Sunday, October 07, 2007

Beth Phoenix – Bringing Legitimacy to Women’s Wrestling

My idea of an entertaining wrestling match is a well-called bout based on a decent storyline with two or more athletically inclined individuals who have spent the time in the gym with the iron to maintain a healthy physique, featuring athleticism to move explosively, gracefully, and powerfully. It does not matter to me if they are men or women as long as I am engaged by physicality (maneuvers, bumps, and mobility) of the bout and the drama of the storyline.

However, for decades, I have thought that Women’s Wrestling in the WWE was lacking in these qualities, often changing the channel or taking a bathroom break when the Women’s matches came on Raw. After all, the WWE Women’s wrestlers have been marketed as little more than eye candy, historically.

What comes to mind as examples of this eye candy filler featured on the weekly programming?

Melina may be in excellent shape, but if I see her enter the ring with the full split under the bottom rope one more time, I’m going to vomit.

Candice Michelle may be shifting to a more athletic style now that she holds the belt, but I am having trouble forgetting all of her dancing in a circle like a stripper for the first year she was in WWE. My memory’s already too tainted.

These women are not the kind of stars I look forward to seeing on a WWE broadcast. I do not want to see fitness models. I can get that on ESPN2 a couple times a year and be happy. I do not want to see soft core porn. I can get that on Showtime.

Sure, Trish Stratus, at the end of her career, was very athletic, but her credibility was lost early on when she had the make-out sessions with Vince McMahon. Her televised matches were meant more to draw ratings from the 35 to 40-year olds who weren’t getting laid than to feature an athletic wrestling encounter.

Lita was an excellent wrestler, of course. Her time spent in Mexico and the Indy’s made her an outstanding wrestler. It’s too bad her career was shortened by her injuries, relationship problems, and that ridiculous boob job she got before she retired. In the end, a marred legacy.

Certainly, Chyna was a phenomenal athlete, combining plenty of gymnastic-style acrobatics along with her power. I will recognize that there have certainly been a handful of good female athletes in the WWE Women’s Ranks. But all three of these women I just mentioned are out of the business, now. The crop of truly athletic female wrestlers is all but dried up on our TV sets.

Until Now. Enter Beth Phoenix.

Beth Phoenix, whose real name is Elizabeth Carolan née Kocanski, grew up less than an hour from where I grew up. She’s from Elmira, New York. As a teenager, I had to drive past that town on the way to get to the nearest mall.

What the community of wrestling fans may not realize is that Beth Pheonix is truly an accomplished wrestler. She’s not just 5 minutes of eye candy like Maria Kanellis. Beth Phoenix is a true athlete. In fact, as the Iron Sheik would say, Beth phoenix is a shooter.

According to her wiki, she was the first female member of the Notre Dame High School varsity wrestling team. Her legitimate wrestling experience does not stop there. She went on to become the North-East freestyle women's champion (72 kg weight class) in 1999. She was the 1999 women's champion (72 kg weight class) at the New York State Fair Tournament and was named the most outstanding wrestler that same year in the Brockport Freestyle Tournament.

Beth Phoenix dreamed of becoming a wrestler, and she belongs inside the ring.

Her resume makes her one of the most qualified members of the entire WWE roster.

I am a strength and conditioning coach, and I can honestly say that amateur wrestling is one of the most physically intense sports, requiring some of the highest levels of conditioning in order to excel. As a practitioner of many different styles of strength training and conditioning protocols, I respect any wrestler who has risen to be champion at any level.

My hat is off to Beth Phoenix and I wish her the best with her career. I hope this article increases the awareness of just how impressive Beth Phoenix’ athletic background is.

Image sources:
Walking to Ring
Wrestling Team

-Napalm Jedd-


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Hey I like your blog very sweet and Beth is bringing the womens division back hell yah!!

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