Elizabeth "Beth" Kocianski (born November 24, 1980) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by her ring name Beth Phoenix. She is best known for her time with WWE, where she is a former WWE Divas Champion and a three-time WWE Women's Champion.
Kocianski had a successful amateur wrestling career in high school, before being trained by the All Knighters. After her debut in May 2001, she wrestled for numerous independent promotions, and was the inaugural GLORY Champion. She also appeared at the inaugural Shimmer shows. In 2004, she began working for Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), and signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in October 2005. She debuted on WWE's Raw brand in May 2006, but suffered a legitimate broken jaw the following month. As a result, she had numerous surgeries and returned to OVW for further training. While there, she twice won the OVW Women's Championship, although her second reign is not officially recognized.
She returned to the Raw brand in July 2007, and was heavily pushed, dominating the other WWE Divas and gaining the nickname, "The Glamazon". She won her first WWE Women's Championship at the No Mercy pay-per-view in October, and held it for six months. She then developed an on-screen relationship with Santino Marella, dubbed "Glamarella", and won the Women's Championship for a second time in August 2008, although she lost it in January 2009. In January 2010, at the Royal Rumble she became the second woman in history to enter the Royal Rumble match, and went on to win the Women's Championship for the third time in April, holding it for a month. In October 2011, Phoenix won the WWE Divas Championship for the first time and lost it in April 2012.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
After graduating from high school in 1998, she enrolled in both a professional wrestling school and Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Her first choice for wrestling school was Stu Hart's Dungeon, but because of the location, she decided on a more local school. At the school, she was trained by the All Knighters (Joey Knight and Robin Knightwing), who themselves had trained in the Hart Dungeon. Her professional wrestling debut match was against Alexis Laree. She then competed with various independent promotions, including Cleveland All Pro Wrestling and Apocalypse Wrestling, against both male and female wrestlers, using the name "Phoenix". In 2002, she was one of the first wrestlers in GLORY, an independent organization for women, and was the inaugural champion. She then joined Far North Wrestling (FNW), and was the only female wrestler in the promotion. She defeated Joey Knight and Kevin Grace in 2003 to become the FNW Cruiserweight Champion. Later in 2003 she took part in World Xtreme Wrestling's annual Women's Elite 8 tournament where she made it to the final, before losing to April Hunter. She returned two years later and defeated Nikki Roxx but was bested in the second round by eventual winner Alicia.
The following month, Phoenix debuted for Shimmer Women Athletes as a villainess at Volume 1 in a losing effort to Allison Danger. She would defeat MsChif at Volume 3.
Ohio Valley Wrestling (2004–2007)Edit
She was invited to a tryout with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2004, and then relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to work for their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). She debuted on OVW television in July 2004, having expanded her ring name to "Beth Phoenix", and became the on-screen girlfriend and valet of Chris Masters. The storyline was short lived, and the following month Phoenix was repackaged as the manager of Aaron "The Idol" Stevens. She signed a developmental contract with WWE on October 20, 2005, the same month that she broke her hand. The duo was then joined by Shelly Martinez who Beth soon feuded with in early 2006. Phoenix then stopped appearing regularly on OVW after debuting on WWE's Raw television show.
On August 16, 2006, Phoenix returned to action in OVW, defeating Serena. Phoenix began regularly competing for the OVW Women's Championship, unsuccessfully challenging the champion ODB in a battle royal and a four-way match, which was won by Serena. At the October 4, 2006 OVW television tapings, however, Phoenix defeated Serena to win the championship. She lost the championship to Victoria Crawford in a gauntlet match on October 20, and won it back the next day; however, Crawford's title reign is not officially recognised, and as a result, neither is Phoenix's second reign. Phoenix officially dropped the championship in a gauntlet match at the November 1 television taping, after she was eliminated by Lea, who eventually won the match.
