Wrestler of the Day – April 2: Lita

It’s my grandmother’s birthday so here’s a fellow beautiful woman: Lita.

Lita would debut in ECW in 1999 as a valet who got physical at times. She would be in the WWF a year later as Essa Rios’ hot manager. This wouldn’t last long as they would break up and Lita would become a singles wrestler. She would get a title shot at the Women’s Title on Raw on August 21, 2000.

Women’s Title: Lita vs. Stephanie McMahon

Yeah this was that dark time where Stephanie was champion as a side effect of the awesome HHH run. Rock is guest referee as part of his war with Trips as well. Lita easily takes her down and hammers away before popping the champ in the corner with forearms. A hurricanrana gets two but Stephanie’s friend Kurt Angle distracts Rock so HHH can trip Lita up.

The Hardys run out for a save and hammer on HHH as Stephanie fires off some lame foreams and a nice DDT for two. Lita comes right back with another hurricanrana but Angle breaks up the Litasault. The Hardys brawl with Angle/HHH until Rock pulls Angle and the title belt into the ring. Angle gets laid out but HHH jumps Rock from behind. Kurt nails HHH by mistake and it’s a Rock Bottom for the Olympian. Stephanie tries a cheap shot and gets a Rock Bottom of her own, setting up the Litasault for the pin and Lita’s first title.

Rating: D+. THis was almost all about the men fighting on the floor which was far more interesting than the girls.  Stephanie was basically the Honky Tonk Man of the Women’s Title as the whole reign was there so someone could save the title and become a big star.  That’s exactly what Lita did and she never looked back.

The trio was getting big around this time and would be brought in to OVW for a six person tag at Christmas Chaos 2001.

Hardy Boys/Lita vs. Disciples of Sinn/Sinn

Sinn is the female manager of Payne and Damien, the OVW tag champions at the time. Hardys are over as all goodness. The Disciples were a big deal in OVW but never went anywhere. Their stable mate is Leviathan as I mentioned earlier but he’s not here for this one. The main thing people want to see here is Lita more or less kill Sinn.

Matt and Damien start us off. Apparently Damien hears voices. Payne is apparently the new member of the team. They’re tagging in very fast. Sinn comes in to slap Matt and gets caught in there against the fat man himself. Off to Lita but Sinn runs away to bring in Damien. Lita tags in both Hardys and the referee seems cool with it. They destroy the Disciples and it’s off to Jeff now.

Very fast paced stuff so far which is weird for the Disciples as they’re pretty decent sized guys. Payne gets a big clothesline to Jeff to take over. Spinebuster gets two for Payne on Jeff. A pretty bad powerslam by Damien gets two. Oh wait that’s Payne. They look a bit alike and the lighting makes it impossible to tell which is which.

Matt acts kind of stupid as he comes in and Jeff gets double teamed. Granted it’s not as stupid as the referee who lets the Disciples switch without tagging twice in a row. Well I guess that puts them back to even. Chinlock has Jeff in trouble. Cornette talks about how much the cheers mean to Jeff. I guess he hasn’t been watching his TNA lately.

Jeff finally gets the tag to bring in Matt and the beating is on. Everyone comes in again and it’s a double clothesline to put Matt and both Disciples down. Sinn tags herself in and so does Lita. Lita takes down Damien because she’s more awesome than everyone else in there. Sinn takes over for a bit but Lita slams her off the top and gets a spear.

Moonsault hits but everyone comes in and it’s a big brawl. Payne hits a Sky High on Lita and Sinn is the only one left. It’s table time now but Jeff saves. Double DDT by Matt and Lita. Jeff throws out a Swanton on the chick through the table. The pin is academic and the pop is pretty solid.

Rating: B-. It’s probably not that good but I’m kind of feeling sorry for this show as the matches haven’t been that good at all. Still though this wasn’t too bad and the Hardys helped it a lot. The point here was for Sinn to get beaten down and that’s exactly what happened. Fun little six person match which worked fine.

Around this time, Chyna won the Women’s Title at Wrestlemania X7 and dominated the division for months with only Lita left standing in her way. This is the showdown from Judgment Day 2001.

Women’s Title: Chyna vs. Lita

Lita is insanely over here. And here’s Chyna looking like a freaking peacock. That’s JR’s term, not mine. They hug before the match as I guess Lita is ok with Chyna being a witch to her and not seeming to take this seriously at all. This is power vs. speed here and both use their own better attribute to take over for a bit. Lita tries to help Chyna up and gets rolled up for two. Ok so she’s hot but not incredibly smart. Got it.

Chyna overpowers the match with ease to start but Lita gets a DDT for two. She finally wakes up and hammers away on Chyna. Middle rope clothesline gets two. Lita goes for the arm as this is getting sloppy. The fans are still in it though so they have that at least. Swinging neckbreaker by Chyna sets up a powerslam for two.

