Introducing A Londoner’s Eye (Issue #1) – Beth Phoenix: A Lady Amongst Divas

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*

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  • http://www.twitter.com/kaledrina_x Kaledrina

    unlike when other divas, or even knockouts, in the past have been injured, i find myself looking forward to beth’s return with greater anticipation. i really hope wwe does not drop the ball with her and they continue her face run, because other than that there isn’t really too much more she can do or accomplish on wwe tv. unless they ditch the PG and they have her wrestling the men, of course.

    as you do mention, i, too haven’t been that fond of her character in the past. much like most of the other divas, she’s shown as being very one-dimensional so hopefully, again, they do continue with her face turn as i’d love to see more depth from beth – i can’t really picture her as the generic smile, wave, point to crowd face diva.

    nice article, melanie, i look forward to the next one.

  • Cod3Cody

    Yes I have read her book. You obviously haven’t.
    Waltman sober? HAHAHHAHAHAH how can you say that with a straight face? That guy needs to get his life together before he disses someone.
    Gets your facts straight now, Jericho said Chyna was a good worker and a great talent.
    Go talk to Mick Foley. He said some great things about Chyna as well.
    And don’t assume that Chyna’s vagina looks like that because of steroids. Triple H had a comment about that and even said it wasn’t steroid related.
    Go talk to Tara (Victoria) about Chyna. I have had talks with her about Chyna and she wants to wrestle more than anyone and calls Chyna nothing but an inspiration. Now please get your facts straight.

    I feel really bad Melanie, sorry for flooding this article about Chyna.

  • http://www.twitter.com/kaledrina_x Kaledrina

    an offshoot question here, but does anybody know what happened to that tv/web series she taped with santino?

  • UncleCuc

    The TV series was shopped around, but noone bought it. If Santino, Kozlov and Beth are still in wwe when they launch their cable network it may land there. Or the pilot may show up on ww.com or wwe’s youtube channel someday.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody

    I dont consider kayfabe interviews permissable here.

    You are obviously a blind mark and not a very informed one either. How is it obvious that I havent read her book? What did I say to make come to that conclusion? You are just being silly I read it when came out and it was one of the worse books I read from spelling to grammar to factual errors to Chyna’s finger pointing and lies. Perry Saturn, HHH, Waltman, Killer Kolawski and her family have dispute various claims made in that book.

    Waltman is sober and has been through WWE sponsored rehab. Ive followed Sean’s career and Ive never know him to lie about that type of thing.

    I dont consider saying that someone was on steriods during that era to be a diss either. You need to be deluded if you think Chyna wasnt on steriods during that time period.

  • Cod3Cody

    You are making accumptions about a topic you know nothing about.
    Its obvious you hate Chyna for no reason.
    Her book wasn’t meant to be a freaking classic novel….are you serious lol It’s called wrestlers writing books.
    Let everyone have claims, I believe what Chyna said in her book what does she have to lie about? And nothing too bad was said about Waltman since the book was written before all the drama happened.
    I’ve followed Chyna’s career and I’ve known her to never lie….your point is? I can say that too.
    And I’m not informed about Chyna? You are a fool to think that. I know and have followed Chyna’s matches more than anyone on this website, I bet. Get your facts straight.

  • Mr. Glamazon

    Great column Melanie! Look fwd to the next one.

    Re: the comments – this is what I love about wrestling fans…everybody has to “prove” someone else is wrong…but since there are no real “statistics” it is hard to come to a final conclusion. I laugh when people say girl “x” had “y” about of championships…umm, this is entertainment. They are GIVEN to the wrestlers.

    I love Beth, I think Beth is the greatest female wrestler in history, and I don’t need anyone else’s “permission” to feel this way. And I also don’t mind if you feel differently. Good for you. The key is we’re all wrestling fans, that is what counts. (oh, and yes my next column is on this exact topic…..)

  • ichiban

    Im not making assumptions people are on record that she that she used steriods. The only reason I mentioned steriods is that you dont see any women with her look in Wellness era WWE.

    I dont hate Chyna.

