Beth Phoenix Announced as Member of 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Class

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: WWE Lady Wrestler Beth Phoenix attends WWE's 4th annual WrestleMania art exhibit and auction at The Egyptian Ballroom at Fox Theatre on March 30, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)
Moses Robinson/Getty Images

WWE announced Monday that Beth Phoenix is the newest addition to the company's 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Phoenix was one of WWE's top female stars during her time in the ring. She held the Divas Championship on one occasion and was a three-time women's champion.

Phoenix spoke with For The Win's Josh Barnett about her induction: "When you are in WWE, you dream of that moment [in the future] when you get to reflect on your career and the things that you did and you get that wonderful individual honor. It seemed so far off in the distance for me [when I was wrestling]. I didn't know when—or if—I'd ever experience that feeling. I certainly didn't think I'd have that opportunity this early in my life. It's amazing and very, very humbling."

The departures of Lita and Trish Stratus—both of whom earned Hall of Fame inductions—in 2006 could've created a vacuum in the women's division, but Phoenix and Mickie James prevented that from happening. They also helped lay the groundwork for the women's revolution in 2015.

Phoenix and James were often heated rivals and traded the Women's Championship in late 2007 through 2008. They were perfect foils, with the former the monster heel and the latter the scrappy underdog:

Phoenix carved out a place in history in 2010 when she became the second woman to enter the Royal Rumble match. Prior to her elimination, she dumped The Great Khali over the top rope:

James, whom WWE released in 2010, made her WWE return at NXT TakeOver: Toronto in November before becoming a full-time member of the SmackDown Live brand in January. If James could make a successful comeback after spending years outside the company, the door may not be closed for Phoenix to step inside a WWE ring again.

With WWE's increased emphasis on women's wrestling, which continues to gain legitimacy, she'd undoubtedly be a welcome addition to Raw or SmackDown in the future.

Phoenix joins Diamond Dallas Page, Kurt Angle, Teddy Long and the Rock 'n' Roll Express as part of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

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