I cannot remember the last time I sat anticipating a match I knew was going to be done just as I was beginning to get invested in it. In about three-and-a-half minutes, the pair formerly known as the Divas of Doom put on a clinic that Phoenix's home audience of Buffalo ate up.
While SmackDown's audio is always touched up and edited for broadcast, you could not help but hear the reaction for the displays of strength from Beth Phoenix and Natalya, the last of their kind in the WWE Divas division.
The territory has shifted quite a bit since Beth Phoenix first signed a developmental deal in 2005. She arrived with the company at a time when the ladies wrestled for the WWE Women's Championship.
Dave "Fit" Finlay had trained the likes of Trish Stratus, Victoria (now known as Tara in TNA), Lita, and Molly Holly. Powerful women like Jazz, Ivory and Mickie James were spotlighted every week. Beth Phoenix was a natural fit for a roster like this.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said anymore. There are a number of speculations as to why the Divas division has become largely ignored, and you are free to use Google to dig into the gossip if you want. What is known for a fact, first mentioned by Wrestlinginc.com over a week ago, is that Beth Phoenix will be departing WWE.
It is nothing short of shocking to look back and note that Phoenix came up at the same time John Laurinaitis found Kelly Kelly and decided she would be a good fit for the new version of ECW that was launching in 2006.
While Kelly struggled to take off a bra during her first TV segment, Phoenix showed up as a lunatic who jumped a guard rail and attempted to beat the hell out of Mickie James. One week before Kelly performed her first striptease, Beth Phoenix broke her jaw in a match against Victoria. Not only did she finish the match, she won.
The strength she showcased in that match would stay with her throughout her career, not the least of which includes the time she spent alongside Natalya as the Divas of Doom.
Fed up with the blonde bimbos and perky little princesses running amok in WWE, the two most powerful women in the locker room formed a unit that helped Phoenix capture the WWE Divas Championship in a matter of months.
This was Phoenix's fourth championship after holding the retired Women's Championship three times. She was also only the second woman at the time to enter the Royal Rumble match.
We know all of these statistics already. I imagine a lot was running through Beth Phoenix's mind when she stepped into the ring in front of her hometown of Buffalo, NY against her former DoD partner Natalya.
Michael Cole had to obviously cover up for Phoenix, whose emotions overflowed as she burst into tears at the conclusion of the match. It was a heart-wrenching victory that came on the heels of a match that, with all due respect to the rest of the Divas, simply made the rest of them look embarrassing by comparison.
I hope this pending storyline involving Eve and who attacked Kaitlyn manages to involve both Beth Phoenix and Natalya until the Hell in A Cell pay per view and Beth gets one final shot at the Divas Championship, or even accompanies Natalya and watches her win one last time.
I am also going to secretly hope for a triple threat match between the three or even a Phoenix vs. Natalya encore on pay per view. I know it is a long shot, but it would be one hell of a way to send Beth Phoenix off as well as put the other Divas in the company on notice.
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