REVIEW: WWE ‘Trish & Lita – Best Friends, Better Rivals’ DVD (2019)

August 2, 2019 by Mark Armstrong

As WWE’s women’s evolution has become more and more prominent over the past five years, it is easy to forget that the female division occasionally profited from both major storylines and big-name superstars prior to the revival and flourishment of the company’s women’s scene. Two ladies who were at the forefront of that for almost seven years were Trish Stratus and Lita; in that time, they redefined what being a major female star in WWE was about, ensuring that fans took them seriously as athletes and not merely as sex symbols. In the process, they engaged in a feud that is still talked about to this day, and the eventual reward for both was a Hall of Fame ring.

The “Trish & Lita – Best Friends, Better Rivals” DVD takes a look at the biggest and best matches that these legends participated in from 2000 to 2006, along with a few bouts from their brief return to television in October 2018, and other notable non-wrestling segments.

I will be covering the matches in chronological order here to avoid repeating any recaps of career history, though they are spread over two discs with one being devoted to Stratus and one to Lita. With that said, let’s take a look at the bouts on offer in this set.

WWE 'Trish & Lita: Best Friends, Better Rivals' DVD - Available Now!

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THE MATCHES

WWF Heat – February 13, 2000
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship Match

Gillberg (C) vs. Essa Rios w/ Lita

Lita was the first of the two ladies to appear on WWF television. Amy Dumas, who had been Miss Congeniality in ECW the prior year, first became Lita at the side of Essa Rios as he dethroned Gillberg to end his lengthy reign as Light Heavyweight Champion, and she made a big impact by demonstrating some of her aerial offence, manoeuvres that WWF fans had never seen from female performers at that point.

WWE - Early Lita Making Her Entrance with Essa Rios
WWE - Lita Gives Trish Stratus The Litasault!

WWF Fully Loaded 2000 – July 23, 2000
The Hardy Boyz & Lita vs. T&A & Trish Stratus

Trish debuted at the side of Test and Albert the following month, and it didn’t take too long for Stratus to begin what would be a long-running on and off rivalry with Lita. The first chapter of their feud peaked with this impressive six-person contest from Fully Loaded. Team Extreme had been born around two months beforehand, but it was here that it became established as one of the coolest acts in the red-hot WWF of 2000.

WWF RAW – July 31, 2000
Lita & The Rock vs. Trish Stratus & Triple H

That was far from the end of their quarrel, though, and eight days later they shared the ring in another tag bout, this time involving The Rock and Triple H. That being said, this was more as a vehicle to promote HHH’s ongoing woman troubles which Trish had been dragged into, and the post-match scenes leave Tripper and Trish in a position that you are unlikely to see on RAW ever again.

WWF RAW – August 21, 2000
WWF Women’s Championship Match

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley (C) vs. Lita

WWE often bigs up how Trish and Lita main evented RAW (and we’ll come to that contest shortly), but few remember that Lita had already headlined RAW and won the Women’s Title in the process, and in a high-profile scenario to boot. The Rock serves as special guest referee for a match that has all sorts of Attitude Era shenanigans, and culminates with Lita claiming Championship gold for the first time.

WWE - Lita Wins Her First Women's Championship, On Shoulders of The Hardy Boyz
WWE - Early Trish Stratus Entrance with Albert on WWF Metal

WWF Metal – October 14, 2000
Albert w/ Trish Stratus vs. Crash Holly

Who expected a match from Metal to be included on a WWE DVD in 2019? At first glance I thought this was her debut, but this is actually several months into Trish’s days as the manager of T&A, a combo who battled the likes of The Dudleyz and The Hardyz in the spring and summer of 2000. Which makes this an intriguing inclusion for collectors, but is otherwise a very random match to have here.

WWF RAW – October 23, 2000
Trish Stratus vs. Lita

This was not their first on-screen singles battle, but it is noteworthy because the tone of the contest is purely about offering sex appeal to the audience, which makes it a complete contrast not only from the current WWE women’s wrestling output, but from future battles between these two legends. It’s intriguing to note, though, that in 2000, they were booked no differently than any other females in that regard.

WWE - Trish Stratus And Lita in A Bra And Panties Match, WWF Attitude Era

WWF Survivor Series 2001 – November 18, 2001
WWF Women’s Championship Six-Pack Challenge Match

Trish Stratus vs. Lita vs. Ivory vs. Mighty Molly vs. Jacqueline vs. Jazz

Here, we have a crucial milestone. Not only did it mark Trish’s first Women’s Championship victory, but it marked the beginning of a slow shift from sexual-themed wrestling to serious in-ring action for the ladies. Sex appeal would be on the WWE menu for many years to come, but at least the women’s division would start to have real credibility, and the path to such acceptance started with this six-way (which incidentally features the surprise debut of Jazz).

