WWE Hall of Famer and NXT announcer, Beth Phoenix, dropped by on this week's episode of The Bump's to celebrate the fifth-year anniversary of the Women's Evolution, something that she had a big part in creating. In her career, Phoenix has risen above many challenging obstacles only to come out stronger.
Even though she looks like nothing can defeat her, she opened up about her insecurities with her body and how for a long time, she felt like the odd woman out because her body didn't fit a certain mold in WWE. Now, she embraces her diversity and feels empowered to inspire other women in and out of this industry to embrace themselves as well.
"I've gotten amazing responses from friends and fans. I usually don't put a ton of super personal stuff on social media," Phoenix informed. "With the Women's Evolution week, I wanted to share a little bit of my story. I was a bit of an insecure young person. When I first started in the business, I didn't feel like I fit the mold.
"So it's taken a long time and realization, but the Women's Evolution has been putting that image forward that you don't have to fit just one shape. I'm happy to see that message is being presented to young people because I have two young daughters, and I want them to see diversity so they're okay with who they are."
"Oh my gosh, it was great to get my hands on the newest generation," she chuckled. "It would be awesome to have a match with Charlotte Flair. I see a lot of similarities in our physicality. I think she and I could tell a great story."
Before making her huge return in the Women's Royal Rumble, Phoenix thought her role that night was only to be on commentary. She wasn't informed that she was going to be competing in the ring until the week before the big event. She says if it weren't for her husband Edge, she probably would have passed on the offer.
"I got the news that they were going to invite me to participate in the Women's Royal Rumble six days before [the show]. Up until that point, I thought I was just going to be there to announce," she stated. "Then, I got that call saying, 'Hey Beth, do you want to be in it?' At that time, my mind and energy was being poured into my announce work and family life.
"We [Edge and I] had the conversation of, 'Do I do this, or do I say no?' We thought this could never happen again; this could be the last time I lace up the boots, who knows. I said, 'I gotta go for it.' He also said too, 'You gotta go for it. You have to do this.'"
In 1999, Chyna became the first woman to ever compete in a Men's Royal Rumble. Fast forward to 2010, Phoenix becomes the second woman to compete in the same event. Before accomplishing that historic accolade, Phoenix says that Chyna was a pivotal motivation in her career and an inspiration towards her "Glamazon" gimmick.
"Watching this back, it chokes me up a bit. As a young woman, I obviously, by my ring gear, looked up to Chyna," she said with a big smile. "She was the reason I walked into a gym and started picking up weights. To me, the fact that I had that opportunity to fill that role and fulfill those same steps as she did was great.
Phoenix, like many of the front runners in the Women's Evolution, never thought that her contributions would inspire a whole new generation of female Superstars. Before she ended her interview, she took a moment to say that she is so proud to see how far these women have come compared to when she first started.
"It's been full transparency," she replied. "There were times when I was working for WWE and I was blessed that I got pay-per-view matches, but where we struggled a lot was on television time. We didn't get a lot of television time. When we did get it, it wasn't necessarily the matches that I knew we could have. In my heart and soul, what I saw Chyna do, what I saw Trish [Stratus] do, those women contributed to this road and this path that has brought us to today, now.
"I'm so proud to see that they're getting the 'firsts' done, so now, we can see the men and women equally. It gives me a sense of pride."
You can watch Beth Phoenix's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.