Trish finds WWF 'challenging', bumps 'exhilarating'
By BENSON LEE
-- Canadian Press
TORONTO -- She's blond, bitchy and bodacious -- and she's loving every minute of it.
She's Toronto's own Trish Stratus, fitness model turned WWF star, and she's quickly climbing up the ladder in the world of sports entertainment.
Stratus, 24, made her wrestling debut this past March and appeared later that month in Wrestlemania, the WWF's flagship annual pay-per-view event.
Her WWF character is a bit of a bad girl, known for sneaking up on people and smacking them on the back of the head with the heel of her boot. But how much is Trish Stratus the woman like Trish Stratus the WWF star?
"I think what they (the WWF) do is they sort of take the individual's personality and find out what they're about, which is really good," she says.
"(WWF chairman) Vince (McMahon) does that, he'll speak with you, and the writers will talk to you and get to know you and see what characteristics you have. And then they just sort of blow them up to larger proportions."
So what does her WWF persona say about her real personality?
"Not that I'm sort of a bitch and they made me a big bitch out there," she laughs. "I think I play that role pretty well. I can play it in a little cocky, sarcastic manner which is what I am, or what I tend to be, and sort of amplify it a lot out there."
Stratus struts down to the ring dressed in cowboy hat, low-cut top, short shorts, thigh-high boots and full-length leather coat. She manages the tag team of Test
and Albert, known collectively as T & A. (Remember, it's the in-your-face world of the WWF.)
Even before appearing on WWF shows, Stratus already had her share of exposure, having appeared on the covers on numerous fitness magazines. But she's not content to be just another pretty face. Stratus has shown a willingness to take her share of "bumps," the wrestling term for being on the receiving end of a move.
"My goal is to go out there and entertain, and I always try and present the best possible package," she says. "Everything I do, I've always tried to take it to the fullest extent. So I think for me to just go out there and stand and be pretty is not enough for me. I need to be challenged."
During one show, Stratus was "powerbombed" through a table by another wrestler. The move was executed perfectly and Stratus went through the table back-first without being hurt. She described the experience as "exhilarating."
"I think a lot of people realized at that point, 'Oh, she's willing to physically go through what we all go through and she can do that,' " Stratus says. "It was an interesting experience."
Aside from the usual bumps and bruises that go with the territory, Stratus is also finding the hectic pace of the WWF to be far more gruelling than being strictly a fitness model.
"It's the continuous thing that's really tough," she says. "There's no off-season, and there's also the challenge of going out there every week to do better than last week."
Stratus's wrestling career came together quickly. Her modelling work caught the attention of WWF scouts last year, and they began chatting about bringing her on board. At the time, she was already a wrestling fan and a regular guest on Toronto-based Internet radio show Live Audio Wrestling, also known as The LAW
. Stratus then began doing some in-ring training at Sully's Gym in Toronto, the same place where current WWF tag-team champions Edge
cut their teeth.
"Basically, everything just unfolded very nicely," she says. "I started training, spoke to the right people at the WWF, and they contacted me, flew me to their head offices in Connecticut -- this was the end of last year -- and offered me a multi-year contract, just like that. It was really awesome."
For Stratus, pro wrestling's often bizarre combination of athleticism and theatrics is a natural fit.
"I'm naturally athletic. I've played sports all my life," she says. "So to go out there and be athletic and to do it professionally and also entertain millions of people every week is quite a combination and it's amazing for me. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love it. It's very challenging, but it's a top-notch industry, and not everyone can be in it."
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