Thursday, March 19, 2020

Trish Stratus: Stratusfaction Guaranteed

March 19, 2000

The world was introduced to a woman from Toronto, Ontario, Canada that would go on to change a profession forever. Her real name is Patricia Anne Stratigias, but the world knows her better as Trish Stratus.

March 19, 2000...the night Trish Stratus graced us with her presence
Photo credit: WWE.com


Before WWE came a-knocking on her door, she was a renowned fitness model that was featured on many magazines, including American Muscle, MuscleMag International, and Oxygen Magazine. With her blonde hair, Hollywood looks, and toned figure, she had a look that emulated comic book heroines and in some ways put many comic book heroines to shame. In fact, Trish mentioned in various interviews that she was aiming for the comic book look during her days as a fitness model. Needless to say, she succeeded. Her look was attainable to many women, especially those who thought lifting would make them look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, her fitness career might have never happened if it wasn't for a strike at York University, where she studied biology and kinesiology and played soccer and field hockey. Because of the strike, she had to do something else, so she ended up working as a receptionist at a local gym. It was then when she was approached to do a test shoot for MuscleMag International. They liked it so much that she ended up on the cover of their May 1998 issue and was signed to a two-year contract. For the next six months, she worked on her body and transformed it into a literal work of art, showcasing an athletic, strong yet feminine body, landing her numerous magazine covers in the process. Even before joining WWE, she wasn't all just looks as she joined Big Daddy Donnie & Jeff Marek as the third host of Live Audio Wrestling on Toronto Sports Radio, The FAN 590. This was right up her alley being a wrestling fan evern since childhood, idolizing Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage among others. Her modeling work caught the attention of WWE (then known as the WWF). In November 1999, she was signed to a multi-year contract with WWE. She trained with Ron Huchison at Sully's Gym, long before there was such a thing as the WWE Performance Center. Four months after signing her contract, she made her official television debut on Sunday Night Heat, scouting Test and Prince Albert and would form the stable known at T & A the following night on Raw.

If she's not in your top five "best bodies in WWE history" list, you need to reevaluate your life. Just saying.
Photo credit: WWE.com


While many saw this woman with a perfect body, very few knew that she wanted to be more than just that. While she spent most of 2000 and some of 2001 as a manager to Test, Albert, and Val Venus, she would eventually leave the manageral spotlight and begin to carve her name as a wrestler. During that time, women's wrestling was NOT taken as serious by the fans yet Trish didn't give up. She worked her ass off to show the fans that women could kick ass just as well as the guys could, and be sexy when they HAD to be and when they WANTED to be. It took some time, but eventually folks started to appreciate Trish for what she could do in the ring. However, the various photoshoots WWE had outside the ring definitely made sure people knew that Trish could bring the sexyness outside the ring just as well as she could bring the skills IN the ring. At Survivor Series 2001, Trish would go on to win the then-vacant WWE Women's Championship in a Six-Pack Challenge, which featured Jazz, Might Molly and fellow Hall-of-Famers Ivory, Jacqueline, and her bestie Lita. When Trish got done in WWE, she would go on to become a 7x WWE Women's Champion (a record that would stand for years until Charlotte Flair came around) and a one-time WWE Hardcore champion. She would acquired more accolades in her career, including Diva of the Decade, being the youngest female WWE Hall-of-Fame ever, being the first female Cauliflower Alley Club Iron Mike Award winner, and this summer will be inducted into the George/Lou Threz Professional Wrestling Hall-of-Famer by becoming the first female wrestler to receive the Lou Thesz Award.

Trish could have had a very good career with her looks alone and no one would have thought differently of her. Instead, she challenged the status quo and ushered her own STRATUS QUO and helped changed so much about the world: from how female athletes are viewed, how women's wrestling is looked at, how women with muscles are viewed...and all three for the better. Now, is there work to be done in all three? Definitely. But we have come so far from where we were back in Trish's arrival and we are still moving in the right direction. While her wrestling days are behind her, we know that Trish will continue to set an example for so many people around the world as a mother and a fitness icon. How much of an guarantee are we giving this?! How about 100% STRATUSFACTION GUARANTEED? Doesn't get any better than that.

Physical perfection
Photo credit: WWE.com


For more on Trish, make sure to follow her on her social media accounts:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trishstratuscom
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/trishstratuscom
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trishstratuscom

And make sure to check out her website at https://www.trishstratus.com

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 Arnold IFBB Predictions

As you all know, the Arnold went through some MAJOR changes this year due to the coronavirus going around. Whether the moves were the right moves or not will be debated for a good bit, and quite honestly I see both sides. However, the IFBB shows WILL go on as planned, even though the preliminaries will be viewed by only families and only spectators can come tomorrow and Saturday night. We will talk about how the Arnold should move forward in 2021 and beyond in a different post, but for now, we are going to focus on the pro competitions taking place tomorrow and Saturday night.


Women's Physique International (Friday)
I say this with no disrespect to the women's physique competitors on the list...but everyone else (with the exception of one) is fighting for 2nd place with Natalia Coelho on the list. Like Shanique Grant, Natalia is a one-of-a-kind athlete who is only going to get better and she's already considered one of the best competitors in the history of the women's physique division. Unlike most, Natalia actually dreampt about being in the bodybuilding world since childhood. That is rare to hear about. Most go into the sport after usually college or in their adulthood. Natalia has wanted to do this SINCE CHILDHOOD. When you have that kind of mindset, the only designation for someone like Natalia is to be among the best to ever do it. Natalia will be hard to beat, but it can be done. Only three have ever done it and two of them (Shanique Grant and Sarah Villegas) are prepping for the upcoming Olympia. The other one IS competing at the Arnold, and that would be Penpraghai Tiangngok. She defeated Natalia at the 2019 Rising Phoenix Arizona Pro, proving that she has the formula to beat her. But it won't be easy, and I feel Natalia will know what to do this time around, being a student of the game. I see Natalia capturing her 2nd Women's Physique International title, but not without a fight from Pepraghai. For the rest of the top six, I have Jennifer Taylor in 3rd, Valentina Mishina in 4th, Laura Richards in 5th, Rulying Bin rounding out the top six and my dark horse is Desunka Dawson.