On the November 6 episode of OVW, Phoenix came out with her own championship, and claimed to still be the women's champion. As a result, a ladder match was set up, where the winner would become the undisputed OVW Women's Champion. Lea won the match and was presented with the title belt on the first show of 2007. Throughout 2007, Phoenix continued to wrestle in numerous women's matches in OVW. Beth made her last appearance in OVW at their August 15, 2007 TV tapings where she lost to Lea in a number one contenders match.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWEEdit
Trish Stratus's ally (2006)Edit
Phoenix debuted on the May 8, 2006 episode of Raw as a fan favorite by attacking Mickie James, who was assaulting Trish Stratus. After this incident, James berated Phoenix for "ruining everything" and questioned why she even showed up in the first place. A week later, Phoenix was formally introduced by Stratus and then battered a distracted James on Stratus's behalf. When James finally escaped, Phoenix claimed that James had ruined her life and would not let her get away with it, before calling her a "psycho". On the following episode of Raw, Phoenix attacked James after her match with Torrie Wilson. Then, on the May 29, 2006 episode of Raw, Phoenix and Wilson (with Stratus in their corner) teamed together to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria, who had James in their corner. During the June 5, 2006 episode of Raw, Phoenix suffered a legitimately fractured mandible during a match with Victoria, but was able to continue the match, and ended up victorious despite the injury. She spent a year having surgeries and recovering, including getting a titanium plate and nine screws placed in her jaw, but she was only out of action for two months, as she returned to action in OVW instead of on the main roster.
The Glamazon (2007–2008) Edit
Phoenix returned as a villainess on the July 9, 2007 episode of Raw, when Melina claimed to be injured. Phoenix replaced Melina in a tag team as Jillian Hall's partner, and the two lost to Candice Michelle and Mickie James. At the SummerSlam pay-per-view, Phoenix won the Interpromotional Divas battle royal to become the number one contender for Michelle's WWE Women's Championship. Phoenix was then pushed as a dominant heel, calling herself a "Glamazon" and attacking Mickie James, Jillian Hall and Candice on the September 10 episode of Raw. At Unforgiven, however, she failed to capture the Women's Championship from Candice Michelle. Their storyline rivalry continued when Phoenix pinned Candice during a non-title mixed tag team match on Raw on September 24. At No Mercy on October 7, the evil Phoenix defeated Candice to win her first WWE Women's Championship. She retained her belt on the October 22 Raw in a two out of three falls match, in which Candice Michelle was injured by Phoenix shaking the rope, causing her to fall off the top turnbuckle and legitimately break her clavicle.
During a 10-Diva Tag match at Survivor Series, Phoenix's team lost after Melina was pinned by Mickie James. On the November 26 episode of Raw, James defeated Melina in a number one contenders match for Phoenix's Women's Championship, setting up a title match between the two at Armageddon, a match in which Phoenix successfully defended her Women's title. On New Year's Eve 2007, Phoenix successfully defended her title in a Triple Threat match against Melina and James, after pinning Melina.
Phoenix, along with then-ally Melina, took part in the Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjack match at WrestleMania XXIV where she defeated Ashley and Maria by pinfall. On April 14, Phoenix faced Mickie James with her Women's Championship on the line and lost, ending her reign as champion. Phoenix also had a rematch on the May 5 episode of Raw but lost after Melina unintentionally hit her in the face with her boot. On the May 12 episode of Raw, Phoenix and Melina partnered up to go against James and Maria. During the match, Melina unintentionally knocked Phoenix off of the ring apron, resulting in Phoenix abandoning Melina and James and Maria picking up the win. Later that night, in a backstage segment, Melina and Phoenix fought with one another, ending their alliance. At Judgment Day, Phoenix failed to regain the Women's Championship in a Triple Threat match after James pinned Melina to retain the title. At One Night Stand, the villainous Beth defeated Melina in the first ever Divas "I Quit" match. The next night on Raw, Phoenix teamed with Katie Lea Burchill to defeat Melina and James in a tag team match. She, however, was pinned by James one week later in a non-title match and was once again attacked by Melina post-match.
After little over a month off television, Phoenix returned on the July 14 edition of Raw, where she defeated Santino Marella after he issued an open challenge to any WWE Superstar backstage, pinning him with a roll-up. The storyline continued the following week after Marella lost to the returning D-Lo Brown. Phoenix confronted Marella after the match, and they briefly grappled with each other before unexpectedly sharing a kiss, to which both expressed considerable confusion.
The two then became an onscreen supercouple, and the pairing of The Glamazon and Marella later became known by the portmanteau Glamarella. Within the team she acted as the "straight-woman" of sorts, berating Marella or reacting in disbelief to his over the top, embarrassing antics. At SummerSlam, they defeated Kofi Kingston and Mickie James in an intergender tag team match. Phoenix pinned James, winning the Women's Championship, while Marella won Kingston's Intercontinental Championship. She successfully defended the Women's Championship against Candice Michelle at No Mercy.
