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Former Divas Champion Beth Phoenix recently spoke to WWE.com, catching fans up on her post-WWE life, recalling her favorite matches, offering advice to current Divas and more.
Having a baby with former Superstar Edge: “I got pregnant five or six months after I retired, and then it was off to the races! It was a complete change of gears, and I was refocusing my life on my family. That was the reason I left WWE — not to have a baby, but to spend time with family. That was just a wonderful side result of spending time at home and being with my family. That was awesome, and it’s been a big change.”
The origin of her daughter’s name: “We actually had a list of names that we were crossing off during the labor process, and “Lyric” wasn’t on our list. We had narrowed it down to about 10 over the course of the pregnancy, and I was actually going through contractions as we were crossing names off the list, because we wanted to wait until she was born to really decide on a name. Mid-contraction, Adam said to me, ‘What do you think of ‘Lyric’?” And I was like “Great, great, great! Write it down!’ He had it in the back of his head but it hadn’t come out on our list until that moment. We had the baby, and in recovery we were talking about it and thought, ‘Gosh, it’s finally time to decide on a name!’ We had narrowed it down to three or four, and we looked at her and we said, ‘You’re Lyric! You’re definitely a Lyric!’ It was a last-minute, gameday decision.”
Working with Trish Stratus: “Trish was awesome. I had bumped into her a couple of times when I was working my way on the independent circuit, and I was quite intimidated by her, to be honest. She was very forward with her question. She asked me, ‘What makes you want to do this? What do you think of girls who came from a modeling background?’ She was one of those people who saw potential in me from the beginning. Unfortunately, the way it worked out, I was coming in as she was getting ready to retire. So we didn’t really get to cross paths all that much aside from some fun little one-off matches. But she was somebody that imparted a lot of awesome advice. I distinctly remember one piece of advice she gave me that was helpful throughout my entire career. And that was to say ‘thank you.’ She taught me that it was okay to accept successes, to take compliments, to appreciate them and not be mousy when it comes to that stuff. Her confidence had a big impact on me coming in and learning the ropes, so to speak.”
The perks of playing a heel: “I always enjoyed being a villain more, probably because you get to do and say a lot of things you wouldn’t do in real life. And I felt like given what my physique and personality was, it kind of fit that way. I remember having interesting aspirations coming in. I wanted little girls looking up to me like they looked up to Trish, and my role was quite different. I remember when I was pushing Santino [Marella] around and kids were afraid of me. They didn’t want my autograph or anything. I would walk down the aisle and they would back up and be afraid to stick their hands out. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, no! That’s the opposite of what I wanted!’ But then I would see Mickie [James] or Candice come out and see all of the kids clamoring for them, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m doing my side of the job.'”
Glamarella: “I was pretty good at playing the “straight man,” and that was exactly where I should have been. It was my job to be the brick wall that Santino bounces off of. It was always difficult to keep a straight face around him. I distinctly remember when he danced and tried to do a split like Melina did on the apron, but he strained his groin and fell off and was in complete pain because he hurt his nether region. That was the one time where I definitely dove on the floor and put my hair in front of my face, because the things he was saying and doing — looking like he was electrified — it was one of those moments where I felt like I was an audience member watching his antics as much as all of the folks in the crowd. He was the best at what he did and obviously got better and better every single year.”
Traveling with Natalya: “We would go to convenience stores at three o’clock in the morning dressed in stilettos, makeup and with our hair done, and we were sticking out like sore thumbs in Mobile, Ala. We would always go to pay, and then Nattie would begin dropping this crazy story about how I was engaged and tomorrow was my wedding, and we’re trying to get there and it was my third, fourth or fifth marriage, and I was getting married in my father’s basement. She would rattle from the top of her head the most obscene, crazy story. It was hilarious. And of course, I would just let her go and play along, adding a very serious note here or there, but she could just go off.”
Favorite matches: “I have three different favorite matches, in no particular order. One was the very first match I had with Candice Michelle at Unforgiven 2007 — the one where I didn’t win the title. It was my debut even if it wasn’t my [actual] debut. It was where people really began to take notice. Even the company started to look at me a little differently. Then there was my match with Nattie, of course – there wasn’t one second of that match I would change – and then the other one was with Eve Torres at Madison Square Garden [at Survivor Series 2011].”
Entering the 2010 Royal Rumble: “I think the biggest thing for me was that it was one of those moments where I was like, ‘Okay, this is why I got into wrestling.’ I wanted to be a female like Chyna, who broke boundaries and did things that were really special. And you know, just somebody that stood out. This was my moment. Like that Glam Slam, it was one of those moments in your life that you just treasure, and I knew it was going to be over fast. I needed to take a few breaths while I was out there and just inhale it. Because I knew it was something that would change my life and really satisfy some of those dreams that I had as a little girl.”
Thoughts on the current division: “I definitely am proud of all the work the girls have been doing. I know there are a whole bunch of new girls in NXT that are waiting to get their opportunity; they have a great trainer down there in Sara Amato, so I mean there’s so much potential for the future. You’ve got Naomi, who’s chomping at the bit to get her moment. She’s somebody who could definitely pull it off when she gets that brass ring, so to speak. I send my well wishes to everybody, but my focus right now is this little Diva who’s pulling at my leg. And she’s very demanding.”
The possibility of a WWE return: “Hey, I would say there’s always a chance. Never say never. I can’t tell you what tomorrow brings, let alone next year. But I’m physically capable and it’s always possible.”
You can read the full interview on WWE.com.
What’s your favorite Beth Phoenix match?