WWE - Trish Stratus Wins Her First Women's Championship!
WWE Trish Stratus And Lita DVD - WrestleMania 18 Triple Threat Match

WWF WrestleMania X8 – March 17, 2002
WWF Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Jazz (C) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Lita

This three-way is okay but nothing memorable, though to be fair all involved had the unenviable task of following The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan. This meant that even with Trish performing in her hometown of Toronto, they were always going to struggle to leave a lasting impression on the audience, making this an important yet forgettable contest.

WWE Unforgiven 2002 – September 22, 2002
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Molly Holly (C) vs. Trish Stratus

Molly Holly is underrated, not so much for her in-ring ability which was acknowledged as being of a high level, but in terms of helping Trish in the ring to go from eye candy to a real wrestler. The two also had an interesting feud during the summer and autumn of 2002, which culminated here as Trish regained the Women’s Title from Molly.

WWE WrestleMania XIX – March 30, 2003
WWE Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Victoria (C) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Trish’s reign as Women’s Champ was curtailed by Victoria, and during her chase to recapture the gold, Jazz returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The three-way hostilities led to this WrestleMania match which was a big improvement over the WM X8 contest, and the crowd pops big for Stratus completing her quest to once again reign as Women’s Champion. In the days before the Women’s Evolution, this stood as one of the better WWE women’s bouts ever.

WWE - Trish Stratus Entrance with Confetti at WrestleMania 19

WWE Unforgiven 2003 – September 21, 2003
Lita & Trish Stratus vs. Gail Kim & Molly Holly

Shortly after ‘Mania, Lita was sidelined for a very long time by a serious neck injury. But she was finally able to return in September 2003 to assist her old rival Trish. This led to a doubles match at Unforgiven, one which saw Lita earn victory to complete her much-anticipated comeback in style.

WWE RAW Roulette – November 24, 2003
Steel Cage Match

Lita vs. Victoria

Lita was part of more history as the remainder of 2003 came around, which included her facing Victoria on RAW Roulette in the first ever all-women’s Steel Cage match to be held in WWE. Victoria picks up the win after interference from Matt Hardy, who had recently turned his back on her after seemingly reforming their on-screen partnership.

WWE Backlash 2004 – April 18, 2004
Trish Stratus & Christian vs. Chris Jericho

A heel turn at WrestleMania XX took Trish’s career in a different direction, one which would see her revive her feud with Lita in a big way. Before that, though, she stood at the side of Christian, and WWE’s newest couple took on their common foe Chris Jericho in this hidden gem of a handicap match. Jericho would have his hand raised in victory on this night, but the engrossing storyline involving all three would continue for a little longer yet.

WWE - Chris Jericho Spanks Trish Stratus!

WWE RAW – December 6, 2004
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Trish Stratus (C) vs. Lita

Heel Trish would mercilessly taunt Lita for months (which included her undesired wedding ceremony with Kane, included here as part of the DVD), before the red-haired rocker finally fought back. It all led to this famous RAW main event, where Lita overcame what was almost a career-ending dive to the floor to pin Stratus with a Twist of Fate/Moonsault combo. This was the apex of Lita’s WWE tenure, and some would say Trish’s too, given that this bout headlined RAW, a rarity during that era.

WWE - Trish Stratus Wearing Funny Face Mask
WWE 'Trish & Lita: Best Friends, Better Rivals' DVD - Main Menu

WWE New Year’s Revolution 2005 – January 9, 2005
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Lita (C) vs. Trish Stratus

This isn’t a particularly great match, given that an early torn ACL suffered by Lita forced an early ending. Lita wouldn’t wrestle again until early 2006, but for Stratus, this title win would lead to her longest reign yet, as she ruled as Women’s Champion for almost 15 months.

WWE - Trish Stratus And Lita Wrestle Each Other at New Year's Revolution PPV

WWE WrestleMania 22 – April 2, 2006
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Trish Stratus (C) vs. Mickie James

With Lita shelved, Trish’s attention would be turned to Mickie James, a superfan turned psychotic stalker. The story was built very slowly and effectively, meaning that their eventual WrestleMania battle was much anticipated. Mickie managed to overcome Trish in one of the best women’s matches of the era, albeit one which saw the Chicago audience turn against Trish at a time when John Cena was usually the only victim of “incorrect” reactions.

WWE Trish Stratus And Lita DVD - Trish vs. Mickie at WrestleMania 22

WWE RAW – August 14, 2006
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Mickie James (C) vs. Lita

Trish may have lost her title to Mickie, but it would be her old enemy Lita who managed to dethrone James. By now, Lita was a full-on heel at the side of then-WWE Champion Edge. Their act was the hottest in the company, but Lita was missing some gold to measure up to that of her man. That changed here, as both she and Edge left the ring as champions, and not without some assistance from The Rated-R Superstar himself.

