Beth Phoenix became a full-time announcer on the NXT brand in May 2019, seven months after Renee Paquette (Renee Young in WWE), made history by becoming the first-ever full-time female announcer for WWE Raw.
While Paquette left the commentary booth a year later, Phoenix remains entrenched in the gold brand booth.
Speaking to Paquette on Oral Sessions, Beth expressed gratitude that she was allowed to grow on NXT.
"I'm not trying to compare experiences, I don't know doing commentary on Raw and SmackDown so I can't speak to that. I know what I hear, but I don't know. I'm sure it comes with its own set of challenges and excitement. With NXT, I was given the chance to grow. They didn't give up on me in the first six months, probably the first year, I was super rocky. Hunter [Triple H] didn't...if I would make a big mistake, it wasn't like 'she's done,'" said Phoenix.
Renee chimed in by saying, "Hunter is great with that. He would send me texts and those were the words of encouragement that I needed. I was so happy that he would reach out to me at the times he did."
Beth continued by discussing the positive reinforcement from Triple H and the positive environment at NXT.
"When you have somebody that is trying to nurture you like that, that motivates you to grow. It's like, 'He didn't give up on me so I can't give up on me and I have to bring my best effort because I have people trying to lift me up so I don't want to come here and phone it in.' NXT has been a great place and I watch it happen with talent, being given the chance to grow and try new things and take the handcuffs off and being able to pitch ideas and get a collaborative effort going on. That's what I love about the NXT environment, we just all get better," she said.
Paquette compared Triple H's positive comments towards Beth to how she felt Vince McMahon perceived her.
"I felt weird when I was doing commentary, I felt like I couldn't get other people's voices out of my head and I felt like people had given up on me. I truly felt like Vince had given up on me. Just that feeling. I don't know. Maybe it was just in my own head of me feeling that way. That I always felt insecure about it. Every time I would walk back through Gorilla, I didn't want to look at anybody, I just wanted to get in my car and go to the next town. Those were the things that would chip away at me and I felt like I needed to get out of the chair. I wanted to make it work and be successful, not even for myself, but for laying the groundwork down for other women to jump in there. As much as it was made a big deal for me to be the first woman to call Monday Night Raw and WrestleMania, I'm so happy that I was the woman who got to do that, but it should have been you [Beth Phoenix]," said Renee.
Beth quickly shut down Renee, praising her for her professionalism and ability in the booth.
"What you can do, I could not then and could not now do," said Beth. "You bring such an energy and brightness and bring out the best in people. We did the panel before Evolution. It was me, you and Paige. I had done panels before and I was nervous and trying to remember by pre-written answers and that was the first time where I felt like we had no time and Michael Cole is like, 'throw away your notes.' We sat done, the red light went on and Renee did Renee, and I just saw the magic of being in that position. The hardest thing in the world to do is to make your guests feel comfortable so you can bring out the best in them. Especially if you don't have a rapport behind the scenes. You and I were friends, but not as close as we are now. I remember at that moment being like, 'Wow, that's a skillset I admire very much.'"
Following her stint on Raw Commentary, Renee was used as a "special contributor" on WWE SmackDown and served as the host for WWE Backstage. She left WWE following SummerSlam 2020.
As for Beth, while she remains on NXT commentary, she hasn't ruled out a return to the ring. You can find her comments on a potential in-ring return by clicking here.
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