How Boston generated so many high-quality 3-point shots in Game 1 victory

The Boston Celtics were 36-1 in the regular season when they shot 40% or better from 3. They’re now 1-0 in the playoffs after banking 22 triples at a 48% clip en route to a 114-94 Game 1 route of the Miami Heat in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as even the 20-point finishing margin would indicate.

Everyone knows the Celtics live and (rarely) die by the 3. They led the league with 42.5 attempts per game in the regular season. They shot 49 in Game 1. When they’re making them north of 40%, it’s going to be almost impossible to beat them even for a top-shelf opponent. The Heat minus Jimmy Butler have zero chance.

So now it becomes a question of repeatability. It’s unlikely the Celtics will shoot this well in Game 2 or perhaps for the rest of the series, but can the Heat afford to sit back and hope that the shooting-luck pendulum will magically swing in their favor? Not likely, because it’s not as if Boston was relying on self-created jumpers that could, in theory, go cold the next time out.

Of Boston’s 49 3-point attempts, only eight, and two of its 22 makes, came off the dribble. The rest were assisted, and they came in a variety of on-time, in-rhythm fashions that lend themselves to sustainability.

Let’s start with Kristaps Porzingis, who made four 3s on his own in Game 1 and all season has been the super-stretch big that has spaced Boston’s offense to almost indefensible extremes. Porzingis generates high-quality 3-point attempts for Boston in three major ways.

First, his range as a shooter easily extends to 30 feet. He regularly stations himself so far behind the line on pick-and-pops that the extra space defenders are forced to cover in flying back out to him affords the extra split second he needs to get off a clean look before they arrive.

Second, Porzingis is one of the most effective post-up scorers in the league. With four high-level 3-point shooters around him in Boston starters Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to cover both.

Here, Tatum enters to Porzingis in the post. If Miami were to play Porzingis one-on-one, he has a four-inch height and six-inch wingspan advantage on Nikola Jovic; he faces up and shoots over the top as well as anyone in the league. Thus, Miami elects to bring down a second defender, which triggers a kick-out pass to Tatum, who then easily swings it one more time for an open Holiday 3 against a scrambling defense that is a step behind in rotation.

Finally, Porzingis is a major threat as a roller. Here, he plays pick-and-pop with Derrick White. and when Bam Adebayo recovers quickly enough to thwart a shot, he immediately flows into two-man action with Jaylen Brown. Only this time, instead of popping behind the line, Porzingis rolls to the basket, which then forces Tyler Herro to drop down to cut him off. That leaves Payton Pritchard unoccupied in the corner for a wide-open and in-rhythm 3.

This is what has made Porzingis such a boon to Boston’s offense. It’s not just his actual shooting or the range at which it comes from; it’s his presence as an interior scorer that necessitates traditional double teams and rotations that leave his teammates open. He’s an extraordinary inside-out weapon.

Now, one of the ways Miami likes to match up to potent offenses is to deploy its patented zone defense. The key to beating any zone defense is to force it to converge, either by breaching the gaps by either pass or penetration, or forcing a traditional double team.

The 76ers couldn’t figure out how to do this for the bulk of their Play-In game vs. Miami, and it led to a lot of stagnated perimeter offense without any interior threat to collapse the zone. Credit head coach Joe Mazzulla for having the Celtics ready for Miami’s zone. They weren’t hesitant in the slightest. They attacked it with equal parts assertion and patience.

One specific way the Celtics compromised Miami’s zone was by getting the ball to Tatum in the corner, as opposed to the typical high-post or elbow gap entires, for what was essentially a man-principle post-up. It led to three Sam Hauser 3-pointers either by Tatum drawing a second defender down and starting a swing sequence with a kick-out pass, or by Tatum delivering a pair of sensational skip passes as the backside of the zone sagged in.

That is all predicated on the patience of Tatum, who backed himself down calmly until Miami was forced to send a second defender or until he saw the skip pass open. Then boom, he delivered the pass without any hesitation as soon as the moment was right.

That’s super high-quality offense from your superstar, and it’s how Hauser, a 42% 3-point shooter who needs his open shots created for him, wound up with three rhythmic 3-point opportunities.

