NXT commentator Beth Phoenix was recently the guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette. Here are some highlights….
On what led to her departure in 2012:
“I felt, and I’ll be transparent on this, I’d go on live events and I’d wrestle my ass off. Twelve to fifteen minute matches, and I felt they were great matches. And I felt that way because my peers would say that to me. ‘You guys killed it tonight. Good job!’ And I’d listen to the audience and I’m like ‘the audience is reacting to us at these live events.’ Even if I come out to crickets, because I’ve had no TV time, once I get the chance to tell the story in the ring for ten or fifteen minutes, by the end everyone is excited. So I knew I was doing the job right and I knew my peers were telling me I was doing the job right. But then I would go to TV and, here’s a match that’s supposed to happen and it’s cut to thirty seconds. And I felt like I was a really dispensable part of the show, no matter how long or hard I worked. I felt like, even at a point, I got over as a character, I thought I did that part right. I thought I checked every box to be trying to move this thing forward. I was trying to work with other women, as a group too, to try and get us all featured more. I had PPV matches, every PPV for like five years. And then I remember one of those last years and I’m like ‘here I am.’ I would work or do a tag match on the weekend, and then be taken out of the tag match and someone else would be plugged in on RAW. And I just got to the point where I felt so frustrated that I put in all this work and I didn’t see anything changing in front of me.”
“At that point I was like ‘well I’m 31, 32.’ I had bought a house, I had set up this really manageable life that would not require me to make a wrestler’s salary in order to keep the lights on. I was living near my family and friends and I was totally ready to move because also, I had accomplished all the things I’d wanted to do. And even if on the grand scheme of things, if it didn’t matter and people were like ‘I don’t remember you as a wrestler,’ I was like ‘well I remember what I did and I tried really hard.’ So I was ready to move on. And then, I’m in this whole conversation in my head, getting ready to leave, and then Adam (Edge) and I got together. And then the other layer on that was he was done with wrestling and grieving that and ready to move on too. So I was like ‘it’s time. It’s family time.’ And then he had his neck surgery and we had just suddenly both ended up sitting on the couch, sitting next to each other, with all of this stuff behind us. So we were ready to just throw ourselves into parenthood and we did, like full on, just dive right in. He was doing the acting but I was like ‘I’m a stay at home mom for life. I love this.’ I was so happy.”
On what Edge needed to do to convince here that she was ready to return to wrestling:
“We talk about this a lot. The documentary (Beth Phoenix: Icons) shows a little bit of it and what you see on the screen is like 2% of it. But it’s been years and years and years of the work he’s put in, pretty much since 2018, trying to get himself physically and mentally ready to do this. But me as a wife? It has been jarring. It has been difficult. Because for ten years, I had almost wrapped my head around the fact that ‘if he gets in a car accident, he could die. If he falls the wrong way, he could die.’ We were told all these things that made me feel terrified for Adam to be in dangerous situation. Even mountain biking I was nervous and uncomfortable. I love him, I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
“So then, when he starts contemplating this wrestling thing I’m like ‘are you nuts? Maybe we should go consult a psychiatrist instead of Dr. Maroon.’ But he just knew himself. He knew himself, he knew his body and he knew himself, more than I did. I said ‘there’s two things I need to see before this can happen. And I said ‘this is as your wife and I will be the big heavy on this and say no, because we have two kids.’ I said ‘I’ve got to see it with my own eyes, number one, and then I have to hear it from the best in the world. I have to hear from Dr. Maroon, I have to hear from our team that you’ll be okay. And I have to see it, I have to see you move around with my own eyes to be convinced this is real.’ He did both, so what can I do Renee?”
On the possibility of one more run:
“Once a wrestler, always a wrestler. I’m not going to lie about it. You couldn’t have done this and wanted to do this your whole life without having this little bug. And I also get so happy to be in the conversation of somebody, or today’s stars, would look forward to facing. Again, when I left WWE, I felt really insignificant and I felt like I hadn’t done anything. I just felt like I didn’t move the needle, and I felt so sad about that part, but okay to move on. But now I’m getting this wonderful recognition from today’s women and it makes me feel so good.”
“As far as coming back to the ring? I say this in every interview, you never say never. If the right opportunity arose and you could do business, that’s really all I would care about. Because of course, would I love to have a retirement match, a big farewell and give someone a high five and pass the torch? Yes. But there’s only a limited amount of people I can do that for, whereas on commentary I can do that two hours every single week. Every week I can tell you how awesome Indi Hartwell is, or ‘look at Shotzi Blackheart’s improvements.’ I can help all the talent weekly on commentary. So in that respect, I love commentary because it feels like I’m contributing in a positive way. But the in ring stuff? I don’t know what the future brings. I don’t write off anything, I don’t close any doors. If there was ever something that WWE was interested in doing, I would love to say goodbye and high five someone and give it the endorsement or whatever.”
Click here to listen to the full show.