27/00)
You all know this one. Triple H teaches Trish how to escape a hammerlock, but Stephanie walks in and finds them in a rather compromising position. This leads to Steph throwing a vase of flowers and screaming incoherently at HHH. Watch for Hunter's tip of the hat to Gorilla Monsoon's classic "wristlock from a wristwatch" line.
TALKING TO MR. McMAHON IN A HOT TUB (SmackDown!, 2/1/01)
Segment from one the creepiest wrestling storylines of all time, the Vince McMahon Jr.-Trish Stratus affair. Trish is sitting in the suds of a hot tub, talking seductively to the man who used to get made fun of every week by the Grand Wizard. She ends it by saying, "You wash my back, and I wash yours." Poor Trish must have been sick to her guts.
STEPHANIE McMAHON & TRISH FIGHT DIRTY (SmackDown!, 2/22/01)
Three days before their match at No Way Out, Trish ands Steph had this memorable encounter. Steph approaches a limo thinking she's inside with her father, only to get ambushed buy Trish. What follows will please anti-Stephanie fans everywhere. I know I was pleased.
STEVE BLACKMAN HELPS TRISH CHANGE (SmackDown!, 5/24/01)
Now here's a face I haven't seen in a while. Blackman and Trish have a mixed tag team match later that night, and Trish slips behind a screen to get into her wrestling gear, as a distracted Steve Blackman tries to stay focused on his kendo stick training. Trish invites him behind the screen and Blackman reluctantly (!) joins her, kendo stick in hand. You know what happens next, and so does Grand Master Sexay.
BRA & PANTIES MUD MATCH
TRISH STRATUS vs. STACY KEIBLER (RAW, 8/19/02)
For some reason, none of Trish's early matches are shown here. A shame, considering I fully expected to see Trish's first and second title wins here. Well anyway, we start with this match. Trish takes a nice bump off the entrance way when Stacy pushes her off and into the pit of mud below. The usual mud match shenanigans follow, with Trish coming out the winner, of course. Ring announcer Howard Finkel gets dumped into the mud by an angry Stacy Keibler. Nothing special.
WINNER: TRISH STRATUS
CHICAGO STREET FIGHT
TRISH STRATUS vs. VICTORIA (RAW, 1/27/03)
This sure ain't the Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. Nasty Boys Chicago street fight from WCW in 1994, but it's still entertaining. Trish scores a nice clothesline off the barrier onto Victoria early in the match. Ultimately, Victoria wins this match, and Trish endures a hella beatdown after the match is over. As if that's not enough, Jazz comes down and beats on Trish even worse. Not sure why this was included since it doesn't exactly make Trish look good, I am assuming it's here as buildup to their WrestleMania XIX triple threat.
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH FOR THE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
VICTORIA (Champion) vs. TRISH STRATUS (Challenger) vs. JAZZ (Challenger) (WrestleMania XIX, 3/30/03)
On the undercard to the epic Hogan vs. McMahon match, we get this fun match for the Women's Title. Now, THIS is more like it. Nice entrance from Trish to start, with confetti explosions galore. Trish shines in this match, fighting valiantly against both Victoria and Jazz. She even drops Steven Richards with a Stratusfaction Bulldog, in my opinion the best bulldog headlock since Bobby Duncum's version. Trish wins her fourth Women's Title after catching Victoria off the ropes with a Chick Kick.
WINNER & NEW CHAMPION: TRISH STRATUS
WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
JAZZ (Champion) vs. TRISH STRATUS (Challenger) (InsurreXtion, 6/7/03)
We now travel to the U.K. for this Women's Title match. By this time Trish had already lost the title to Jazz at Backlash two months earlier, so Trish is again the challenger. This is actually one of the better matches on this DVD, despite the outcome. It appeared Trish had the title wrapped up, but out came Victoria to distract the referee. Theodore "This Car Belongs To ME!" Long enters and rams Trish shoulder-first into the ringpost, allowing Jazz to pick up a tainted win. Lousy finish to an otherwise fine match.
HOUSE TOUR (WWE Confidential Feature)
This segment appears on the "Best of Confidential" and "Divas Undressed" DVDs as well. Great segment, one could call this "WWE Cribs". Highlight for me is seeing Trish's extensive wrestling figure collection. You can tell she's having fun showing off her posh living arrangements. Fun piece.
INTERNET BABE OF THE YEAR SHOOTS ('01 and '02 are both shown), and RAW
MAGAZINE COVER SHOOT
Nothing much to say here other than this: Trish Stratus is the most beautiful Diva since Miss Elizabeth. Period.
Trish filming her promo ad for SummerSlam 2002, where she drives an ice cream truck and asks the all-male group of customers, "One scoop or two?" I personally like her 2003 Backlash commercial better, the "Joe Millionaire" parody.
