Beth Phoenix sounds off on Extreme Rules, The Bella Twins’ firing and the new Divas Champion
The stage, it seemed, was set. As announced just days earlier, Beth Phoenix was to collide with newly minted Divas Champion Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules, where The Glamazon was determined to reclaim the butterfly-emblazoned title despite a debilitating ankle sprain. Even though Beth chose to fight through the pain on April 29 in Chicago’s Allstate Arena, though, she would learn that evening that she was not medically cleared to compete.
“I was in a state of shock,” a frustrated Beth told WWE.com in a phone interview from her home in Buffalo, N.Y. “I’d been told I would be allowed to compete regardless of the injury, but I guess when the doctor’s report came back it was a different story. It doesn’t matter. This is a road I’ve been down before. But I would have competed hurt – I’ve done that before too.”
Beth is no stranger to injury curtailing her dominance in the ring. In May 2010, she suffered an ACL tear that would keep her out of the ring for nearly seven months. Coincidentally, it was a similar injury last May that sidelined Layla, who stepped in for the hobbled Phoenix at Extreme Rules and captured Nikki’s Divas Title. Although the WWE Universe welcomed the English-born beauty back to WWE with open arms after her yearlong absence, Phoenix reacted to Layla’s triumph with clenched fists and gritted teeth when she learned about what transpired later that night. ( PHOTOS | RESULTS)
“Layla hasn’t earned anything,” Beth said with a hiss. “I mean, who’d she ever beat? No one should be No. 1 contender until I’m cleared. There shouldn’t have even been a Divas Championship Match at Extreme Rules.”
“I know Layla was out for a year," she continued. "Big deal! I had ACL surgery too, and I made it back in half the time. When I return, I’m not only going to beat up Layla, I’m going to bust her other knee, and make sure that she goes away and never comes back. She has no idea what she has gotten herself into.”
Beth’s descent from the apex of WWE’s Divas division began on the April 23 edition of Raw SuperShow, when she suffered a severe ankle sprain during a Divas Championship Lumberjill Match. It was that injury that would allow Nikki Bella to capitalize and snatch the title from Beth’s clutches. ( WATCH | PHOTOS)
“If it weren’t for my ankle and that unfortunate accident, I would still be Divas Champion today,” Beth added with a snarl, looking back on the defeat that ended her 204-day Divas Title reign. “I was a mere two weeks away from being the longest-reigning Divas Champion in history.”
Since The Glamazon’s championship loss and forced exile from the ring, the transformation of the Divas division is impossible to ignore. Not only is Layla its new champion, but Eve – fully embracing her new role as John Laurinaitis’ Executive Administrator – saw fit to fire both of The Bella Twins. Notwithstanding the fact that Eve was the one who delivered Beth’s disappointing medical news at Extreme Rules, The Glamazon can’t help but admire her WrestleMania XXVIII tag team partner’s decision to give Nikki & Brie their walking papers. ( WATCH)
“Eve’s making a statement in her role,” Beth said. “She’s flexing her muscles a little bit, and I respect that. Eve and I actually have a lot in common in that we’re both strong, powerful women wanting to get more in a man’s world. That said, I don’t like being talked down to, and I don’t like being taken for granted. If Eve ever challenges me, then she’s going to have her hands full.”
It’s not yet known when Beth will return to the ring, but if this injury has benefited The Glamazon in any way, it has given her time to think about her next move.
“When I came back from ACL surgery in 2010, I stepped right back into the title picture and participated in the first-ever Divas Tag Team Tables Match [at WWE TLC], which made history,” she affirmed. “For me right now, it’s all about how I can make history again.”