Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Am Beth Phoenix, Bringer of War

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When Beth Phoenix won the Divas Battle Royale on RAW, I was excited as a fan. She is my favorite among the current crop of women's wrestlers in WWE, and really, even though she'd probably be offered up as a sacrifice to the ultimate underdog in Kelly Kelly, I'm glad she's getting a shot at SummerSlam.

Then, she turned heel.

I have to admit, I got a bit giddy when I saw her destroy K2, except when she rolled out the Impact Wrestling Knockout party line of destroying her because she was a bimbo. But it was forgivable in this one instance. Either way, it was a welcome change. I like her as someone I can root for as a simpler fan, but she's at her best when she's a wrecking machine. For me, this also gives some hope to the direction of the women's division in WWE.

When Beth was in the Superstars Zone as a good girl, she worked good matches and had fun with the crowd, but she was an asset that really wasted away while Divas like the Bella Twins and Eve Torres drove the narrative. In the context of traditional WWF/E women's wrestling, it's an improvement, at least macrohistorically (it was better when Beth as a heel feuded with Mickie James), but in terms of what it can be? It's still woefully lacking.

However, one of the criticisms levied by CM Punk towards WWE in his current build has been the treatment of the Divas. There was an upturn for a little while when Kharma was doing her thing, and they've spent more time giving the Divas more time to do their thing. While that's nice, and while the models-turned-wrestlers do turn out slightly better results when they're given more time and care, well, let's face it, it's still not anything close to what the men can produce on their average day.

So, maybe they are turning Beth loose in an attempt to give their female fans more respectable heroines to hang their hats on. Maybe they're going to phase out the ones who can't go and focus more in on Beth, Nattie Neidhart, AJ, Tamina, Layla (when she returns from injury), Naomi and the newest developmental signee and SHIMMER alumna Tenille. Or maybe I'm just putting too much stock in a front office that has rarely ever cared about women.

Meanwhile, at least I can bask in Beth's return to her natural state. She should be throwing barbie dolls around. She should be splitting wigs. Hell, she should be wrestling men... okay, maybe I'm getting too ahead of myself in that regard. But I'll take her as she is now, because as she is now? She's one of the best.

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