NXT color commentator Beth Phoenix joined Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette recently to talk, to a great extent, about Molly Holly. Phoenix talked specifically about how Holly helped her to get started in wrestling by paying for her wrestling training after the two had a wrestling match very early in Phoenix’ career.
“Everyone wants the drama, and it’s not necessarily headline news to be like ‘no this person is like a living angel,”‘ Phoenix said of Holly. “And she worked with, basically a fan, and I sucked at the time. The match that I gave her, I was not good. But Molly just saw in me I guess maybe a passion and a commitment and just want and desire to improve. And that’s what she gave me, the opportunity to be able to improve when I wasn’t financially in the situation where I could make it happen.
“There was a time where maybe those stories wouldn’t get the traction. But I’m so proud to tell those stories, because it’s like the more we normalize that, we’re going to see that it’s not a bunch of drama and cattiness. There is a lot of folks helping out each other. And there’s a lot of men that help the women too. It wasn’t all ‘the men are holding us down! Blah blah blah.’ There were so many advocates for the women to be better and get more opportunities. Fit Finlay, Dustin (Rhodes); there’s so many guys fighting for us and taking us aside and helping. I don’t know, it wasn’t always the way it was painted out to be if that makes sense.”
Holly of course was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this past April, something Phoenix was over the moon about. She discussed how she tried to will it into existence, both on Twitter and her WWE Network documentary.
“Oh I was so excited,” Phoenix said of Holly’s induction. “So here’s the thing. In my documentary, they didn’t end up using the footage, but I shamelessly was trolling throughout that documentary. I was showing things that Molly gave me or whatever and I was like ‘here’s the gear she gave me. Molly Holly, future Hall of Famer. Molly Holly, got to go in the Hall of Fame!’ And just randomly, because I knew it was around that time and we didn’t hear any names announced for Hall of Fame, I was like ‘Victoria, Jazz and Molly Holly need to go into the Hall of Fame’ on Twitter.
“And I think they had already recorded The Bump telling Molly. So I didn’t know, I had no idea. So I was so excited. I was like, trying to speak it into the existence. Sometimes reminding everybody helps and like ‘oh yeah. This person, how have we not highlighted this person yet?’ I think it’s awesome to see people get their due who are not only talented in the ring and have helped a lot of folks, but also just, like Molly, just done so much behind the scenes. She’s so treasured and respected. And I think we’re at a stage now where being a good person is being rewarded, and I think that’s awesome.”
Phoenix herself has a reputation for being among the nicest performers in recent memory. As such, Paquette asked her if being too nice ever hurt her career, prompting Phoenix to go in a different direction that ultimately led back to advice Holly gave her years ago.
“I think that it got in my way when I was trying to be sexy,” Phoenix said. “There was a large segment of my career where I was kind of competing with the brand of sexuality that we were putting forward. And it was so not me, to the point where like I got breast implants, a decision I was very uncomfortable with. But I felt like that was something I had to do, because I wasn’t that type of woman that exuded sexuality. And I felt like ‘well if I don’t do this.’ I mean I didn’t feel like, no one ever said that to me. But I felt like that would bring that out of me but it didn’t, at all. It made me feel more self conscious. And I felt like I was constantly competing with myself to be this thing that I wasn’t. Being nice I don’t feel held me back, because I felt I treated everyone with respect.
“Here’s another Molly Holly story. Before my first tryout in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, I was going as an extra in 2002, and Molly was kind of giving me all the answers to the test. The first thing she told me was ‘when you walk in that door, shake every person’s hand. Crew, catering, janitorial to Vince McMahon, everybody is the same. Treat everybody the same.’ I was like ‘yes ma’am. Yes ma’am.’ That lived with me forever. And so I feel like that was one thing I tried to keep true in my career. I didn’t care who you were. I didn’t care if you came in and your s**t didn’t stink or if you were somebody who was setting up the catering for all the wrestlers. You’re the same to me. And I think in that way, that type of attitude has gotten folks farther than the others.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription