Trish Stratus has recalled her reaction to being pitched the infamous Raw segment which saw her crawl around the ring on all fours and bark like a dog.
During the Attitude Era, WWE weren’t shy about courting controversy with their on-screen product and in many cases actively invited it.
One such occasion revolved around a storyline involving Vince McMahon, his wife Linda, Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus in early 2001. In the story, Vince and Linda were heading for divorce, and the WWE Chairman started an on-screen relationship with Stratus, much to the disgust of his daughter Stephanie.
As the story progressed, McMahon and Stratus were often caught in compromising positions, leading to increasing tension across the McMahon family.
During the angle, Vince McMahon sought to humiliate Stratus by having her crawl around the ring on all-fours and bark like a dog. She was then instructed to strip down to her underwear and ultimately remove her bra.
Speaking during a recent appearance with For The Love Of Wrestling, Trish Stratus broke down her reaction to being pitched the highly controversial angle.
“Vince pitched the angle to me like this — ‘so we’re going to have this angle where you are barking like a dog and get really humiliated, and basically hit rock bottom.’ And I was like, ‘amazing!’” said Trish. “Because I knew a couple of weeks later, I would be getting my comeuppance on him and I would be slapping him on the grandest stage of them all, which is Wrestlemania, and turning on him. I was going on to stand up for myself, not needing a man to lean on and fighting for what I needed to fight for.”
Stratus explained that while the segment was degrading for her character, it didn’t affect her personally as she was simply portraying a character. As an actor would in a Hollywood movie.
“I get questioned about that a lot, and most people go, ‘oh, remember you had to bark like a dog and you had to do that thing that was so degrading, right? For the character, it was, yeah, because that was what the character had to go through. We don’t talk to Halle Barry when she had to get abused by so and so, you know, it’s a character.
“That, for me, was integral for the character to be at that rock bottom, to have the foresight to say, ‘I can break free from this. I won’t let this happen to me again and let’s move on.’ And you know what? 22 years, we’re still talking about it!”.
The storyline eventually led to a match between Trish and Stephanie McMahon at No Way Out before it culminated at WrestleMania X-Seven. On the show, Vince and Shane McMahon met in a Street Fight, which is mostly remembered for a supposedly ‘sedated’ Linda McMahon rising from her wheelchair to low blow her husband.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.