On December 8, 2008, she received the "Slammy Award" for Diva of the Year. Phoenix then began feuding with Melina, who returned from injury in November 2008. This storyline included the debut of Rosa Mendes, who was introduced as Phoenix's superfan. At the Royal Rumble in January 2009, Phoenix lost the Women's Championship to Melina. At WrestleMania XXV, Phoenix competed in the 25 Diva battle royal, but was eliminated by Marella, who competed in drag, claiming to be his twin sister "Santina". After WrestleMania, Glamarella split as Phoenix was unhappy with Santino pretending to be his twin sister 'Santina'. Phoenix had a brief scripted rivalry with both 'Santina' and Marella, and challenged 'Santina' for the "Miss WrestleMania" title, but was unsuccessful.
After a brief hiatus, Phoenix returned on the July 27 episode of Raw, teaming with Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes in a losing effort to Mickie James, Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly. Phoenix had her first opportunity for the WWE Divas Championship being narrowly defeated by the defending champion, Mickie James, on the August 31 episode of Raw, after winning a number one contenders battle royal that same night.
Feud with LayCool (2009–2011) Edit
On the October 12 episode of Raw, it was announced that Phoenix had been traded to the SmackDown brand for the first time in her career. Phoenix made her in-ring debut for the brand on the October 30 episode of SmackDown, defeating Jenny Brooks, an "enhancement talent". In January 2010, at the Royal Rumble, she entered the Royal Rumble match, eliminating The Great Khali, before she was eliminated by CM Punk. With her entry, she became only the second woman in history to enter the Royal Rumble match, with the first being Chyna.
After being told by Vickie Guerrero, the SmackDown consultant, that she would not be receiving a championship opportunity, Phoenix saved Tiffany from an attack by Guerrero, Michelle McCool, and Layla on the March 12 episode of SmackDown, turning face as a result. She then went on to defeat Michelle McCool and Layla in a tag team match involving Tiffany. The feud with McCool continued at WrestleMania XXVI, where they were on opposing teams in a 10-Diva tag team match, which Phoenix's team lost, although they won a rematch the following night on Raw. Phoenix received a match for the Women's Championship against McCool at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in April, and defeated McCool in an "Extreme Makeover" match to win her third Women's Championship. On the May 6 episode of WWE Superstars, Phoenix tore her ACL in a match against the evil Rosa Mendes, and as a result, one week later on SmackDown, McCool invoked her rematch clause to face Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match along with Layla. Layla pinned Phoenix to become the new WWE Women's Champion.
She returned from her injury at November's Survivor Series pay-per-view, and attacked the former co-Champions Michelle McCool and Layla, after they lost the Divas Championship to Natalya. Phoenix and Natalya then formed an alliance and at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view in December, Phoenix and Natalya defeated Lay-Cool in the first Diva's Tag Team Tables match in WWE history.
Heel Turn and Divas Champion (2011–2012)Edit
As part of the 2011 supplemental draft on April 26, 2011, Phoenix returned to the Raw brand. On the August 1 edition of Raw, Beth won a battle royal to become the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship. After the match, Beth turned into a villainess by attacking then-Divas Champion Kelly Kelly. Beth later declared she was tired of the "perky bimbos" that comprised the rest of the Divas Division, and went on a mission to mock them. Beth aligned with Natalya (who turned into a villainess four days later) to form a tag team known as the Divas of Doom. The duo defeated The Chickbusters (AJ and Kaitlyn) on the August 12 edition of SmackDown, and after the match, Natalya placed Kaitlyn in a painful Sharpshooter, while Beth laughed evilly at Kaitlyn's anguish. At SummerSlam, the villainous Beth ended up losing to Kelly Kelly in a Divas Championship match. In September, she feuded with Kelly and Eve Torres on Raw and The Chickbusters (Kaitlyn and AJ Lee) on SmackDown. Phoenix again challenged for the title at Night of Champions but again was unsuccessful.
