beth phoenix
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Beth Phoenix Doesn’t Believe Stacy Keibler And Torrie Wilson Get Credit For The Athletes They Were

Beth Phoenix has a lot of respect for all of the women she shared the road with during her WWE career.

WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix was a recent guest on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw to discuss a wide variety of subjects. When asked about the transition of the women’s division from the Attitude Era to the Ruthless Aggression Era, Phoenix said that transition is what led her to wanting to get involved with the company in the first place.

“Oh, yeah. And I think that’s why I got frantic about getting in because I’m like, I want to do that. I want to do that. I don’t want to stand on the ground and clap. I want to do what they’re doing. And I think I might have just been a little bit like there was a few girls in my lane, but we were all just kind of getting moving and seeing this happen on television.”

Phoenix pointed out that while Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler were phenomenal athletes, they were just being used for what the WWE brand was at the time, which was a more sexualized approach.

“And I will say just like you mentioned Stacy [Keibler] and Torrie [Wilson]. I think that Fit Finlay was kind of going against the grain at that time. He was the naughty one that was willing to stand up and get in trouble to give the women just — what’s the old saying? Give an inch; take a mile. Fit would take that mile. He wanted to see the women given the respect that the men were given.

“Actually, I’ll say this too, it had nothing to do with ability: Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, phenomenal athletes. I mean, these women are athletes. Every woman that came into our business and did the travel schedule were athletes, and they’re tough as hell. But it was about branding, like our company is an entertainment business, and the brand at the time was more sexualized. So the women were just providing what the brand was. That was our brand.

As many other women have in the past, Phoenix credits Fit Finlay for helping change the brand perception of WWE’s women’s division into a more competitive brand that would be taken seriously by the fans.

“And with the help of Fit Finlay, like I said, taking that mile, we started changing the brand, and there was a demand for this new brand of more competitive matches. And so I was seeing that happen before my eyes, and the women were kind of like, okay, well, we’ll dress in a certain way that’s attractive. We’ll present ourselves with a star quality and sexually. It’s great if you want to look at us, it’s great. But while you’re looking at us, we’re gonna keep your attention.

“We’re not just capturing attention; we’re going to keep it and tell a story. And you’re going to get to know us as characters. And so I loved seeing that happen. And I loved seeing the diversity grow as we started changing, and then you started bringing in someone like Jazz, who really was an underrated athlete in her own right.

“But then you had someone like Trish Stratus that was proving ground for Trish who would come in and been kind of booked like a model in the beginning. And for her to have these competitive matches with Molly, Victoria, Jazz, and Lita. Then we saw the perception change, and that has led to the group that we have today.”

READ MORE: Beth Phoenix On Her In-Ring Future: We’re Just Taking It One Day At A Time

What do you make of Beth Phoenix’s comments? Have you enjoyed the evolution of WWE’s women’s division over the last two decades? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.

If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw with a link back to this article for the transcription.