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Lita shows up for WWE SummerSlam week psyched about 'Tough Enough' finale

WWE Diva Lita, a hall of fame member

WWE Diva Lita, a hall of fame member and "Tough Enough" coach, poses for the media as Make-A-Wish and WWE celebrate WWE Superstar John Cena becoming the first celebrity in history to grant 500 wishes, at Dave and Buster's at Times Square in Manhattan on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

WWE Diva Lita showed up Friday morning at Dave and Buster's in Manhattan for the party marking John Cena's 500th Make-A-Wish grant sleep-deprived but in a celebratory mood.

Friday marked exactly 15 years since she won the WWE Women's (now Divas) Championship from Stephanie McMahon in Lafayette, Louisiana, for her first title reign.

But it wasn't reminiscing about her own feats that had her bouncing around the room in high heels with bows complementing the back of each shoe, the other notable accessory being a constant smile.

For the WWE Hall of Fame Diva and "Tough Enough" reality show coach, her own personal satisfaction was palpable. She was only hours removed from a vision of future greatness, and the fact that it wasn't hers seemed to make it all the more fulfilling.

"Last night, right before we flew here, I was in the ring with Amanda pretty late," Lita said of one of her female charges who will compete against Sara for a WWE contract on Tuesday's live finale (8 p.m., USA Network). "Watching her pick up stuff and watching her catch on, I just wanted to go and go and go.

"And I was seeing her in a WWE ring being able to represent, not only what I was able to show her, but represent a new generation of WWE competitors. It made me really proud and also really inspired and excited."

The timing for Amanda and Sara is pretty favorable. They are being trained by one of the Divas who set a bar for women's wrestling success not matched since. And regardless of whose hand is raised Tuesday, it's pretty certain both will blossom in an era where they'll have a realistic chance of matching their Diva mentor's resume.

After years of kids' table treatment by WWE's hierarchy, this year's fan-fueled #givedivasachance viral campaign has been a game-changer. Mainstays like the Bella Twins have gotten more time to show off their in-ring prowess, and NXT trainees like Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch have been called up to the main roster to help feed the momentum. There's little debate about the results.

"The passion I've seen from the fans, [remembering] my matches and how much it still means to them today is kind of the benchmark for what women today are compared to -- you see Trish and I mentioned all the time," Lita said. "And then with #givedivasachance -- giving Divas a chance -- you're seeing them in the forefront, a lot more heavily involved in the current WWE product than we've seen in a really, really long time. You can't help but somewhat feel a part of it, even though I have nothing to do with this. But we're rooting for our girls, rooting for these women that are in our business, you just have your fingers crossed wanting them to succeed."

Current Divas might disagree with Lita's lack of contribution, given the standard she helped set that fans clamored to see again. Fans filled with those vibrant memories assure Lita that she never goes too far without hearing "comeback" in a sentence.

"I get asked this really often," says Lita with a laugh. "And I could really go 50/50 on it. Because in one way, I am in the ring, and I'm like, 'I can do this, it would be fun and it would be great.' But on the flip side I've had such a great career and I love where I am currently, so I wouldn't feel like I was missing out if I didn't get that opportunity."

The fact that neither she nor fellow WWE Hall of Fame adversary Trish Stratus have to parachute in to make people embrace the women's product again may be the truest sign that change is here to stay.

"When I first started in the WWE," Lita said, "[I learned] someone's just got to kick the door down, and once it opens, it opens up the floodgates."

New York Sports