WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix was the latest superstar featured in the WWE Icons series, where the Glamazon spoke about the legendary Chyna’s influence on her, and how she paid tribute to the Ninth Wonder of the World during her first WWE title victory at No Mercy 2007. Highlights are below.
On feeling pressured to fit in:
I felt that pressure to fit in and to fit a stereotype and fit a mold, so I started unhealthily trying to lose weight. I was really obsessed and focusing on my weight. There was a point where the school counselor and my parents had to intervene and end up helping me get counsel through that time period. It was a point in my life where I realized body image was going to be a challenge for me and I had to find a way to learn to accept myself for who I was. Female representation was sparse in wrestling in the 80s and 90s.
On Chyna being an influence:
When Chyna came on the scene, I was just enamored. I’d seen female bodybuilders before, but Chyna was more than that. She was an athlete. She had that star power alongside all the men. It was just a lightbulb for me, and I was inspired like hell by Chyna. Anytime Chyna had a feature anywhere, I was scooping up fitness magazines to unlock those secrets of ‘how did she get that strength? How did she get that body?’ I want to be like that. So in my own mind, in my own journey of how I’m going to make it to WWE, I said, ‘I got to start with the wrestling team.
On paying tribute to Chyna after winning her first women’s championship:
The day of No Mercy 2007, I didn’t have a great costume made. The match was booked last minute and I didn’t expect it. I brought this corset to our seamstress Julie, who used to make Chyna’s outfits. I told her, ‘I really want to give a Chyna vibe. A powerful woman.’ The idea of the Glamazon was to be halfway between Chyna and Trish. I wanted to bring forward some of the things Trish did but at the same time, I want to be a powerful and mold-breaking woman like Chyna was. Julie blinged out [the corset] with crystals and I brought her a pair of briefs and she put a hunk of leather on it and gave me more crystals. For the little wrestling fan at home and in my heart, it was so special. I would continue to have parallels with Chyna along the way that was meaningful,” she said. “It’s such a mind-blowing thing because it’s the same title I watched Chyna, Trish, and Molly win. This piece of history was held by my heroes. What was really special was, I won the WWE Women’s Championship when I stopped trying to be the next Trish and I started being the first me.
(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)