The last time Beth Phoenix wrestled in a WWE Pay per view – the 2020 Royal Rumble – she fought through a legitimate injury sustained early in the match and went on for over 20 minutes in the women’s rumble match, and as she prepares to make her in-ring return after two years, she will be hoping to stick to the plan this time around. Teaming up with her husband Adam Copeland, aka Edge, in a mixed tag team match against the team of The Miz and his wife Maryse, Phoenix is excited to work with her husband and fulfil their table talks dreams. News18.com caught up with the three-time WWE Women’s Champion as she discusses her motivation for the return, motherhood, what she sees in Rhea Ripley, NXT 2.0 among other things.
How excited are to be back in the ring for the premium live event and that too teaming up with Edge. The chemistry has to be there, any worries of ring rust?
Am so excited because Royal Rumble is my absolute favourite pay per view. Since I was a little kid we used to take bets on who is going to come out next and we had big parties with all my buddies and my brother. I always feel a bit attached to the Royal Rumble PPV, so exciting to see legends come back to participate, and now, on top of everything, I get this once in a lifetime opportunity to tag with my husband, and steal his entrance music for the evening and perform together and kind of fulfil together a lot of our dreams, lot of the table talks that has happened over the years. It is my favourite pay per view, favourite event and to be there with my entire family and to perform will be great.
The last time you competed in the WWE ring was in the 2020 Royal Rumble, and you suffered an injury and yet went on a fair distance despite that. Can you talk me through what happened, how you coped with that? You clearly showed the toughness that night that you were known throughout your career.
I had an injury where I accidentally bumped the back of my head onto the ring post and unfortunately suffered a laceration on my scalp and I was bleeding throughout. I was in the match for 30 odd minutes, quite a considerable amount of time with the injury. WWE medical checked my out to make sure that I was safe to go and I was fine; I did not have any wooziness or anything. It was quite an experience, I had a lot of family members there and we had kind of debated whether or not we were going to bring our children – 3 and 6 at that time – to the event and I am really glad that we didn’t. Because I would not have wanted them to be scared seeing mom injured. Nevertheless, it was a great experience in the sense it reminded me … I always had doubts and insecurities about whether I can still perform to the level I used to when I was full time with WWE, but in that instance I really felt proud that I could overcome a situation like that and still be my best and perform and go the distance.
Talking about Edge, what an unbelievable run he has had since he returned full-time. He has had fantastic programmes with Randy Orton, Seth Rollins Rollins and now The Miz. As someone who have seen him the closest in terms of returning to the ring, still operating at the highest level and the hard work he is putting in, how do you see this second wind, so to speak, for Edge, and has that been a motivating factor for you to make a return as well?
So, Adam always inspired me, long before this run with the WWE; just his constant refusal to give up on his dreams and things he wants. He was pursuing his acting full time in all of this, I mean nothing would get in his way. He did hundreds of auditions, went to LA for pilot seasons. I think the one thing to mention here is Adam’s wrestling career, all that he ever wanted to do from the time he was little, was torn away from him. He did not make the choice to walk way. He had this thing he had earned, taken and so he had to adjust. Nut, he did not let it distract him, he did not spiral down; he had grief and he dealt with it and then he funnelled that energy in a positive way.
Also, at that time we were ready to have a family and we started focusing on being the best parents we could be, which our priority in life is across the board. So Adam inspires me top to bottom to be the best version of me I can be, and that is not necessarily just in wrestling, but everything in life. Whatever I am doing, working on or pursuing, he has really inspired me to go forward. That’s why when we were approached to have this match in the Royal Rumble, I had to say yes. Because we always think of once in a lifetime opportunities, and this is one of those opportunities. So we thought, let’s grab it and go for it.
Is there still one more championship run left in Beth Phoenix or there are many more. Will we see you regularly in the ring now?
You know, I never close the doors on anything; even in with my commentating career, right now it was not the right decision for us, because our children are at an age where they need their mom around more. Once a wrestler always a wrestler. There is only two things in life I ever wanted to be that was to be a professional wrestler and a mother and I will always be those two things, even if I am 100 years old – I will be May Young (chuckles). So many of my friends and family are involved in WWE, I have deep ties in wrestling so it will always be a part of me. I know I did not answer your question, but that was by design. But, see how I went all the way around it.
Speaking about woman’s wrestling, this is a great time to be a female wrestler. Even when you were at the height of your powers you were a trailblazer, and now, what is your take when you see the amount of female talent on display not just in WWE, but across promotions?
I love it! This is what we worked for, you know I think of prior generations and how they made the best of what was available to them. I think about Luna Vachon, Sherri Martell, May Young and The Fabulous Moolah. Hoe these female stars who were trying to forge a bigger path for those who come after them, and having daughters myself my whole objective in life is to make the world a better place for them and I hope they perceive the same thing. So I am so happy to see the women now, it is not like, ‘oh see here are the women wrestlers’. They are now just considered superstars alongside the men and equally important to the show. It is no longer out of the question to see women main-eventing shows; main-eventing WrestleMania, the highest honour in our business. It has been long time coming for that and am so proud of today’s generation on not only getting the opportunities but crushing them went they get it.
You have talked about Rhea Ripley recently, is she somebody you would like to work with or maybe team up?
I adore Rhea Ripley. I relate this a lot to motherhood. I see my own daughters growing up into the people they are becoming, the young ladies they are becoming. I have known Rhea since when she was barely 20 years old. She came to the US from Australia for the inaugural May Young Classic and she was in this giant scramble among talented women from all over the world. So young and so willing to just give it her all. I could tell she had not quite found herself in that moment – there was lot of comparison to charlotte and she had a lot of growing to do, to find who she is; which everybody does at that age. And I watched her do that and it was a pleasure in NXT to kind of watch her find herself, and find who she is and the skin she is comfortable in. So I am so proud for her and I love seeing her flourish as a superstar. We got to take a picture together at RAW this past week, which was something I have been wanting to do, because you know I wanted to see like Thea Ripley in her final form besides the Glamazon, and if our paths never cross again in wrestling, at least we will have that moment in time. But she is a talent I absolutely will love to work with at any capacity. She is awesome.
Hell’s Maidens. pic.twitter.com/duNZzGQ0YB
— Beth Phoenix (@TheBethPhoenix) January 18, 2022
You were in NXT for a lengthy spell. What is your take on NXT 2.0, replacing the black and gold brand? While many like this change in direction, some are not taking to it. Where do you stand on it and what is your take on the current talent roster in NXT 2.0 and how different are they from their predecessors?
Wrestling is always evolving, we have eras, generations. We had the attitude era, Ruthless aggression era and we had generations of wrestlers and it comes from like the kid that grew up watching, like myself, get inspired and then they become wrestlers and they bring forward some of their flavour, and the inspiration from the wrestlers they grew up watching and that is what we are seeing now in NXT 2.0. It is a generation of brand new wrestlers, really young talent coming into the fold having watched the previous generation. I think brightening up the colours, changing the brand a little bit is good to give everybody a fresh perspective, keeps challenging everybody to grow; because the worst thing in any performance business is complacency. You want to keep a fire lit under everybody’s rear end because you want to keep making the product better and better
Watch the LIVE coverage of WWE Royal Rumble 2022 on SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) and SONY TEN 4 (Tamil and Telugu) channels on January 30, 2022, from 6:30 am (IST). Repeat telecast: 11:00 am; 8:00 pm