Raising the bar

Raising the bar

Beth Phoenix likes to talk a good game. In every interview, she boasts of her strength and dominance over all the Divas in the ring. And Phoenix backs her words up — it's what Glamazons do. But while domination may be her "nature," The Glamazon is no one-trick pony. Ever since she was a little girl, she's been commanding respect and powering her way through obstacles and challenges.

"On the playground, I was definitely the baddest b*tch of them all," said Phoenix slyly. "I got everything I wanted, because frankly, I deserved it. A Glamazon gets what a Glamazon wants."

And her passion for sports-entertainment began as a young girl, watching wrestling on weekend mornings with her grandma. It was an experience The Glamazon will never forget, because it gave them the opportunity to bond. After watching countless hours with her grandma, sports-entertainment was always on the back of her mind … and come hell or high water, she was going make it. At Notre Dame High School in Elmira, N.Y., Phoenix began to blaze her own trail, becoming the first female on the wrestling team.

"When I first signed up, they took me into the principal's office and asked if it was a mistake. I told them no, and they pulled no punches with me. I trained with the boys and had to do special physical fitness tests to ensure I was able to wrestle."

The guys on the team saw how hard she worked, and respected her — just as she feels everyone in WWE does. And the boys she beat up? "You might want to ask them," The Glamazon said with a laugh. "They are still hiding under a rock somewhere."

But making it to WWE was a little more difficult … and college came first. Phoenix graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, with intentions of becoming a lawyer. Degree in hand, she threw caution to the wind and moved to Louisville, Ky., to pursue sports-entertainment full-time.

"All the time I was in college, I was going to wrestling school on the weekends. I felt like my education would be with me my entire life, but you're only young once," she explained. "But it's certainly not out of the question that I'd pursue something in the criminal justice field after I retire."

Phoenix also has a softer side, with a hidden skill the WWE Universe may be surprised to learn about.

"I've been classically trained in piano since I was little. My father was a pianist, so they started me early. I could read music before I could read words."

Added to her busy schedule of wrestling school on the weekends, Phoenix helped partially pay her way through college by playing the piano at a church.

"I was liturgical pianist," Phoenix recalled with a grin. "But those days are over."

Although her fingers may glide delicately across the ivory keys to the tune of Mozart, her sheer strength is in a genre all of its own. Her performance at Judgment Day, lifting both Melina and Women's Champion Mickie James over her shoulder at the same time, drew gasps from the crowd. But according to The Glamazon, moments like those are just the beginning … and it speaks for itself.

The Glamazon continues to take her game to next level, recently accepting Santino Marella's open challenge on Raw for any Superstar to face him. Putting her strength on display, Phoenix bodyslammed Marella and rolled the Italian Superstar up for the victory. It's just another notch on The Glamazon's belt, reminiscent of her high school career … ending with a braggadocios male hiding under a rock.

"Male, female, it doesn't matter. All I see when I look across the ring is an opponent," Phoenix explained of her victory. "I make a living in this business by winning. And whoever is across from me is going to fall to The Glamazon — because I am the ultimate presence."

But Phoenix won't stop there. Each time The Glamazon steps into the ring, she aims to set the bar even higher. There is no rest for the weary, or those who are complacent. Like beating Santino on Raw, sports-entertainment is full of opportunities for those who are willing to take it one step further.

"After I fought my way in the dark, WWE recognized and respected The Glamazon for the incredible entity that I am. It's not that I want to establish myself at the top of the food chain," Phoenix continued. "I want to establish myself as unlike anyone else who has come through WWE and the Divas Division."

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