DIVA OF THE DECADE (RAW 10th Anniversary, 1/14/03)
I remember watching this special at the Dockside resturant with a group of my amigos. God, was it awful. It was a poor man's Slammys, and that is saying something. Still, it had a few highlights here and there, this being one of them. Shawn Michaels presents this award. Trish beats out a field including Chyna, Sable, Sunny, and Lita. A lot of people complained about this result, but let's get real here: did the other Divas listed really accomplish even a fraction of what Trish accomplished inside the ring, where it truly matters? I think not. Trish thanks the Fabulous Moolah for being an inspiration, but Moolah looks like she doesn't even want to be there. Trish goes on to thank trainer Dave "Fit" Finley, her fellow Divas, and the fans. Nice honor for Trish, and well deserved.
MUCH MUSIC AWARDS
FUNNY segment here involving Trish and her future on-screen enemy Chris Jericho, backstage at the Much Music Awards and going through their "swag bags." Trust me, this one's worth checking out, you'll love it. Might I add Trish looks gorgeous.
Footage of Trish goofing around backstage on the set of Mad TV. It can draw some laughs here and there, but it goes on much too long.
This section also features stories from Lola, Terri Runnels, and Ron Hutchison. One word: "Gordita." Watch the Terri story and you'll see what I mean.
MAKING OF "TRISH STRATUS 100% STRATUSFACTION GUARANTEED"
Short segment, looks like a rough cut to the WWE Confidential feature which aired the weekend before this was released. Trish had a lot of input into what went into this DVD, how it looks, everything. It would be nice if WWE allowed other wrestlers to do the same with their DVDs.
"COLLECTOR'S EDITION EXTRAS" (only available on the FYE version)
WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
TRISH STRATUS (Champion) vs. VICTORIA (Challenger) (RAW, 9/30/02)
I believe this is one of their first one on one battles together. Prior to the match, Victoria attacks Trish backstage and rips the top off her wrestling outfit off. The match itself was pretty intense for a women's match. Victoria gets a bloody nose, and Trish takes an unprotected chair shot, leading to Victoria getting disqualified. Good stuff. It amazes me to see how Trish and Victoria have reversed the face and heel roles in 2004. That would have been unthinkable two years ago.
WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: TRISH STRATUS
TRISH STRATUS vs. VICTORIA (RAW, 5/12/03)
This RAW broadcast from Philadelphia holds a ton of historical significance. The Legion of Doom showed up for a one-shot against World Tag Team Champs Kane & Rob Van Dam. "Classy" Freddie Blassie, sadly, makes his final television appearance before passing away just a few weeks later (RIP Freddie!). And we also got what I consider to be Trish's greatest match to date. "The Innovator of Violence" Tommy Dreamer appears in Trish's corner, to the delight of the Philly fans who fondly remember ECW. Lots of great action to be found here, and we also see the debut of Trish's classic "Matrix" evasion move. In the end, Trish takes control of a kendo stick and bashes Victoria hard with it, before finishing her off with the Stratusfaction Bulldog. My friend Jessica was there live to see this match. I may give this match its own review sometime, definitely one of my all-time favorite matches.
WINNER: TRISH STRATUS
STRIP POKER WITH APA (Sunday Night Heat, 10/15/00)
Going back to Trish's early WWE days here, as Test and Albert lose at a poker game to Faarooq and Bradshaw. Trish shows up, and Test and Albert get out of their debt when the APA agree to a strip poker game, with Trish being the one who has to strip. The reactions of the future JBL to Trish stripping make this a hilarious view. Predictable ending, might I add.
TRISH'S TOP 10 MOST STRATUSFYING MOMENTS
This segment is hosted by Trish and Jerry "The King" Lawler (poor Trish). The 10 selections were voted upon by Trish fans on her website, TrishStratus.com. I won't reveal the Top 10 here for anyone who wants to be surprised, but I will say Jerry Lawler needs to cool it around the Divas. His behavior here is embarrassing, and he's lucky Trish is a professional and found humor in it. Maybe I'm being too uptight here, but Lawler should know better after over 30 years in the sport. Maybe Andy Kaufman should have thrown some cold water on "The King" instead of hot coffee.
Exactly what it says.
As for Easter Eggs...I found three! You will find a funny segment from Excess in 8/01 with Trish and Perry Saturn singing the theme from Annie to Saturn's mascot "Moppy"; footage of Trish at home critiquing one of her matches; and a blooper reel.
I definitely recommend this DVD to any WWE fan who wants to learn more about Trish Stratus, and of course to anyone who was a fan of her's to begin with. There's a lot to see and a lot to learn on this DVD. The viewer will learn, above everything else, why Trish is the premier WWE Diva, and why she deserves so much respect from the wrestling community. As a fan of 22 years, I can say from a personal standpoint that Trish has earned a spot amongst my all-time favorite WWE Superstars, a very exclusive club that includes names like Hogan, Andre, Snuka, Graham, Austin, Foley, and Undertaker. She's earned it, and I'm proud of everything she has accomplished and everything she has done to improve her game in the ring. So, yes, at the risk of sounding cornball, I guess you can say I am quite, well, "Stratusfied".