Beth Phoenix

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Beth Phoenix
A blond woman smiles while wearing a black top, a silver necklace and a brooch in her hair.
Phoenix in 2011
Birth name Elizabeth Kocianski[1][2]
Born (1980-11-24) November 24, 1980 (age 33)[1]
Elmira, New York[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Beth Phoenix
Fabulous Firebird[3]
Firebird[1]
Phoenix[3]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[4][5]
Billed weight 150 lb (68 kg)[3]
Billed from Buffalo, New York[5][6]
Trained by Ron Hutchinson[3]
Joey Knight[1]
Robin Knightwing[1]
OVW
Debut May 2001[3]
Retired October 29, 2012

Elizabeth "Beth" Kocianski[1][2] (born November 24, 1980)[1] is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by her ring name Beth Phoenix. She is best known for her time with WWE, where she is a former WWE Divas Champion and a three-time WWE Women's Champion.

Kocianski had a successful amateur wrestling career in high school, before being trained by the All Knighters. After her debut in May 2001, she wrestled for numerous independent promotions, and was the inaugural GLORY Champion. She also appeared at the inaugural Shimmer shows. In 2004, she began working for Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), and signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in October 2005. She debuted on WWE's Raw brand in May 2006, but suffered a legitimate broken jaw the following month. As a result, she had numerous surgeries and returned to OVW for further training. While there, she twice won the OVW Women's Championship, although her second reign is not officially recognized.

She returned to the Raw brand in July 2007, and was heavily pushed, dominating the other WWE Divas and gaining the nickname, "The Glamazon". She won her first WWE Women's Championship at the No Mercy pay-per-view in October, and held it for six months. She then developed an on-screen relationship with Santino Marella, dubbed "Glamarella", and won the Women's Championship for a second time in August 2008, although she lost it in January 2009. In January 2010, at the Royal Rumble she became the second woman in history to enter the Royal Rumble match, and went on to win the Women's Championship for the third time in April, holding it for a month. In October 2011, Phoenix won the WWE Divas Championship for the first time and lost it in April 2012.

Amateur wrestling career[edit]

Kocianski began wrestling on the Elmira, New York Notre Dame High School scholastic wrestling team. She was the first female varsity wrestler in her high school's history.[1][4][5] She became the North-East freestyle women's champion (72 kg weight class) in 1999.[1] She also became the women's champion (72 kg weight class) at the New York State Fair Tournament in 1999.[1] At the time she was also a member of USA Wrestling, a freestyle wrestling association.[4][7] Her life goal was, according to her, to become a professional wrestler, and she believed that having a solid amateur background would help her reach it.[7]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Training and independent circuit (2001–2005)[edit]

After graduating from high school in 1998, she enrolled in both a professional wrestling school and Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Her first choice for wrestling school was Stu Hart's Dungeon, but because of the location, she decided on a more local school. At the school, she was trained by the All Knighters (Joey Knight and Robin Knightwing), who themselves had trained in the Hart Dungeon.[7] She later stated that Nora Greenwald had paid for her to attend wrestling school after Carolan had given her a demo tape of her work.[8] Her professional wrestling debut match was against Alexis Laree.[7] She then worked for various independent promotions, including Cleveland All Pro Wrestling and Apocalypse Wrestling, against both male and female wrestlers, using the name "Phoenix".[7][9] In 2002, she was one of the first wrestlers in GLORY, an independent organization for women, and was the inaugural champion.[1][9] She then joined Far North Wrestling (FNW), and was the only female wrestler in the promotion.[1] She defeated Joey Knight and Kevin Grace in 2003 to become the FNW Cruiserweight Champion.[1][7] Later in 2003 she took part in World Xtreme Wrestling's annual Women's Elite 8 tournament where she made it to the final, before losing to April Hunter. She returned two years later and defeated Nikki Roxx but was bested in the second round by eventual winner Alicia.[10] The following month, Phoenix appeared at the inaugural taping for the Ring of Honor sister promotion Shimmer Women Athletes; during Volume 1 she was pinned by Shimmer founder Allison Danger but scored an upset victory in a non-title match against NWA Midwest Women's Champion MsChif.[11]

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE[edit]

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2004–2007)[edit]

A blond woman pouts while wearing a white halter-neck top. She is standing in front of a red brick wall.
Phoenix in 2005, during her time in OVW.

