Beth Phoenix gives unique perspective on Women’s Royal Rumble Match announcement

Beth Phoenix in the 2010 Royal Rumble Match

On Sunday, Jan. 28, the female Superstars of Raw and SmackDown LIVE will battle it out in the historic first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match, competing for a championship opportunity on The Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania 34.

Stephanie McMahon’s announcement at the end of Raw created a shockwave of excitement on social media, as Superstars past and present voiced their excitement at seeing the WWE Women’s division pulverize yet another barrier. Among those most elated was WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, a boundary-breaker in her own right as one of just three female Superstars to compete in the over-the-top-rope contest in its 30-year history.

“This isn’t something that occurred over a few years or even since I’ve been there. This has been a movement for  women for decades,” The Glamazon told “The Royal Rumble Match is a vindication for all of the women who have worked so hard over the years, and really, truly believed in themselves and the quality that they could produce. I feel like everybody’s contribution built to this moment.”

A decade after Chyna’s back-to-back Royal Rumble Match appearances in 1999 and 2000, Phoenix stormed the ring as the sixth entrant in 2010’s bout.

“Chyna was the woman that made me say ‘Whoa, I want to do something like that. I want to change the game,’” Phoenix said of Chyna’s Royal Rumble Match participation. “For me to be given an opportunity like that, I felt like it was a glass ceiling-breaking moment. It might not have changed the game, so to speak, but I felt like it put a little crack in that ceiling. I took it as such an honor.”

After an astonishingly swift sprint to the ring, Phoenix squared off against the seven-foot Great Khali, eliminating the titan with a strategic and wholly entertaining kiss. She would be eliminated moments later, and the match would be won, coincidentally enough, by her future husband and fellow WWE Hall of Famer Edge. Despite the brevity of her appearance, it made an incredible impact on The Glamazon.

The Great Khali kissed, then ousted by Beth Phoenix: Royal Rumble 2010

Beth Phoenix outwits The Great Khali with a kiss-and-conquer scheme that eliminates The Punjabi Playboy from the Royal Rumble Match on January 31, 2010.

“It was over in a hiccup, but it is the highlight of my career because I felt like I achieved what it was I admired so much about what Chyna had been doing,” the former Divas Champion and three-time Women’s Champion said. “The championships were amazing, don’t get me wrong, but for me that was something really special, even beyond that.”

Phoenix added that what made the experience even more special was the admiration she received from her male counterparts that night. Much like what Kharma would accomplish two years later in her Royal Rumble Match appearance, Phoenix had defied expectations.

“I feel like that’s what the WWE women have been doing all of these years — especially in the last couple of years,” Phoenix explained. “They’ve not only earned the respect of the male Superstars, but they’ve earned the respect of the crowd. The crowd is seeing how hard everyone is working and what they’re capable of, and I think that’s why the crowd is welcoming these new, historic challenges.”

And speaking of making history, Phoenix has some advice for the female Superstars competing in the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble Match on Jan. 28.

“Take a second and just be,” she said. “Enjoy that moment, and revel in that history that you’re making — that page you’re writing in the book of wrestling that no one can ever take away from you.”

Don’t miss the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match on Sunday, Jan. 28, streaming live on WWE Network.

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