22 months after competing in her final match in the UFC, former MMA superstar Paige VanZant made her in-ring debut as a professional wrestler.
During yesterday's All Elite Wrestling "Double or Nothing" pay-per-view, VanZant teamed up with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky of American Top Team in a six-person mixed tag team match against Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara, and Tay Conti. And much like her UFC debut against Kailin Curran in 2014, VanZant emerged victorious.
But while VanZant and her team won the match, she didn't exactly win universal praise from the professional wrestling world. She got her fair share of praise, but many pointed out that she's still quite raw:
New York Post writer Joseph Staszewski was particularly unimpressed with how AEW used VanZant, pointing out that she was not given a big enough role in the match or enough promotion heading into it.
"AEW could have done so much more with Paige VanZant and potentially wasted her debut if the late pay-per-view buys don’t justify her addition to the show. Instead of putting the former UFC fighter and social media star in a more featured spot with plenty of promotion or waiting until her wrestling training would allow it, they made her an add-on to one of their most confusing feuds between heels. VanZant was laying on the apron outside the ring as Scorpio Sky pinned Sammy Guevara to ensure he and Frankie Kazarian can never challenge for this TNT championship again," Staszewski wrote.
If AEW is committed to making Paige VanZant a bigger part of their regular programming, then we'll see more of her soon. Not everyone can come in with as little training in the field as VanZant and dominate right away.
What did you think of VanZant's performance yesterday?