When you hear the name Trish Stratus, a lot probably comes to mind. The record-breaking women’s champion is fondly remembered by wrestling fans as one of the greatest female competitors the sport has ever seen, deftly combining her athleticism with beauty, charisma and extreme likability in a way that no other woman has managed to duplicate. In many ways, Stratus is the gold standard that all other women’s wrestlers in the WWE are held to, paving the way for generations to come and proving just how successful a woman can be in the sport. However, that wasn’t always the case.
When the Toronto-native began delivering Stratusfaction in March of 2000, she was hardly positioned as the next great athletic powerhouse. Having previously made a name for herself as a fitness model, Stratus was often seen as just another pretty face, her sexuality focused on over her physical prowess. For more than a year she was wasted in traditional valet roles and soap operatic on-screen romances but Stratus wanted more. Working hard to hone her craft, the seven-time women’s champion would become a formidable opponent in the ring and one of the most well-rounded performers the company had ever seen, going on to win the WWE Women’s Championship a record-breaking seven times and becoming one of the youngest Hall of Fame inductees in WWE history.
While her career had a storybook ending in 2006, defeating her greatest adversary, Lita to win the title one last time in front of her hometown crowd in one of the most satisfying send-offs the company has ever produced, that doesn’t mean the Internet has stopped speculating on what went on behind the scenes during her seven-year career. This list examines some of the craziest rumors that have plagued Stratus since she bid the wrestling world adieu. Which ones should you put to bed forever and which ones are worth a closer look? We're going to look over those rumors here and see if there could possibly be any validity to them. Be sure to take any of these rumors with a grain of salt.
15 She Turned Down A Lesbian Angle With Torrie Wilson
The Attitude Era was known for its envelope-pushing storylines especially when it comes to female sexuality and while WWE programming is no stranger to using a little girl-on-girl action for a ratings boost, one storyline that never got off the ground was a rumored lesbian angle between Stratus and fan-favorite Torrie Wilson. It’s a story that Stratus-herself addressed on an episode of Jim Ross’s The Ross Report, saying that producers wanted her and Wilson to kiss during an episode of Smackdown. Stratus says that she rejected the proposal because she didn’t feel it fit her character and they ended up doing the kiss with another woman instead.
Stratus would later participate in a pseudo-lesbian storyline of her own when she faced off against her “crazy stalker” Mickie James in a Single White Female-esque plotline that is to this day remembered as one of the most acclaimed WWE storylines in women’s wrestling. It’s a storyline that was likely much better received that the Wilson angle would have been anyways.
14 Her Alleged Affair With The Rock
Relationships in wrestling are about as common as they come. Put any group of attractive and athletic people together and have them travel on the road more often than they’re home and sparks are bound to fly. However, in Hardcore Holly’s book, The Hardcore Truth, Holly claims that Stratus and The Rock got a little too close for comfort, alleging that Stratus only got her push in the company because of her name in the fitness world before adding, “I’m sure her relationship with Rocky didn’t hurt either.” While Stratus has often credited The Rock with being a mentor of sorts for her, having taken her under his wing early in her wrestling career, this feels like a rumor best put to bed.
Both parties were involved in very committed relationships at the time; Stratus with her high school sweetheart Ron Fisico and Johnson with his first wife, Dany Garcia and seeing as Stratus and Fisico are now married and Johnson remains close friends and business partners with his now ex-wife, it’s hard to believe an affair materialized between the two stars.
13 She Had Major Heat Backstage
Throughout her time with the company, Stratus was far and away one of the most beloved babyfaces on the roster. In fact, many of her peers have spoken so highly of her in the past, it’s hard to imagine anyone would have a problem with her but early in her career, that’s rumored to be the case. Many sources have alleged over the years that Stratus was not well liked backstage due to how boastful she was over her spot in the company and her meteoric rise to success. Stratus herself admitted that many of the women and men backstage were tough on her during an interview on Lillian Garcia’s podcast, revealing she didn’t feel welcome in the company for much of the early days in her career.
