It may be more than four months away but announcements are already coming for the 2015 Cauliflower Alley Club awards. Now in its 50th year, the CAC is a place for current and former wrestlers to meet up and also provides financial help if they fall on tough times as well as scholarships for college students. Cauliflower Alley has honoured female wrestlers since 1996 with Judy Glover, Molly McShane, Chigusa Nagayo, Ella Waldek, Bonnie Watson and Masami Yoshida being the first recipients. Last year saw (Cheerleader) Melissa Anderson and Debbie Pelletier take the Active and Retired Women’s Wrestling Awards respectively, and this year’s retired recipient is former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Beth Phoenix.
The now-33 year old was trained by Joey Knight and Robin Knightwing and also had wrestling school tuition paid for by Nora “Molly Holly” Benshoof before having her debut match in May 2001 against future WWE colleague Mickie “Alexis Laree” James. Moving to Louisville, KY in 2004, Phoenix worked for Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning the Women’s Title before making her WWE debut in spring 2006 – though it was short-lived as she suffered a fractured mandible which kept her out of WWE for a year, though she carried on working with OVW.
Returning in July 2007, Beth was pushed as a monster heel with her Glamazon nickname and dethroned Candice Michelle in October to take the Women’s Title, holding the belt until the following April when she lost it to James but regained it in August as part of her comedy tandem with Santino Marella – dubbed Glamarella. She won a third Women’s Title in April 2010 as a babyface when she defeated Michelle McCool, but an injury to her ACL meant she dropped the title to Layla a few weeks later before bowing out for six months.
Phoenix was lost in the shuffle until August 2011 when she became the next challenger for the Divas Title and turned heel on champion Kelly Kelly to set up their match at SummerSlam – which she lost. She also lost the rematch at Night of Champions but gained the belt at Hell in a Cell, but the huge push she and Natalya should have received as the Divas of Doom was fatally damaged by this point – and it never really gained the momentum it should have, despite Beth holding the title for 204 days, dropping it to Nikki Bella. Phoenix bowed out of the company in October citing family issues, saying “My family waited patiently for 10 years while I chased my dreams. I decided it was time to come home to put family first. That’s the reason.”
Since leaving WWE, Beth has become a mother, with she and other half Adam “Edge” Copeland welcoming her first child Lyric into the world last December.
Phoenix will receive her award at the Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion, held in Las Vegas, NV between April 12-15 next year. You can learn more about the organisation by clicking here.
– Photos by WWE