After a successful WWE Hall of Fame career, Beth Phoenix is rising to the occasion as a commentator for NXT. She is part of the brand’s next evolution, lending a female perspective and wealth of in-ring experience to the weekly broadcast now airing live Wednesday nights on USA Network. The gig is the result of a journey that began after receiving rave reviews for her Hall of Fame induction speech in 2017.
“I did my talking in the ring, but I got such a positive reception that night,” Phoenix reflected. “From there I got a phone call from Michael Cole asking if I would join him at the Mae Young Classic, just taking it all in. I go, and was told [Triple H, Paul Levesque] was wondering if I might want to call the dark match with the rest of the team. I had no experience or training.
“I certainly was not a talker as a talent, but they liked what they heard. I gave it my best try. I talked to all the girls that were involved and got some background information. That one opportunity turned into calling a match at WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble, Evolution and the Mae Young Classic. Percy Watson decided to retire from NXT, and they were looking for somebody to fill the spot.”
“The Glamazon” exuded strength and confidence walking the aisle for a match, but admittedly felt insecure. The former women’s champion had a lot of reservations. However, a talk with husband and fellow WWE Hall of Famer Adam Copeland (Edge), helped ease her concerns.
“He said, ‘Listen, you don’t know if you don’t try. Give it a shot.’ I did and got a chance to do TakeOver, and it was such an amazing, invigorating experience to be sitting next to Mauro [Ranallo] and Nigel [McGuinness],” Phoenix recalled. “To be taking in the atmosphere and enjoy the NXT audience live, I thought at that moment, ‘I got to do this.’”
The increase in travel and regular work commitments has been an adjustment for the Copeland family. The working mom of two is grateful to have such a strong support system in keeping things running in the household.
“Before Adam and I got married we called each other partners because we always felt like we were more than boyfriend and girlfriend,” she said. “We had our children before we got married, so we were always partners in life. I think that truly describes our relationship. My husband has worked as an actor for several years and I was staying at home and manage the household and made a lot of sacrifices for him. He would be gone for weeks and weeks at a time.
“Cheap plug here, he has appeared on Vikings for several seasons. He would live in Ireland for months at a time, so I was managing the household. Now that I have an opportunity to work and be a part of NXT, he tagged out. Now I’m the one going and traveling, and he is home with the kids. He is the best dad. Anyone that knows Adam knows he is the best dad. He does everything that I could ever ask for. He is such a great, fun person, and truly loves our girls more than anything in the world. So, I have no reservations going to work because I know our kids are super happy to have dad home and enjoying some of the chaos.”
Keeping all that in mind doesn’t erase the sting Phoenix feels leaving for two days. The last time she was on the road weekly, kids weren’t in the picture. At the same time the budding broadcaster feels blessed to have it only be for two days.
“I’m very fortunate that I have a short work schedule, and I can be home with my kids to take them to apple orchards or go to the lake and do things together,” she added.
On the work end, she is equally appreciative to those who have helped her grow in such a short time frame. It has been a crash course into broadcasting. The trial by fire, often unpredictable environment, the likes of mentors Tom Phillips, Vic Joseph, Renee Young and Cole know too well.
“I look up to them all. Of course, there also is my broadcast colleagues Mauro and Nigel,” she said. “Nigel has been just so patient with me and helping me understand there is a lot of traffic in the commentary position. Mauro is amazing. He brings such an emotional element to this.
“And if you can’t get fired up by Mauro, you have a problem because he is just so excited with everything he does. He also contributes a lifetime of experience. Honestly, everybody on the broadcast team has been wonderfully helpful to me. I take something different from each person because everyone has their own style. Then I take that and use it to find my own voice.”
Even though focus is turned away from the squared circle, she doesn’t rule out one more Glam Slam. It was just this year Phoenix competed alongside good friend and longtime tag partner Natalya for a series of matches.
“Nobody is ever retired. I love what I’m doing. I’m in the twilight of my career, and the women’s division is just fine without me,” Phoenix said. “If I never wrestle again, I’m totally happy with what I’m doing. Then if there were ever an opportunity to help build a new talent, that’s what is most important because I’m on the outs.
“So, we want to build up these new talents that are going to be there to help creates this product and creates superstars that gives us positive role models for the future. I say never write off anything at the same time. Opportunities come up like this one. I’m so happy doing what I’m doing. Building female roles in other parts of the company is just as important as the women wrestling and becoming equal to the men.”
WWE NXT airs live Wednesdays at 8/7c on USA Network