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Bobby Between The Ropes: A Look Back At Divas On PPV – 2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
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2005

2005

So WWE had decided to take the women’s division in a completely different direction. Crowds sat on their hands while the likes of Jazz or Victoria had technically sound and hard-hitting matches – but came alive when Stacy Keibler flashed her panties or Torrie Wilson donned a bikini. Thus the year 2005 began with eye candy Divas outnumbering the wrestling women. The year 2004 had seen a transition from the Golden Era into this new…well calling it the Dark Era might be going a bit too far. But as always, there would be glimmers of hope – as stars like Melina Perez, Jillian Hall and Mickie James would make their debuts.

New Years’ Revolution – Lita* vs Trish Stratus:

Lita and Trish had closed 2004 by breaking new ground for women – wrestling the first Divas-only match in the main event of Raw. Lita won her second Women’s Championship and this was Trish’s rematch. The bout is preceded by a very slick video package detailing the whole rivalry. The video package sadly lasts longer than the actual match. For once, it’s not the bookers’ fault. Moments into the match, Lita attempts a Thesz Press off the apron – and blows out her knee. It’s obvious from then on that the girls are improvising completely – and trying to work a championship match that won’t make Lita look too weak. Trish tries to make it look like she’s targeting the leg but it’s obvious that Lita can barely stand. Lita does try to go for her DDT but Trish blocks it and Chick Kicks her for the abrupt win. She becomes a 6-time Women’s Champion, while Lita is put on the injured list. At the time, Diva fans were going “another one bites the dust”, as far as wrestling women were concerned.


Winner and NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus. Match Rating: N/A

No Way Out:

With No Way Out being a Smackdown PPV and the blue brand becoming home to a large amount of Diva Search contestants – they actually all got a slot on the PPV. It was titled the ‘Rookie Diva of the Year’ contest. Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie acted as the judges. Contestants were Joy Giovanni, Michelle McCool, Lauren Jones and Rochelle Lowen. Like a beauty pageant, there are three rounds: the evening gown round, the talent round and the swimsuit round. The talent round is the most notable: Joy’s talent is massaging Torrie, to obviously give the crowd some girl-on-girl action. Rochelle tells a terrible joke. Lauren dances but that is also not good. At this point, Dawn has been dissing all the contestants. So Michelle gets on the mic and says that her talent will be a little more physical: so she body slams Dawn! Sadly, despite getting a good pop from the crowd, it doesn’t get her the win. Joy wins the competition with 65% of the vote. This segment is worth watching for two reasons: a) Dawn’s absolutely hilarious bitchy comments throughout, and b) the unintentional foreshadowing that Michelle would be the only one of these girls to make it big in WWE.


WrestleMania 21 – Trish Stratus* vs Christy Hemme:

So with Lita now out with a torn ACL and Victoria and Molly little more than enhancement talent – WWE decided to merge the Women’s Championship with the annual Playboy push. Diva Search winner Christy Hemme was chosen to pose for that year’s Playboy. As a result, she challenged Trish for the Women’s Championship – also revealing that Lita would be in her corner. In fairness, the storyline wasn’t that bad. It represented a nice kind of role reversal – where just a couple years ago, Trish was in Christy’s very role. She was the young model trying to prove herself against the established wrestlers. The match certainly had more build-up than the one the previous year. Wrestling wise? There’s a lot to be desired. It’s obvious that Christy is very green and in a lot of places she definitely looks lost. A lot of what she does is very sloppy and the action is mostly basic stuff to protect her. While it might be fine for a match on Raw, need I remind you that this is WrestleMania? But to give Christy her credit, she puts a lot of heart into this match. Some stuff she does looks alright – like the split-legged sunset flip or the Twist of Fate. She really does try to sell that she wants the Women’s Championship. And if she’d had a few more years of actual wrestling training, this would probably have been a very respectable match. Trish puts her away with an iffy-looking Chick Kick to retain her title. A good effort from Christy, and credit to Trish and Lita for helping her out – but still not exactly a good match.


Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus. Match Rating: 4/10

Backlash:

Unsurprisingly, Christy Hemme did not get her feud with Trish extended. Rather WWE decided to continue the Trish/Lita feud by proxy. Since Lita was still kayfabe married to Kane, Trish had him to worry about. After antagonising Lita one too many times, Kane really targeted her. This led to Trish recruiting Viscera as some hired muscle. It’s implied that she had to give him some kind of sexual favours. But for those of you who only believe in what is shown on TV – they at least went out on one date. During the Kane/Viscera match, Trish attempts to use a steel chair on Kane – but Lita whacks her with a crutch. Kane gets the win and Trish gets in Viscera’s face. All this would get her is a bear hug and a body splash, quickly followed by being taken out on a stretcher. Trish was the next Diva to get injured and this wrote her off TV for the foreseeable future. And with her went the Women’s Championship, as there were precious few women left to actually fight over it.


