Posts Tagged ‘Paige’

Saraya, formerly known as Paige in WWE, is All Elite after a shocking debut at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam on Wednesday night.

The Anti-Diva made her AEW bow after the conclusion of four-way match for the Interim AEW Women’s World Championship, saving Toni Storm and Athena from a beatdown at the hands of Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Jamie Hayter, and Serena Deeb.

Saraya’s WWE contract expired in July, ending her 11-year tenure with the company. A former NXT Women’s Champion and two-time Divas Champion, Saraya’s in-ring career was cut short by neck injuries, including a final blow that came at a December 2017 house show, which was her last match to date. After that, she served in multiple on-camera roles, including SmackDown GM, manager of the Kabuki Warriors, and a contributor for WWE Backstage.

Her debut at Grand Slam sent fans into a frenzy at the surprise appearance and immediately thrust her right into the thick of things, seemingly aligned with Storm and Athena against Baker and her cronies.

It’s unclear whether Saraya will get back into the ring to wrestle – she did not do anything physical Wednesday – or if she will serve in a different on-air capacity, but her appearance was a true feel-good moment for a company that needed news like this after a bunch of bad personnel publicity recently.

There are some moments in life, good or bad, that one will never forget. For former WWE star Paige, one of those moments was when photos and videos of her were leaked, without her consent, in 2017. In an appearance on The Sessions with Renee Paquette, Paige took Paquette through the day, and how she found out while in San Antonio, Texas.

“It was just the most awful moment of my life,” Paige said. “The person that I was with at the time showed me a picture on Twitter. And I was just like, ‘Oh my God. Is that real?’ I couldn’t believe it was real at first, because I was 19 [at the time]. I was completely fucking mortified. I ran out of the house, and I just kept running. I remember I was inside a fucking bush, and I’ll always remember this, just sitting in this bush because I was like ‘If people recognize me, they’re going to know.’

“I felt so stupid to have trusted this person at the time. I never done it since, that was a lesson I learned, and I’ll never be caught dead doing anything like that again. But I felt so fucking stupid and I felt so embarrassed, and I was already a cokehead at this time and loved to drink. That really got me to the point where I didn’t want to be alive anymore. It was fing awful. I was just so fucking sad, and I remember being like ‘If my dad is a disappointed with me, I don’t think I could be here anymore. It got to that point.”

It was then that Paige decided to call her father, pro wrestler turned promoter Ricky Knight, who offered his unique support.

“I was just crying my eyes out, and I was like, ‘I’m so sorry,'” Paige said. “My dad was like, ‘What are you sorry for?’ And I was just like, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t want to disappoint you.’ He was like, ‘Are you kidding me? That shit made Kim Kardashian famous.’ He was trying to make a joke. He said, ‘Who cares? You had sex. Everyone’s done it. Unfortunately, you’re just in the public eye, right?’

“He was like, ‘It is what it is. You’ve got to suck it up. It’s going to hurt for a little bit and people are going to make fun of you for forever. But I just want you to know that I’m still proud of you and I’m not disappointed.’ He instantly changed the way I was feeling because I was very down. It was bad. I was ready to fucking end it all. It was just the most morifying experience.”

“I spoke on the phone with Mark Carrano, and I was like, ‘I’m going to lose my job. This is it too,'” Paige said. “But they were like, ‘Listen, it’s not your fault.’ That’s why I will never talk shit about them, at least publicly. They were so supportive and they were like, ‘We’ll get through it. We’ll try to get as much off the internet as possible.'”

These days Paige doesn’t let the incident bother her, save for one thing that involves her family and friends.

“The only thing I don’t like about it and it’s annoying that I’m even going to bring it up, but I hate that they send it to my family all the time to get at them,” Paige said. “That’s what they’ll do at this point. Even to my boyfriend. He’ll get it sent to him because it’s just fans that don’t want to see me or him happy.

“They’ll send it to anyone that’s close to me like, ‘This is your girlfriend. This is your daughter.’ I’m just like, ‘Who cares dude? What, are you a fucking virgin? It happens.’ So yeah. I got bullied relentlessly, it was fuckng awful. The bullying was starting to get me crazy to the point that I was cutting myself. I never thought I’d be a cutter, but I did, and it was fucking awful and I wish I hadn’t done it.”

