Hello one and all! Welcome to a new column, ‘A Londoner’s Eye’ here at Diva Dirt piggybacking building off of the success of David’s wonderful column. I always get emails and questions about my opinion on this, that and the other and as you all know by now, I am highly opinionated on pretty much everything, so this new column will be a notebook of sorts which I hope to regularly update with my thoughts on what’s going on in the world of women’s wrestling. There likely won’t be any regaling tales from my childhood, though — I’ll leave that to David.
However, this first column does have some connection to our self-professed Mr Glamazon, as you can probably guess by the title. This one is all about a certain glamorous amazon, who like her name suggests, we are all eagerly awaiting to rise from the ashes in the coming days or weeks.
I admire Beth Phoenix for a number of reasons: her determination and passion for the industry, to me, shines through. She had a long journey to get to WWE and now she’s living her dream and seems like she doesn’t take it for granted one bit. Then there’s her striking physique. Furthermore Beth, in my opinion, fits perfectly into WWE’s PG era along with the likes of John Cena, because she’s a great role model regardless of whether she’s a babyface or heel.
As a babyface, she’s able to connect with her fans and be that role model a little more, but even as a heel Beth was always smart, savvy and headstrong — attributes that women and young girls can look up to. Beth has made her character come across elegant — even though she slams girls into the mat — and you’d never dream to hear the word ‘whore’ come out of this Diva’s mouth. No sir. Leave that to the Knockouts. Though we’d love to have seen Beth tussle with the likes of Trish, Lita, Victoria et al, somehow I’ve always felt she fits much better into this era than the last. Though the Divas then didn’t curse as much as the Knockouts, they were pretty sexually suggestive and explicit themselves. Beth Phoenix, the elegant, graceful, Parents Television Council-friendly Glamazon wouldn’t have worked quite as well as it does now.
Yet for all the praise I have heaped on Beth in that last paragraph, I haven’t always been so enamored with Beth.
Until moving to SmackDown, I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Beth the character. I felt Beth was the generic dominant, stoic heel during her time on Raw, and frankly she lacked the edge of a heel Melina who was on a hot streak at that time. It wasn’t until she began her storyline with Santino, showing some of her comedic chops (including that one episode where she took over Santino’s Casa on WWE.com), that Beth began coming across as a real character to me. Though infrequent, those little glimpses at comedic Beth called to me. Like Trish Stratus before her, Beth came across as though she had a great timing and wit and if further explored, that could’ve added another dimension to her character. Alas, it wasn’t really explored much further but I started paying a closer attention to her.
The move to SmackDown and the subsequent tweener-to-face switch finally won me over. I wasn’t sure that Beth’s character could work as a face but put her against Lay-Cool and bam, the rooting for Beth was on. In the face of being called a ‘Manazon’, mocked and ridiculed by Lay-Cool — the Glamazon’s will was strong. We cheered Beth on to defeat Lay-Cool and she did at Extreme Rules winning the Women’s Championship. A new era of Beth was upon us — an era where she could realise her calling as a real role model for young women as the babyface Glamazon champ. Beth was beginning to win the fans over and garner pops (which fans love to measure!) as she entered the arena. Beth’s face turn was a success and I had successfully been converted.
Her run, however, was cut painfully short due to an ACL tear back in May. Just as I was getting ready to ride the Beth bus, they call for last stops! Drats.
It’s been in the time since her injury though that I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for Beth Phoenix — more succinctly, the woman behind her. Seeing her perseverance and positive mental attitude (or ‘PMA’ as she tweets — not to be confused with PMS) in the face of a horrible injury was inspiring. Then ahead of schedule, Beth was in the gym and rehabbing. Terminator, much?
I began to cast my mind back further to her humble SHIMMER roots, as well as remembering reading stories of Beth’s hard work and dedication in OVW. Maria Kanellis commented recently that while she trained at OVW in the early days of her career (she was already on Raw but trained there the rest of the week), Beth — who was also training in OVW — was once her waitress at a restaurant. Just think about that for a moment. Beth waited patiently and look at her now. Beth is proof that talent and passion floats to the top.
If I had to recommend a Diva or two that young girls should look up to, Beth would definitely be at the top of my list along with a certain Ms Neidhart. Especially being PG, the Superstars and Divas have more of a responsibility to their fans and Beth has always lived up to that in the way she carries herself on TV and even on Twitter.
So, that’s my little Beth Phoenix story.
There are many Divas and Knockouts in this industry, but Beth brings a lady-like quality to WWE that is pretty rare. As much as I am looking forward to seeing her back in the ring and engaging in more Lay-Cool tomfoolery, I’m also looking forward to seeing her bring that quality back too. A young girl tuning into WWE could learn so much from the Glamazon: how to be strong, hard-working, tough yet graceful and classy. (Hey Beth, how about launching a ‘Little Miss Glamazon’ pageant? I want a cut.)
PS: +1 to those of you who actually get the ‘London Eye’ reference. *COUGHstevenCOUGH*