She was invited to a tryout with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2004, and then relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to work for their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).[1][7] She debuted on OVW television in July 2004, having expanded her ring name to "Beth Phoenix", and became the on-screen girlfriend and valet of Chris Masters.[1][7] The storyline was short lived, and the following month Phoenix was repackaged as the manager of Aaron "The Idol" Stevens.[1] She signed a developmental contract with WWE on October 20, 2005, the same month that she broke her hand.[1][7] The duo was then joined by Shelly Martinez who Beth soon feuded with in early 2006.[1] Phoenix then stopped appearing regularly on OVW after debuting on WWE's Raw television show.

On August 16, 2006, Phoenix returned to action in OVW, defeating Serena. Phoenix began regularly competing for the OVW Women's Championship, unsuccessfully challenging the champion ODB in a battle royal and a four-way match, which was won by Serena. At the October 4 OVW television tapings, however, Phoenix defeated Serena to win the championship.[12] She lost the championship to Victoria Crawford in a gauntlet match on October 20, and won it back the next day; however, Crawford's title reign is not officially recognised, and as a result, neither is Phoenix's second reign.[13][12] Phoenix officially dropped the championship in a gauntlet match at the November 1 television taping, after she was eliminated by Katie Lea, who eventually won the match.[12]

On the November 6 episode of OVW, Phoenix came out with her own championship, and claimed to still be the women's champion.[3] As a result, a ladder match was set up, where the winner would become the undisputed OVW Women's Champion. Lea won the match and was presented with the title belt on the first show of 2007.[12] Throughout 2007, Phoenix continued to wrestle in numerous women's matches in OVW.[3] Phoenix made her last appearance in OVW at their August 15 television tapings where she lost to Lea in a number one contenders match.[3][14]

Trish Stratus' ally (2006)[edit]

A blonde woman sits on the turnbuckle of a wrestling ring, stradding the ring post, and facing the crowd while posing with her hands in the air. She is wearing a green and black catsuit with the sides of the torso removed to bare part of her midriff.
Phoenix during her ring entrance

Phoenix debuted on the May 8, 2006, episode of Raw as a fan favorite by attacking Mickie James while James was assaulting Trish Stratus.[5] After this incident, James berated Phoenix for "ruining everything" and questioned why she showed up in the first place.[15][16] A week later, Phoenix was formally introduced by Stratus and then attacked a distracted James on Stratus's behalf. When James finally escaped, Phoenix claimed that James had ruined her life and would not let her get away with it, before calling her a "psycho".[17] On the following episode of Raw, Phoenix attacked James after her match with Torrie Wilson.[18] Then, on the May 29 episode of Raw, Phoenix and Wilson (with Stratus in their corner) teamed together to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria, who had James in their corner.[19] During the June 5 episode of Raw, Phoenix suffered a legitimately fractured mandible during a match with Victoria, but was able to continue the match, and ended up victorious despite the injury.[5][20][21] She spent a year having surgeries and recovering, including getting a titanium plate and nine screws placed in her jaw, but she was only out of action for two months, as she returned to action in OVW instead of on the main roster.[4][6]

The Glamazon (2007–2008)[edit]

On the July 9, 2007, episode of Raw, Phoenix returned as a villain when Melina claimed to be injured. Phoenix replaced Melina in a tag team match as Jillian Hall's partner, and the two lost to Candice Michelle and Mickie James.[22] At the SummerSlam pay-per-view, Phoenix won the Interpromotional Divas battle royal to become the number one contender for Michelle's WWE Women's Championship.[23] Phoenix was then pushed as a dominating Diva, calling herself a "Glamazon" and attacking Mickie James, Jillian Hall, and Michelle on the September 10 episode of Raw.[24][25] At Unforgiven, however, she failed to capture the Women's Championship from Candice Michelle.[26] Their storyline rivalry continued when Phoenix pinned Michelle during a non-title mixed tag team match on Raw on September 24.[27]

