Ringbelles Retro: The beginnings of Beth Phoenix
Well, that’s not strictly the case – in fact, Phoenix wrestled for Kiryoku Pro a sister version of CHIKARA which started out as a female-heavy promotion in June 2002, though featured a ten man tag match on the card. As we discussed with Mike Quackenbush on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, the promotion only existed for three shows – the latter two were joint cards with CHIKARA, before it was elected to do away with gender specifications and have the women and men wrestle each other.
Kiryoko Pro was a successful failure of a promotion. It showed fans that female wrestlers deserved to be regarded on an equal platform as men, and should not necessarily be separated from wrestling anyone they choose. This week’s Retro comes from the promotion’s final outing in collaboration with CHIKARA from November 23, 2002, around 18 months after Phoenix debuted, and before her Glamazon character had been esatablished. By the way, did you know that Phoenix’s first match was against Alexis Laree, AKA former WWE Women’s, Divas and TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James? It’s funny how tight some wrestling circles can be, isn’t it?
Speaking of how tight wrestling circles can be, Phoenix’s opponent in this contest – the opening bout of the show – is Amber Holly, who is now better known as ArenaChicks founder and former Team Blondage member Amber O’Neal. Amber Holly – who was three years into her career at this point – was her motocross gimmick, though she swapped it to O’Neal after a WWE tryout with Molly Holly, and because O’Neal is a big motocross sponsor. Ironic, now that her gimmick is more of a prissy Barbie doll, but the name stays close to her interests.
Anyway, sit back, enjoy a match between Phoenix (no Beth at this point in her career) and Amber Holly.
By the way, if you have any suggestions or requests for a Retro, leave a message in the comments section.