It was a night of history for one Elmira native.
Beth Phoenix, a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer, helped break the attendance record at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. MetLife Stadium is the home of the New York Giants and Jets, as well as several other entertainment events. WrestleMania, the WWE’s hallmark event each year, saw 82,265 fans cross the gates which set the venue’s all-time attendance record. This year’s WrestleMania also set a new benchmark-becoming the company’s highest grossing event ever, generating $16.9 million dollars.
Phoenix, a native of Elmira, returned for a tag team matchup with teammate Natayla and competed for the WWE Women’s Tag Championship. The team was accompanied by WWE Hall of Famer and one of the greatest wrestlers of his era, Bret “The Hitman” Hart on Sunday.
“It was a full circle moment,” Phoenix said. “Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (at WrestleMania X) was the match that made me certain I was destined to become a wrestler. On the 25th Anniversary, I got to walk to the ring to the Hart Foundation music in pink and black and hi-five my hero,” Phoenix added.
The match was something that Phoenix will always cherish.
“Nothing could ever compare to that moment.” It was so special and I’ll never forget it,” Phoenix said.
It was the first WrestleMania match in over six years for Phoenix, who competed on Monday Night Raw last Monday after retiring from the ring full-time in 2012.
Phoenix, real name Beth Copeland, is a 1998 Elmira Notre Dame graduate and was the school’s first female wrestler to compete in the sport for the Crusaders. She was a standout on the mat before embarking on a professional career in the early 2000’s after graduating from Canisius College.
Beth’s storied career has seen four WWE Women’s Championship runs, she became the second women ever to compete in the Royal Rumble match, and also earned the distinction of youngest WWE Hall of Fame inductee in 2017 at age 37.
Nicknamed “The Glamazon,” 18 Sports congratulates Phoenix on another milestone in her remarkable career.