Vengeance – Victoria vs Christy Hemme:

Well prayers were answered as far as Diva feuds go. Victoria spent the first half of 2005 not really doing a whole lot. Molly Holly asked for her release and with Trish and Lita injured, Victoria was the only wrestling Diva left on Raw. So one night she was in a bikini contest, of which Christy was the winner. The jealous Victoria finally snapped and turned back heel – attacking all the other Divas. It was the return of the ruthless bitch we’d known in the Golden Era. The feud was quite physical – with Christy firing back on the aggression front. Victoria also smashed a jar over Christy’s head. Unfortunately she’s got an absolutely horrible remix of her dancing theme – which she sadly keeps for the remainder of her WWE run. The match is actually incredibly intense. The wrestling is a bit so-so as far as technical prowess goes. But the whole thing really feels like a fight. Both Christy and Victoria bring some great fire to the affair. It feels like they really actually hate each other. Some of the exchanges were sloppy but Christy was a real daredevil. She takes plenty of nice bumps in this match and Victoria helps her as best she can. It’s a lot more solid than her WrestleMania match with Trish. The crowd actually turns on Christy and sides with Victoria about halfway through. Victoria blocks a sunset flip and grabs the ropes to get the win.


Winner: Victoria. Match Rating: 5/10

Great American Bash – Melina vs Torrie Wilson [Bra & Panties Match]:

Well everyone’s favourite Alpha Bitch had finally made her WWE debut. Melina Perez was a former Pageant Queen who tried out for Tough Enough, but was cut from the final ten. Not letting that deter her, she sought more training on the indies – and WWE eventually came calling. She debuted as the arrogant valet to MNM – a trio of pompous A-listers who claimed to roll with many of Hollywood’s stars. Melina was already calling herself the most dominant Diva in WWE a month in. So it was only fair that she face the top girl on Smackdown. Also we have Candice Michelle acting as the guest referee in her own PPV debut. For a Bra & Panties match, it’s not half bad; the girls use some creative spots – such as Torrie applying an abdominal stretch to help remove Melina’s top. Despite Torrie going into the defensive position, Melina is able to take off her top too. Torrie seems to be in control with a nice comeback – but Melina hot-shots her onto the ropes. That’s enough for her to pull Torrie’s pants off and get the win. For no reason besides being evil, she attacks Candice too. Not thinking ahead, Melina gets quickly double-teamed by her and Torrie. As Melina flees in her unmentionables, Candice strips off for the hell of it.


Winner: Melina. Match Rating: 5/10

Unforgiven – Trish Stratus & Ashley Massaro vs Victoria & Torrie Wilson:

So the 2005 Diva Search took priority on television over anything else. Ashley Massaro was the clear winner and she was immediately welcomed by Raw’s other newest Divas – Torrie and Candice. But shock! Horror! They turned heel and started bullying her, recruiting Victoria to become the Ladies in Pink. Ashley however received help in the form of the returning Women’s Champion. Trish Stratus returned as a face once again and a tag match was made for the PPV. The Ladies in Pink come out in gold, and Torrie has the adorable Chloe with her. As soon as Trish and Victoria lock up, it’s apparent that heel Victoria and face Trish is always the way their dynamic works best. They still have very nice chemistry in the opening moments. Ashley gets worked on by the heels, which makes sense as she is the ‘inferior’ one on her team. If you actually watch Ashley in these early days, there is some definite potential that sadly never got tapped into. Years later Ashley revealed that she never had any proper training – and was only trained on a per-match basis. In this match, her selling is fine and nothing she does looks terrible. Due to Victoria helping her out, Ashley gets through her part with no major screw-ups. Trish hot tags in and shows off some nice new moves and spots – as well as the great chemistry between her and Victoria. She eventually finishes her off with a Chick Kick. A very respectable match, considering some of the Divas involved. I also want to commend Candice Michelle on her performance at ringside. She played a very good cocky slutty heel. It’s a shame she never got a run as a heel wrestler in her time.