Don’t expect to see the former Paige in All Elite Wrestling anytime soon.

Saraya said as much at Starrcast V in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend. Speaking due her ‘Turning the Page’ panel, she revealed that she is currently in the middle of writing a book due for release next year, on top of some other projects she can’t disclose yet (h/t Fightful):

“I’m in the middle of writing a book right now, which I’m really excited about. We got a book, it’s going to be another year before it officially comes out. We’re in the middle of writing that. We’re doing other things, but I’m not allowed to say anything right now. It’s non-wrestling related, sorry guys.”

Continuing, while Saraya thinks AEW “seems” great and she’d like to work with Britt Baker someday, it won’t be happening in the near future:

“I’m not going to be going to AEW anytime soon. AEW seems great. I love AEW. I would love to face Britt Baker one day if the time is right, that would be awesome. All my friends are there now.”

Saraya departed WWE on 7 July, having broken the news on 10 June. Thus ended an 11-year run with the company that saw several twists and turns, including multiple Women’s/Divas Championship triumphs.

A serious neck injury forced the then-Paige into retirement in April 2018. From there, she stayed with WWE as SmackDown General Manager, then a host on the short-lived FOX show WWE Backstage, though her usage faded during her last couple of years in Stamford. If she can get cleared to wrestle again, it’ll be for the first time since the 27 December 2017 house show that brought her injury.

Over the last few days, Britt Baker has seemingly been everywhere talking about the matches she would love to have. One involved a singles match with AJ Lee. Another involved a mixed tag team match between Baker and boyfriend Adam Cole against Lee and her husband, AEW World Champion CM Punk. And then there’s Paige, the former WWE star who is more than open to tangling with Baker in the ring someday.

In an interview with Sportskeeda, Baker was asked whether AEW could be the right landing spot for Paige now that she’s on the free agent market.

“I think AEW could be the right place for anybody, really,” Baker said. “We have such a good platform, we have such good coaches, we have the best fans in the world.”

Baker then proceeded to gush about Paige and the influence the former WWE Divas Champion had on her career.

“I’m a huge fan of Paige,” Baker said. “I love her, I love her mom, I wrestled her mom before, actually. She’s such an inspirational female. That girl has gone through it all, and she’s still, pardon my swearing, but she’s such a bad bitch. She has such a ‘let everything roll off your back’ energy. You can’t get to her. She holds her head high.

“Her in a wrestling ring again, if I’m not in the match, I want to be at ringside watching it, because she was one of my favorites to watch. Her energy, when she would come out and skip, do the sideways skip to the ring, it made me so excited. I used to play her entrance music in my car. I’m a huge Paige fan.”

In an emotional, lengthy letter to her fans and peers, Paige – or Saraya, as she’ll be referred to as of tomorrow – has penned her official goodbye to WWE. For those who missed it, the Brit revealed last month that WWE would not be renewing her contract when that expires on 7 July 2022.

Via the Player’s Tribune, the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion covered plentiful ground as she reflected back on a tenure with WWE that dates back to 2011.

Amongst the key comments made by the real-life Saraya Jade-Bevis, those receiving gratitude from the 29-year-old include AJ Lee, the Bella Twins, Natalya, Tenille Dashwood, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Dusty Rhodes, Dr. Tom Prichard, Norman Smiley, Joey Mercury and Steve Keirn – not to mention the broader women’s locker-room of today.

In terms of specific standout parts of an excellent piece from Saraya, one opening paragraph covered changing the perception of women’s wrestling in WWE.

“When I first got to WWE, we weren’t very far removed from the time of bra-and-panties matches. A lot of people still considered the women’s match on every show to be the ‘pee break.’ And I’ll always feel such a kinship with the women of my era, because we worked so damn hard to prove ourselves. To prove that we couldn’t just wrestle — we could wrestle our asses off.”

The soon-to-be-former Paige also praised WWE for supporting her following her enforced in-ring retirement and some of the personal issues she’s had to deal with.

“They never lost faith in me — they never once threw me off to the side. They got me the help I needed when I needed help, and they gave me the time and space I needed when I needed time and space.