On the September 26 edition of Raw, Beth pinned Kelly in a tag team match earning herself a Divas Championship Match at Hell in a Cell. At Hell in a Cell in October, Phoenix defeated Kelly to win the Divas Championship for the first time with help from the evil Natalya. In a rematch on the October 14 episode of SmackDown, Phoenix successfully retained the championship against Kelly, ending the feud. At the Vengeance pay-per-view, Phoenix successfully defended the championship against Torres. Phoenix successfully retained her championship against Torres again at the Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 20 in a Lumberjill match, and against Kelly at Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 18. On the December 19 edition of Raw, after losing to Alicia Fox in a singles match, Phoenix received a minor injury. Phoenix returned to action on the January 26, 2012 episode of WWE Superstars, defeating Brie Bella. At the Royal Rumble, Phoenix teamed up with Natalya and The Bella Twins to defeat Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox and Tamina in a eight diva tag team match. On the January 30 episode of Raw, Beth Phoenix successfully defended her Divas Championship against Eve. She then began complaining that she had no competition and that she would be Divas Champion forever. At Elimination Chamber, Phoenix successfully retained her title against Tamina Snuka. Afterwards, Beth was rarely seen on television, competing sporadically on WWE Superstars, defeating several Divas such as Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox in singles matches. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Beth and Eve lost to Kelly and Maria Menounos in a tag team match.
On the April 6 edition of SmackDown, Nikki Bella defeated Beth Phoenix in a non-title match after interference of Kelly Kelly, thus earning a title opportunity. On the April 23 episode of Raw, Phoenix lost her Divas Championship to Nikki Bella in a lumberjill match, after suffering an ankle injury (kayfabe), thus ending her 204 day reign. At Extreme Rules, Phoenix was scheduled to face Nikki in a rematch for the Divas Championship, however she was not medically cleared to compete and was replaced by the returning Layla, who ended up winning the title. On the May 14 episode of Raw, Beth entered in a feud with Layla after Phoenix proceed to attack Alicia Fox after their match but was stopped by Layla. Phoenix made two unsuccessful attempts at regaining the Divas Championship from Layla, first at Over the Limit in May and second at No Way Out in June.
Various Feuds and Departure (2012)Edit
On the September 10 episode of Raw, Beth, Natalya and Alicia Fox lost in a tag team match against Eve, Layla and Kaitlyn. On the September 14 episode of SmackDown, Beth lost to Kaitlyn. On the September 17 episode of Raw, Eve defeated Beth. On the following week, Beth teamed up with Eve to defeat Layla and Alicia Fox in a tag team match after Eve pinned Alicia. After the match, Kaitlyn (who was injured at the Night of Champions pay-per-view returned and announced that her attacker was a blonde, leaving Beth to be suspicious. Eve would go onto attack Beth, leaving Beth in the process of a face turn. On the September 28 episode of SmackDown, Beth defeated Natalya in her home town of Buffalo, New York, officially showing her face turn. Immediately subsequent to the match, Eve acted of her own accord and suspend Beth, pending investigation of Kaitlyn's attack. Minutes later, SmackDown General Manager Booker T reversed Beth's suspension with apologies, much to the dismay of Eve. The following Raw, Eve defeated Beth Phoenix with her finishing move.
On the October 18 edition of Superstars, Beth turned heel while competing in another losing effort against Kaitlyn in a singles match. During the match, the evil Beth snarled at Kaitlyn over the fact that Kailtyn thought that Beth attacked her at Night of Champions, and also demanded respect from Kaitlyn. On the October 29th edition of Raw, Beth was defeated by AJ Lee in a singles match, but after the match was restarted by Vickie Guerrero, Beth defeated AJ. Later in the program, Beth was fired by Vickie after she could not defeat AJ fast enough on Raw. However, her firing was part of a storyline since her WWE Contract had expired.
WWE Hall of Fame; Part-time appearances (2017-present) Edit
On February 27, 2017, WWE announced that Beth would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Her induction made her the quickest female to be inducted after her retirement, as she had retired only five years prior, and made her and her husband Edge the first real-life couple to both be inducted. At the ceremony, Beth was inducted by her real-life best friend and former Divas of Doom partner, Natalya.
Beth appeared as a commentator on a special Mae Young Classic attraction match on September 11, 2017, working alongside Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness. On January 28, 2018, Beth appeared as a surprise entrant at in the inaugural Women's Royal Rumble, entering at #24 and lasting two minutes before being eliminated by Natalya. Beth again worked as a commentator during the WWE Mixed Match Challenge, working with Michael Cole and Corey Graves.
Beth appeared at the 2018 Hall of Fame ceremony, where it was officially announced that she would be on commentary for the inaugural WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal. Beth later became part of the announce team during the 2018 Mae Young Classic, and at WWE Evolution on October 28, alongside Michael Cole and Renee Young. Beth turned heel on commentary during the main event, when she supported the villainous Nikki Bella against Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey.