If you’ve been watching this series, then you know a roundtable of experts, led by former WWE writer (and Jedi Knight – look it up if you don’t know) Freddie Prinze, Jr., is really just there to pump the tires of whomever the show is featuring. This week, it’s made up of Cody Rhodes, JBL, Kevin Nash (who looks utterly bored tonight), and Beth Phoenix (who, unlike Nash, has a real vested interest in this one).

Jumping ahead to the end of the episode, JBL suggests that the feud between Lita and Stratus is “the most important rivalry in women’s wrestling history,” and nobody on the show is going to disagree with him. Phoenix, on the other hand, talks about how sad she was for Stratus to have retired before she arrived, as she’d dreamt of a match with her. Beyond that, the roundtable is void of anything noteworthy to say.

A clip with Kevin Owens has him remembering Trish Stratus appearing on Michael Lansberg’s interview show Off the Record often when the topic was wrestling, using that as one of her platforms to signing with the-then WWF. Lita came in from another direction, from the world of Judo and breaking into lucha libre before arriving in ECW for a cup of coffee ahead of arriving in New York herself.

Lita debuted first, showcasing her ability in the ring, while Stratus began by showcasing her looks while managing Test and Albert. After plenty of brawling around the ring, Lita and Trish finally faced off, although it was still, as things were at the time, fighting in “Bra & Panties” matches. Still, they got fans interested in their matches and helped to build a more legitimate women’s division. As their progression continued side-by-side, Lita’s momentum was abruptly stopped when she injured her neck doing a stunt on the TV show Dark Angel, being the first of her unfortunately-timed injuries.

When she returns a year later, it’s as a partner for Trish, but before long they start feuding over the top spot and the Women’s Championship. This led to a historic night in December of 2004 where they’re given the main event of the show.

Molly Holly remembers getting choked up at the idea of the women closing out the show, while Charlotte Flair recalls being front-row to watch it all go down. Lita describes her nasty-looking dive to the floor, amazingly escaping injury, and people from Kevin Owens to Bayley talk about how inspiring it was to watch her continue.

The rivalry led to a rematch at New Year’s Revolution in 2005, where Lita injured her knee not long into the match. Acknowledging that she was set to retain the title, Lita describes how they changed the match on the fly and Trish wins the belt again.

Once again, Lita makes a return, but with a twist: turning heel and aligning herself with Edge. She sets up against Trish again, but now Stratus is at a point where she’s making decisions about her future and is ready to step away from the ring. With Lita holding the Women’s Championship, the WWE rolls into Toronto and Trish challenges her for the belt in her final match (for a while, anyway).

Trish wins and also retires and, a year later, Lita also competes in her final match, on the losing side, though. The show caps off by fast-forwarding to contemporary women’s matches like the Royal Rumble match in 2018, where both Trish and Lita are invited back to compete.

There’s nothing but love expressed by both wrestlers for one another, and it’s undoubtedly a notable feud in WWE history, poetic in terms of two friends breaking in together, going out at close to the same time, and spending their entire careers being entwined with one another either as allies or foes.

Related Links:

Slam Wrestling’s Trish Stratus review and interview archive

July 15th, 2019: Lita story and interview archive

Slam Wrestling’s WWE/A&E review archive