Trish Stratus has reveled that she was happy to extend her feud with Becky Lynch after their match was cut from SummerSlam last year.
Having initially retired from wrestling and WWE in 2006, Hall of Famer Stratus has made sporadic appearances in the company since, most recently enjoying a feud with Lynch towards the back end of 2023.
Though she ultimately lost the match – her first ever in a steel cage – fans undoubtedly enjoyed her run as she starred in what she has branded a ‘fantasy match-up’ while also elevating up-and-coming talent in siding with Zoey Stark.
The two were originally meant to face off at SummerSlam, but the match was removed late on, with the culmination of the feud eventually happening at Payback a few weeks later.
In an exclusive interview with Mail Sport, Stratus explained the reason behind the match being cut – much to fans’ dismay – and how she didn’t mind no longer being on the card for WWE’s second biggest show of the year.
Trish Stratus has broken her silence on her match with Becky Lynch being taken off the SummerSlam card at late notice
Stratus spoke exclusively to Mail Sport to detail the reasons behind the decision and why she was happy the match was delayed for a few weeks
The Hall of Famer has made sporadic appearances in WWE since retiring from full-time wrestling nearly two decades ago
‘To me, it’s always important to maintain integrity of your storyline,’ she said. ‘Everyone talks about it getting stretched a little longer – I’m all about extending it. Mickie James and I, we have this joke about the longest rivalry ever. We were so proud of the fact that we had a rivalry that lasted for so long, but it did have ups and downs, ebbs and flows.
‘I’m not saying that mine and Becky’s didn’t, but I feel like maybe they could have given us some extra tools to make it a little more interesting. It was like, promo, do a promo, how about a promo? A promo next week? We’ll do promo. How much can we do? But the interest was certainly there.
‘Timeline wise, if it went to to SummerSlam, perfect timing. However we thought that this feud needed to culminate to [something] like a cage match. There was a stadium show for SummerSlam, impossible to have a steel cage match. So it was sort of like, do you want to have an eight-minute regular match on SummerSlam, which is jammed card, or do you want to be highlighted and have 20 minutes and a steel cage and kick off this amazing show? I think we’ll do that.
‘Could there have been a more creative four weeks to not let interest wane or let people get sucky? Perhaps. But I just knew at the end of the day, as long as we could deliver, that was what would people would talk about and would remember.’
When the match eventually took place, Stratus and Lynch put on an impressive match that received widespread praise
Lynch came out on top as their rivalry came to an end, with the bout currently Stratus’ last match with the company to date
It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. Former WWE boss McMahon insisted that it would be hard for Stratus to return as a hell – or villainous – character as a legend of the game, but she did so, as fans cheered against her and threw their support behind Lynch.
Stratus explained how she proved ex-boss McMahon wrong in succeeding in the feud, despite concerns over her ability to win fans over as a heel.
‘I loved coming back and doing little callbacks and things like that, I knew that would be something I’d really want to do,’ she said. ‘Becky was heel for the longest time, and when we started online she was a heel. Then she had that completely organic babyface change, where she turned because she got injured, left, came back, and the fans were like, “Yeah, she’s back!”.
‘I was like, “Oh, man, maybe that’s it”. And we just got to talking and just felt like it could happen. And Vince, to be honest, had a problem with me coming back as a heel. He was like, “They’re never going to boo you, you know”. I think Hunter [current boss Triple H] being involved that really made a difference in the decision.
‘Initially, it was just for a little run, but it was working so well, we just kept it going. I feel so thankful they got that chance to go back and do that with one of the greatest superstars of all time, Becky Lynch, and we had that chemistry in the ring and we were able to create moments.
‘For me personally, checking off bucket list stuff, cage matches, things like that were not available to us back in the day. To be able to go back and do that, I feel so blessed.’
With women’s wrestling coming on leaps and bounds in recent years, Stratus’ return allowed her to pit her wits against some of the top talent of the modern era, including the likes of Lynch, The Bella Twins and Natalya.
Another star who she did battle with was Charlotte Flair with the duo crossing paths at SummerSlam in 2019.
The now-48-year-old was also involved in a feud with Charlotte Flair and has expressed her pride at being able to perform with modern talent
The two did battle on short notice at SummerSlam in Toronto in 2019, with Flair coming out on top in Stratus’ home town of Toronto, Canada
It was actually the year before that led to Stratus’ most recent run, with her surprise appearance in the 2018 Royal Rumble proving that, despite calling time on her career nearly two decades ago, she can still hang with the current crop.
‘It wasn’t necessarily that I was like, “Hey, I want a piece of that”, but I guess it started with – ironically with the Rumble coming up – the Royal Rumble,’ she said. ‘Having that moment to go back and dip my toes into the current landscape of the women those moments [led to return].