WWE - Edge And Lita as WWE Champion & Women's Champion!

WWE RAW – September 11, 2006
Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James

Trish lost a rematch at Backlash a few weeks later, as well as a subsequent RAW bout in the summer. But she managed to finally defeat Mickie here in what was set to be her final RAW match prior to a planned retirement later that week at Unforgiven. This isn’t particularly noteworthy as an actual match, but it does have historic value.

WWE Unforgiven 2006 – September 17, 2006
WWE Women’s Championship Match

Lita (C) vs. Trish Stratus

In contrast, the final Lita vs. Trish match is a real treat. The Toronto fans are solidly behind Stratus and totally against Lita, by now a detestable heel. Given the occasion (Stratus’ swansong) and the stakes, not to mention the location, there was only one possible outcome, and so it proved as Trish submits Lita to the Sharpshooter to bring an end to a fabulous career, with fans chanting “Thank you Trish!” in a huge moment for the leader of Stratusfaction.

WWE - Trish Stratus Locks in the Sharpshooter on Lita in Canada!
WWE - Trish Stratus' Final Match in 2006, Wins Women's Championship

WWE Cyber Sunday 2006 – November 5, 2006
WWE Women’s Championship Lumberjill Match

Lita vs. Mickie James

After Trish retired in the wake of her seventh Women’s Championship victory, the belt was declared vacant, pending a tournament set to culminate at Cyber Sunday. Lita would defeat Mickie again to win said match, though it isn’t a particularly good contest, partly due to the ringside Lumberjills overshadowing their efforts. A few weeks later, Mickie beat Lita at Survivor Series for the title, and with that, Lita had retired too.

WWE Trish Stratus And Lita DVD - Lita vs. Mickie James, Cyber Sunday

WWE RAW 1000 – July 23, 2012
Lita vs. Heath Slater

Though Trish and Lita had both called time on their careers, they would wrestle again in the future. Trish made a few appearances between 2008 and 2011, while Lita would make a surprise appearance at the 1000th episode of RAW. There, she pinned Heath Slater with some help from a whole host of familiar faces, keeping with the theme of this super-nostalgic celebratory edition of RAW.

WWE Evolution 2018 – October 28,2018
Lita & Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James & Alicia Fox

The DVD shows both Trish and Lita’s Hall of Fame inductions, along with Lita unveiling the new WWE Women’s Championship during the WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show. Otherwise, they stayed away from the ring, until 2018 when they wrestled in the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble match. Nine months later, they reformed their legendary partnership against Mickie James and Alicia Fox (the latter replacing an injured Alexa Bliss) at the first Evolution PPV. Despite a flubbed finish, this is an enjoyable contest, and a fitting tribute to two true trailblazers of women’s wrestling on a night that was entirely dedicated to the females of WWE.

WWE - Trish Stratus And Lita Return to the Ring at WWE Evolution PPV!

WWE RAW – October 29, 2018
10-Woman Tag Team Match

Trish Stratus, Lita, Bayley, Sasha Banks & Natalya vs. Mickie James, Alicia Fox & The Riott Squad

We hadn’t seen the last of Trish and Lita just yet, though, as they popped up for one more appearance on RAW in this ten-woman contest. This reminded me of a ten-man match the night after WrestleMania 25 which saw Ricky Steamboat earn new respect from modern fans; in this case, it is the two Hall of Famers who get to bask in the spotlight one more time, making this a feel-good moment. We’ll see at least one of these legends lace up their boots again very soon.

WWE - Trish Stratus And Lita Return to Team Up with Sasha Banks!

 
THE VERDICT

For fans of Trish Stratus and Lita, this set is an ideal look back at their major moments in the ring. From their early days as the manager/sidekick of a tag team to their initial singles success to their legendary mid-2000s rivalry to their recent nostalgic cameos, “Trish & Lita – Best Friends, Better Rivals” includes everything you would need to see, and having both of their Hall of Fame inductions as additional features is a nice touch.

No doubt, WWE’s women’s scene has reached new heights over the past few years, but before Charlotte, Becky, Bayley and Sasha, fans had Trish and Lita as the measuring stick for the division, and this compilation is a great way to look back at two of the most important female wrestlers in WWE history.

WWE 'Trish & Lita: Best Friends, Better Rivals' DVD - Logo

 
Grab a copy of WWE’s Trish & Lita: Best Friends, Better Rivals DVD on…

 
UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get the first-ever Trish & Lita DVD now on Amazon.co.uk.

USA: RIGHT NOW! Get the first-ever Trish & Lita DVD now here on Amazon.com.

Australia: August 21st. Your pre-order opportunity is live now over at Madman.com.au.
 

 




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