Jim Ross Recalls Years-Old WWE Raw Moment That Meant More Than Fans Realized

Long before the ongoing women's revolution, Trish Stratus and Lita broke barriers by wrestling each other in the main event of the December 6, 2004 episode of "WWE Raw." 

On a recent episode of "Grilling JR," Jim Ross delved into the significance of the moment, and why it's been overlooked nearly two decades later. The topic of Stratus and Lita came up when Ross acknowledged that Rhea Ripley was headed for superstardom.

"Rhea Ripley is a big star," Ross stressed. "You know, I watched the Trish vs. Lita WWE Rivalries episode on A&E, and I felt very moved by all that because I signed them both. They weren't on top of anybody's list, they weren't five-star prospects, and they had not become superstars in the Indies. I met them [at] different times and places when I was EVP of [WWE] Talent Relations, and we brought them in, and the rest is history."

"They were the first females to main event Raw, which I thought was great," Ross continued. "That's a lot bigger deal — even today — than people give it credit for."

Ross revealed there were "many pissed-off wrestlers with testicles" who were fuming in the backstage area when they found out that two women were going to main event WWE's flagship show. "What the hell is going on here?" Ross recalled a reaction from an unnamed wrestler. "They [Lita and Stratus] deserved the opportunity, and they delivered." 

He reiterated that Lita and Stratus had paved the way for Ripley to become a star, suggesting that WWE's willingness to showcase female talents could inspire AEW to follow suit. "What encourages me about [Rhea's growth] is that we have some females in AEW that are this close to breaking out and climbing over that barrier. I believe that, between now and the end of the year, it is going to be one of the most eye-opening times in pro wrestling history."