Trish Stratus is currently on the run of her entire WWE career. Trish formally retired in 2006, after debuting for WWE in 2000. Trish would work very sporadically from then on, wrestling the occasional Raw and then WrestleMania XXVII in 2011, Royal Rumble 2018, and Evolution, retiring again in 2019 after losing to Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam. Since making a surprise return in March 2023 to aid Lita and Becky Lynch, being on WrestleMania 39, Trish has become a full-time member of the WWE roster again, being drafted to Raw and back to working as a heel with her young protege Zoey Stark. In the few matches she’s had since being back, Trish not only hasn’t lost a step in the ring, but she’s honestly looked better than ever before. Trish has a real shot to win Money in the Bank this weekend, and I think she absolutely should and then cash-in and win the title from Rhea, to give the first ever 7-time Women’s Champion (eat your heart out, Charlotte) one more meaningful run with the gold. This is something Trish absolutely deserves and the fans want. But, there is also another former WWE Diva that fans have absolutely been clamoring for to come back for one more run in WWE in recent years, who I think should be next on WWE’s list of legendary female performers to get one last run: Michelle McCool!
Now, let me start this with a disclaimer: yes, I am 100% a major Undertaker fan, HOWEVER, that is NOT why I am supporting the Michelle McCool train right now. I am supporting her on her own merits and ability, an ability she never got to really make come into her own due to the times in which she wrestled.
Michelle made the best of what she could, but being prominent in the 2008-2011 time span of Divas wrestling was a challenge for anyone. Michelle (along with Natalya) advocated for another Women’s Championship Title in WWE for SmackDown, and got their wish in 2008 with the creation of the Divas Championship. Now, whatever your thoughts are on the butterfly belt to one side, Michelle absolutely made the most of it, becoming the inaugural champion in July 2008 and losing it in December 2008. Michelle would go on to become a two-time Divas Champion and a 2-time Women’s Champion between 2008 and 2010. 4 world titles in 2 years. In 2010, Michelle unified the two titles against Melina at Night of Champions, and in December, competed in the first ever women’s tables match with Layla against the Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya). Michelle’s full-time career ended in 2011 after losing a “Loser Leaves WWE Match” to Layla at Extreme Rules. Since then she has made periodic appearances, mostly in Royal Rumble matches where she has gotten a huge ovation every single time.
Michelle McCool, like Trish now, deserves another chance to try to shine and prove herself to a fanbase today that only saw her before as the schoolyard mean-girl bully of Mickie James. Michelle’s offense and moveset in WWE was so different to every other Diva of her time. In many ways, if Beth Phoenix was the successor of Chyna, then Michelle McCool was the successor of Jacqueline. Michelle McCool made use of a Big Boot. Which other female superstar would try that back then? Only Charlotte has done that since. Michelle McCool also used the Faith Breaker as her finishing move, the same move that one Phenomenal A.J. Styles used in TNA and WWE called the Styles Clash. It was unheard of for Divas to use moves like that, but Michelle did it anyway, because she wanted the Divas division to be more, and she knew it deserved to be more. Say what you will, but Michelle McCool helped carry the WWE Divas division on her back from 2008 to her departure in 2011, and that’s a fact. Now, some will always try and throw the “Mrs. Undertaker” line at why she got as far as she did, which even got brought up in the Undertaker-A.J. Styles feud in 2020, which forced Taker to change his own character for the feud, but that simply isn’t fair to Michelle’s own ability. In fact, Michelle didn’t like that stigma to begin with of dating the Undertaker, and on Lilian Garcia’s podcast even revealed as much saying, “it got to a point where I was dealing with so much again mostly being Undertaker’s girlfriend and why I was on TV and even having a writer throw the papers up one day and say ‘Why don’t we just call it the Michelle McCool and Undertaker show?!’. She never wanted all that attention for that, but that’s a big reason why she left. But now, people are finally starting to respect Michelle for who she was and is an in-ring performer in her own right, which has made WWE executives take notice when fans on social media demanded Michelle McCool be put in the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble when it was discovered that she was initially not planned for it. That is the dedication and respect that the fans are finally starting to have for this great female superstar, and if anyone else deserves to have a run like Trish Stratus is on right now, and to win gold one more time before her future Hall of Fame-level career is over, it is Michelle McCool. She is, well, simply flawless!!