Hauser delivered a fourth 3-pointer when Holiday penetrated to the elbow and skipped a bullet left-handed pass cross-court, which you’ll see below as part of Boson’s final shot-creation package: The drive-and-kick game. This is as basic as it is indefensible when executed. Penetrator gets downhill, forcing wing defender to sink down in help, leaving shooter open. Bang.

Consistent in all these examples is the steady, confident flow of Boston’s offense. Nobody is hesitating, and nobody is rushing. It’s the old John Wooden adage: Be quick but don’t hurry. Miami’s defense was reacting to Boston’s offense all game, rather than the other way around. The Celtics were always one beat ahead.

When that’s the case, you only have to be willing and able to pass the ball to the right spots at the right times and you’re going to get open looks as defenders chase. Boston was more than willing and able in Game 1, and it led to this wonderful variety of clean, rhythmic 3-point shots.

If the Celtics continue to create the same kinds of looks moving forward in this series, rather than the individually-created, off-the-dribble ones that come with a higher degree of variance, you can expect more big 3-point numbers from the best shooting team in the league, and Miami’s hopes of Boston’s catching a run of bad shooting luck will diminish greatly.

Knicks’ Josh Hart questions voters for not having Tom Thibodeau as NBA Coach of the Year finalist

The NBA announced the 2023-24 Award Finalists on Sunday. Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks was not among the Coach of the Year finalists, and that does not appear to be sitting right with his players. New York Knicks shooting guard Josh Hart was quick to point out his coach’s absence and questioned the decision by voters.

“50 wins, 2nd seed with an injured roster for half the season and not a Coach Of The Year candidate….” Hart wrote on social media.

Thibodeau was made aware of Hart’s comment on Monday, and he made light of the situation.

“He probably wants more minutes,” the coach joked.

Despite injury woes, the Knicks finished the regular season with a 50-32 record and cliched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference around injuries to Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson, among others. They are currently facing the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.

However, that was still not enough for Thibodeau to make the list of COY finalists. Instead, the spots were taken by Mark Daigneault of the Thunder, Chris Finch of the Timberwolves and Jamahl Mosley of the Magic.

50 wins, 2nd seed with an injuried roster for half the season and not a Coach Of The Year candidate….

— Josh Hart (@joshhart) April 22, 2024
The Knicks are competing without their second-leading scorer in Randle, who had shoulder surgery earlier this month and is out for the remainder of the season. In January, OG Anunoby — a midseason acquisition who made an immediate impact — suffered an elbow injury that kept him out for 18 consecutive games. Just three games after his return in March, Anunoby’s elbow started flaring up again. Also in March, point guard Jalen Brunson, who leads the team’s offense, had a long-term injury scare that fortunately turned out to just be a knee contusion.

They’ve had plenty of other obstacles along the way, but the Knicks still wrapped up the regular season with their best seed and record since the 2012-13 campaign. Thibodeau took over in 2020, and his team made an appearance in the second round of the playoffs last season after a 10-year absence. They are hoping to return this year, but first they have to get past Joel Embiid and the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Knicks found a 1-0 advantage in their first round series with a 111-104 win on Saturday. Hart and Brunson played over 40 minutes each and led the team with 22 points a piece. Hart also completed a double-dobule with 13 rebounds. Miles “Deuce” McBride was another top contributor with 21 points off the bench.

Cavaliers vs. Magic TV channel, Game 2 live stream, how to watch 2024 NBA playoffs online, prediction

After an embarrassing first-round exit last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers got this year’s playoff journey off to a good start with a comfortable win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 on Saturday. They’ll look to take full control of the series on Monday night when the teams meet again for Game 2.

The Magic, on the other hand, will hope to feel more comfortable following what was the first postseason game for their young core. As a team, they finished 28-of-86 (32.6%) from the field for their worst shooting performance of the entire season. Even for a team that can struggle to score at times, Game 1 was brutal.