‘It’s so cool seeing Bailey be so excited that we have a spot together, little things like that. So I think that’s what sparked it, and it was a unique opportunity also for the fans, for them to actually see that, and that’s kind of the buzz that I got. A lot of us, we’re doing it for the fans, everything I do out there is for the fans. So to create an opportunity where it’s a multi-generational face-off… for example, with Charlotte and I.
‘When I retired, I said, “Hey, listen, if you guys want me, if there’s the right moment to come back to – I’m not going to come back for like something that’s kind of meh – there’s a checklist I have”. It has to forward something, it has to interest the fans, it has to be something unique and different, has to challenge me. In 2019 when SummerSlam came to Toronto, and Charlotte was available, I was like, “Oh my gosh, her generation versus my generation, that could be it”. I called Vince and what are the chances that Charlotte, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, has nothing for SummerSlam.
‘That was great to do that, and the fans really dug that. I was surprised I went back and had a full on match. I really thought that would be my last match, and, and then I think I just got the itch, and I never thought of Becky. With the idea of Becky and I facing off, it became apparent that we had something there and we got in the ring had that chemistry right away.
‘People kept saying I’d come back as a babyface, but I’ve done the whole “Yeah!”. I thought as a performer, it would be great to be back as a heel. And I thought, taking that knowledge and everything I learned as a younger performer, to come back as a mature performer and just be able to apply that and just approach it differently.’
Prior to her feud with Becky Lynch, Stratus teamed with her soon-rival and Lita (right) at last year’s WrestleMania show
The pair went all in on a feud that spanned over a number of months, from teaming at WrestleMania to facing off at Payback after Stratus had attacked Lynch’s tag team partner, Lita.
They were originally scheduled to face off at SummerSlam, but the bout was cancelled, much to the dismay of a number of fans. It wasn’t something that bothered Stratus, however, due to the stage they got to show off their talents.
So the two did battle, putting on a show at Payback in September and gaining widespread plaudits for their efforts.
Some of the spots in the match included Stratus dangling upside down from the top of the cage and being superplexed onto the mat from the same height.
With it being her debut match inside a cage, the surroundings took some getting used to, but Stratus admitted she felt her and Lynch put on a good match and made the most of their opportunity.
‘I thought that I’d have loved to have gone back into a cage match, and I thought I manifested it, but I just felt like that feud needed it, it really was like the perfect endpoint for that rivalry,’ she said.
‘Preparing for it, I remember there was a phase where I was just like, “Ah, I think I need to put up a cage and step into it”. I need to feel it, it was a new environment. To be in the ring is one thing, but there’s another level and another layer. So they did set up the cage for me up at the Performance Cente. And I remember climbing it, sitting in it, being in it, being flooded with ideas and like things we could do
‘I really wanted to use the cage. Sometimes there’s a match inside the cage, but it’s just a match, they don’t really use the cage necessarily. Even the hanging upside down spot, that was something that I thought would be really cool. I knew that like no guys had done that before because you literally couldn’t get your legs up there.
Stratus explained her desire to perform some unique spots in her match with Lynch, including hanging upside down
Moments after that moment, she was superplexed from the top of the cage onto the mat
‘It was fun to put together and you have to just have no fear. And I really didn’t, I was ready to go for it. And Becky’s so great, she’s 100 per cent in. And I’m really like, anything goes, let’s just do this and we’ll think about it tomorrow kind of thing. And she is as well.
‘We knew we had to deliver and so we were just right on track, both on board. I’ll never forget the superplex from the top. It was a real, in a way, an intimate, special moment for Becky and I. We knew people were going go crazy, but for us, we have to trust each other’s bodies. I remember simply [being] like, “Okay, let’s go”. And it was simple, it was very calm. I remember the fall was so long. I remember thinking, “Am I not there yet?”, like I was just never was going to hit the bottom.
‘We knew we successfully and safely landed, fans went crazy, and it was a moment to remember for sure, but that takes two people to be completely committed and willing to put the bodies on the line. And we definitely developed that trust in that friendship we had, just by feuding and being together for so long.’
Royal Rumble airs LIVE this Saturday on Peacock in the US and WWE Network in the UK
The Bad Girl Tour UK will bring Trish to Liverpool for a Meet and Greet at The Love of Wrestling March 2 & 3 and then fans in Glasgow and London will have the exclusive opportunity to delve into the mind of Trish as she embarks on a series of engaging spoken word events. The Stratusfaction Tour presented by Inside The Ropes happens March 4 in Glasgow and concludes March 5 in London. For more information & tickets: bit.ly/itr-trish