Return of the Phoenix
A little more than one year ago Beth Phoenix stepped into the ring for her first singles match on Monday Night Raw. The outcome wasn't at all what she or anyone else could have predicted -- a broken jaw from a concrete-fisted shot to the face from Victoria.
The injury placed Beth on the shelf for the remainder of 2006, and half of 2007. Her return to the ring on Monday when she filled in for an "injured" Melina was almost as big of a surprise as the ending of her first match. Laying low and staying "out of sight, out of mind" while on injured reserve worked flawlessly upon her surprise return.
"My return was definitely strategic; it was definitely time to get back in the ring," Beth said. "I went through a lot to come back. It took two titanium plates and nine screws to fix my jaw, and that's all I've thought about since it happened. Before my match, the only thought I had went back to last year; how I was laid up in the hospital, how my jaw was broken in three places and misaligned so I couldn't even talk."
The pain pulsating from her mangled jaw and the surgery it took to fix it was nothing compared to the pain of watching other Raw Divas compete on national television while etching their mark in the fabrics of WWE history. The backlog of disdain that built up for the Divas healthy enough to compete (as well as chew food or talk) instilled in Beth a necessity to prove that the injury she suffered wasn't a case of glass jaw. Instead, it was a freak accident that only postponed the inevitable.
"From the time I was able to exercise again, I worked on honing my craft and ultimately becoming more dangerous," she said. "All the time on the shelf only made me angrier and more focused at reaching the top of WWE."
However, who does her anger target? The Women's Championship only fits around one waist, which makes her coalition with former Women's Champion Melina extremely peculiar.
"The other Divas are intimidated by me -- as they should be," she scoffed. "I'm here to make an impact. Making friends is not on my agenda. Don't get me wrong, all the Divas have to share space and have to be professional, but whoever is in my way will be plowed over if they don't move."
But that didn't answer the question regarding her alliance with one of WWE's most notorious gold-driven Divas.
"Look, it's simple: I'm here to do what's best for me and my career to make it to the top," she snapped. "It's time for me to make up for all the time I lost when I was hurt; as I said, taking out my anger on any person who gets in my way of getting to the top."
Now that Beth has returned to Raw and has apparently chosen to align herself with Melina, she may want to worry less about re-injuring her jaw and worry more about the new enemies she forged her first night back.