Ahead of Game 2, here’s everything you need to know:

Cavaliers vs. Magic Game 2
Date: Monday, April 22 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse — Cleveland, Ohio
TV channel: NBA TV | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
Odds: Cavaliers -5.5 | O/U 203.5
Cavaliers: The best news for the Cavaliers in Game 1 is that Donovan Mitchell looked like his usual self again as he finished with 30 points on 11-of-21 from the field. He struggled down the stretch, failing to reach the 20-point mark in five consecutive games at one point, which is a major reason they weren’t able to grab a higher seed. They need him playing like the All-NBA version of himself if they want to win this series, and he did in Game 1. Now, can he keep it up against an elite Orlando defense?

Magic: Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner played fairly well on Saturday considering it was their first-ever playoff game, but they got no help whatsoever. Gary Harris, Joe Ingles, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz combined to go 0-of-19 from the field and Jalen Suggs’ 4-of-16 effort wasn’t much better. That’s simply not good enough, and the Magic need their supporting cast to be much better moving forward in this series.

Neither team broke 100 in Game 1, which is just the type of game the Magic wanted, and they still lost by double digits. That bodes poorly for their hopes the rest of the way. I’ll take the Cavaliers to win and cover. Pick: Cavs -5.5

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, location, date

WWE’s final pay-per-view stop on the Road to WrestleMania goes down on Saturday when the Elimination Chamber comes to Montreal. The card is loaded with big matches, which all have significant implications for April’s two-night WrestleMania event.

Two matches are set to take place in the iconic Elimination Chamber. Six women will battle with a shot at Bianca Belair and the Raw women’s championship on the line. On the men’s side, Austin Theory will defend his United States championship against five other men inside the chamber.

Plus, the epic main event is set to see Roman Reigns defend his undisputed universal championship against former teammate Sami Zayn in Zayn’s hometown. The saga that has become The Bloodline reached a boiling point at Royal Rumble when Reigns pushed Zayn to strike his former friend Kevin Owens with a chair while Owens was defenseless. Instead, Zayn struck Reigns and led to an incredible moment that seems to have the faction splitting at the seams.

Plus, a showdown between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley is also set for the card. The pair have faced each other twice in singles matches, splitting the meetings, though Lashley has gotten the better of several brawls as well as eliminating Lesnar from January’s Royal Rumble match.

Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Elimination Chamber, which begins Saturday at 8 p.m. ET from Bell Centre in Montreal and streams live on Peacock.

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber predictions
Undisputed WWE universal championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn

At any other point in the year, it feels as though there’d be a bit more unpredictability to how this match could play out. Zayn is as hot a babyface as WWE has had in a long time because of the masterfully crafted Bloodline storyline. The crowd in Montreal will be incredibly hot for Zayn and an upset championship win would be an all-time moment in WWE history. The reality, however, is that Reigns’ long run with the titles is not going to end this close to WrestleMania. The real question is if things play out in a way that alters the WrestleMania main event. Will something happen that inserts Zayn into that match, turning the match between Reigns and Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes into a triple threat? That’s still to be seen. Reigns vs. Zayn should have a great atmosphere and tell a good story, but it would be a legitimate shocker if Zayn left Montreal with the titles. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the titles — Brent Brookhouse (also Shakiel Mahjouri)

Elimination Chamber match for a shot at the Raw women’s championship at WrestleMania — Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya vs. Carmella

The return of “Evil Asuka” has been a devilish treat. Her makeover at the Royal Rumble elicited a big fan response and she has been booked well since, picking up good wins and showing a return to her old dominance. Asuka is certainly the most credible competitor in this Chamber match and her new gimmick needs to be protected. All acts cool off so it’s imperative that WWE continues to present this unhinged version of Asuka as a threat. With WrestleMania on the horizon, Asuka is also the safest choice for a smooth build to a title match on the biggest show of the year. Pick: Asuka wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Elimination Chamber match for the United States championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Montez Ford vs. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed

There aren’t a ton of credible winners heading into the match. Johnny Gargano has largely been a comedy act since returning, Rollins recently lost the title and seems tied to a possible WrestleMania outing against Logan Paul, Priest is a secondary stable member, Reed does not have the momentum — nor have the fans shown any interest in him on Raw — to enter WrestleMania as a defending champion and Ford is one-half of a struggling tag team. If anyone were to dethrone Theory, it would likely be Ford. There is certainly desire in seeing what the athletic, fan-friendly superstar could do as a breakout singles star. Ultimately, WWE seems somewhat committed to Theory’s reign and a credible challenger is on the horizon. Theory told CBS Sports in August “he’s pretty confident” that he would face John Cena at WrestleMania. There aren’t many contestants in the Cena sweepstakes beyond Theory and Logan Paul. If we’re getting Theory vs. Cena, then the champion will certainly leave Elimination Chamber with his title in hand. Pick: Austin Theory retains the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley

The deciding factor in this match is that Ripley won the Royal Rumble and is heading to WrestleMania to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship. Ripley has not wrestled since winning the Rumble and having her immediately lose momentum by dropping a match to Edge and Phoenix, a couple of established legends who are bulletproof at this point, would make no sense. Sometimes, it really is that easy to determine how a match will play out. Pick: Balor and Ripley win — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

In all honesty, the most realistic option here may be to have the pair go to a no contest due to a wild brawl, allowing the rubber match to carry over to WrestleMania. There’s likely no bigger Mania match for either man available so blowing off the feud on the big stage may be the best option. Were I forced to pick either man to get the win, I’d have to side with Lesnar. Lashley has gotten over on Lesnar at basically every turn, including directly after Lesnar defeated him at Crown Jewel. At some point, a star like Lesnar gets the “get-right moment.” Pick: No contest or Brock Lesnar wins — Brookhouse

The outcome of this match depends on WWE’s WrestleMania plans. Candidly, the once fantasy feud has run its course but here we are. The hosses are split 1-1 in their series and a no-contest is in play should creative opt to conclude the trilogy at WrestleMania. If someone is getting the win at Elimination Chamber, I’m siding with Lashley. The Hurt Business never really got the run they deserved and there may be interest in reforming the faction. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were seen chatting backstage on Raw, MVP’s collaboration with Omos flopped and Lashley is in need of help. Having Hurt Business interfere in the match gives Lashley the upper hand, gives the group a big reintroduction and allows WWE wiggle room to stretch the feud to WrestleMania. Pick: Bobby Lashley wins — Mahjouri

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber live stream, how to watch online, start time, card, matches, viewing information

The Elimination Chamber is set to descend on Montreal on Saturday night. The pay-per-view event is the final major card on WWE’s road to WrestleMania and features a loaded event that could change the promotion’s landscape heading into the biggest show of the year.

In the main event, Sami Zayn looks to take down undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns. The story of Zayn both being a member of, and leaving, Reigns’ Bloodline is one of the most critically praised WWE angles in years. Now, Zayn will look to complete the story by taking the championship in front of his hometown crowd.

In addition, two matches will take place in the iconic Elimination Chamber. On the women’s side, six women will battle for an opportunity to face Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Austin Theory will defend his United States championship against five other men inside the Chamber.

Plus, a showdown between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley is also set for the card. The pair have faced each other twice in singles matches, splitting the meetings, though Lashley has gotten the better of several brawls as well as eliminating Lesnar from January’s Royal Rumble match.

Here’s how you can catch all the action on Saturday night.

Watch 2023 WWE Elimination Chamber
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18
Location: Bell Centre — Montreal
Start time: 8 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at 7 p.m.)
Watch live: Peacock

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber match card
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn
United States Championship: Austin Theory (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Montez Ford vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest (Elimination Chamber match)
Liv Morgan vs. Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya vs. Carmella (Elimination Chamber match)
Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley

WWE premium live event set for Puerto Rico with Bad Bunny as host

WWE is making the trip to Puerto Rico for WWE Backlash and the company is linking up with a famous friend. Backlash will air live from Puerto Rico on May 6 with Bad Bunny serving as its host.

WWE announced on Wednesday that Backlash will air live from the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bunny, a two-time Grammy winner, will host the event.

“In 2005 when I was a kid, I wasn’t able to attend New Year’s Revolution at el Coliseo,” Bunny said in a press release. “Finally, 18 years later WWE returns to the island with a massive event and this time I won’t miss it.”