In the interview, she also says got in trouble after showing excitement for being a part of her first WrestleMania in 2000, less than a month after making her debut and that many backstage were resentful of the fact she appeared in two televised segments during her first WWE appearance. Wrestlers are known to be extremely finicky about boastfulness and this was likely a case of Stratus being unaware of unconventional wrestling traditions early on.
12 She Was Supposed To Face Asuka In Her WWE Return
For months during the lead-up to NXT TakeOver: Toronto in November of 2016, rumors swirled that the WWE was planning a major match between NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Stratus that would mark her first match in more than four years. However, just as anticipation was reaching a fever pitch, Stratus announced that she was pregnant with her second child, effectively squashing any question that she would be stepping back into the ring for the dream encounter. Mickie James was eventually announced as Asuka’s opponent, marking a major WWE return of her own but many have speculated since that she was not the company’s first choice. It’s a rumor that Stratus dispelled on an episode of The Ross Report, saying that the company had known for months that she was expecting.
“I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant. There was really nothing that could have been done at that point. So, no, they had never talked to me about that.” Still, it’s hard to imagine Stratus wouldn’t have been their first choice had timing worked out differently, her hometown being the perfect venue for her WWE return.
11 She Hired Herself At The WWE
This one, is admittedly a strange one. While many entertainers have found unique ways into the industry, it’s rare that one can take credit for essentially hiring oneself. However, that’s exactly what one rumor suggests Stratus did. The story goes like this; prior to signing with the promotion, Stratus was a major player in the fitness modelling world looking to transition into a wrestling career. So she did what anyone in her position would do, posted a rumor online that she was being signed by the WWE in hopes that it would get their attention and prompt them to seriously consider it. So, is it true? Difficult to say; Stratus is certainly known for being a savvy businesswoman but if said rumor is in fact how she first got noticed by the organization, it will likely never come to light.
Stratus has said in the past that she was first noticed by the WWE after introducing herself to WWE talent as well as then-president of WWE Canada, Carl DeMarco, while serving as a correspondent on the Canadian talk show, Off The Record.
10 She Had An Affair With Vince McMahon
For as long as the WWE has hired beautiful women (so as long as the WWE has existed), those women have been accused of only achieving what they have due to the people they were sleeping with. However, it’s rare for such an accusation to come from someone in the locker room but that’s exactly what happened during a shoot interview with former WWE announcer Kevin Kelly. During the interview Kelly held nothing back, accusing every woman in the WWE of engaging in affairs with wrestlers, except for Molly Holly and implying that Stratus was also involved with CEO Vince McMahon.
In 2001, Stratus played McMahon’s mistress during a high-profile storyline, however, it’s hard to believe art actually did imitate life. Until some more substantiated evidence comes to light, let’s consider this one just speculation from a former, seemingly disgruntled employee.
9 She Refused To Lose At WrestleMania 25
At WrestleMania 25, the WWE had a “big” idea to commemorate their quarter-century anniversary on the “grandest stage of them all.” A 25 Diva Battle Royal, showcasing past and present women’s wrestlers in an effort to crown the first ever, Miss WrestleMania. It didn’t take long for rumors to swirl that Stratus was the WWE’s top choice to return for the match but when it came time for the big night, she was nowhere to be found, joining Lita, Chyna and Sable on the list of major influential females absent from the battle royal.
Some have suggested Stratus turned down the opportunity because she didn’t want to lose to a lesser talent at the showcase of the immortals, however, the match would end with Santino Marella dressed as a woman named “Santina,” eliminating Beth Phoenix to win the match so regardless of the reason, it’s probably for the best she wasn’t apart of it.
8 Chyna Left The WWE Because She Refused To Work With Her
Chyna’s problems with Stratus are well documented. There was that time she said that she had “no ability” and was “only hired for her looks,” during a 2000 appearance on Off The Record. Stratus even confirmed herself that the Ninth Wonder was tough on her during a sit-down with Lillian Garcia. However, was that disdain really enough to drive her from the company? As legend has it, Stratus was supposed to work a program with Chyna following WrestleMania X-Seven as a means of transitioning her into a greater wrestling role. Chyna reportedly refused, not wanting to work with someone she considered a novice. Already unhappy with her place in the company, it’s said that the proposal only disillusioned her more and the former Intercontinental Champion walked away from the company shortly after.
