The very first entry in our Divas and Knockouts HoF section (covering the sports entertainment era of ladies professional wrestling) is a rather obvious choice. Trish Stratus – real name: Patricia Anne Stratigias – became WWE Babe of the Year three times, she took down the WWE Hardcore Championship and she was granted the title of "Diva of the Decade". She pretty much ruled the ring from 2000 to 2006 (when she retired) winning the Women's Championship no fewer than 7 times, setting a new record in the history of the WWE, a record which still stands today.
Patricia Anne Stratigias was born in 1975, in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and she worked as a fitness club receptionist when she landed her first MuscleMag shoot. Having been a fan of professional wrestling since childhood, she parlayed her magazine cover appearances into a WWF contract, in 1999. She was trained by Ron Hutchinson and Dave Finlay. A former fitness model and fitness trainer, Trish started out in the WWE like most of their other female wrestlers: managing a male tag team, that of Test and Prince Albert. She made her debut as a manager on March 20, 2000, on RAW. Even as a manager she stood out on account of her ability to take some pretty insane bumps.
On June 22, 2000, she made her in-ring debut, teaming with T&A in a victorious effort against the Hardy Boyz and Lita, thus setting up the next stage of her professional wrestling career.
She began feuding with Lita and then got involved in an angle with Vince McMahon, which led to several matches against Stephanie McMahon and eventually a slap delivered to the big boss himself, which turned her into an instant fan-favorite.
A heel at the beginning of her career, Trish turned face following the McMahon fiasco and she began teaming with Lita, taking on Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler. She suffered an ankle injury during the summer of 2001, and she got sidelined. When she returned in the fall though, she ended up taking down her first WWE Women's title, in the Six Pack Challenge Match, on November 18, defeating Ivory, Mighty Molly, Jazz, Jacqueline and Lita.
Her first title defense was against Jazz, which she won, but about 2 weeks later, she ended up dropping her belt to Jazz with whom she began a feud over the title. It was during the chase for her second Women's Title reign that she won the WWE Hardcore Championship, pinning Crash Holly.
She lost that title back soon, but about a week later, she finally managed to get her hands on the ladies' belt again.
On June 23, she lost the belt to Molly Holly. Stratus then started a feud with Molly Holly, whom she managed to defeat in July at Unforgiven, taking down the title again, for her third time. Next up in the feud-line was Victoria, who took the ladies' belt from Stratus in a hardcore match in March, 2003.
Trish's 4th title reign began at WrestleMania XIX, where she defeated Victoria and Jazz, alas this one was a short one, as she dropped the title to Jazz at Backlash. It was not long after that she began teaming with Lita, and working on a romance angle with Chris Jericho. That angle led to a "Battle of Sexes" match, which saw Trish and Lita lose to Jericho and Christian. They had a rematch the following night, but it turned out to be inconclusive.
On June 13, Trish won her 5th Women's Title at Bad Blood, after which she got injured again (she broke her hand) but defended her title nonetheless after her return. On December 6, she dropped the belt to Lita, but re-gained it at New Year's Revolution, in a match in which Lita got injured.
2005 was another injury-plagued year for her, and she only made her return to RAW on September 12. It was around this time that Mickie James came into the picture as Trish's biggest fan. The two teamed for a while, until James fell in love with Trish and startled her with her advances. They continued to wrestle each-other, and as a team through the beginning of 2006, despite the escalating tension between them.
On March 18, after a victorious tag team bout against Victoria and Candice Michelle, Mickie James turned on Trish. At WrestleMania 22, James relieved her of her title.
On September 11, 2006, she defeated Mickie James, and on September 17, she wrestled her last match, at Unforgiven in Toronto, forcing Lita to tap out to a sharpshooter, and picking up her 7th Women's Championship. Trish retired as a Champion. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in April, 2013. Her signature finishers were the Chick Kick (basically a roundhouse kick to the face) and the Stratusfaction (a bulldog executed while bouncing off the ropes).
While there are some voices out there arguing that as the first truly monumental female product of the Sports Entertainment era, Trish was but an average wrestler, she was certainly a stellar performer, and she could take bumps like few others in the business.
Trish's website is http://www.trishstratus.com/, but be warned, there's not much wrestling content on there.
Trish Stratus taking out an opponent with her signature Chick Kick
Trish suffering in a body-wrecking STF at Jazz's hands