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Trish the dirty dish
Bad girl grappler
By SCOTT ZERR - Edmonton Sun


It's an answer that only an expert can give and Trish Stratus certainly qualifies. Just why is wrestling so darn popular? If any proof is required, there are about 16,000 rabid fans expected at Rexall Place tonight for World Wrestling Entertainment's Backlash pay-per-view event.

Additional evidence comes from the fact that more than 500 people were lined up around the top floor of Kingsway Garden Mall yesterday hoping to score an autograph from Canada's queen of the ring.

"It's a great escape from everyday," reasoned Stratus who chatted with the Sun before a Nintendo-sponsored meeting with her fans at EB Games.

"The great thing is we have these great characters that tell stories that people can relate to. And the characters, people can really relate to. You have the bad girl who someone may not necessarily be, but they want to be. We have a wide array of characters and we tell stories physically in the ring so it's action-packed and exciting."

The world of professional wrestling has often been characterized as a soap opera for men. True enough, figured Stratus, but it's not nearly as gender-specific as it once was, thanks in large part to the enhanced talent level of WWE's ladies.

"The interest is growing in the women's division because the women are going out there and doing what the men do," said the five-foot-four blond beauty, who was voted Diva of the Decade by WWE fans.

"I'm seeing a lot more females in the audience and there's a lot of younger girls who are looking up to the women as role models because we're athletic, we're sexy and strong. It's a cool thing to have those role models out there and to see women making it in a male-dominated world.''

The Toronto native, who will be teaming up with "love interest" Christian against the jilted Chris Jericho tonight, has graciously accepted the role model duties, whether they've meant meeting her devotees in person or answering their vast array of queries on her popular website (trishstratus.com).

"As long they recognize what we do on principle - the hard work and effort that we put into our job - I don't mind being that kind of role model," said Stratus, who is thrilled with her new challenges that being a "heel'' (bad guy) brings to her character.

"Female fans come to me knowing our lifestyle is to be fit and athletic so I've taken that and tried to use it as a platform to talk to women from my following before as a fitness model. I get so much feedback I've a section on the website devoted to training and Nu -Trish-on."

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