They even gave me a full segment on Raw to announce my in-ring retirement. I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life. Not just getting to make the announcement like I did, but also the respect it showed on WWE’s part, that they viewed me as worthy of that kind of treatment — the kind normally reserved for an Edge, or a Daniel Bryan, or an HBK, or a Hunter.

That they viewed me as someone who’d built a legacy of her own.”

Concluding by discussing Stephanie McMahon’s words of encouragement ahead of her return to the ring in 2017, the one-time Divas Champion ended her farewell with:

“Stephanie was right (as usual). I went out there … and it was the most amazing feeling. No one hated me!! They were actually glad I was back. I was still Paige. The connection was still there.

And in a lot of ways, that story is my time with WWE in a nutshell. It was far from perfect. There were some brutal setbacks. And to be honest, I was a bit of an ass for a couple of years. But they always believed in my will to survive, and in the person I could grow to become.

So I wanted to say thanks.

And I want to thank YOU ALL — truly, anyone who might be reading. From my bosses to my coworkers to my friends to my fans. For the past 11 years, you’ve let me live out my dreams. More living to come. I’ll see you down the road.”

That return to the ring was ultimately short-lived, with further damage to her neck forcing the Anti-Diva to formally announce her retirement the night after WrestleMania 34. Following that, WWE utilised Paige as the General Manager of SmackDown, as the manager of the Kabuki Warriors, and as a regular presence on The Bump and various other Network content.

What lies ahead for Saraya remains to be seen, but she has previously made it clear that she intends to wrestle again somewhere.

Former three-time WWE Divas Champion Paige is letting her contract run out, with her final day in WWE being July 7th.

Another wrestler who was once a champion in WWE and already left the company is current AEW star Athena, known as Ember Moon in WWE. While on NBC “Sports Boston”, former NXT Women’s Champion Athena commented on Paige’s influence on the women’s revolution in WWE.

“Everyone says the women’s evolution started with The Bellas, I highly disagree,” Athena stated. “It started with Paige and Emma, or Tenille and Saraya, It started with them. That was the first mainstream women’s match that got time that made people like, want more.”

Paige and Tenille Dashwood, Emma at the time, were both vital parts of the women’s division in “NXT” when it was being turned more into a standalone brand rather than a reality contest show. Paige defeated Emma in the finals of the NXT Women’s Championship tournament in order to become the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion. Following this, Paige would go on to have success on the main roster until she suffered an injury, tallying up two Divas Championship wins in her first six months, with the first being won on her first night on “Monday Night Raw” by defeating AJ Lee.

Dashwood would not find such success in WWE despite being with the company from 2012 until 2017, with her last match for the company being against Asuka on the “Monday Night Raw” following TLC 2017. Alongside ‘The Influence’ tag team partner, Madison Rayne, Dashwood won the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship, marking her first time holding a championship in a major organization. The Influence won the Tag Titles at IMPACT Wrestling Sacrifice on March 5th and recently dropped the titles to Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary on Slammiversary earlier this month.

Since Paige and Dashwood’s match, women have gone on to accomplish many historic feats in WWE. Some of those first-ever evens are an all-women Pay-Per-View called Evolution, a women’s Royal Rumble, a women’s Elimination Chamber match, a women’s Hell in a Cell, main-eventing PPVs, and regularly being in the main event of weekly TV shows.

The Bellas held down the fort, along with AJ Lee and Paige, on the main roster until September of 2015 when Bella lost the title to Charlotte Flair. Flair, along with Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, were brought up to the main roster so there would be a heavier feature on women’s wrestling as there was in “NXT.”

AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa recently spoke with TV Insider about the Forbidden Door, her title reign, and former WWE Superstar Paige.

While speaking about Paige, Rosa said that she has so much experience, and if she came to AEW, everybody would benefit from it.

“She has so much experience,” praised Rosa. “She has been wrestling since a young girl. I met her mother a few years ago at an independent show. She is a wrestler’s wrestler. She would bring something different to the women’s division as a wrestler or even if we needed a general manager. If she came to our door, I think everybody will benefit from it. If anyone comes to wrestle me. I’m open to any challenge. Whoever wants a piece of me, you know where to find me. If not, I’ll send you my number right now.”

WWE decided not to renew Paige’s contract when it expires in July. Paige last competed inside of a WWE ring at a live event on December 27, 2017, where she suffered an injury in a six-woman tag match. Paige would then officially announce her in-ring retirement, on the April 18, 2018 episode of “SmackDown.”