My Predictions:
1. Natalia Abraham Coelho
2. Penpraghai Tiangngok
3. Jennifer Taylor
4. Valentina Mishina
5. Laura Richards
6. Rulyin Bin
Dark Horse: Desunka Dawson


Fitness International (Friday)
With no Whitney Jones or Oksana Grishina until the Olympia, this looks to be the show that Missy Truscott FINALLY wins one of the big ones. She has been inching closer and closer to the top of the fitness rankings for quite sometimes with a complete physique and entertaining routines. She nearly became Fitness Olympia champion last year but ended up as the runner-up to Whitney Jones. As far as who will be her biggest competition...that one isn't so easy to figure out. Tiffany Chandler has been a consistent top performer the last few years and 2020 could be her breakout year. While it's been a while, Jenny Worth HAS won the Fitness International title before and ever since the late 2010s, she has continued one of the most inspiring comebacks in this sport's history. In fact, the second she steps on stage she will make history as being one of the few competitors (maybe the only female) to compete as an IFBB Pro in FOUR DIFFERENT DECADES (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s)! That alone is an incredible feat worthy of it's own reward! After an injury, Ariel Khadr makes her much-anticipated return to the fitness stage, hoping to return to where she was before her injury..right in the discussion for the top fitness competitor post-Oksana Grishina. Sara Kovach has improved her physique immensely and to me is right in the thick of things when it comes to contending for the Fitness International title. With that all being said, I got Missy winning, followed by Tiffany, Sarah, Jenny, Kate Errington, and Ariel in that order. My dark horse is Derina Wilson.

My Predictions:
1. Missy Truscott
2. Tiffany Chandler
3. Sara Kovach
4. Jenny Worth
5. Kate Errington
6. Ariel Khadr
Dark Horse: Derina Wilson


Figure International (Friday)
Oh...THIS is gonna be a fun one. No Latorya Watts, no Cydney Gillon, no Nadia Wyatt. It is pretty damn wide open to the naked eye. There are three people that have amazing size and shape that has more than held their own with the three I've mentioned earlier: Jessica Reyes Padilla, Bojana Vasiljevic, and Sandra Grajales. Jessica has amazing muscularity and a majestic look about her that is hard to ignore. She is a competitor that is a threat to any show she competes in. Bojana is someone who I've praised time and time about about her shape and presentation. when it comes to that, she's practically unbeatable. You have to be on your A-game and hope Bojana is not if you truly want to best her. Sandra has clearly put on more muscle since the Olympia and could be her biggest yet at the Arnold, but she carries herself with such poise that it's nearly unfair to many competitors. I will say among all the female divisions, this one has the most uncertainty as far as what look they will reward with the top three at last year's Olympia not competing at the Arnold. I'll go on the record saying that my predictions for the Figure International this year might be the worst-ever, but I'm going to throw caution to the win here. I have Jessica winning her first Figure International title, with Sandra as the runner-up, Bojana in 3rd, Martina Yabekova in 4th, Natalia Soltero in 5th, and Ashley Soto rounding out the top six, with Tiffani Lapoint as my dark horse. Again, I have no clue how the figure division will pan out at the Arnold. This is merely me throwing something to the wall and seeing if it sticks.

My Predictions:
1. Jessica Reyes Padilla
2. Sandra Grajales
3. Bojana Vasiljevic
4. Marina Yabekova
5. Natalia Soltero
6. Ashley Soto
Dark Horse: Tiffani Lapoint

Bikini International (Saturday)

Janet Layug finally won one of the big bikini titles when she won the 2019 Bikini International. She would love nothing more than to repeat as Bikini International Champion in 2020. To do that, she will have to beat another tough, deep lineup in the bikini division, which includes Angelica Teixera (a former 2x Bikini International Champion and Bikini Olympia champion) and Elisa Pecini (the current Bikini Olympia champion). We were hoping to see Ashley Kaltwasser compete in her own state in Ohio, but she had a few setbacks (including eye surgery) that kept her from being ready for this weekend. Get well soon, Ashley! This division is never easy to pick but winning the Olympia usually puts you at an all-time high as you go into your next contest. For that reason, I'm going to go with Elisa to win this year's Bikini International with Janet placing 2nd and Angelica at 3rd. As far as the rest of the top six is concerned, I'm going to go with Jennifer Ronzitti in 4th, Justine Munro in 5th and rounding out the top six will be Romina Basualdo. My dark horse for this year's Bikini International goes to Marcia Goncalves.

My Predictions:
1. Elisa Pecini
2. Janet Layug
3. Angelica Teixeira
4. Jennifer Ronzitti
5. Justine Munro
6. Romina Basualdo
Dark Horse: Marcia Goncalves


On a personal note, I want to comment everyone pro and amateur who decided to come to Ohio with so much uncertainty in how the Arnold would play out. The Arnold committee did everything they could to try and salvage as much of the event as possible and I think they did a good job with what they were given. As mentioned before, we will discuss our thoughts about it and how we feel the Arnold need to move forward in 2021 and beyond. Until then, make sure to watch the Arnold livestream present by REDCON1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28oAUrqSMNA) and if you are in the Columbus area tomorrow and Saturday night, make sure to go to the Finals and support these hard-working and deserving athletes.