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The evolution of Trish Stratus

Many people enter the world of sports-entertainment dreaming of it being a gateway to fame and fortune. Few have the drive to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it.

Trish Stratus is one of those few who would not quit until she achieved her goals. Introduced to WWE fans as eye candy in 2000, the Canadian-born Diva had become a seven-time Women’s Champion and the mastermind of a yoga empire by the time she retired in 2006.

“She has the drive of a champion,” her onetime charge Tensai told WWEClassics.com. “Very few have it. She would take nothing for granted and she wouldn’t settle for second best.”

In celebration of, perhaps, Trish Stratus’ biggest achievement — induction into the WWE Hall of Fame — take a look back at the key moments from the blond bombshell’s legendary career that made her the greatest Diva of all time. ( PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)

Stratusfaction guaranteed

A highly sought after fitness model, Trish Stratus had plenty of buzz when she signed with WWE. Just what did the beauty have in her plans for her venture into sports-entertainment? It didn’t take long for the WWE Universe to find out.

Trish showed up unannounced on the March 19, 2000, edition of Sunday Night Heat, scoping out a contest between Test and Gangrel. The two brutes couldn’t help but be distracted by the blonde watching them from afar. Eventually, Test was able to capitalize on the distraction and pick up the win, while Trish smiled from the ramp. Later that night, she did the same during a bout between Albert and Joey Abs of The Mean Street Posse. With Joey Abs sidetracked by Stratus, Albert easily won.

The next night on Raw, Trish accompanied Test to ringside for his match against Val Venis. When The Big Valbowski attacked Test after the match, Albert ran down to take out the controversial Superstar. Stratus then spoke for the first time. The WWE Universe hung on her every word as she introduced Test and Albert as her charges. The two massive brawlers towered over her as she assured the world that they would dominate WWE.

Going solo

When Test and Albert split as a tag team, Trish tested the waters as a competitor in WWE’s Diva’s division. A rivalry soon grew between her and Lita, the red-haired daredevil and associate of the beloved Hardy Boyz.

While she wasn’t a full-time competitor yet, there was still plenty of attention on the blond beauty. Stratus had a fling with Mr. McMahon, much to the chagrin of his daughter, Stephanie. Eventually, though, Mr. McMahon dumped Trish. In a thrilling act of retribution, the scorned bombshell helped the WWE Chairman’s son, Shane, defeat his father in a Street Fight at WrestleMania X-Seven.

Stratus soon dove into competition, regularly challenging for the WWE Women’s Title. She finally reached the top of the mountain, winning a Six-Pack Challenge at Survivor Series 2001 to capture her first Women’s Championship. ( WATCH FULL-LENGTH MATCH)

True romance

In late 2003, Trish began dating the nefarious Chris Jericho. Y2J’s tag team partner at the time, Christian, just happened to be courting Stratus’ on-again/off-again rival, Lita. Stratus had no reason to be suspicious of Jericho, until she overheard Y2J and Christian going over a bet they had made. Whoever could successfully woo their respective Diva would win one dollar (Canadian, of course.).

Jericho, however, began to develop real feelings for the blond bombshell. The love was seemingly mutual until WrestleMania XX, when Stratus accidentally cost Jericho his match against Captain Charisma, then set him up for a post-match beatdown at Christian’s hands.

If that wasn’t bad enough for Jericho, Stratus kicked him once more while he was down, sharing a passionate smooch with Christian in front of the sold-out Madison Square Garden. ( WATCH)

Trish's biggest fan

Trish Stratus had a legion of loyal fans in the WWE Universe. None was more loyal than Mickie James. Showing up in WWE toward the end of 2005, the bubbly brunette would do anything to earn the favor of her idol. James dressed up as Trish for Halloween and helped her retain the Women’s Championship on several occasions. Eventually, James’ hero worship began to border on obsession. Trish tried to let Mickie down gently, but the unstable Diva couldn’t handle the rejection, turning on her idol.

After James defeated Trish for the Women’s Title at WrestleMania 22, Stratus found comfort in the arms of Carlito. The charismatic Superstar from the Caribbean wasn’t only a cool boyfriend, but he also ended up being a great tag team partner, too. Trish and Carlito teamed up to take on Johnny Nitro & Melina and Edge & Lita in exciting Mixed Tag Team Matches.

One last victory

Rumors swirled throughout the WWE Universe during summer 2006 that Trish Stratus was considering retiring from the ring. The blond bombshell confirmed it, but said that she wanted to go out on top. In what would be her final bout as a full-time WWE Diva, Trish Stratus challenged Lita for the WWE Women’s Championship at Unforgiven.

In front of her hometown of Toronto, Trish forced Lita to tap out to the Sharpshooter to capture her seventh and final Women’s Title ( WATCH). Although she would make several more appearances in the ring, including a surprise turn as John Cena’s tag team partner against Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix in 2008 and teaming with John Morrison & Snooki of “Jersey Shore fame” at WrestleMania XXVII, Trish’s last Women’s Title victory was the perfect coda to a legendary career.

WWE Hall of Fame Diva

After she left the squared circle, Trish took part in the CBS reality show “Armed and Famous,” and starred in the movie “Bounty Hunters.” She also found a second calling as a yoga guru. She opened a studio, Stratusphere, in Toronto, where her team teaches her unique take on the Indian discipline. For those that can’t make it north of the border, her trademark workouts are available for purchase on TrishStratus.com.

Stratus hasn’t forgotten where she came from, though. The seven-time Women’s Champion returned to WWE in early 2011 as a trainer on the most recent season of WWE Tough Enough. She shared her knowledge of the squared circle with potential WWE Divas, including Cameron of The Funkadactyls.

Perhaps the biggest honor of Trish’s career will come the night before WrestleMania 29, when she is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Only the sixth woman to enter the elite group, Stratus will take her rightful place among sports-entertainment’s greatest in The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.

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