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THE BROAD PERSPECTIVE
The Castration of Lita
May 21, 2004

by Erin Anderson
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

If you've read any of my previous columns, you're probably aware of my brother, Bert. He is a dedicated wrestling fan but makes a point to not know any insider information. He doesn't spend countless hours every week over-analyzing matches and pushes and character development (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you.) He is the very definition of a mark, and sometimes I envy him for that. But he made a very strange observation a few weeks ago while we were watching RAW together.

"You know what? Lita sucks, and I'm not gonna think any different until she learns how to fucking wrestle. Or act, for that matter."

That statement isn't exactly remarkable in and of itself. But coming from Bert? That's when you know there's a problem, especially when the wrestler in question is an attractive female. What brought on his sudden "smart fan" mentality? Because if Bert was able to realize just how poor of a performer Lita is, it won't take long for the rest of the fans to follow suit.

Lita has always been the most popular diva in WWF/E, with only Trish even having a chance of competing with her. She is the only diva who gets non- "We want puppies!" chants from the crowd, and that fact is a bit puzzling. She's not the best female wrestler on the roster, not by a long shot. Victoria, Molly, Trish, and Jazz easily trump her in that respect. I also suspect that Nidia might be more competent in the ring.

Lita's looks aren't of the traditional "hot chick" variety, either, and I've run across many a male wrestling fan who doesn't think she's all that hot. So why does she get such an enthusiastic reaction from the fans? Why do they care enough to chant her name?

She's an Xtreme Wrestler Grrl. omg~!

After Chyna left the company, Lita was the one to fill the role of WWE's Resident Female Badass. Everyone else in the women's division was either too cute, too blonde, or too "old" -- over the age of 30, that is -- to qualify. Lita fit the bill. She has a giant tattoo on her arm, fiery red hair, and at the time was affiliated with the TLC-lovin' Hardy Boyz. She simply didn't look or act like anyone else.

At that time, chicks didn't do moonsaults or take out male opponents with the admittedly cool-looking Litacanrana. With two crowd-popping moves, heavy metal entrance music, willingness to take nasty bumps from the men, and some ink on her shoulder, Lita convinced the casual fan (myself included) that she could actually wrestle. And compared to some of the other divas at the time, she could.

It's All About the Attitude

Too often in wrestling, women are forced into the role of Damsel in Distress. For a valet, this is all well and good. For a wrestler? Not so much: just ask poor Trish Stratus, who has been on the receiving end of more heel beatdowns than Spike Dudley. If the divas, even the ones who wrestle, are afraid of the men, it only serves to distance them as B-show filler for the main event.

But Lita never let fear get the best of her. She interjected herself in Hardy Boyz matches no matter whom they wrestled, whether it be taking out the Dudleys with a Litacanrana, killing Spike Dudley with a chair in TLC II, or taking down Christian from the top of a ladder with a headscissors from the side of a steel cage. When the "You Will Respect Me!" heel Undertaker of 2001-02 was about to toss her off the entrance ramp, she didn't cry or beg for her life; she kicked him square in the nuts instead. That sort of attitude was foreign to the women's division, when most of the divas were concerned with bra-and-panties matches and making sure their hair wasn't mussed during slapping contests.

She was willing to get her hands dirty when other divas wouldn't, and is most effectively used by WWE when she is on the outside for a match and only interjects herself to take out the heels. It disguises her limitations and allows her to look like a badass in the process. Lita was WWE's anti-diva.

Exposure (And Not the Good Kind)

Unfortunately for Lita, she is no longer a novelty in the world of women's wrestling, and she started falling behind the day she took a bit part on the now-cancelled Dark Angel. Right around that time, Fit Finlay started working with the women, and huge strides were made in the wake of his training. Molly was given a makeover and taken more seriously than she was in her days as Hurricane's sidekick. Trish learned how to put a match together quite quickly. Victoria was brought in and quickly become the new IWC Darling Diva with an extremely entertaining character and sharp in-ring ability.

Lita's neck injury and subsequent absence saw the women's division pass her by. She was no longer the only woman willing to take sick bumps, as Trish now has the market cornered. The high-risk moves she became known for are all but gone from her already limited moveset: she doesn't have her boyfriend's matches to interfere in anymore, and she's almost killed herself the few times she's tried her moonsault (a move at which Victoria is much more proficient.)

Lita's limitations are exposed more than ever, now that she is on a show with several workrate-intensive divas. Her limp-wristed punches, poor transitions, and general klutziness in the ring stand in stark contrast to the other divas' forearm shots, stiff kicks, and vicious finishers like the Widow's Peak. Simply put, the other top divas can wrestle circles around her right now. That fact was probably obvious to the bookers, as they made the wise decision to keep the women's title on Molly despite the knowledge that a championship would have made a great story to go along with Lita's comeback and autobiography release.

Lita: Scream Queen of Xtreme?

It's a miracle that Lita has managed to remain a crowd favorite, but her current angle with Kane could be the final nail in her coffin.

Why is the Queen of Xtreme so terrified of him? Watching her cower in the corner of the ring a few weeks ago when cornered by Kane was a stupidly out-of-character bit of scripting by WWE. I'm not even a fan or hers, but I had to fight back the urge to scream at my television: "Fight back, you stupid bitch! Kick him in the nuts! Claw out his eyes! Spit in his face! Do something!" The attitude that made Lita famous was gone, and in its place was a redhead acting like Stacy Keibler after being called a slut by Test. You don't win any fans by acting like a deer in headlights.

Nor do you get the crowd on your side by pretending to be a punk-rocking badass but screaming like a little girl and running away when a big, scary guy is after you. Perhaps the story would play out better on television if Lita had any acting talent whatsoever, but even if she were able to suddenly channel Meryl Streep, putting her in this role is a death sentence for her character. The Xtreme diva simply should not be so emotionally distraught over this; she should be pissed off and scheming with Matt Hardy on how to get revenge.

This Kane storyline is nothing but trouble for everyone involved. The Big Red Machine should be focusing on his title hunt, but he'll be too busy threatening Lita and beating up Matt Hardy to be taken as a serious title contender. And Lita is stuck in a role that goes against every aspect of her character that got her over with the fans in the first place. It all rings hollow with the audience, smark and mark alike.

Even Bert.
  

E-MAIL ERIN
BROWSE THE BROAD'S ARCHIVES

Erin Anderson is an Atlanta native and a student at Georgia State University. Since writing about wrestling didn't go over too well with her English professors, she vents here at Online Onslaught.


  
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