In a backstage segment shorter than most commercial breaks, Vickie Guerrero fired "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix, writing the last chapter of Phoenix's WWE career.
As WWE's best female wrestler for much of her tenure with the company, she deserved more than that for her farewell.
Being written out of Raw is expected, but not in a way that felt so much like an afterthought.
No one is confusing Phoenix for Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair, so going out at WrestleMania was never an option, but there had to be a way to honor her work with something a little more grand, something more significant.
She didn't even put over a young star on her way out.
Informed fans knew of Phoenix's impending departure long before it happened. Wrestlinginc.com reported that Phoenix would be leaving the company in October and retiring from wrestling. Word got out.
No one can blame her for wanting to leave.
Did Phoenix Just Lose Her Smile?
How can you keep your passion for pro wrestling after being asked to lose to Nikki Bella, to hold the Divas title but rarely defend it at pay-per-views, to constantly be underutilized?
Phoenix spent much of her time with WWE being the relief pitcher in the bullpen who is only asked to throw to one hitter every eight games. They treated her like a marginal talent at times.
In a pre-WrestleMania Twitter rant, Phoenix tweeted:
"I'm sick of being pushed aside and forgotten about. I am the Divas Champion and I get ZERO respect. I should be featured in magazines, being a guest star. The entire WWE has it all backwards."
Maybe this was strictly meant to hype up her match with Maria Menounos, but it wouldn't have taken much imagination on Phoenix's part to come up with these thoughts.
Yes, they put several championships around her waist, but they also gave those titles little importance. When CM Punk began his "don't disrespect me" campaign, Phoenix should have been screaming right alongside him.
Not that WWE disrespecting women wrestlers comes as a surprise.
Regardless of their in-ring ability, WWE's Divas are rarely given more than a few minutes to perform. They rarely get any significant storylines to enhance their matches.
These kinds of frustrations had Gail Kim desperate to leave the company.
Aside from a paycheck, what was Phoenix's incentive to stick around? She was never going to get anywhere near her full potential there.
According to an interview on diva-dirt.com, Natalya and Phoenix had been petitioning for the first-ever WWE Divas ladder match.
WWE never let them make that piece of history.
Phoenix proved how spectacular she could be with the aid of a ladder when she faced Katie Lea in a ladder match for the Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Championship on Dec. 13, 2006. She never got to recreate that magic in WWE.
The tail end of Phoenix's WWE run was rife with missed opportunities.
She could have been what Chyna was to the Attitude Era, but so much more. Why didn't she have a long, bitter feud with Natalya where they put on great match after great match?
Why was she missing from WWE programming as much as she was?
Phoenix's bio will read well: second woman ever to compete in the Royal Rumble, three-time Women's Champ, one-time Divas champ.
That info belies the fact that WWE had a spectacular wrestler on its roster who it flat out wasted in the last years of her tenure. It's only fitting that her exit from the company would be so underwhelming.
WWE poked holes in her a long time ago and the last of the air finally wheezed out.
Phoenix deserved so much more. If fans are lucky, she'll change her mind about retirement and find a wrestling home elsewhere.
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