While it’s certainly possible the WWE planned for two of its biggest female stars to cross paths at some point, it’s after that the story really falls apart. First, there’s the fact that Chyna was let go from the promotion, not the other way around. But it’s also well known that her dismissal had a lot more to do with her complicated relationship with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon than it did any feelings she had for Stratus.
7 She Was Supposed To Face Sasha Banks In Her WWE Return
Sasha Banks is one of the most popular women in the WWE. In just two short years on the main roster, the Legit Boss has already made history countless times over and cemented her status as a future Hall of Famer so it’s only natural that the WWE would want Stratus to face the fellow fan-favorite in her big return, right? Back in 2015, shortly after the women of NXT invaded Monday Night Raw to kick off the women’s revolution, the WWE teased another potential big arrival, tweeting a photo of the purveyor of Stratusfaction with the caption, “Waiting for the day when [Trish Stratus] joins the Divas Revolution,” complete with the hashtag, “One more match.” It didn’t take long for fans to speculate that this was a set up for a major inter-generational match with the Boss, however, nothing ever materialized.
Stratus later spoke of the rumblings in an interview with Sports Illustrated and despite calling her, “The star of the division,” she seemed to shoot down the idea of a match, saying, “Would it make sense for me to come back and fight Sasha? I will never close the door if there is something that will challenge me. It would have to be a challenge to me, it would have to elevate someone else on the show and it would need to be exciting for the fans.”
6 Her And Torrie Wilson Are Enemies
As evidenced in this article, there have been plenty of rumors over the years of WWE stars not getting along with each other. For whatever reason, people really want to believe that the drama they see unfold every week on Raw and SmackDown, is just as present backstage. Which is probably why the reported feud between Stratus and Torrie Wilson has been such a prevailing urban legend. It all stems from a 2003 interview with WWE Magazine in which Wilson said (much like Stratus), that she didn’t feel very welcome in the locker room upon her arrival in the WWE. This has caused many to speculate that there was a competition among the women of the WWE against the new WCW recruits, threatened by the influx of competition. Given that Stratus and Wilson were both very prominent at the time of Wilson’s arrival, this naturally pitted the two against each other.
While this talk is all too vague to really be taken seriously, it is worth mentioning that Wilson attended Stratus’s wedding in 2006 so whether they had problems early-on in their careers or not, they were certainly able to work things out by the time Stratus made her farewell speech.
5 She Left The WWE Because Her Mother Had Cancer
To say Stratus’s exit came as a shock to wrestling fans would be quite the understatement. The Diva of the Decade recipient was on top of her game at the time, having won her record-tying sixth women’s championship while coming off one of the most celebrated storylines of her career. Stratus seemed poised to dominate the division for years to come so when she chose to walk away from the company, wrapping up a seven-year career, many wondered why? Over the years, much has been speculated about what caused her to retire at 30, some alleging a series of nagging injuries forced her early retirement while others suggested it was a desire to start a family that motivated her departure.
However, Stratus settled the debate in 2016 during an appearance on Lillian Garcia’s podcast, revealing that while she felt she had accomplished everything she had set out to in the WWE, it was her mother’s cancer diagnosis during her contract negotiations that made it clear, it was time for her to go.
“There’s no way cause you’re so consumed on the road, there’s no way I could be with her during treatment and I just needed to be with my mom. This was like, you’re giving me an out to go do this.”
