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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  • Goodvibes

    First comment for your first Column, great read Melanie! now waiting for a column on Gail Kim from yourself! love it!

  • Cod3Cody

    I’m sorry she just doesn’t do it for me….
    There was only one Chyna and there will never be another.

  • Goodnightddtmnm

    Loved It Mel! I agree with you on Beth Character as much as alot of us would have loved to see her tangle with Molly , Ivory , trish , Lita , Victoria etc. I dont think Beth would fit well in the attidude Era. Her Character was too good for that…

    But I Hope to see you do columns on other Divas & Knockouts too….

    @Cod3Cody I find it odd how you think Beth is trying or built to be another Chyna , now Im not trying to start anything here but you always try to prove the same point , and each time you get nothing proved…. what more can you do ???

  • Cod3Cody

    How do I get nothing proved? I’m sure I’ve made my point many times. Not one person has given a good reason as to why Beth happens to be better in the ring or more successful in accomplishments……
    And how is it odd? It’s in plain sight that she is trying to be Chyna. Are you serious right now? She thinks she is built like Chyna and tries to accomplish what Chyna has done.
    Just a fact, she will never come close to the accomplishments Chyna has accomplished.

    • http://www.diva-dirt.com Melanie

      The article is not about Chyna or who’s better, so enough with the fan wars.

  • LaceyVonErichFan

    Chyna was great but Beth was just as good. Beth has a better moveset than Chyna. I wish WWE would sign more women like Beth & Chyna, beauty & strength all mashed up together that is why i was looking forward to having Aloisia in WWE. WWE made a big mistake to have released her, they could of done so much with her and imo she was probaly the only reason most people were going to watch NXT.

    Beth vs. Molly is one of my dream matches.

  • Cod3Cody

    @LaceyVonErich- Yeah I wish they could sign more woman like that too, but lets face it…WWE just wants beautiful faces and eye candy…although I must admit it is nice to see eye candy, it does nothing for me when it comes to wrestling ability.
    Chyna VS Victoria is my biggest dream match. Although I’d love to see Molly VS Beth, even though WWE would probably let Beth win…lol

  • Cod3Cody

    Sorry Melanie, but don’t worry we’ll will get enough of Beth when shes returns. I predict WWE to give her the title and a long title run upon her return. So if Nattie ends up winning this Sunday, than we will probably see a short title run for her lol.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody Chyna mainly accomplished what she accomplished due to Vince Russo booking. Chyna was just another Attitude Era gimmick.

    Beth is a much better worker than Chyna it isnt even funny.

    Beth doesnt think wrestling women is below her either.

    @Aloisia lied to management and had two left feet. She was Khali like in her movement in the indy footage Ive seen.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody It is pretty hard if not impossible to have a build like Chyna’s while the Wellness policy is around.

  • LaceyVonErichFan

    @Cod3Cody

    I don’t think so. Your paranoid & concieted. Beth is in WWE to make a name for herself. Also WWE are the one’s that want her to be our PG Chyna. Just because someone is built it doesn’t automatically mean they want to be like Chyna. I think your denying so much here. Also btw, Beth has already accomplished more than Chyna xD

    Beth has accomplished 8 championship reigns, 1 award, 2 rankings AND 2nd diva to have stepped inside a Royal Rumble and eliminated Great Khali also she lasted longer than Chyna.

    Chyna has only half of what Beth has accomplished, so i don’t know what the hell your talking about.

  • LaceyVonErichFan

    @ichiban

    I have seen her matches and she is pretty good, she would still pull off an epic match.

  • fanboy

    I miss Beth

  • ichiban

    @ichiban Who is this she you are talking about? If you are talking about Chyna are you really saying this:

    Forearm., forearm. powerslam, low blow = epic

  • LaceyVonErichFan

    No i was talking about Aloisia.

  • fanboy

    Beth is a better worker imo… I’m nt sure but i think Chyna might have been taking some roids during her WWF/E RUN… that’s why she was so strong… unlike Beth…

  • Cod3Cody

    What the hell are you talking about? Seriously now?
    Chyna won the Intercontinental Championship 3 times! (NO WOMEN HAS EVER WON THAT TITLE BESIDES HER)
    Chyna was in the Royal Rumble TWICE! And eliminated Mark Henry in the 1999 RR, and Chris Jericho in the 2000 RR. Both wrestlers who weren’t a joke to the WWF.
    Chyna was in the King of the King Tournament for two years in a row.
    Chyna is the ONLY undefeated Women’s Champion in the history of the WWF.
    Chyna is the ONLY Woman in the history of the WWF and WWE to have a title shot for the biggest championship in the company…the WWF Championship.
    PWI ranked Chyna #106 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500! (year 2000)
    Now moving away from WWF, Chyna was the first woman to break NUMEROUS records when she was in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
    Would you like me to continue?
    And what 8 title reigns are you talking about? She only has 3 in WWE.

  • Cod3Cody

    Chyna has claimed to never have taken steroids….now, as a loyal fan I would like to believe her. Until someone can prove she took steroids don’t accuse her of that.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody Yeah exactly she was gimmick attraction not really a wrestler

  • Cod3Cody

    No she was a good wrestler. And a good talent. Go watch her early stuff when she was competing for the IC title, she proved her talent there.
    OH and she actually had some mic skills, something Beth is lacking.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody All Ill say is have you seen One In Night? Also Sean Waltman has said that she used them heavy.

    Seriously she was obviously on steriods just look at her.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody Gimmick matches with Jarrett and having decent matches with Jericho is hardly an indication of a good wrestler, sorry.

  • Cod3Cody

    Sean Waltman is the last person you can believe about anything lol.
    Why doesn’t he go straighted his life before he talks sh*t about someone else.
    A porno isn’t going to prove if someone took steroids….

  • Cod3Cody

    What gimmick matches? No Mercy 1999? That was a fun match and it showed Chyna’s talents. Are you saying Beth never had a gimmick match? Every wrestler has buddy.
    And go watch her match with Jarrett at Unforgiven1999, that showed her talent too.
    I’m not going to list all her matches that she showed talent because I will be here all night.

  • http://Twitter.com/badbitchleah Leah Del Rey

    First Of All Melanie This is a great article You are such a great writer.

    Second How The Hell Did This Become About Chyna.

    Beth is a great worker and i can’t wait for her to return hoping she can feud with Natalya & Lay-Cool.

  • ichiban

    @Cod3Cody And Chyna is a credible source? Have you read her book lol? Waltman is pretty forthcoming about his own drug use and has never been salaious about it either. Sean has been through rehab and is pretty much sober depending on your definition of sober.

    My comment about One Night in China is a PG reference to an obvious biological side effect she has from the use of steriods.

    Seriously with a straight face are you seriously going to claim that Chyna has never used steriods? Really?

    Chyna was a gimmick attraction her match was built around shortcuts she wasnt a serious wrestler. Jarrett and Jericho were among the better workers of that era both have talked about carrying Chyna during those matches.