One Final Goodbye

Unforgiven 2006  - Trish walks away as champion

Before a vociferously partisan crowd and amidst chants of “Thank you Trish!” six-time Women’s Champion Trish Stratus made it lucky number seven by defeating Lita in front of 16,105 of her hometown supporters in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Trish paid homage to another classic Canadian Superstar by applying the Sharpshooter, forcing Lita to tap out and hand over the Women’s Championship to the woman who has been the penultimate WWE Diva for the past seven years.

It was clearly a moving night for Trish, who had been riding a wave of emotion since news broke on WWE.com that she would be retiring after Unforgiven. It was not Trish, however, but her long-time rival Lita, who made the announcement, frustrating the most decorated Diva in WWE history. It was only appropriate that Trish’s final match would come against Lita, the Diva with whom she has waged more than a few all-out grudge matches and the woman she faced in her WWE debut. Lita could not have wanted anything more than to taint Trish’s legacy by defeating her on her home turf in her final match, but Trish made sure that she ended the intensely personal rivalry the same way she has conducted herself throughout her storied career: on her terms and no one else’s.

As Trish made her way to the ring, it was clear that her emotions were swirling as she took her time at the top of the stage to give a long, pensive look around the arena. She appeared to be soaking in the rush of a WWE entrance one last time, wishing she could acknowledge each and every one of the WWE fans in the sold-out Air Canada Centre.

She would get her chance to do so at the conclusion of what was, not surprisingly, an intensely physical contest between two bitter rivals. After nearly scoring several pin-falls, Trish was finally able to corner Lita and lock in the Sharpshooter, lifting the impassioned crowd to its feet as they raucously cheered their hometown hero.

Once Lita submitted, the torrent of emotion gave way to relieved triumph, as the capacity crowd saluted Trish with a standing ovation. Announcers Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler joined in the celebration, as did a bleary-eyed Lilian Garcia, while Trish held the Women’s Championship high above her head for the seventh and final time. Then, in the classy fashion WWE fans have come to know and revere from their favorite Diva, Trish took a bow and blew a kiss to the still frenzied crowd, as her emotional roller coaster finally eased back into the station.

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