Winners: Trish Stratus & Ashley Massaro. Match Rating: 7/10

No Mercy – MNM vs Road Warrior Animal, Heidenreich & Christy Hemme:

Well since we last saw Christy on PPV, she was traded to Smackdown with Stacy Keibler. She was also feuding somewhat with Melina – with whom she had some very respectable matches. MNM at the time were Tag Team Champions – and their competition was WWE Hall of Famer Animal and Heidenreich, who was chosen to become the new Road Warrior. The two of them hooked up with Christy to face all three members of MNM in 6-person tag action. In the early parts of this match, while the men are wrestling, it almost feels like Melina is at the commentary booth – as her screams sometimes drown out Michael Cole and Tazz. Melina does have no problem getting involved with the men in the match – illegally applying a headscissors to Animal while the referee is distracted. When everyone else is down, Melina tags herself in and attempts a crossbody. Animal catches her and tags Christy in, doing a double team move with her. Animal and Christy then finish Melina off with the Doomsday Device. Sadly Christy tarnishes this rather great moment by trying to pin Melina while she’s on her front – bless her.


Winners: Animal, Heidenreich & Christy Hemme. Match Rating: 6/10

Taboo Tuesday – Fulfil Your Fantasy Battle Royal:

WWE’s second fan-interactive PPV offered the same gimmick for the Divas as the previous year. The only thing that was different was the girls involved and the outfits. The participants are Trish Stratus, Victoria, Ashley Massaro, Maria, Candice Michelle & Mickie James. The latter of course had debuted as “Trish’s number one fan”. The options for the outfits were Lingerie, Leather & Lace or Cheerleaders. Unsurprisingly the Lingerie wins by a landslide. Now there’s actually a small reason as to why Torrie Wilson isn’t in this match; apparently two days before, one of her family members had fallen ill. She left town immediately to be with them and had difficulty contacting the office to notify them. Because she missed a Raw and a PPV, she was quickly fired – but then rehired almost immediately. The situation was rather like what happened with Emma over the summer. As a result, it’s a little weird that there are only two heels in the match. Ashley and Maria have to go at it, despite both being faces. This match is actually a bit more solid than the one the previous year. There’s more opportunity for story-telling here, what with Candice and Victoria already being a tag team – and Mickie trying to save Trish from being eliminated. Maria is the first out, after everyone else gets annoyed with her ditzy antics. Candice Michelle survives elimination twice but takes too long to celebrate about it – and gets knocked off the apron by Ashley. As the lone heel, Victoria ends up cleaning house. With all the non-wrestling women out of the ring, the match turns into a quasi-handicap with Victoria against Trish and Mickie. Eventually Mickie sacrifices herself to make sure Victoria is eliminated and Trish keeps her title.


Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus. Match Rating: 6/10

Survivor Series – Trish Stratus* vs Melina:

As WWE had exhausted every combination of Trish vs Torrie and Victoria since Taboo Tuesday, it was time to give her a different opponent. Luckily for them, a dual-branded PPV was coming up – and this particular event was centred on interpromotional matches. Melina actually scored a win over the Women’s Champion in a battle royal on the Eddie Guerrero tribute show. The next week Trish was suddenly abducted from the arena by two masked men. When we saw her again, she was bound and gagged – and Melina issued the challenge. It’s quite an interesting match to watch, considering that Melina would eventually become a top face quite close to Trish in popularity. It gets off to a great start, as Trish goes to the top and body blocks all three members of MNM. The boys try to retaliate with a Snap Shot – but the referee stops them and ejects them from ringside. The match is quite good and the women do a nice job of promoting Melina as an underdog *heel*. We’re more used to underdog faces, but they told a good story of Trish being the vet and Melina being the rookie. Melina would have far better matches later in her career – but this a very good early performance from her. Mickie James intervenes at the end, pulling Trish out of the way of a Melina attack – allowing Trish to get the win with a bulldog off the top. We can also view the Mickie/Melina catfight as the start of a beautiful relationship.


Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus. Match Rating: 7/10

So 2005 was a real dark point for the WWE Divas. Two top stars got injured and with so little girls, the title picture was non-existent for months. T&A segments and Diva Search segments dominated the female programming on Raw and Smackdown. WWE seemed to delight in putting untrained models in the ring and hoping for the best. A lot of these girls did the best they could – but it’s a formula that thankfully didn’t last. But things did pick up towards the end of the year; when Trish returned and Mickie debuted, storylines did return to form somewhat. Trish once again found herself carrying a division that it was obvious would soon be lost without her. But we also saw several future top Divas appearing: Mickie and Melina for sure, as well as Jillian Hall and Candice Michelle. We also bid farewell to Molly Holly, as she quietly asked for her release. Stacy Keibler said goodbye too as she was axed while on Dancing With The Stars. Trish and Lita’s days would be numbered too – and the year 2005 saw the beginnings of a generation that we’ve also only just said goodbye to. But it is always worth saying that the Divas still found glimmers of hope whenever they were given spotlight – even in the darkest of times.








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