WWE Diva Beth Phoenix's Imminent Retirement Marks the End of an Era

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2012

From WWE.com
From WWE.com

Earlier this week, Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported that Beth Phoenix gave notice to WWE officials and is set to leave the company at the end of October.

While a top Diva leaving the WWE is certainly newsworthy, news of Phoenix's departure is hardly as much of a significant loss today than, say, if this story would have broken this time last year. 

The WWE Divas have been buried under the oversaturation of television content since Raw moved to three hours, and lost in the Diva obscurity has been Beth Phoenix. She has been seen scarcely on WWE TV, as of late, due the former Divas champion taking time off following a death in her family. 

Phoenix's presence in the Divas division added legitimacy to an often-embattled genre of WWE competition. Under the recently defunct John Laurinaitis era of talent relations, the WWE moved toward training models to be wrestlers in a hit-or-miss initiative that often took away from the quality of in-ring wrestling once made evident by the likes of Trish Stratus, Molly Holly and Lita.

Phoenix was anything but a trained model, and instead, infused a presence in women's wrestling unseen since the days of Bull Nakano and former Intercontinental and Women's Champion Chyna. 

Phoenix's above-average frame made her a candidate to compete in inter-gender competition as she became only the second woman to enter the Royal Rumble match in 2010 and holds a pinfall victory over male WWE Superstar Santino Marella. 

After signing Kharma in 2010, the WWE appeared to be serious about reinvigorating the Divas division as a dream feud between Phoenix and Kharma seemed all but certain. 

The feud, and match, never happened following Kharma's unexpected pregnancy and quiet subsequent release. Phoenix's de-emphasis and departure sealed the fate for a rivalry that could have rewritten women's wrestling in the WWE.

Phoenix's seven-year tenure with the WWE is a lifetime in Diva years. Traditionally, top WWE Divas leave their craft just as they're beginning to cement their legacies as premier performers. Phoenix's legacy, as a pretty, yet punishing, diva who carried a division, was cemented long before her impending exit.

With Phoenix gone, the talent pool in the WWE Divas division has shrunk—significantly. 

Currently a rebuilding project under a television model that has done it no favors, thus far, one has to wonder if Beth Phoenix leaving the WWE is an ominous sign of things to come for its Divas. 


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