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WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Lita

Entering this year’s WWE Hall of Fame, Amy “Lita” Dumas joins an illustrious class of female wrestlers already inducted, with Trish Stratus, Sunny & Sherri Martel from the fairly recent past and also Mae Young, Moolah and Wendi  Richter from days gone by. I think we will all agree that is a top-class list of WWE/WWF divas.

To be inducted by: Trish Stratus

Lita’s WWE career spanned only 7 years in total; starting in 1999 when she arrived along side Essa Rios as his valet who would execute her famed moonsault whenever possible, ending in 2006 when she was – in this writer’s opinion – very unfairly treated in her final match against Mickie James at Survivor Series. The match itself was very passable, but  it was the angle later on that night which has to this day left a nasty taste in my mouth. The angle in question involved Cryme Tyme coming out to auction off to the crowd some of Lita’s “personal” items. Lita left WWE humiliated, making for an unfitting retirement for a star of her stature.

Lita’s wrestling career began in earnest in ECW in the spring of 1999,  debuting as Miss Congeniality, the on-screen girlfriend of Danny Doring . She later began using the name Angelica and made her pay-per-view debut on July 18 at Heat Wave. Dumas attended the Dory Funk Jr wrestling school whist working in ECW, alongside twenty-three men. She graduated from the school in August 1999, and returned to full time work in ECW. Meanwhile, Funk and his wife compiled video footage of Dumas and sent it to the World Wrestling Federation. The Federation was sufficiently impressed, and on November 1 1999, Dumas was signed to a WWF developmental deal. Starting her WWF career down in Memphis Championship Wrestling to learn the WWF style of working, she was soon called up to the main roster under the ring name Lita and paired with luchadore Essa Rios. Essa won the WWF Light Heavyweight Title on his first night on Sunday Night Heat from Gillberg . It didn’t take long for Lita to get over, and soon enough she was easily overshadowing Rios. The decision was made to split them up, and it became official after she inadvertently cost him a match, leading to Rios powerbombing Lita on the outside of the ring.

TeamXtreme

After splitting from Rios, Lita joined forces with Matt and Jeff Hardy to form Team Xtreme. Friends off-screen, they had natural chemistry and hit it off with fans straight away, with Lita even changing her image to fit in with the Hardy’s alternative look of baggy pants. She also proved once again that she could hang in the ring with the men, regularly getting involved in the Hardy’s matches, including the famous TLC matches against The Dudley Boys and Edge & Christian. In 2006 Team Xtreme started a feud with T & A, the offshoot of which was the beginnings of Lita’s rivalry with their manager Trish Stratus. They feuded on and off for the next 6 years right up until Stratus retired in 2006. It was around this time that Lita began feuding with WWE Women’s champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, though it wasn’t the longest feud in history due to Steph’s limited in ring ability.

Lita won her first WWE Women’s championship in August 2000 when she defeated Steph in the main event of Monday Night Raw. She went on to hold her first title for 73 days before losing it to Right to Censor’s Ivory in a four way match on a episode of Smackdown. After unsuccessfully trying to regain the title on a few occasions she entered into a odd feud with then Light-Heavyweight champion Dean Malenko. The feud continued into early 2001, and she defeated him in a singles match with assistance from Matt Hardy. Following the match, Hardy kissed Lita, beginning their on-screen relationship and turning their real-life romance into a storyline.

In 2001 she joined forces with rival Trish Stratus to take on the incoming alliance team of Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson. As with every contest in the failed Alliance angle the home team won with ease. Later that year Team Xtreme split for the first time, leading to all 3 members being taken off TV. They returned in February of 2002, with Lita thrown straight into a feud with Trish Stratus and Jazz for the WWE Women s championship, which led to her making her full in-ring Wrestlemania debut at WM X8. Jazz retained the title. Sadly for Lita she suffered a serious neck injury in April 2002  while filming a fight scene for a role in the season finale of the television program Dark Angel. The rehearsal required that she practice the hurricanrana that would be used in the episode, however, the stunt double Dumas was working with dropped her as she swung through the move, causing her to land on her neck and shoulders. After she underwent a CAT scan, it was revealed that she had suffered three cracks in her vertebrae, necessitating surgery. On April 30, Dumas underwent neck surgery under Dr. Youngblood, during which he used a section of her hip to fuse her C5 and C6 vertebrae together. 17 months later she returned, saving Trish from a beating at the hands of Molly Holly and Gail Kim. This led to Tag match at Unforgiven which Lita and Trish won. In late 2003 Lita lost to Victoria in the first ever women’s steel cage match.

Lita_Image1

In early 2004 she was involved in a love triangle angle with Kane and Matt Hardy. The subsequent pregnancy angle served to introduce Snitsky, and the less said about that the better i think we can all agree.

One point to take from the whole pregnancy angle is the ongoing feud with Trish Stratus, who continued to tease her for being fat and chubby and while Lita in a ‘pregnant’ state could not retaliate. This did how ever lead to a title match at that year’s Survivor Series, though the match however didn’t go as planned, with months of anger built up towards Status leading to Lita getting herself disqualified. The feud continued and on the December 6th episode of Raw they had what is genuinely considered to be one of the greatest divas match in WWE history. The match had also been reported to have been used during diva training segments, to show new divas joining the WWE how significant and influential this match is in terms of diva performance. This was also the second time that Lita had captured the Women’s Championship, and it was the second time she captured the championship in a Raw main event.

Trish got her rematch at 2005’s New Years Revolution, though in the course of the match Lita tore her left ACL after executing a Thesz press off the ring apron, which resulted in an injury that left her unable to properly participate. Ending things early, the two divas had to end the match as quickly as possible with Stratus delivering a Chick Kick to Lita after inflicting some damage on her knee to place Stratus back on top of the Women’s Division. Off-screen at this time, Dumas had been involved with Matt Hardy romantically, but began a relationship with Adam Copeland (Edge). WWE then began to use the real-life issues between the three as an on-screen storyline. In April Hardy was released from WWE, only to be rehired several months later. Lita continued to be Edge’s valet and on January 8 at New Year’s Revolution was at ringside as Edge defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship. The following night on Raw Edge and Lita performed a “Live Sex Celebration” in the middle of the ring, with the “Celebration” garnering the company a 5.2 in the ratings and the highest Raw rating in over a year, leading Edge to call himself the “most watched champion ever”.

On the August 14 episode of Raw, Lita won her third Women’s Championship by defeating Mickie James. She lost the title to longtime rival Trish Stratus at Unforgiven in Stratus’s retirement match. The next night on Raw the Women’s Championship was vacated and a tournament was scheduled to determine a new champion. Lita won the tournament at Cyber Sunday defeating Mickie James. With her 4th championship reign, Lita announced that her final match would be at Survivor Series. Lita lost her final match and the title to rival Mickie James.

A stand out player in the years she was active be that as a valet or a in ring performer, Lita will take her deserved place in the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.

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You can find my dulcet words all over WWE articles or hear my dulcet tones on Ring the Bell and occasionally The Geek Show.

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