Bunny, 28, impressed many people with his in-ring efforts. He teamed with Damian Priest to defeat The Miz and John Morrison at WrestleMania 37 and competed in the 2022 men’s Royal Rumble match. Bunny is also a former 24/7 champion who has linked up with many famous pro wrestlers. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Ric Flair and Booker T have all made music video cameos, with the latter starring in Bunny’s song “Booker T.”

WWE last hosted a major Puerto Rican show in 2005 with New Year’s Revolution. The company is making a visible effort to reach fans overseas with significant shows. WWE held Elimination Chamber in Montreal, Canada earlier this year and has major shows set for London, England (Money in the Bank) and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (King and Queen of the Ring) later this year.

Rey Mysterio to be inducted during ongoing legendary career

Rey Mysterio is the first inductee announced for the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2023. Mysterio’s inclusion was announced on Friday’s episode of WWE SmackDown.

Mysterio’s impending induction marks a rare instance where a superstar will enter the Hall of Fame as a regularly active performer. Mysterio has been a frequent presence on SmackDown and wrestled as recently as the Feb. 24 episode of the blue brand. News of his induction served as a foil for the ongoing storyline feud between Rey Mysterio and his son, Dominik Mysterio.

Dominik Mysterio, flanked by Judgement Day, accused Rey Mysterio of being an absent father while adding up the accolades of his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career. Santos Escobar and his Legado del Fantasma faction came to the defense of Rey Mysterio, leading to a six-man tag team match against Dominik Mysterio, Damian Priest and Finn Balor.

Mysterio is arguably the most popular luchador alive and certainly the biggest representative of Mexico’s rich wrestling culture on the North American stage. Mysterio is often credited for paving the way in professional wrestling for both smaller wrestlers and masked performers, popularizing the cruiserweight division and the lucha libre style in promotions like WWE, WCW and ECW.

Mysterio has captured 15 championships in the WWE, including one reign as WWE champion and two as world heavyweight champion. He also won the Royal Rumble in 2006 and is the 21st Grand Slam and Triple Crown champion in WWE history.

Free from self-doubt, Charlotte Flair hungry to make SmackDown women’s title ‘mean more’ at WrestleMania 39

Charlotte Flair is the most accomplished women’s superstar in WWE history and could statistically eclipse every superstar in WWE history before it’s said and done. Flair enters WrestleMania 39 as a 14-time women’s champion — two short of the 16-time men’s world title reign record shared by her father Ric Flair and John Cena — but she is not complacent.

Flair returned to WWE programming in December following a seven-month layoff. She pinned Ronda Rousey, the last person to beat her, in Flair’s first match back to start another reign as SmackDown women’s champion. It was the latest milestone in a career full of them. The second-generation superstar’s unmatched 14 stints as women’s champion are compromised of seven SmackDown women’s titles and six Raw women’s titles, of which she is also the inaugural titleholder, plus a reign as the final WWE Diva’s champion. Flair is also one of only two superstars in history to have two separate reigns as WWE NXT champion.

Such a high degree of success can sometimes generate apathy among the fanbase. It’s happened to many surefire WWE Hall of Famers, from Cena to Roman Reigns. Flair’s last few title reigns have not set the world on fire, but she is more motivated than ever to elevate the title she proudly carries. The new creative direction of WWE, spearheaded by Paul Levesque (Triple H), has the gears turning in Flair’s head about how to make reign No. 14 stand out from the rest.

“Yes it does,” Flair told CBS Sports ahead of the March 26 A&E premiere of her “Biography: WWE Legends” episode. “I consciously think of how to make this better or how to make having the title mean more.”

Check out the full interview with Charlotte Flair below.

Flair has an appropriate dance partner in 2023 Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley. The foes will face off at WrestleMania 39, the biggest annual event in professional wrestling, on the first weekend of April. Flair enters the grand showcase motivated but unincumbered by the nervousness that sometimes overwhelmed her in the past.