4 She Had Major Heat With The Divas Over Her WrestleMania XXVII Match
There’s perhaps no women’s wrestler who has a better history at WrestleMania than Stratus. For six consecutive years the trailblazer was a fixture at the showcase of the immortals, having some of her biggest career-defining moments there. Who could forget her shocking heel turn on Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XX? Or her fairytale win over Victoria and Jazz at WrestleMania XIX? So of course, when Stratus returned to the WWE to serve as a mentor on the reality competition Tough Enough, higher ups were eager to get her on the WrestleMania card. Stratus was scheduled to compete in a six-person tag match, teaming up with John Morrison and Snooki of Jersey Shore fame, to take on LayCool and Dolph Ziggler. It was hardly the return match that fans hoped for but rumor has it, there was no one more upset about the decision than the WWE Divas in the back. As the story goes, the women in the locker room were furious at Stratus specifically, feeling as if she had taken one of the limited spots for women on the card.
Melina was perhaps the most vocal about this, taking to Twitter to write, “I don’t care what anyone says, WWE Divas CAN wrestle. We prove it when we get the time. I believe in them. I will fight for them until you see what I see.” However, it should probably be argued that if anyone “took” a spot from the women, it was Snooki and not a veteran like Stratus.
3 She Also Had Major Heat With John Morrison Over That Match
It’s no wonder WrestleMania 27 was Stratus’s last appearance at the WWE’s biggest night. Her tag match with John Morrison and Snooki has proven to be her most contentious WrestleMania to date, earning her heat with not just the women in the back but her partner, Morrison as well. It’s rumored Stratus received a chilly reception from the Tough Enough III winner, Morrison feeling like his then-girlfriend, Melina deserved to be in the match over her. He reportedly shot down all of her suggestions for spots and infamously snubbed an attempt at a hug during their post match celebration, a move that is said to have gotten him in quite a bit of trouble with higher ups. Following the match, former WWE star X-Pac tweeted to Stratus, “You are a true professional, unlike someone else in your match and I don’t mean Snooki.”
Stratus herself has addressed the snub, saying that while she was disappointed, she still respects Morrison for his talent. “You know, he’s into his thing and just didn’t think that I should be apart of his thing I guess. But I still admire him as an athlete, as a performer, I think he does a great job out there.”
2 She Wanted To Face Ronda Rousey At WrestleMania
Is this the dream match you never knew you wanted? Both Stratus and Ronda Rousey are known for being pioneers of sorts for women in their field, proving that gender doesn’t have to stop you from reaching the top. So when rumors began to swirl that the MMA superstar was interested in wrestling a match at WrestleMania 33, most assumed that Rousey would be taking on the WWE’s current top female star, Charlotte Flair. That is until she was booked in a fatal four-way match for the Raw Women’s Championship, effectively taking Flair out of the running. With Charlotte out of the way, fans turned their attention to a new rumor that a female superstar from the past would be making her big WWE return for the match, Stratus seeming like the most likely candidate. It didn’t take long for a 2016 interview with Sports Illustrated to make the rounds in which Stratus said that she would return under the condition that she could play heel and face Rousey.
“I’d only go back if it was worth it and it was a challenge for me. Something that’s different and unique, like playing heel again,” she said, adding, “I’d love to work with Ronda Rousey but I don’t know if she’d be up for that.” Rousey never ended up appearing at the event anyways but it’s hard not to picture what an epic moment it would have been had the two faced off.
1 Her And Lillian Garcia Are More Than Friends
We’ve now arrived at what’s potentially the most insane Trish Stratus rumor to date. For as long as she’s been in the WWE, Stratus’s close friendship with ring announcer Lillian Garcia has been well documented. Both were hired by the company around the same time and received a similarly frosty welcome from the locker room due to the fact that neither came from a wrestling background. This persona-non-grata status quickly bonded them, choosing to travel together for much of their careers and soon becoming best friends, Garcia even labelling Stratus her “female soulmate.” However, their close body language and that infamous shot of Garcia overcome with emotion during Stratus’s WWE swan song, has led some to speculate that the two are more than just really good friends.
These claims are usually bolstered by unverified accounts of seeing Stratus and Garcia holding hands backstage while being overly flirtatious with each other. These rumors however, seem to be just that. Both Stratus and Garcia are happily married to other people, the talk likely coming from someone not used to seeing such close female friendships.