    I gave reasons why I dont hold her in much esteem was a worker but I dont hate her. Again you are coming across as a blind mark here.

    You believe what Chyna wrote in her book despite everyone around her disputing large amounts of it? Amazing. The same book that is riddled with obvious spelling and factual errors? Really? You then go on to say youve know her to never lie? OMG.

    I dont know why you are asking me to get my facts straight about Chyna when you are the one saying they completely believe what Chyna said in her book, you didnt seem to know Waltman’s current status etc.

  • Mr. Glamazon

    **correction: I laugh when people say girl “x” had “y” number of championships….

  • Cod3Cody

    @Mr. Glamazon-
    When someone is granted a title, that usually means the company thinks you are at top and can carry the company. This isn’t the case so much nowadays, but it was in the good o’l WWF days lol
    Everyone has their favorites.

  • ichiban

    @Mr. Glamazon Edge is a NINE time Word titler holder lol

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody Either that or they were dating HHH at the time

  • Mr. Glamazon

    Yes, titles are given to the stars as indications of their worth to the company…but using them for a basis of comparison between “eras” is wrong…the Honky Tonk Man was a 1-time Intercontinental champion…for over a year! Different era, different times. It just kills me that wrestling fans have to try to “convince” other fans they are right and the other person is wrong. Present your opinion, include some reasoning for that opinion, and stand by that opinion. Others form their own. Easy enough.

  • Mr. Glamazon

    @ichiban…LOL!!!!!

  • Cod3Cody

    @ichiban
    As a fan of Chyna, I’m going to believe what she said about steroids.
    I don’t care what people “think” happened with her. Notice how Triple H and Sean Waltman and pretty much the only ones accusing Chyna of things.
    Go back about 10 years and they were kissing Chyna’s ass. They have beef with her and constantly degrade her.
    Her book is basically a free write because she wanted to tell her fans about her life. She choose to present this is a informal way, big deal.
    When I talked to Chyna (when I met her) she told me her reasons behind writing it like that. She didn’t want the book to sound like a novel or essay. She wanted it to be in slang and informal.

  • Cod3Cody

    @ Mr. Glamazon-
    I’m not trying to get anyone to like Chyna. I can honestly care less if anyone likes her. I just don’t appreciate someone commenting and basically saying Chyna’s career was garbage.

  • Cod3Cody

    And also, it really upsets me to read all these negative comments and rumors started about Chyna. What did she ever do to anyone?
    Those are main reasons why I don’t believe what anyone says about her or any rumors that start.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody sorry basically you are admitting to be a blind fan and you take Chyna’s word as gospel….

  • Cod3Cody

    Who’s word are you going to take?
    Idiot haters like you?
    Or jacka**es like Triple H and Sean Waltman who despise Chyna?
    Just like the media was wrong about Chyna have a new porno….you can’t trust what people say about famous people. 90% of the time it’s fake. Unless its a creditable source, have some respect and don’t continue a false rumor.

  • Ayzali

    This may be off topic based on the comments, but I really enjoy the article Melanie! I love your personality and I’m looking forward to hearing YOUR opinions on the Divas/Knockouts Keep it up!

  • Cod3Cody

    Melanie,
    Id seriously love to hear an article written about Alicia Fox :)

  • Macho Madness

    Cod3Cody I’m with you, I don’t think Chyna ever took steroids either. She was a good wrestler, and her matches with Jericho showed that.

  • adifferentsame

    Nice article, Melanie. Sorry to see the commentary has descended into pointless bickering over a former wrestler not related to the article whatsoever.

    I don’t think we’ve yet seen the best of Beth (i.e she’s more than just a powerhouse wrestler) but the way the WWE have carefully developed her character gives me great faith that we will soon see that. For me, her distinction and poise make her the unofficial Queen of the Divas.

  • mikeparis18

    I love the article and your point about Beth being lady like. Totally agree. She is also a great role model. Cheers to you and the rest of the team interviewing her one day! :)

  • laqisha

    Great Artical Melanie I would love to see u writing articals about ur Favorite Indy female wrestlers.

    P..s.. SDR vs Beth is my Dream Match.