This Sunday, WWE Network will reach out beyond the world of sports entertainment with the debut of "HEAVEN." The documentary will chronicle the trailblazing path of Heaven Fitch, a high school wrestler who became the first female to win the boy's state wrestling championship in North Carolina last year.
To shatter glass ceilings, it takes an incredible amount of determination, passion and perseverance. WWE Hall of Famer and North Carolina resident Beth Phoenix is providing the narration for the film. She'll detail Fitch's journey to proving all the doubters wrong, a story that's quite similar to her own.
In an interview with SK Wrestling ahead of the premiere of "HEAVEN", Phoenix praised Fitch's grit.
"Heaven has mentioned to me that she experienced a lot of detractors, you know, from a sexist standpoint. Where people question your intentions and your motives. What are your intentions in doing this? And are you looking for attention? Are you trying to get your name out there? But I think with time and persistence, she more than proved it was talent that brought her there. She was just dedicated to winning and accomplished that after putting in that time."
Phoenix stated that the questioning of Fitch's motivations really hit home for her, and she compared that process to her own journey.
"I got to figure that in 1990, there were 100 female wrestlers in the United States, like on high school wrestling teams. I joined our wrestling team in 1997. So at that time there wasn't a lot of girls doing it and thus, not a lot of interest because the groundswell wasn't really happening yet at that time. So for me, it was intimidating to kind of like step up, and again, fight that fight against the grain of like that questioning. Like, why are you here? What's your intentions? I felt like a constant need to prove myself 10 times more than the boys, because, you know, I had to show that I was there for the love of the sport and to be an athlete and not just attention seeking."
Phoenix's talent and drive to prove herself culiminated in a lengthy and successful professional career that is still going today. While she doesn't lace up the boots nearly as often anymore, Beth Phoenix has found a new role as a member of the NXT broadcast team.
'HEAVEN' is a story about pushing through adversity, something that Beth Phoenix is quite familiar with
Beth Phoenix has a lot in common with Heaven Fitch. Phoenix faced many of her own trials while she wrestled for Notre Dame High School in Elmira, New York. She was the first female varsity wrestler in the school's history. After her graduation, she went on to win the North-East freestyle women's championship and the New York State Fair Tournament.
Beth Phoenix's professional wrestling career started in 2001, and her accomplishments are well documented. The four-time champion was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
While speaking with SK Wrestling, Phoenix was asked about pushing through adversity, a theme that's prevalent in "HEAVEN." She emphasized that it's important to stay positive, no matter how much negativity one deals with.
"I mentioned this to Heaven too, because I know that this is something she's had to deal with her entire athletic career. There's always going to be detractors. There's always going to be haters. And sometimes that comes from a place of just not understanding and not appreciating, and that's fine. Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but you have to put that in its own box. You have to put the negativity in its own space and you got to focus on those that support you and are there for you and will be encouraging to you when you want to grow. And you know what, eventually the haters will come along and if they don't that's okay too."
While there are many similarites between Beth Phoenix's and Heaven Fitch's paths to success, The Glamazon says the most satisfying aspect of working on "HEAVEN" was the opportunity to share the story of someone her daughters can admire.
"I think the cool parallel is that I'm a mom. I have two young girls. I have just so much love in my heart for seeing a story like this, with this young girl succeed and have the passion to stand up for something in progression and women in sports because it affects my children and my girls. Someone like Heaven is a role model to, again, continue to break these glass ceilings - that there should be no limits placed on anybody because of gender."
"HEAVEN" debuts Sunday, March 7th on the WWE Network. To hear more about Beth Phoenix's career, check out part one of SK Wrestling's conversation with Beth Phoenix in the video above. The WWE Hall of Famer also spoke about her husband's comeback, as Edge is miraculously just weeks away from a main event match at WrestleMania 37.