3-time Women’s Champion, 1 time Divas’ Champion, Diva of the Year 2008
Wow isn’t this a bit of a blast from the past. My WWE Highlights inspirations had been on the down low for a bit ever since Kelly Kelly was given her marching orders from WWE but at last I’ve finally been able to get things together to celebrate the career of one Beth Phoenix. The Glamazon was one of the vintage superstars in WWE to come from the OVW training facility where she went down on her own money to train, half thanks to a certain Molly Holly who saw potential and paid her fee and the rest thanks to a surprising talent with the piano and a series of ‘gigs’ at weddings, funerals etc. Beth was eventually offered a WWE contract and debuted on our TV screens in 2006 for five weeks until she broke her jaw in a match with Victoria and didn’t reappear until over a year later as the Glamazon we were all familiar with. Three Women’s Championship reigns, one Divas’ Championship reign and six years of wrestling later and it’s been nearly a month since Beth was last on WWE television. Let’s take a look at the best segments and matches of her career.
Remember Me? – Raw 2006:
It’s a debut that isn’t well remembered because it was over after five weeks and whatever story would have unfolded got dropped altogether. However at the time it promised a really interesting plot. We were just coming off the heels of an intense Trish Stratus/Mickie James feud when the injured Trish introduced Mickie’s supposedly old friend Beth who violently attacked the new Women’s Champion and swore revenge on Mickie for ruining her life. We never did find out what the supposed history between Mickie and Beth would have been, but something tells me that the feud could have come quite close to Trish and Mickie’s levels. Who knows, maybe we could have gotten Beth vs Lita as well?
If You’ve Got It, Use It – Royal Rumble 2010:
On the weekend that the 2010 Royal Rumble was set to take place, a juicy bit of gossip hit the internet – Beth Phoenix was rumoured to be a participant in the Rumble itself. The rumour stemmed from a series of action figures themed around the Rumble with a figure of Beth packed into them, a strange situation given that the Women’s Champion Michelle McCool and her challenger Mickie James weren’t featured. Fans were sceptical as, after all, WWE’s PG restrictions wouldn’t allow any female vs male violence. But yet the sixth entrant was indeed the Glamazon and she charged the ring. The Great Khali tried to pick her up and get her to leave but Beth used her feminine wiles to smooch Khali and pull him over the top rope before proceeding to beat the tar out of future boyfriend CM Punk. Fun fact – my mother came into the room while I was watching this and she started jumping up and down when she saw Beth eliminate Khali.
Getting Crossed By The Boss – Smackdown 2010:
After years and years of playing the top dominant heel on Raw, Beth was moved to Smackdown and her allegiance was immediately called into question. She was still the same ruthless Glamazon but she was also no friend to Michelle McCool. The official consultant of Smackdown Vickie Guerrero had allied herself with Michelle and BFF Layla and so was prejudiced in their favour when Beth requested a title shot. The next week, LayCool and Vickie decided to bully Tiffany but Beth made the save and turned face in the process. After seeing her as the stoic Glamazon for ages, it was amazing just to see her explode on Vickie. If she had not been injured I feel she could have reached a Mickie James level of popularity.
A Glamazon’s Return – Survivor Series 2010:
Beth sadly tore her ACL only four weeks after winning her third Women’s Championship title and was forced to take about seven months off from WWE. However at the Survivor Series PPV, LayCool were defending the co-owned title that they won from Beth in a handicap match against Natalya which raised a few eyebrows that we could see more to come. Natalya made Michelle tap and earned her first title but the sore losers attacked her afterwards. Suddenly Beth’s music played and she ran down to the ring to save Nattie from the mean girls, providing us with such an emotional moment it can still get my eyes a little misty just writing about it.
Birth of the Divas’ of Doom – Raw 2011:
Uber-babyface Kelly Kelly had finally become Divas’ Champion in the summer of last year but unfortunately didn’t have too much going on. Until a certain #1 contender’s battle royal took place. After being on the backburner for quite a while, Beth hoisted both the Bella Twins over her shoulders and dumped them out of the ring, winning the match. As Kelly ran to embrace her friend, Beth snapped and violently attacked K2, claiming that her days “as the cute, blonde, perky, little bimbo” were over and that she was going to target the Barbie doll Divas from now on. While this storyline didn’t pan out exactly in the way we were hoping, we still saw some good matches from the DOD and the Barbie Doll Divas.
10) with Natalya vs LayCool [Tables Match] –TLC 2010:
When Beth returned in 2010 I noticed that after two weeks, she had yet to compete in a match. I got really excited as I was starting to hope that WWE were going to have her properly return to the ring at a PPV match much like Lita did. But boy did I not expect what we would get. The first ever Divas’ tag team tables match. The WWE Universe got to live vicariously through Beth and Natalya as they dished out the punishment the mean girls rightfully deserved. Beth even took a nasty fall to the outside and landed right on her head but shook it off with no bother at all, eventually standing tall at Natalya’s side after LayCool got splashed through a pink caricatured table.
9) vs Michelle McCool [Extreme Makeover] – Extreme Rules 2010:
After segment number 3 mentioned above, Beth officially set herself on the warpath towards Michelle McCool’s Women’s Championship. The girls were lucky enough to be headed towards the Extreme Rules PPV which meant the writers threw them a bone and gave them a gimmick match too. Surrounding the ring were ironing boards, mops, buckets and a make-up table. And each and every one of these items was used to punish the Women’s Champion. This was Beth’s first real proper match as a face and honestly she is so much more suited to that role. She has this amazing charisma that makes her someone you want to root for. In the end she Glam Slammed Michelle to capture her third Women’s Championship and unknowingly became the second-last person to hold the title ever.
