Beth Phoenix recently spoke about her stint doing commentary for NXT and why she left the role. She appeared on Stories With Bradshaw and Brisco and discussed the stint, which ran from May 2019 until September of that year.
During the interview, Phoenix explained that she left the role due to the anxiety it caused her children because of the grueling WWE travel schedule.
“When I was traveling every week, it built up a lot of anxiety in the kids. Like, I ended up leaving the full-time job because Ruby asked Santa Claus if Mommy could stay home. And she didn’t ask for a toy. She sat on Santa’s lap and said, ‘I want my mommy to stay home.’”
She added that the decision to leave was tough, but she realized that she had to be around more while her children were still young. She also noted that she is happy to be back in a semi-retired life.
Phoenix also spoke about the challenges she faced while transitioning to commentary. She admitted that she was not known for being a good talker in her wrestling career and was intimidated by the role. She struggled in the beginning, but her partners, including Michael Cole, Tom Hannifan, Nigel McGuinness, and Mauro Ranallo, helped her fill the gaps.
“Oh man. That was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life. Mainly because I was not known as being a good talker in my wrestling career. And it was kind of something that terrified, intimidated me. And I just never thought that would be something I would be asked to do, number one, and number two, I didn’t have confidence in myself at all and I struggled hard. I struggled hard in the beginning. I had wonderful partners that were elevating me and helping me. And Michael Cole was helping me, Tom [Hannifan] was helping me, Nigel [McGuinness], Mauro [Ranallo]. Everybody was working to fill the gaps for me. But it took a long time to really kind of figure out what the job actually is.”
One of the biggest challenges she faced was knowing everyone’s backstory and being able to highlight all the wrestlers on the show. She also had to learn how to put someone else’s vision into her own words while not giving away any spoilers.
“I also learned as I went too, one of the challenges — which I felt I transitioned well on was — I’d been on commentary as a wrestler and all you have to do is talk about yourself and your own story. Which is easy, right? But being a commentator you got to know everybody’s story, you got to have backstories. And you have to bring forward and highlight everybody on the show. So it becomes a really kind of selfless job. You can no longer have that big, it’s all about me ego. You got to start to realism ‘I’m a part of building this entire brand, and helping build these characters.’ And so you have to be able to put on a different hat in that role.
“And then the other thing is, it took a long time for me to, number one, get used to the traffic in the ears. There’s so many people talking at the same time. But also, really trying to figure out a way to put someone else’s vision in my own words. Because we’re given, you know — we know, ‘Okay, here’s the story that has come forth,’ or ‘Here’s where we have to go.’ So we as commentators have to bring forward these stories that are written in creative, but also not give anything away and use our own voice. So it was just so many things going on, and I think some wrestlers are cut out for it and some, like myself, it takes a lot longer.”
While some wrestlers are cut out for commentary, Phoenix found that it took her a long time to adapt to the role. Despite the challenges, she was grateful for the experience and the opportunity to be a part of building the NXT brand.
What do you think about Beth Phoenix’s decision to leave her commentary role in NXT and focus on being a more present parent to her children? Leave a comment below.