South Florida’s Lita entering WWE’s Hall of Fame

03/30/2014 12:00 AM

03/29/2014 10:24 PM

Amy Dumas is better known to WWE fans as Lita, a high-flying risk taker who helped revolutionize women’s wrestling along with Trish Stratus.

As a multi-time champion, successful manager and trailblazer, it’s no wonder the popular performer was chosen for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame on the eve of WrestleMania 30. The Fort Lauderdale native initially got the good news laying in a hammock at her house on the beach in Nicaragua.

“[WWE Chief Brand Officer] Stephanie McMahon was texting with me,” Dumas said. “She was feeling me out telling me the office has been trying to get in touch with me. She asked if I could call the office. She was doing the whole talking to me as a friend, but being a little vague.

“She said, ‘The office just has something they would like to talk to you about. I believe that it’s regarding WrestleMania. So maybe it’s the weekend surrounding it? I’m not really sure, so just give them a call.’ I was like, ‘All right weirdo. Sure.’ Then I called, and they asked me if I would accept the honor of being in their Hall of Fame.”

Dumas will join a small and elite list of female grapplers such as the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Sherri Martel and Wendi Richter into the heralded hall. Stratus, also a member (Class of 2013), has been chosen to induct her longtime rival and friend.

“I’m proud to be in there with that whole group of women, but just as my whole career dictates, I’m just proud to be in the club in general,” Dumas said. “So much of my work was also with the men and just being in the Hall of Fame with all these people who had such an impact, they’ll always be remembered. To be included in this group that will always be remembered is pretty awesome and an honor.”

Dumas became an inspiration and idol for girls growing up watching her perform in the late 1990s into the new millennium. Among them was diva’s champion AJ Lee, who has cited Lita as a big reason she pursued a career in WWE. There is a video on YouTube of a teenage Lee getting emotional meeting Dumas for the first time. Today this lifelong fan is standing atop the WWE diva mountain, just like her idol did.

A lot has happened since Lita retired full-time from the ring.

“Let’s say a generation is seven years. It has been about seven years since Trish and I left,” Dumas said. “We left within a few months of each other. The diva’s division took quite a hit. I don’t feel like it has fully recovered. I would love to see it get that spark again, that involving a deep roster that you could have a bunch of compelling characters -- ones you want to go out there and see. At the same time, the women just like the tag division, was super hot. I don’t know that it has seen that type of attention since, either. It was a special time that I am glad to have been a part of when it was up.”

Many of the women on the roster are being introduced to a new audience through the popular reality TV show “Total Divas” on E! Dumas, who came to WWE from experiences in Mexico, the independent scene and ECW, believes it’s almost bringing a different kind of attention.

“Sure, you get wrestling fans, but they’re already watching the programming anyways,” Dumas said. “Then you get the people who watch the Kardashians. I feel like that is the type of person that would watch ‘Total Divas’ as opposed to a wrestling fan who is already watching anyways….I have several friends now at this point that have zero concept of my life when I was doing that. Their questions and perception are just completely different than a fan or somebody in the know. I think it’s a different market that people are watching ‘Total Divas,’ but I don’t know if it translates to more viewership or interest in women’s wrestling. It’s more about being curious about these people who do this thing that they maybe weren’t interested in before.”

Dumas’ career was filled with memorable moments from teaming with Matt and Jeff Hardy to working with Stratus. The two divas not only participated in a main event tag match involving Triple H and The Rock, but would headline their own Raw one-on-one almost a decade ago. She battled back from serious neck injuries and a torn ACL. Before retiring, Dumas was also an important part of Edge’s successful run with the WWE championship. Given all she has accomplished and sporadic appearances she has made for the company over the years, the verdict is out if we will see her compete again.

“The only thing when I get asked about giving one more match is more just to prove it to myself,” Dumas said. “ I do feel really great and really strong. I had some nagging injuries for a really long time after I retired that I guess I will have to live with for getting beaten up for so long. I do feel really great and feel really strong, so that would be more the reason why I would want to get back out there one more time to prove to myself I can still do all the stuff. As far as getting an itch or anything active, I’m super happy where I am and proud of my accomplishments. It’s not really something I feel like I need to do, but if my arm was twisted at the right time, I could probably be talked into it.”

Dumas was Stratus’ last opponent as an active performer. Not long after, Mickie James was the final adversary for Lita at the 2006 Survivor Series. With that came the end of an era.

“Mickie, I knew from the indies and encouraged the office to hire her,” Dumas said. “ So as far as personally to be able to have my last WWE match with her and have her grow as a talent, we had a great working relationship and a great personal relationship. So I was happy to be out there with her. I could have done without my post-match of Cryme Tyme coming out selling props and my personal belongings, but having my last match with Mickie James, she is great. She is talented. I liked working with her.”

Since her time away from WWE, Dumas has been meeting fans at conventions, working on a few projects and enjoying her life. She recently appeared on CMT’s “Tattoo Titans” as a guest judge.

“That was actually the first thing I had done in a long time in the public eye,” Dumas said. “I was really reluctant. I had never watched the tattoo competition show or those reality shows. I did work in tattoo shops before I wrestled, so it was kind of fun to come back there. I ended up having a really good time with that crew. I’d like to do some more stuff with them. I talked to them about doing some more stuff. So you might be able to catch me on another ‘Tattoo Titans’ episode.

“I also did some articles for a book that came out, a plant-based performance training book. I also do some speaking and kettlebell instruction. I’ve incorporated the advocacy of being vegan and being strong. I advocated plant-based performance and dispelling myths about protein and protein powders and needing to eat meat to be strong and kick ass.”

Dumas is excited for the upcoming WrestleMania Weekend in New Orleans. She anticipates the big showdown between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

“It’s amazing that ‘Taker can still go out there and give not only a compelling show because you are still excited to see him, but there is still that hope or believability that somebody is going to break that streak,” Dumas said.

“So I’m looking forward to that. I also have friends coming with me to the WWE Hall of Fame. WrestleMania is when I will officially be in the Hall of Fame, as far as an inductee. So I’ll be able to pop out there and then be able to hang out in the skybox with the friends and family and watch. It will be like I’m a part of the show, but being able to watch and watch everybody else have their moment since I would have had mine the night before. So I’m excited to be in the skybox and watch it take place.”

Dumas has gone from living in South Florida during her early years (until middle school) to living her dreams. She recalls happy times in Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton.

“I remember we’d walk down and sit there and talk about the ‘never did,’” Dumas said.

“I would like to go back to this one spot as an adult because I know where it is. We’d sit there, and wanting to go to the beach, we’d think, ‘Can we just swim across the Intercoastal [Waterway] and then climb up on that dock.’ We’re looking across, and I was in sixth grade, so I have this perimeter of you can go as far as this, but you have to be back by dinner time. So I thought that if we could swim straight over to this park and swim across the Intercoastal, I think we can get to the beach quicker. I’d like to go back to that spot to be like, ‘Was that crazy or should we had just swam across the Intercoastal?’

• Lita (Amy Dumas) joins the Ultimate Warrior, Mr. T, Carlos Colon, Paul Bearer, Razor Ramon and Jake The Snake Roberts in the 2014 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. For the first time ever, the induction ceremony will air live in its entirety on the WWE Network at 9 p.m. EST Saturday, April 5.
• WrestleMania 30 will air 7 p.m. EST Sunday, April 6 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on pay-per-view and the WWE Network. Pre-show begins at 6 p.m. EST.

Visit www.WrestleMania.com for full card and details on everything surrounding the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment.

• Follow Lita on Twitter @AmyDumas.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN for live tweets from New Orleans on WrestleMania Weekend.

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