It took Paige just one night to become a star in the WWE. Unfortunately though her career in the ring didn’t last as long as the fans hoped it would.
The WWE signed Paige to a developmental contract in 2011. At the time, she was performing under her actual name, Saraya-Jade Bevis.
Paige made her debut for the NXT in 2012, as she lost her first match to Sofia Cortez. Once the fans started supporting her journey, the English wrestler received a huge push from the company. The following year, she became the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion, defeating Emma, Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka in a tournament-style match.
Despite all her success with NXT, the WWE knew it was only a matter of time before Paige would be elevated to the main roster.
When did Paige debut in the WWE?
There aren’t many wrestlers who had a more memorable WWE debut than Paige. She surprised the entire wrestling universe on April 7, 2014, making an appearance on Raw.
Paige congratulated AJ Lee on her victory at WrestleMania XXX. Lee decided to reject Paige’s kind words and challenge her to a title match seemingly out of nowhere.
Most of the match was dominated by Lee, but Paige managed to stun Lee and capture the Divas Championship in her first night on the main roster. As a result, she became the only woman in wrestling history to simultaneously hold the Divas and NXT Women’s Championships.
Paige proved she wasn’t a fluke by defeating Tamina Snuka at Extreme Rules in her first title defense. It wasn’t until the summer of 2014 when she ironically lost the Divas Championship to AJ Lee.
WWE fans were devastated to see Paige drop the belt to Lee, but she eventually reclaimed the title at SummerSlam. Unfortunately that was the last time that Paige was able to taste championship gold.
Instead of being in the title contention, Paige was part of a feud with The Bella Twins. Her partner for that feud was none other than Natalya, the daughter of Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart.
The women’s division simply became too crowded for Paige once stars like Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch were called up to the main roster. To make matters worse, she suffered major injuries that ultimately cut her career short.
Why did Paige stop wrestling?
In 2016, the WWE revealed that Paige had to undergo neck surgery and would not be able to wrestle for an extended period of time. Prior to surgery, she was suspended for taking an illegal substance, however, she told the company that it was prescribed medication to treat her neck pain.
Paige eventually returned to the ring a full year later, but she re-injured her neck after taking a nasty shot from Sasha Banks in a tag-team match. The two-time Divas Champion eventually announced her retirement from in-ring competition in April of 2018.
“Unfortunately due to neck injuries I can no longer perform as an in-ring competitor,” Paige told the WWE universe. “This is one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to say in my entire career.”
She finished her speech with an emphatic message for her fans, saying “This will always be my house.”
Almost every woman on the WWE roster went on social media to wish Paige well.
“You’ve done so much for women’s wrestling at such a young age and accomplished so much,” Becky Lynch tweeted.
“Thank you Paige for being one of my all time favorite opponents I’ve ever worked with in the ring,” Natalya wrote on Twitter. “I’m so proud of you for being so strong but I’m also so excited for so many incredible opportunities coming your way. You’re a star and you were born to shine!
Even though Paige’s wrestling career came to an end in 2018, she just couldn’t stay away from the WWE. Shane McMahon made her the general manager of SmackDown just 24 hours after her retirement. She eventually gave up that title, but she proved that she still has the charisma to be part of the brand.
Is Paige still involved with the WWE?
Paige remains with the WWE to this day, but her role with the company is always changing. The last prominent role she had was with WWE Backstage, a talk show that highlights the biggest storylines in wrestling. That show was canceled this past June due to low ratings, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
There was recently a rift between Paige and the WWE due to its policy regarding Twitch. The company wanted her to avoid third-party deals, but that didn’t sit well with her.
Unlike other WWE superstars, Paige tried to stand up against the company’s policy, saying “I’ve honestly got to the point where I cannot deal with this company anymore.”
Considering that Paige hasn’t used her Twitch account in over a month, it’s fair to say WWE won that battle. On the bright side, she’s still a contributor to WWE. It’s unclear though when she’ll have a larger role on TV.
Does Paige still have a large following?
An early retirement didn’t stop WWE fans from adoring Paige. Believe it or not, she has more followers on Instagram than all of the top female competitors right now.
Paige, who goes by Saraya-Jade Bevis on social media, currently has 5.9 million followers on Instagram. For comparison’s sake, Charlotte Flair has 4.3 million followers on Instagram and she’s considered the top wrestler in the business.
It’s still tough to accept that Paige no longer wrestles, but she allows her fans to reminisce about her in-ring career all the time on Instagram.
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point, but Paige also has a large following on Twitter – 2.6 million followers to be exact.
Paige’s story was so impressive that a biopic was made to show her rise to stardom. Last year, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson produced Fighting with My Family, a film that showed Paige work her way to the WWE. The movie stars Florence Pugh, who plays the role of Paige.
It’s not easy to build that type of legacy in such a short span of time, but that’s exactly what Paige did in less than a decade’s worth of work in the WWE.
Regardless of what she chooses to do next with her career, Paige should have plenty of fans ready to cheer her on.