The WWE's Divas division certainly takes a lot of heat, and much of it is warranted. One diva who has constantly performed at a high level for a very long time, though, is Beth Phoenix. Reports have surfaced that Beth is planning to retire. And while that would damage the credibility of the division even more, it is the best move for The Glamazon.
According to Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com, Beth is finishing up with the WWE and is planning to retire in October. It hasn't been confirmed by Phoenix herself, but there has been a mass exodus of divas from the WWE over the past several months, so it seems likely that Beth will follow suit.
Along with Natalya, Beth is unquestionably the WWE's best female worker. So the match quality in the Divas division will drop even further without her. The fact of the matter is, however, that Beth has not been utilized well since her 204-day reign as Divas Champion ended, as she has put over the likes of Layla and Kaitlyn on multiple occasions.
There isn't much compelling her to remain with the WWE. And as much as I and her other fans would prefer her not to leave, it may be in her best interests to move on.
Beth is only 31 years old, but she has been with the WWE since 2006, which is an eternity when it comes to female wrestlers within the company. I'm not sure why, but divas seem to have a much shorter shelf life than the men do in WWE. Few divas since the Attitude Era have lasted more than six years, so perhaps the time is perfect for Beth to leave.
I have no doubt that she can still compete at a high level, but she has suffered her fair share of injuries over the years, so retiring would help preserve her body.
If the writers were using her as a top diva in the title hunt, then I could understand outrage over her potential departure. But the WWE is clearly committed to Eve, with Kaitlyn in the mix as well, and I simply don't see Beth being put back in a prominent position for quite some time.
It isn't right, as she's the most complete diva in the company, but Beth would be stuck doing bikini battle royals rather than receiving ample television time if she stayed. The Divas division seems to be getting phased out slowly but surely, and Beth is in a bad spot either way.
Although Beth is a three-time Women's Champion and the second-longest-reigning Divas Champion ever, I can't help but think that her talent was squandered to some degree. She had some solid feuds and some great matches, but the WWE could have done so much with her over the past year especially, and it didn't.
The glaringly obvious thing to do would have been to have her and Natalya feud. They're the two best female workers in WWE, and they're close friends in real life, so the in-ring chemistry would have been fantastic. They teamed together as The Divas of Doom, and most expected them to eventually split and feud, but the storyline simply ended without explanation.
Another angle that most fans would have loved to have seen was a potential storyline with Kharma. Beth is the only diva with the size and strength to pose a challenge to Kharma, so a feud between them would have been fantastic. Kharma never made it back, however, and was ultimately released, which I believe contributed to Beth's downturn.
Beth is a serious female wrestler, and there simply isn't much room for those types in WWE right now. I'll certainly miss her if the reports are true, but I'm sure she'll excel in whatever other ventures she pursues, whether they're wrestling-related or not.
According to the report, Beth is going to retire from wrestling. But I wouldn't mind seeing her in TNA as part of the Knockouts division or even in Ring of Honor as the cornerstone for that women's division. WWE just isn't a place where female wrestlers can thrive right now, and it appears as though Phoenix has come to that realization.