Lita channels her inner Alberto by hooking up a rolling cross armbreaker and Chyna is in real trouble all of a sudden. Chyna reverses into a headscissors and here’s Eddie for no apparent reason. She tries a powerbomb but Lita reverses into a horrible looking rana for two. And then a powerbomb by Chyna ends this clean. Nothing from Eddie other than standing there and Chyna more or less didn’t break a sweat.

Rating: D. This was supposed to be the big showdown? Chyna destroyed Lita here and made her look like a joke. This was Chyna’s last match in the company as she was taken off TV and the title was held up. She held the title until November anyway so there simply were no title matches for about six months. In short, Chyna destroyed the division and it took Trish and Lita to bring it back to whatever it was. Oh and this match was awful.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t get in a Team Extreme match. From September 10, 2001 on Raw.

Hardy Boyz/Lita vs. Hurricane/Lance Storm/Ivory

Hurricane vs. Matt to get us going and there’s a loud Lita chant. The Hardys double team both men and it’s off to Storm vs. Jeff. Hurricane sneaks in and hooks a neckbreaker for two and it’s back to Lance. The Alliance team double teams Jeff and Ivory gets in a slap as well. Dropkick gets two for Storm.

Hurricane puts the cape on for a second for a clothesline then has Ivory take it back off. Matt gets in but Storm hits an enziguri while Matt is on the middle rope. Jeff knocks him to the floor and hits a dive to take out Storm. Back in the ring the girls come in and Lita beats up Ivory before snapping off a rana on Hurricane. Matt hits the Twist on Ivory and the Litasault gets the pin.

Rating: C. Not bad here but it was always good to see Lita. Ivory’s looks are underrated as well. The guys’ feuds didn’t go anywhere anytime soon as the Hardys were thrown back into a feud with the Dudleys because we hadn’t seen that recently enough. The match was nothing special though.

Lita would get a title shot at Wrestlemania X8 but come up short. The next night however she would face her biggest rival in a match.

Trish Stratus vs. Lita

Trish looks great as always. Lita goes right after her to start and the fight is on quickly. A clothesline puts the redhead down but she suplexes Trish down a few seconds later. Lita scores with a headscissors but Trish comes right back with a Chick Kick. Stratusfaction is shoved off and the moonsault gets Lita the pin in barely 90 seconds.

Lita was becoming a big star around this time and landed a guest starring role on the FOX series Dark Angel. Unfortunately she would do a hurricanrana on the show and slip, landing on the back of her head and breaking her neck. That put her out of action for about a year and a half until she came back for a tag match at Unforgiven 2003.

Molly Holly/Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus/Lita

This feud is more or less about Molly and Gail being jealous of Lita and Trish being insanely popular. Standard stuff to put it mildly. Molly is Women’s Champion here and is actually looking good. Lita was out for almost a year because of a broken neck and now wears khaki shorts. Yep she’s gorgeous. The non-famous girls jump them early and that doesn’t work at all.

This is Lita’s return match. Oh seriously who do you expect to win this? You have two girls that are about as middle of the road as possible and the first two women to main event Raw. Lita and Gail are the actual starters and Lita nips up as we hear about King having a vasectomy. Molly hooks a Dragon Sleeper on Trish which works about as well as you would expect it to. Gail is gorgeous. That’s all there is to it.

Now Gail does a Dragon Sleeper. Trish walks up the turnbuckles and backflips into a reverse DDT. FREAKING SWEET. Molly looks good as a brunette and in blue. Trish manages to beat up both girls on her own since Lita is bleeding from the mouth. Lita gets the mostly warm but partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers tag. Trish knocks Gail to the floor and Lita hits the moonsault to get the win which was about as predictable as you could expect.

Rating: D+. This was exactly what you would expect here. Lita was indeed a huge deal as she and Trish were just flat out awesome around this point but the injury took her out for over a year. This was nothing more than a welcome home match and it did exactly what it was supposed to do: announce that Lita is still awesome.

The end of 2003 and most of 2004 didn’t see much action for Lita, but she would get into a four way for the Women’s Title at Bad Blood 2004.

Women’s Title: Trish vs. Lita vs. Gail Kim vs. Victoria

All four are too hot for words with Trish somehow possibly being the fourth best looking at the moment. Victoria is champion here. Trish vs. Lita never gets old especially when later this year they main evented Raw. That’s saying a lot and I don’t mean it was the last match and then there was a big angle to end the show.

I mean Trish vs. Lita for the title was the last thing you saw to end the show and it was built up all night. It was a very cool moment and I completely bought into it. Gail gets an AWESOME hold on Victoria. More or less it’s a headscissors combined with a crossface combined with an armbar but cooler than it sounds. Lita and Victoria botch something and we have no Trish for a long time, signaling that she’ll be winning. Yep there she is to roll up Lita for the title out of nowhere.

Rating: D+. They all looked hot. Other than that it was just your run of the mill Divas match but with four girls that could actually work which is the best case scenario.