During her in-ring tournament, Paige had assumed several roles for the WWE including being the General Manager of “SmackDown” and the manager of the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane).

“The door is open” for Paige to debut in Impact Wrestling when her WWE tenure formally comes to an end on July 7th.

Fellow former Divas Champion and current Impact producer Gail Kim was asked about the potential of the two sides working together during an interview with SEScoops, and wasn’t;

“Never say never. I love Paige, I admire everything that she’s done for women’s wrestling. She also came up kind of in that period where maybe it was so powerful — what it is now.Women’s wrestling is probably at its best right now with main eventing. Pay-per-views, shows, it’s not an irregular thing for that to happen. So you know, Paige was part of that process. I have nothing but respect for her in and outside of the ring. And hey, if she wants to come over to IMPACT Wrestling I feel like the door is open. So, come on over, Paige!”

The former Divas Champion announced that she’d no longer be with the organisation going forward after over a decade with the organisation. A statement about the departure posted to Twitter alluded to a possible in-ring return, which rapidly expedited speculation that either AEW or Impact Wrestling could be her next destination. With no no-compete to contend with, the return could be soon, too.

Having recently announced her impending WWE departure, could we one day see Paige in an AEW ring?

Speaking on her Twitch stream (as per Fightful), the Anti-Diva was asked outright whether she’d consider heading to All Elite Wrestling once her time with WWE comes to an end on 7 July.

Giving a light-hearted response, Paige responded with a simple, “Sure, if the money is right” remark.

Throughout this stream, the former Divas Champion reiterated her thanks and appreciation to WWE keeping her around after her in-ring career was forced to an end, and for how the company helped her deal with her previous alcohol issues. Likewise, Paige also made it clear that the decision for her to leave WWE was one solely made by Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment juggernaut – but that she had zero hard feelings or ill will towards the organisation.

Given that this is a case of WWE opting not to renew Paige’s contract, that means there will be no form of no-compete clause in place. As such, the Brit could realistically appear for any other wrestling promotion as soon as her current deal expires.

In terms of possibly stepping back in the ring once more, the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion stated how she feels “the most healthy I’ve been in my whole career”, but did make sure to say how she has yet to be cleared for any form of return to in-ring action – although she is eager to wrestle again.

As it stands, Paige last competed at a December 2017 live event where she teamed with her Absolution cohorts Mandy Rose and Sonya Devilla against Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James. She would officially announce her in-ring retirement the night after WrestleMania 34 due to neck issues. Following that, she operated as an on-screen authority figure as the General Manager of SmackDown, and she’d later manage the Kabuki Warriors.

Previously, Paige has cited Bryan Danielson and Edge as inspirations to her in how they were able to eventually resume their wrestling careers after having been forced to retire on medical grounds. Still only 29 years of age, there’s clearly plenty still in the tank should the real-life Saraya-Jade Bevis manage to get herself cleared for action.

WWE Superstar Paige took to Twitter this afternoon and responded to fan criticism from those who say she should’ve been back in the ring by now because Bryan Danielson and WWE Hall of Famer Edge made their successful comebacks.

A potential return to the ring for Paige remains a hot topic on social media among fans, and Paige herself often comments on a possible return, fueling the rumor mill at times. Paige responded to some of the fans today, who believe she’s lazy, and said her neck still needs to recover as everyone is built different.

“It’s wild that some people are like ‘well edge and Bryan came back you are just lazy’ I’m inspired by them. I’m not lazy. My neck needs to recover. We are all built different. Sorry fam,” she wrote.

On a related note, Paige responded to a fan tweet earlier this week, from someone who remarked how fans always say they want to see Paige return to the ring, but no one ever asks her what she wants.

“I wanna wrestle again,” Paige confirmed.

Paige has been out of action since being forced to retire in 2018 after suffering a neck injury at a December 2017 WWE live event. It was believed that she was under contract to WWE through 2023, but she confirmed last fall that her deal expires in June of this year.

Paige, who turns 30 in August, expressed hope for a ring return in multiple interviews and tweets in 2021, and at one point stated that she is not done. There were even rumors that she was medically cleared to compete again, but that was never confirmed.