“It’s not what I feel like I need to prove [anymore]. I’m just being Charlotte,” Flair said. “Whether that’s good or bad, whether you like me, don’t like me, whether you just respect me. I’m here for them. Now getting that opportunity to high-five every single kid in the front row and not focus on being old school and walking into the arena as the bad guy and leaving as the bad guy. It’s just it’s been extremely rewarding.”

Trish Stratus had a ‘perfect ending’ in 2019, but WrestleMania 39 was too ‘special’ to pass up

Trish Stratus wrapped the perfect bow on her Hall of Fame career in 2019, but the opportunity to celebrate nearly a quarter-century in the ring at WrestleMania is too good to pass up. Stratus teams with WWE women’s tag team champions Becky Lynch and Lita to battle Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky) at WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles.

Stratus overcame her own doubts and put forward a strong showing against Charlotte Flair at WWE SummerSlam in 2019. It was her first singles match in eight years and took place in front of a hometown crowd in Toronto, Ontario. Fast-forward four years and Stratus, 47, finds herself in an all-star game on the industry’s biggest stage.

“I’ve always said, ‘Why would I come out of retirement?’ I had a perfect post-retirement moment with Charlotte at SummerSlam. It was a great match and for me, it was a generational face-off that was cool. It was like the best of her times against arguably the best of my times,” Stratus told CBS Sports ahead of the March 19 premiere of “WWE Rivals: Trish Stratus vs. Lita” on A&E.

“To have us face-off was really special and unique and just really the timing of it being in Toronto was just perfect. I had that opportunity to really have the two of us go and showcase that. That pretty much could have been the perfect ending. I always said it would really take something super special [to get me out of retirement]. It’s got to be fun, it’s got to be challenging, but it has to be something special. It has to somehow impact the next generation. It really has to have the fans interested. Maybe we’re bringing in the older fans and integrating them into the new fans.”

Check out the full interview with Trish Stratus below

The combination of past and present is exactly what compelled Stratus to renege on her previous retirement. WWE Hall of Famers Stratus and Lita are the old guards; meanwhile, Lynch and Bayley are the current status quo. Kai and Sky are fresher faces, only being introduced to the wider WWE audience last year despite their comparable age and experience levels to Bayley and Lynch.

“There’s just so much happening and so much is being offered with this pairing that it’s very special,” Stratus said. “It’s everything I could ask for in a return and why I could return. Also, just to pair up with Lita, we’re like, ‘Oh my God, we’re at WrestleMania, but we’re on the same side.’ That’s so special. And knowing I can work with her and rub elbows with the new girls and then the soon-to-be-coming-up girls are really great. That’s what wrestling is all about. Wrestling is really generational. There’s always that older wrestler being the lead wrestler or the ring general, so to speak. So we’re kind of doing that.

“If I can take anything that I’ve learned in my 20 years of wrestling and pass it on — because it’s more than just about they’re great wrestlers. I might not be known as the best wrestler, but there was definitely a je ne sais quoi about what I did and it’s these little things. It’s the psychology, it’s the little intricate details that make you resonate with the fans or just make those moments. So if I can bring that to the new girls, I’m hoping I could do that. And that would mean so much to me and hopefully to them as well.”

Stratus and Lita are trendsetters whose careers have been intertwined from the very beginning. Both women joined WWE in the late ’90s/early 2000s as supporting acts to male superstars during the Attitude Era. In time, they became decorated women’s champions and the first women to headline an episode of Monday Night Raw. It isn’t unusual these days for women to headline WrestleMania, the biggest annual showcase in professional wrestling.

“Lita and I going back, did we revolutionize the industry? Perhaps. We just knew at the time we started we were accessories, we were the sideshow,” Stratus said. “We were just going out there to enhance the men’s matches and things like that.”

“I think it’ll be fun for people to just see the journey and realize that it wasn’t always like this. I think we take it for granted that there are women in main event matches all the time. There’s more than one match sometimes. They’re headlining WrestleMania at times. That is an amazing milestone. That is an amazing place to be for women because it sure wasn’t like that back in the day. I think they’ll gain a greater appreciation for what the women are doing now, knowing what we had to do. All the obstacles and the uphill battles that we had to fight in order to get to where we are.”