You’d be forgiven if you thought Trish Stratus had created her own specialty TV network, because she’s been all over TV this week. On Sunday night, she was the subject of the WWE Rivals episode on A&E; on Monday, she was on WWE RAW, as part of the build towards her WrestleMania match. And tonight she returns to the judge’s panel on the second season premiere of Canada’s Got Talent.
On CGT, Stratus will rejoin her fellow judges – rapper/producer Kardinal Offishall, comedian/personality Lilly Singh, and comedian/TV legend Howie Mandel – as they help decide which acts should be crowned as Canada’s next big entertainer.
In an exclusive interview held days before the premiere, Stratus shared her excitement with SlamWrestling.net about playing a key role in potentially changing someone’s life forever.
“It’s so rewarding,” she said, “I just love it. To be part of anyone’s journey, it’s very special.”
Of course, the flip side of that is the fact that there can be only one winner. So the journey for many doesn’t lead to the rewards. But Stratus doesn’t see losing, or not advancing in the competition as necessarily being a negative.
“(That’s) not always the end of the journey,” she insighted. “It could just be a part of their journey. It could be the fire that gets lit in them after being told no. It could be the push they need to say, ‘Okay, this is the sign that I need to quite my job and go ahead and pursue this full-time.’ Anything we do to help them – even if we just give them advice that they can use – that’s an opportunity. And for us to have that opportunity to help them, that’s something I don’t take for granted.”
Telling the unabashed truth is something that Stratus and her fellow judges have really taken to heart this year. She revealed that she felt the judges may not have been as critical as they could have been to some of last year’s acts.
“There were times, particularly in the beginning, where we maybe came across as a little too Canadian,” she reflected. “There was a big learning curve for us, and a lot of times when we were saying no, we would cushion it with ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ We were sometimes afraid to say the ‘N-O word.’ But we definitely didn’t hold back this year.”
That approach, she feels, leads to a better experience for the home viewers – who expect judges to be their proxy in determining which acts go through to the rounds where viewer votes determine who goes through and who is eliminated.
“As judges, we have to be uber-aware that what we think is a reflection of what people are thinking at home,” Stratus noted. “We have to give our opinions, period. But we also can’t forget that there are people watching at home. So you have a family where the father has an opinion, and the mother has a different opinion, and the kids have their own opinions. For us, by us not holding back, by being more authentic, it’s a better representation of those various opinions.”
Of course, we’ll all know when the first show airs – including Stratus herself, who hasn’t seen what the shows will look like on TV. The first audition rounds were filmed in November and the semi-finals in January. So tonight’s premiere will be the first time Stratus actually sees what the new season will look like as a finished product.
She is very confident that the show’s new production team will improve on last year’s success.
“(The shows) will have a different look,” she predicted. “I think they’ll move a lot faster, and look a lot slicker. And I think the story-telling will be a little more thorough than it was last year.”
“This year, we had some celebrity cameos, which were very cool,” she teased. “And some were unexpected – actually, (the judges) were as surprised as the audience and the contestants were. So that’s definitely an aspect we didn’t have last year.”
“It’s going to be fun to see how the production side of things come in to play and change how things play out on screen versus how we remember them from the filming.”
She notes that she and her fellow judges will all be watching along and texting one another during and after the show. The four of them, she said, became quick friends last season, and enjoy interacting with each other regularly – including between the first season and this one.
“We set up a group text, and we kept that going and are always talking to each other. We definitely are a team.”
Of course, long-term friendship is nothing new for Stratus. And nowhere is this more evident than her upcoming match at this year’s WrestleMania, where she’ll be teaming up with her long-time friend Amy Dumas – better known to wrestling fans as Lita, and Lita’s Women’s Tag Team Championship partner, Becky Lynch.
The trio will be facing the tag team of Damage CTRL – Bayley, IO Sky, and Dakota Kai – at the big event, taking place over two nights, April 1st and 2nd.
This marks the first time in 11 years that Stratus has competed at the event, and she’s looking forward to wrestling in front of a new generation of fans.
“It’s pretty wild,” she said excitedly. “I was at an autograph signing a couple of weeks ago. I met a father and his son there, and we were talking about how the father grew up watching me, and now the son is growing up watching me. I feel very blessed, very grateful, and very excited.”
It helps that the different personalities involved allow for a lot of storyline opportunities, both during the match and beyond.
“I really love the generational dynamic of the match,” she said. “You have the past with Amy and I, the present with Becky and Bayley, and the future with Dakota and IO. What a unique dynamic. And for the fans, it will be really interesting to see all these different styles together in a match.”
“In a way,” she observed, “we’ve all been influenced by one another. Because it’s been noted that all of the girls had watched us. But in the past few years, Amy and I have been watching them. So it’s going to be really interesting to see how it all pans out when the match happens.”
For Stratus, it also allows an opportunity to revisit her previous interactions with Becky Lynch. Fans may remember that a year ago, Stratus was engaged in a war of words with Lynch, and the two of them actually got physical during a house show in Toronto. While there were rumours that the two of them might end up facing each other in a match, that never came to pass. Now, though, it would seem that the two are on the same page.
“ Whether we were jaw-jacking each other, or now we’re on the same side, we definitely have some nice chemistry between us,” Stratus said about Lynch.”A mutual respect, absolutely, but a nice chemistry. And I’m thrilled that’s the way it turned out. I love being alongside Becky. And I like the little fun dynamic that the three of us bring together – it’s badassy. I don’t know if that’s a word, but it is now.”
There were reports last week that Stratus may actually stick around after WrestleMania. Those reports predicted that Stratus would turn on Lynch and Lita, leading to a feud with one or both of them through the summer. Stratus didn’t address those rumours directly, but rather noted that she wouldn’t rule out a longer run, depending on the circumstances.
“When I’m asked to do something,” she noted, “I like to check the boxes on a few things. Is it fun for me? Is it creatively fulfilling? Is it supporting the business, the industry in a way? I think this storyline checks all those boxes. But then I have to look at my home life. When I got asked to do this (match), I had a five-week build-up, and (my kids’) March Break was right in the middle of it. So that was fun,” she deadpanned. “In those five weeks, I have to do (the TV shows), train, and then go home and put on the mom hat. And it can take a toll.”
“On paper,” she continued, “it’s Sunday to Tuesday. Sounds easy, that’s easy work, right? But then, you know, it’s flying out of Boston at 5:30 in the morning, which means you get about an hour of sleep. You don’t take into account the travel, and things like the snow storm the week before, how that affects travel. And then I had that autograph signing, so that actually meant I was on the road for five days.”
“So I said, first let’s get to WrestleMania and let’s have fun, let’s have a killer match and get people talking. After that, I don’t know who needs me more: the kids or WWE. We’ll see what happens.”
Whether or not she does extend her run past WrestleMania, it’s safe to say that Stratus’ calendar will remain full. In addition to press for WrestleMania and CGT, she’ll have the live CGT finale in the spring, upcoming autograph signings – including at WrestleCon which takes place during WrestleMania week, and an upcoming signing at the Funko headquarters – on that front, she’s signed a deal that will see her website-exclusive Funko POP! figures be sold at the WrestleMania Superstore at WrestleMania.
“I also have some other projects in the works that I can’t really talk about at this time,” she teased. “So all I can say for now is stay tuned – because there’s a lot of Stratusfaction coming up!”
The second season of Canada’s Got Talent premieres tonight on City-TV. SlamWrestling.net’s Bob Kapur will be recapping the shows every week for TrishStratus.com.
- Canada’s Got Talent page on CityTV.com