The question of who “deserves” a Hall of Fame berth happens in every sport, and even in sports entertainment. WWE’s Hall has no established criteria for entry and induction is reported to happen solely based on Vince McMahon’s decree - but that doesn’t stop fans from debating the names who are in, or out, of the club.
The latest member of the Hall was announced today, and by virtue of a relatively short (six year) run on the main roster during what many consider a low period for women’s wrestling, Beth Phoenix’s induction has triggered the “deserves” argument.
It seems that question even bothered Phoenix herself. She told USA Today it was something she discussed with her husband, fellow Hall of Famer Edge, when she broke the news to him:
He was like, “Oh, OK.” He wasn’t shocked by it at all. He’s like, “Of course, you deserve it.”
I was shocked by that response, too. I said, “You think I deserve this? Is this the right time?” He was 100 percent confident and he made me feel like a million bucks about it. He is super excited.
That’s a nice story, but I’d also say it’s kind of a partner’s job to boost your significant other’s self esteem when they’re doubting themselves. And Beth herself offers a much better argument for why she’s as deserving as anyone for entry into McMahon’s Hall.
When asked about her legacy, and after speaking about her struggles finding her footing in the ‘E because she didn’t “fit the mold” of a Trish Stratus-like “beautiful, feminine fitness model”, Phoenix eloquently justifed her Hall of Fame status:
I would say at leaner times in the women’s division, I feel like there were certain girls who tried to keep the torch going for women’s wrestling. If I was one of those women then I feel like I did my job.
There were times where the trend wasn’t to have wrestling matches. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t the style, it wasn’t the brand, it wasn’t the flavor of the month. If these girls today have an easier time because of what we did in the past, that’s the point.
I have two little girls. Who knows what they want to do in the future? But if they want to be wrestlers someday and I helped forge a path for them be more successful than it was all worth it. I’ve done what I wanted to do.
That’s a Hall of Fame-worthy answer.