Beth Phoenix has discussed the painful experience of being cut from appearing on WWE’s reality show Tough Enough due to a medical complaint.
WWE Hall Of Famer Phoenix recounted applying for the series on her WWE Icons documentary special. Phoenix had been working on the independent scene and when she first saw Tough Enough, she thought there was perhaps another route to her goal of joining WWE.
“I continued to work the independents, and then lo and behold, Tough Enough appears. I watched Tough Enough 1, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is the fast track to getting a contract with WWE.’ Tough Enough 3 comes along. They’re doing the casting for that and I applied. Sure enough, I received a letter that said, ‘You’ve made it through the first round of cuts.’ I was like, ‘Oh, wow. Meanwhile, I have graduated from college, I’m working at the US Probation Department with a career path that could essentially land me a Federal job where I could work and retire at a very nice age with a very cushy retirement. Then finally they’re like, ‘We’d like you to go to Chicago.'”
“I drove, after work, 10 hours. I get ready for my interview after the whole day of waiting in this big green room, I walk in the doors, and there’s Al Snow and MTV judges. They’re like, ‘Well, we want you to cut a promo. Just boom. Go.’ I took a deep breath and I closed my eyes [proceeds to cut promo]. I just took a risk. Either they absolutely loved me or I’m going to get security dragging me out of here. Al Snow said, ‘Thank you for your time.’ I was like, ‘Well, I’m done, I’m cut.’ Then the next day I get a phone call, ‘We’re going to send you some plane tickets to Hollywood.’”
Bad news was to follow for the NXT commentator as a heart condition ruled Phoenix out of the competition. Worse still, Beth Phoenix had quit her job to pursue her Tough Enough dreams.
“I fly all the way to Hollywood and they say, ‘Beth there was a problem with your EKG. We’re going to put this heart monitor on you and then we’re going to talk to the folks at MTV.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then they drive me back and I rejoin the group and Al said to me, he goes, ‘This is really hard to tell you.’ He goes, ‘But you know, we don’t know what’s going on with your heart. We have to send you home. You can’t stay.'”
“I had had to resign from my job to go to Tough Enough, so I said, ‘Wow. My dreams have just completely dissipated, completely flown out the window. You have a heart problem and you’ve got to go home, and you don’t have a job’. I was on medication for a while, but as I got older, I grew out of it. In that space and time, it disqualified me from pursuing Tough Enough.”
Season three of Tough Enough aired in 2002. John Hennigan, best known as John Morrison, and the late Matt Capotelli were crowned as winners of the show.
Beth Phoenix joined the WWE developmental territory in 2004, before being called up to the main roster in May 2006. During her WWE career, Phoenix captured the WWE Women’s Championship three times and also held the WWE Divas Title.