8) vs Natalya – Smackdown 2012:
This was the dream match everyone had been anticipating since around 2010. Sadly it didn’t happen at WrestleMania but when Beth announced she’d be leaving in October, it seems WWE wanted to give us this dream match after all. In Beth’s hometown of Buffalo she and Natalya put on a display we were all excited to see. While the match was six minutes, it still featured plenty of excitement from the great wrestling at the start, to Beth trapped in the Sharpshooter and Natalya even kicking out of the Glam Slam. When the match was over the two women were so overcome with emotion. Thank you ladies, truly thank you.
7) vs Candice Michelle [2/3 Falls] – Raw 2007:
Beth certainly seems to have rattled up the list of gimmick matches doesn’t she? She may even hold the record for most gimmick matches out of the Divas of today’s generation. Her feud with Candice Michelle in 2007 was something we hadn’t really seen in the Divas’ division in a while with a proper David vs Goliath story. Beth and Candice always told a good story in their matches and this was sort of a reward for their hard work. The entire segment ran ten minutes on Raw and could very well have gone on longer, only Candice fractured her collar bone and the finish had to be rushed. Despite that, it was still a really good match and it certainly added to Beth’s notoriety that she put a Diva on the injured list.
6) vs Mickie James vs Melina – Judgment Day 2008:
Mickie James and Beth Phoenix finally feuded properly at the end of 2007 towards the middle of 2008 after having one teased back in 2006. Mickie ended up claiming Beth’s Women’s title which of course made the Glamazon mad. Melina was added into the mix as well and we had a triple threat match set for Judgment Day. Beth was as ruthless as ever, really coming out of her shell to show her superiority in the match as she tried to dominate both Mickie and Melina, eventually hoisting them both over her shoulders in a double Canadian backbreaker. Even though Mickie won, Beth still looked impressive.
5) vs Gail Kim – Superstars 2011:
When Gail Kim was signed back to WWE in 2008, a match against Beth was highly anticipated. They found themselves on opposing teams a couple of times in 2009 but never had a proper singles match between them, until a random episode of Superstars in 2011. A simple face vs face match was really great to see as Gail and Beth tried to outwrestle each other to really see who was the better woman. In the end Beth was able to counter Gail’s high flying moves and Glam Slam her for the win. It seems Gail accomplished everything she wanted to with this match because afterwards she did not hold back on her Twitter account.
4) vs Candice Michelle – Unforgiven 2007:
Beth first rose to prominence in WWE when she won a #1 contender’s battle royal at SummerSlam which gave her the opportunity to face the underdog Women’s Champion and former Diva Search contestant at Unforgiven. Now this match worked in many ways and it was exactly one of my favourite types of match. The story was that all the odds were stacked against Candice and Beth was assuming she’d be an easy win, only for Candice to fight back and wipe the smirk off her face. As I said before, this was a match that hadn’t been seen in the division for a while and it was great storytelling. It was a formula that proved successful with the fans as they really got into it, Candice only narrowly escaping with her title at the end thanks to a quick crucifix.
3) vs Kelly Kelly – Night of Champions 2011:
Beth and Kelly saw quite a lot of each other during their WWE careers. It was even Beth who claimed a victory over Kelly in the latter’s second last WWE match. Kelly was mostly used as enhancement talent for Beth until 2011 when Kelly had finally become Divas’ Champion and Beth was determined to knock her off her pedestal. She came up short at SummerSlam but won another opportunity at Night of Champions, which was in her hometown of Buffalo. The crowd were behind her 100% and turned on Kelly for the only time in her career. Following the formula that had worked against Candice, Beth and Kelly produced a second winning match that climaxed in Beth nearly destroying Kelly with a superplex. Kelly managed to sneak the win with a sunset flip to counter a powerbomb, which did not make the crowd happy.
Kelly Kelly wasn’t the only “Barbie Doll Diva” that Beth was able to produce show-stopping matches against in 2011. After Kelly had run her course, it was her best friend Eve’s turn to take on the new Divas’ Champion. At the Vengeance PPV, both Kelly and Natalya were barred from ringside and Eve and Beth took each other to their limit, surprising everyone with their intensity for a match that had only been developed for one week. It ended up being the best Divas’ match of 2011 and gave Beth a much needed clean win to solidify her reign as Divas’ Champion.
1) vs Melina [I Quit] – One Night Stand 2008:
Melina accidentally cost Beth the Women’s Championship due to a botched interference which of course in the Glamazon’s book means ‘any strike and you’re out’. Beth turned on her friend and tag team partner, brutally attacking her backstage and leading to a series of constant ringside attacks until Melina challenged Beth to an I Quit match at One Night Stand. Shockingly, the title was not on the line and the girls were given the chance of a lifetime. They absolutely tore down the house and left the crowd in shock. Beth ended up bending Melina practically in half to finally make her say those words. You didn’t expect the Glamazon to quit did you?
So there’s the end of a mighty fine career for Beth. She was one of the Divas that WWE always treated fairly well, sans what went on this year. She was really one of the few remaining from a past generation and it’s still surreal to think that she’s gone. Her last match ever on WWE TV with AJ was actually on my birthday and I said my own personal goodbye to her then. But at the same time, Beth was good but WWE really could have let her be great, just as they could have done with so many others. Nevertheless thank you Elizabeth Kocianski Carolan, who will always be the perfect combination of strength and beauty.
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