WWE’s Paige: What Happened To The Wrestling Superstar?
If you watched wrestling in the 2010s, you probably took note of the gothic bombshell that was Paige. Paige won herself many accolades, and successfully transitions between the obsolete (and pretty sexist) era of “WWE Divas” to the current era where women in the WWE are… well… just Superstars like everyone else.
But if you’ve tuned in lately, you might’ve noticed an absence of Paige WWE. You might be asking yourself the question — where is Paige the wrestler? WWE wrestling experiences a lot of ins and outs, but it’s pretty strange that they gave up on such a bright and young star.
If you’ve found yourself asking — where is Paige now? You’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the shocking, blisteringly inspiring, and soberly depressing story of Paige.
Born to Wrestle
Paige was born on August 17, 1992, in Norwich, England — which is just northeast of London. Her real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis. Both of her parents are retired wrestlers, and her older brothers are wrestlers as well. Her parents own the WAW wrestling company in Norfolk so, in a way, Paige comes from distant wrestling royalty.
Paige was scared of wrestling growing up, an eerie portent that she would overcome, but would come back to haunt her. . .
A Precocious Start
Paige started wrestling when she was 13. That’s right, 13. While most kids were off learning the rope of football or cricket, she was getting slammed into the mat.
At first, she used the name Britani Knight, wrestling for her parent’s promotion when someone had to miss a show. She sent resumes out to various wrestling promotions around Europe and spent her early teen years traveling around and doing matches. She paid her dues young so she could succeed young; but Paige didn’t take into account the damage she was doing to her young body.
She bounced around Europe, winning various titles in all-women wrestling leaves. A small break for her came when she competed in a tag team with her mother in Shimmer Women Athletes. Here, in her later teen year, she started to show her rising star.
Paige Wrestler to Paige WWE
Paige began her transformation from wrestler to WWE star in 2010, when she heard that a WWE talent scout was swinging by to hold try-outs. She didn’t make it in 2010, but in 2011, she signed a contract with WWE to be part of their development promo FCW (now known as NXT).
From here, as FCW turned into NXT, Paige had a fairly normal rise. She took part in several rivalries, and won and lost the NXT championship a few times. People enjoyed her work for its technical precision — something she developed due to her long teenage career.
Paige’s WWE Main Roster Rise
In 2014, WWE recognized Paige’s potential and put her on their main show, Monday Night Raw. In a shocking decision, they had her appear on the night after Wrestlemania 30 to congratulate the current Diva’s Champion on her successful title defense at the show.
AJ — playing the typical heal — took this as an opportunity to attack Paige and sarcastically challenge her at a chance for the title. Paige unexpectedly accepted the challenge, and quickly defeated AJ to become the new divas champion — the youngest Divas champion ever at the age of 21.
This event quickly shot Paige up to main event status. This is the case of WWE pushing a wrestler to the top of the card in a very direct way. While sometimes it can come across as cheesy, the audience ate it up and loved their new champion.
Paige worked her way through stardom the typical WWE way; feuds, pay-per-views, main events, title losses, and re-wins, etc. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that she went from a star of the day to a woman who will go down in history.
WWE’s Diva Revolution/Women’s Evolution
In a 2015 episode of Raw, Paige participated with Emma and The Bella Twins in an extremely controversial match that only lasted thirty seconds. The world knows at this point that wrestling is scripted, so it became clear that WWE wasn’t giving the women (still known as “Divas” in the WWE) a chance to shine.
Twitter exploded about this incident. They recognized Paige’s talent and called for WWE to give her more. Ironically enough, Paige’s former enemy AJ Lee, in real life criticized Stephanie McMahon, a higher-up in WWE, for not allowing the women more of a chance. Soon after, Paige served as a judge on the WWE developmental reality show Tough Enough.
These events prompted Stephanie McMahon to devote more time to women’s matches, and she declared a “Divas Revolution”. She introduced popular stars from NXT, like Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, to the main roster. These two wound up competing against Ronda Rousey in the first-ever WWE Wrestlemania main event to feature women.
After this, the WWE got the message, and abolished the “divas” title, simply referring to women wrestler women as… well… women! The diva’s championship was abolished, and legendary WWE wrestler Lita presented the first-ever WWE Women’s Championship belt. The aforementioned Charlotte Flair became the first WWE women’s champion.
Paige’s WWE Run Ending Far Too Soon
In one of the cruelest twists of irony to ever touch the world of wrestling, Paige didn’t get to compete in the new women’s division she helped pioneer. Less than a month after the introduction of the women’s championship, Paige revealed that she was undergoing surgery for a serious neck injury.
She returned to wrestling, having been cleared to wrestle, in September of 2017. However, two months later, at a house show, she suffered a re-injury in her neck. As a result, Paige was forced to retire from in-ring competition. She was only 26.
Paige now serves as an on-air authority figure. She’s a noncombatant who plays the role of a general manager and hosts various wrestling-related talk shows. While her image and language skills are just as strong as ever, it leaves one wondering what Paige could’ve done in the ring if she had more of a chance.
The Sad and Inspiring Story of Paige
While Paige’s in-ring career ended far too young, she forever changed the world of wrestling. If the audience hadn’t loved her so much, they never would have reacted to her match being only thirty seconds. If that had never happened, WWE would never have developed a women’s division. And today’s stars wouldn’t be flying as high.
It’s no wonder this former Divas and NXT Women’s Champion even had a biopic made about her in 2019, called “Fighting With My Family.”
While she didn’t get to stick around very long, Paige WWE forever changed the world of wrestling.
For another article like this, check out our article on Alexa Bliss, WWE’s current top rising star.