A blond woman sits on the turnbuckle of a wrestling ring, facing away from the ring while having a leg on either side of the ring post. She is wearing a black halterneck corset with a short black skirt and black wrestling boots.
Beth Phoenix entering the ring

At the No Mercy pay-per-view in October, Phoenix defeated Michelle to win her first WWE Women's Championship.[28][29] She retained her belt on the October 22 Raw in a two out of three falls match, in which Candice Michelle was injured by Phoenix shaking the rope, causing her to fall off the top turnbuckle and legitimately break her clavicle.[30][31]

During a 10-Diva tag team match at Survivor Series, Phoenix's team lost after Melina was pinned by Mickie James.[32] On the November 26 episode of Raw, James defeated Melina in a number one contenders match for Phoenix's Women's Championship, setting up a title match between the two at Armageddon, a match in which Phoenix successfully defended her Women's title.[33][34] On New Year's Eve 2007, Phoenix successfully defended her title in a Triple Threat match against Melina and James, after pinning Melina.[35]

Phoenix along with then-ally Melina took part in the Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjack match at WrestleMania XXIV where she defeated Ashley and Maria by pinfall.[36] On April 14, 2008 Phoenix faced Mickie James with her Women's Championship on the line and lost, ending her reign as champion.[37] Phoenix also had a rematch on the May 5 episode of Raw but lost after Melina unintentionally hit her in the face with her boot.[38] On the May 12 episode of Raw, Phoenix and Melina partnered up to face James and Maria. During the match, Melina unintentionally knocked Phoenix off of the ring apron, resulting in Phoenix abandoning Melina which allowed James and Maria to pick up the win. Later that night, Melina and Phoenix fought with one another in a backstage segment, ending their alliance.[39] At Judgment Day, Phoenix failed to regain the Women's Championship in a Triple Threat match after James pinned Melina to retain the title.[40] At One Night Stand Phoenix defeated Melina in the first women's "I Quit" match in WWE.[41] The next night on Raw, Phoenix teamed with Katie Lea Burchill to defeat Melina and James in a tag team match.[42] She was pinned by James one week later in a non-title match and was once again attacked by Melina post-match.[43]

Glamarella (2008–2009)[edit]

A man and a woman pose together. The dark-haired man is standing on the left and is wearing a blue t-shirt with the Italian flag and the word 'Santino' written upon it, blue wrestling tights, and red kneepads. He is wearing a gold wrestling championship around his waist. The blond haired woman is standing on the right, wearing a black catsuit with the sides of the torso removed to bare part of her midriff. She is holding a wrestling championship upon her left shoulder and has her right arm outstretched.
Phoenix (right) and Santino Marella in November 2008 as Women's and Intercontinental Champion, respectively

After little over a month off television, Phoenix returned on the July 14 episode of Raw, where she defeated Santino Marella after he issued an open challenge to any WWE Superstar backstage, pinning him with a roll-up.[44] The storyline continued the following week after Marella lost to the returning D-Lo Brown. Phoenix confronted Marella after the match, and they briefly grappled with each other before unexpectedly sharing a kiss, to which both expressed considerable confusion.[45]

The two then became an onscreen supercouple, and the pairing of The Glamazon and Marella later became known by the portmanteau Glamarella.[46] Within the team she acted as the "straight-woman" of sorts, berating Marella or reacting in disbelief to his over the top, embarrassing antics. At SummerSlam, they defeated Kofi Kingston and Mickie James in an intergender tag team match. Phoenix pinned James, winning the Women's Championship, while Marella won Kingston's Intercontinental Championship.[5][46] She successfully defended the Women's Championship against Candice Michelle at No Mercy.[47]