Soon after this, Lita would sleep with Kane to save Matt Hardy, getting pregnant in the process. Around this same time, Trish Stratus would start insulting Lita for being, shall we say, loose, but Lita couldn’t fight back due to her pregnancy. Thankfully (ish), she would lose her baby a few months later. This freed her up to face Stratus in the main event of Raw on December 6, 2004. I don’t mean it was the last match and then the real ending happened. I mean all night long Trish Stratus defending the Women’s Title against Lita was hyped up and then closed the show.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Lita

Even in a faceguard with what looks like masking tape over her face, Trish is gorgeous. How is that possible? Lita’s song is great too. 2004 had some awesome theme music. They lockup and go to the floor quickly. Lita takes over with a leg sweep for two. Remember that she’s the hometown girl. They go to the floor again and Lita tries a suicide dive and Lita lands ON HER HEAD, jacking her neck back in a landing that made my jaw drop and be stunned she isn’t dead. I mean she landed on her face and her feet hit her in the back of the head. The referee immediately checks on her and the crowd goes quiet.

The match keeps going as I guess she’s alive somehow. Trish takes the noseguard off and pops Lita in the face with it which isn’t a DQ somehow. Lita fights out of a choke and throws on a sleeper but gets countered into a seated full nelson. Trish goes up but gets caught in a superplex to put both girls down. Back up and the Chick Kick gets two. Trish pounds away in the corner and gets powerbombed to set up the moonsault but Trish breaks it up. Rollup gets two and Trish grabs a DDT for two. Stratusfaction is broken up and there’s a reverse Twist of Fate. The moonsault gives Lita her second title.

Rating: B. Considering that neck shot, WOW Lita was impressive here. At the end of the day, this was a solid match and they made it feel like a big moment. This was Lita’s second title, but she hadn’t won it in over four years so it’s not like this was something that happened every day. Trish would win it back in less than a month and hold it until Wrestlemania. As in the Wrestlemania the year after she won it, giving her a reign of about 15 months.

Here’s the rematch from New Year’s Revolution 2005.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Lita

How many times did these two fight, about a million? Ross calls it a tag title for no apparent reason. I love her theme song actually. Trish’s cleavage is big enough to hide a small country in. They fight for a bit before Trish goes to the floor. Lita goes to the apron and throws a Thesz Press at Trish, and rips HER knee to shreds.

Literally, two matches and two torn knees. She would be out for a few months also as she ripped her ACL. They actually continue the match though for about another three minutes before Lita just has nothing left and the Chick Kick gives Trish another title.

Rating: N/A. Not fair to grade them on this at all. As for a grade, I’d go with DD. That’s of course for Dogma and Dreams, which was my textbook in my political theory class. What did you think it was for?

That would be her last match for over a year as Lita would tear her knee to shreds and be out for the rest of 2005. She would return in early 2006 and chase the title for awhile longer before getting a shot at the vacant title after Trish retired as champion at Unforgiven. From Cyber Sunday 2006.

Women’s Title: Mickie James vs. Lita

Trish retired so we had a four Diva tournament to set this up. Lita is about a month from retiring at this point so she’s more or less destined to win. Mickie throws the absolute worst dropkick anyone with a great rack has ever thrown. This is horrible but at least we get to look at Mickie’s figure. Lita as a heel just doesn’t work from an in ring perspective. She hooks on a sleeper that does fairly well.

Not that it wins or anything since it’s a freaking sleeper but nice try if nothing else. Instead of a match here, Lita seems like she’s just there doing moves on Mickie with no particular rhyme or reason. The girls do their thing of course and nothing of note is going on here at all. Lita blocks/Mickie botches the Stratusfaction and Mickie gets a rollup for two. The other Divas get involved and a spike DDT ends it for Lita.

Rating: D. This was very boring for the most part. The only highlights were Mickie’s hips and Lita’s chest. Other than that we were just sitting around watching this nonsense go on and on. The match never went anywhere as it’s clear Lita just didn’t care anymore. Mickie would win the title from Lita at Survivor Series in Lita’s retirement match.

Lita would retire after Survivor Series and go off to do whatever she did after leaving wrestling, including performing in a band. Nearly six years later, Heath Slater started bragging about being able to beat a bunch of legends. This led to an open challenge at Raw 1000.

Heath Slater vs. Lita

WOW. Lita still looks great too. Slater laughs this off but then accepts her challenge. The bell rings but Lita says she hired herself some protection. Cue the APA and Slater PANICS. Slater immediately runs but backs into every legend he’s fought in the last few weeks. They chase him back into the ring and the Twist of Fate sets up the Clothesline which sets up the Litasault (looked perfect) for the pin at 1:54.

Lita is one of the few women that was just awesome no matter when she was around. She was the high flying Diva that we hadn’t seen before and had that whole bad girl thing going with it. The injuries stopped her career cold multiple times though and cut her in ring time very short more than once. When you consider she got to the WWF in 2000 and retired at Survivor Series 2006 and factor out over two years due to injuries, she was only active in the company for four years. I doubt most people realize that. Anyway she was awesome when she was out there though and it never stopped working, much like those low riding pants.

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