Heading into WrestleMania 39 as a WWE Champion, one Hall of Famer is further enhancing a legacy that had at one time been threatened, after being forced into an “uncomfortable” storyline.
The Attitude Era is known as the most successful period in WWE history, with the creation of edgy personas and more adult-rated content used to gain viewers and sell out arenas.
But for one current performer, it was also a time when they were forced into feeling “cheap” during an “uncomfortable” segment.
During her time in Team Extreme with Matt and Jeff Hardy in 2000, Lita was involved in an angle with then-Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko.
Lita had not been used in underwear-led stipulation matches like The Kat and Terri Runnels, so she was surprised when WWE management asked her to appear in lingerie and seduce Malenko.
Discussing the moment in her book, LITA: A less travelled R.O.A.D, the Hall of Famer shared how it not only made her feel “cheap”, but the reaction of both Vince and Stephanie McMahon.
“I did it. I stood there in red, white, and green bra and panties on the stage at the World—I was completely uncomfortable. I felt very cheap and totally embarrassed. The World was a very intimate environment. Usually when talent went there, we’d warm up the crowd, interact with them a bit, then do the little fifteen-second live segment. This time, I had to go out onto the stage three times— though it seemed more like fifty! I felt that the crowd could sense just how uncomfortable I was, and were almost reluctant to cheer and catcall me. It was like they knew Lita wasn’t the type of girl to respond to that kind of reaction,”
“The next morning I flew down to Charlotte for SmackDown! When I got to the building, Vince and Stephanie pulled me aside to tell me how great they thought the segment was. I guess they’d heard rumblings that I was unhappy, so they decided to make me feel better. ‘I thought it was phenomenal how you were a little shy in the beginning,’ Stephanie said. ‘I was freaking embarrassed,’ I explained. ‘It just didn’t make sense to me.’ ‘Well, it came across great,’ she said. ‘We’re really really happy with it.'”
WWE Hall Of Famers Battle At WrestleMania 39
Lita (Amy Dumas) made a shock return to WWE in February, to help Becky Lynch during a Steel Cage match against Bayley on Raw.
Three weeks ago, Lita and Becky Lynch teamed up to defeat Damage CTRL to become Women’s Tag Team Champions and in doing so, saw Lita hold a WWE Title for the first time since November 2006.
One of Lita’s fiercest rivals during the 2000s was Trish Stratus, with a feud so successful they became the first woman to ever main event an episode of Raw.
Stratus has followed her former foe into also making a surprise comeback, and will now join forces with the tag champs and compete in a Six Women Tag match at WrestleMania 39.