On December 8, 2008, she received the "Slammy Award" for Diva of the Year.[48] Phoenix then began feuding with Melina, who had returned from injury in November. This storyline included the debut of Rosa Mendes, who was introduced as Phoenix's superfan. At the Royal Rumble in January 2009, Phoenix lost the Women's Championship to Melina.[49] At WrestleMania XXV, Phoenix competed in the 25 Diva battle royal, but was eliminated by Marella, who competed in drag, claiming to be his twin sister "Santina".[50] After WrestleMania, Glamarella split as Phoenix was unhappy with Santino pretending to be his twin sister 'Santina'. Phoenix had a brief scripted rivalry with both 'Santina' and Marella, and challenged 'Santina' for the "Miss WrestleMania" title, but was unsuccessful.[51][52][53]

Brand switch (2009–2010)[edit]

After a brief hiatus, Phoenix returned on the July 27 episode of Raw, teaming with Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes in a losing effort to Mickie James, Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly.[54] Phoenix had her first opportunity for the WWE Divas Championship being narrowly defeated by the defending champion, Mickie James, on the August 31 episode of Raw, after winning a number one contenders battle royal that same night.

A blonde haired woman wearing a red santa hat and red dress with a black belt.
Phoenix at the Tribute to the Troops event in December 2010.

On the October 12 episode of Raw, it was announced that Phoenix had been traded to the SmackDown brand for the first time in her career.[55] Phoenix made her in-ring debut for the brand on the October 30 episode of SmackDown, defeating Jenny Brooks, an "enhancement talent".[56] In January 2010, at the Royal Rumble, she entered the Royal Rumble match, eliminating The Great Khali, before she was eliminated by CM Punk. With her entry, she became the second woman in history to enter the Royal Rumble match, with the first being Chyna.[57]

After being told by Vickie Guerrero, the SmackDown consultant, that she would not be receiving a Women's Championship opportunity, Phoenix saved Tiffany from an attack by Guerrero, Michelle McCool and Layla on the March 12 episode of SmackDown. She then went on to defeat McCool and Layla in a tag team match involving Tiffany. The feud with McCool continued at WrestleMania XXVI, where they were on opposing teams in a 10-Diva tag team match, which Phoenix's team lost, although they won a rematch the following night on Raw. Phoenix received a match for the Women's Championship against McCool at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in April, and defeated McCool in an "Extreme Makeover" match to win her third Women's Championship.[58][59] On the May 6 episode of WWE Superstars, Phoenix tore her ACL in a match against Rosa Mendes, and as a result, one week later on SmackDown, McCool invoked her rematch clause to face Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match along with Layla. Layla pinned Phoenix to become the new WWE Women's Champion.[60]

Divas Champion (2010–2012)[edit]

She returned from her injury at November's Survivor Series pay-per-view, and attacked the former co-Champions McCool and Layla, after they lost the Divas Championship to Natalya.[61] Phoenix and Natalya then formed an alliance and at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view in December, Phoenix and Natalya defeated Lay-Cool in the first Diva's Tag Team Tables match in WWE history.[62][63]

As part of the 2011 Supplemental Draft on April 26, 2011, Phoenix returned to the Raw brand.[64] On the August 1 episode of Raw, Phoenix won a battle royal to become the number one contender to the WWE Divas Championship, and afterward attacked champion Kelly to provoke a feud, turning heel once again.[65][66] Phoenix later declared that she was tired of the "perky bimbos" that comprised the rest of the Divas division, and was on a mission to make a mockery of the other Divas, and was joined by Natalya to form The Divas of Doom.[67] Phoenix unsuccessfully challenged Kelly for the championship at SummerSlam.[68] Throughout September, The Divas of Doom feuded with Kelly and Torres on Raw and The Chickbusters (AJ and Kaitlyn) on SmackDown.[69][70][71] Phoenix challenged Kelly for the Divas Championship again at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, but was unsuccessful again.[72] At Hell in a Cell in October, Phoenix defeated Kelly to win the Divas Championship for the first time with help from Natalya.[73][74] In a rematch on the October 14 episode of SmackDown, Phoenix successfully retained the championship.[75] At the Vengeance pay-per-view, Phoenix successfully defended the championship against Torres.[76] Phoenix successfully retained her championship against Torres again at the Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 20 in a Lumberjill match, and against Kelly at Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 18.[77][78]

Phoenix with Eve Torres at WrestleMania 28 prior to taking on Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos.

