How Lita, Trish Stratus and Independent Wrestling Saved My Life

Pro Wrestling, or sports entertainment has always been a presence in my life. It was passed down from my father to my older brother down to me. I am a wrestling fan, there’s no denying that; but I have two defining moments that really solidified my love for everything about the business and made me continue to fall in love with wrestling even more every day.

One was a December 6, 2004 main event of WWE’s Monday Night Raw. The two competitors were unlike anything ever before: they were women. The rivalry between Lita and Trish Stratus had finally come to a head to where they had to battle it out for the Women’s Championship and close out the show. I was fifteen years old heavily on Lita’s side. She was unconventional, tattooed and a punk rocker. I was a high school misfit who identified with Lita therefore I idolized her and wanted her to win on this night.

The cocky Trish Stratus and Lita battled back and forward throughout the match. Lita hits a nasty suicide dive through the ropes on Trish and the women even battle to the extent of delivering a superplex off the top ropes. There are false finishes that the crowd really get behind, but the entire time Lita is determined to land her signature moonsault and in the end she finally does, pinning Trish Stratus 1-2-3 and winning the Women’s Championship. I cried that night, and rewatched the match over and over on VHS because I recorded it.

There are so many iconic moments in wrestling, but two women in the main event of the show, delivering a grade A match is one that will stick with me forever. It’ll stick with me because I was a little girl who needed to see that women can stick their middle fingers up and say, “Fuck you, we’ll show you all”. I think that match shaped my self-empowerment in some way and I thank them for that.

Another defining moment is from ten years ago. In 2010 I went to my first backyard wrestling show and met a bunch of wrestling students training to reach their dream. Eventually I would go with them to my first actual independent wresting show, a promotion called ICW. At that time I didn’t know any other wrestling other than WWE, WCW and ECW. I didn’t know independent shows existed. And when I went it was an experience unlike anything I’d ever seen up to that point. Yes, there was wrestling and it was good wrestling, but at an independent show there is intimacy.

With one of my old favorite independent wrestlers, Beast.

At an independent show when you yell something at a heel, the heel is gonna walk up to your face and yell right back at you. If you yell out a certain move, that wrestler in the ring might hear you and actually do the move. It’s interactive storytelling, which makes it even more fun. And after shows or in between matches you might catch a wrestler walking around hanging out and taking pictures for free (Not for a ridiculous price like a mainstream wrestler). Some sell t-shirts that they made themselves, and sometimes you’ll see the wrestlers breaking down the ring after the show. At an independent show you really start to see that there’s a humility in the air; we’re all equal, fans and wrestlers alike. We’re all here because we love this craft and we want to see everyone be better.

Meeting New Jack.

In my ten years of exploring this other side to wrestling, I became part of a family. I’m not saying I know every wrestler in the world now, but it is nice to see some wrestlers come to town and they recognize my face for just being a fan and I would make signs. I learned about conventions where I could meet my favorites from my past and see that they’re still doing well, I got to meet X-Pac and Kevin Nash. Wrestling has also given me the pleasure of being a valet to Lloyd Kaufman and the Toxic Avenger to the ring, and I work local shows as an entry and concessions girl now where it’s a pleasure to mingle with the talent, some of which have gone on to NXT and other big promotions. I’m happy to say I get to be involved in what I love, even if it’s just volunteering because I’ve learned that you can’t keep what you love without giving it away, so I give back to you wrestling.

Meeting an icon, Kevin Nash.

And there you have it, my two defining moments in pro wrestling. One gave me self-empowerment, the other gave me family and a sense of purpose. I have brothers and sisters that I’m glad to go down the road with because we had wrestling to bring us together. Thank you squared circle, and to anyone who has ever laced their boots.

The day we beat the Acolytes and became tag team champs.

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