"The Glamazon" and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix was on a recent episode of WWE After The Bell where she discussed her current role as NXT commentator. Corey Graves asked Phoenix if "the itch" has ever come back for her to get in the ring, and she responded by talking about her return in the Women's Royal Rumble and how nervous she was coming back for the first time in nine years.
"So, I dreaded the itch because, number one, when you've had two babies, your body is very different, and also, there's a lot of fear," Phoenix admitted. "This is a conversation we have all the time, obviously, because [Edge] came back after nine years. And I got into the Hall of Fame and all that. I got the call to be in the Royal Rumble, that first women's Royal Rumble, and that's the first time I put on tights since having two children. So it was terrifying, but at the same time, I have this mentality [of] no what ifs.
"When I've come to a crossroads and and it's like, 'oh God, what do I do?' Maybe I'll go out there and embarrass myself. Maybe it'll be terrible and everybody would be like, 'ugh, get out of here Beth', or maybe it won't. Maybe it'll be just one really fun night and it'll be another something special to put in my heart and lock away from myself, and who cares what anybody else thinks."
Phoenix said she enjoyed her Royal Rumble experience. However, she enjoys her current broadcasting role too as it allows her to still be in the wrestling business. But she can admire the current talent who have shared a lot of respect for her.
"That little Royal Rumble experience was so special because the crowd was just as invested. I miss the crowds terribly, as I'm sure we all do," Phoenix noted. "Also, seeing what the women can do now. I don't think on my best day, in my youth, I could ever compete gymnastically with any of the women that we have now.
"They can do things that defy gravity and physics. But I am so happy to be in the role I'm in now because I can still be close to the product, and I get the nice comments like Ember Moon, or Rhea [Ripley], or Charlotte [Flair] saying that I'm an opponent they would have liked to have. And that's enough [for me]. That really warms my heart and makes me feel special and great to know that they would include me as somebody that they would like to compete against.
"But as far as the itch goes, it's normally something else bigger in front of me, like preparing my husband to come back for Royal Rumble and then getting a phone call saying, 'hey Beth, do you want to wrestle in the Royal Rumble too?'"
Before becoming a commentator on NXT, Beth Phoenix started her broadcasting career with WWE's Mix Match Challenge. Phoenix admittedly called her performance "cringe-worthy" and talked about how overwhelming it is to have multiple people in your ear at one time.
"The deal is, if you go back and watch my first foray into commentary which is the Mix Match Challenge, it might be some of my most cringe-worthy moments in performance ever," Phoenix admitted. "I was dying a slow death to where I was like listening with one ear, like, 'oh God'. But anyways, I was very hesitant to enter this new role because I was never known for my strength as a talker. I talked with my fists, I was the big strong bully. So, that was my role and my character for many years in WWE and I felt like I did well with that.
"I'm a good conversationalist but commentary is a whole different animal, and I'll never forget sitting at the desk with you guys for the first time with the headset for the Mix Match Challenge, and being like, there is 25 people talking to me right now and none of them are [Michael] Cole or Corey. What is going on?"
Phoenix continued discussing her transition from in-ring talent to commentator, and the challenges associated commentary. She noted that she had done guest commentary as a talent, but pointed out that being a full-time commentator is very different since it is your job to put the talent over and not put yourself over.
"Here's the big challenge too," Phoenix prefaced. "I had been on headset as a talent, like special guest commentator, Beth Phoenix, for when I was building a storyline or something. And when you're talking about yourself, for me, it came very natural and comfortable. I'm only talking about me. 'I'm awesome. Of course I'm awesome, I'm going to beat you tonight. Blah, blah, blah.' So I felt comfortable in that role. Now, the biggest thing about commentary is that you have to speak eloquently and intelligently about everybody.
"There's so many layers to it, and it's no longer my job to put myself over. It's my job to put everybody else over, and so you have to be able to check your ego, first of all. Like, you have to realize that that's your job and that comes first. I could blab on and on. 'I wrestled so-and-so,' but it's not about me. It's about the Women's Championship match and those two competitors. So there's an interesting give-and-take about trying to find ways of relating my experience to give credibility to the girls in the ring, but, at the same time, not take away from what they're doing."
Phoenix shared that her husband, WWE Hall of Famer Edge, occasionally uses the fact that he won the same Royal Rumble where she had made history by becoming the second woman to appear in the men's Royal Rumble match. She also talked about her mindset as Edge was preparing for his WWE return at this year's Royal Rumble at the same time she was preparing for her appearance on the show.
"So, first of all, as a family, the Royal Rumble holds a lot of weight in our household because, technically, Adam won the Royal Rumble in 2010 that I was in. So when we have a disagreement or an argument, the mic drop is always, 'well, I hold a win over you in the WWE record books,'" Phoenix revealed. "We've only had one competition against each other and he won it. So he always uses that as leverage to win an argument.
"But it was challenging for me because there was a lot of stuff [going on]. I know Adam had a lot on his plate, a lot on his mind obviously, but for me, it was safety first. And the biggest thing preparing for his return was I just needed to know that he was going to be OK as a wife, as the mother of his kids. That had to be priority first. And so, I was nervous about that.
"Then, we had the moment where they asked me, like I said, not even a week before, 'do you want to do the female Rumble?' And I had been in the ring with Adam so much that I felt prepared to do that, but at the same time, can I emotionally handle that? It's so big what he has to go through, and what's going to happen that I was afraid I'm emotionally not going to be focused, or prepared, or whatever? But what I did was compartmentalize that, and I had to be like, listen, to myself, 'Beth, you need to worry about yourself and worry about this moment and then we'll deal with Adam's moment when that comes.'"
Edge is currently rehabbing and has said that he has plenty more left for his return back to the ring. However, Phoenix also shared that she gave Edge some heat for not texting her right away after his first singles match back at WrestleMania. She also talked about the challenges of Edge recovering from his torn triceps and "being a one-armed dad and a one-armed husband."
"So, it was interesting because Adam got some heat from me because after he finished his WrestleMania match - this was his first big singles match back, he was so excited. So, you're just reveling in the moment. He was at the Performance Center and I'm home," Phoenix described. "And I'm sweating bullets waiting for that text, or something like, 'I'm OK.' And it was like a good two or three hours before I heard from him. I knew what time they started, and I was like, 'wait a minute.' He finally told me he was OK. And I gave him hell over that, but I'm just worried.
"And so then, after 'The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever,' he texts me right away. But he said, 'I'm OK. My arm's bothering me a little bit but I'm OK', because we didn't really know the extent of it that night. And then he went for an MRI the next morning, and unfortunately, they told us the news that it was torn. I'm a wrestler too. I know how injuries happen. This is not the best way to look at it, but it could have been something worse. 'This is something you will heal from. You'll be OK'. And he's got to put the work in.
"That's really the part that sucks is the rehab, the work. Being a one-armed dad and a one-armed husband is challenging, especially when you have little ones that want to be picked up, and you need to tie shoes, and this and that. You can't. So, he had a straight brace, and we had to all come together like we usually do and figure it out while he's recovering."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.