Further successful defenses followed against Torres on the January 30, 2012, episode of Raw and Tamina Snuka at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.[79] Afterward, Phoenix competed only sporadically for a few months, including a tag team match at WrestleMania XXVIII, where she and Torres were defeated by Kelly and Maria Menounos.[80] On the April 6 episode of SmackDown, Phoenix lost to Nikki Bella in a non-title match, following Kelly's interference.[81] On the April 23 episode of Raw, Phoenix lost her Divas Championship to Nikki Bella in a lumberjill match, after suffering a storyline ankle injury.[82] At Extreme Rules, Phoenix was scheduled to face Nikki in a rematch for the Divas Championship, however she was not medically cleared to compete and was replaced by the returning Layla who ended up winning the title.[83] Phoenix made two unsuccessful attempts at regaining the Divas Championship from Layla, first at Over the Limit in May and second at No Way Out in June.[84][85]

In September, Kaitlyn was attacked by an unknown assailant. Upon her return she announced her assailant had been blonde, and Assistant SmackDown General Manager Eve Torres accused Phoenix before attacking her.[86] On the September 28 episode of SmackDown Phoenix was suspended by Torres, but the suspension was reversed by SmackDown General manager Booker T the same night.[87] On the October 1 episode of Raw, Phoenix lost to Torres.[88] On the October 29 episode of Raw, Phoenix was defeated by AJ Lee in a singles match, but the match was restarted by Raw Managing Supervisor, Vickie Guerrero, allowing Phoenix to win. After the match, in storyline, Guerrero fired Phoenix for her poor performance.[89] In reality, Phoenix had given her notice to WWE in September and left the company for family reasons.[90][91]

Other media[edit]

Phoenix, along with Candice Michelle and Layla El, appeared in the February 2009 issue of FLEX Magazine.[92]

Personal life[edit]

Kocianski was raised in Elmira, New York.[4] When she was eleven years old, she won a coloring contest with a prize of tickets to a television taping for World Wrestling Federation.[4] Kocianski credits this as when she fell in love with professional wrestling.[4] She cites Owen Hart and Ted DiBiase as her favorite wrestlers.[7] Kocianski attended Notre Dame High School, where she played tennis and ran track.[7] She was voted prom queen in her senior year.[93] Kocianski is a graduate from Canisius College with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and Public Relations.[93][94] While wrestling in OVW, Kocianski also worked as a waitress at a local restaurant.[95]

She was married to Joey Carolan, known by the ring name Joey Knight,[1][96] but they have since divorced.[97][98] In early February 2014, Adam Copeland announced the birth of his and Kocianski's daughter, named Lyric, born six weeks earlier.[99][100][101]

She is Polish-American. She identified Ivan Putski as her favorite wrestler growing up and frequently wore a Polish eagle on her in-ring attire.[102]

In wrestling[edit]

Phoenix performing the "Glam Slam" (an elevated double chickenwing facebuster) on Eve Torres in November 2011.
A blond woman sits on the turnbuckle of a wrestling ring, while facing away from the ring, with her legs on either side of the ring post. She is wearing a black and gold catsuit with the sides of the torso removed to bare part of her midriff, and is holding a wrestling championship in the air above her head.
Phoenix as the WWE Women's Champion.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • North-East Wrestling
    • Women's Champion (72 kg weight class) (1999)[1]
  • New York State Fair
    • Women's Champion (72 kg weight class) (1999)[1]

Professional wrestling[edit]

A blond woman, wearing a black and blue catsuit with the sides of the torso removed to bare part of her midriff, standing with both arms in the air while holding a gold statuette in her right hand and a wrestling championship in her left.
Phoenix as the WWE Women's Champion and with her Slammy Award
  • Far North Wrestling
    • FNW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)[1][3]
  • GLORY Wrestling
    • GLORY Championship (1 time)[9]

Notes[edit]

a Phoenix lost and regained the championship from Victoria Crawford during this reign; neither are officially recognized.[13]

References[edit]

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