Though she hasn’t been one of WWE’s top female superstars since 2017, Paige was able to become a household name for a short period of time this year thanks to her biopic, Fighting with My Family, hitting theaters across the country. Produced and co-starring wrestling legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Fighting with My Family debuted at #4 in cinemas and went on to gross over $23,000,000 in ticket sales while in American cinemas. The subject matter, of course, depicted Florence Pugh as Paige, going from her family’s small time wrestling promotion to the biggest wrestling brand in the world.
Paige was one of WWE’s most celebrated athletes from 2012 until 2017. She was with the company when its developmental territory transitioned from FCW (Florida Champion Wrestling) to NXT, where she eventually became the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion. In the one of the biggest upsets in wrestling history, Paige vacated her first championship and was called-up to the main roster of RAW in the series first show after Wrestlemania XXX in 2014. There, she congratulated fan-favorite AJ Lee on her title defense, only to find herself in an impromptu match with the reigning champion. Paige fulled off the win against AJ Lee and became the youngest Divas Champion in history as well as the first woman to hold both the NXT Women’s Championship and Divas Championship while with the company.
Paige held on to the title for several months before losing it to her original opponent, AJ Lee, and the two later found themselves in a frenemy tag-team. She was then paired up with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in “Submission Sorority,” before entering a number of feuds with many different superstars which resulted in a concussion. She was sidelined against shortly there after with another injury, followed by a suspension due to failing to comply with WWE’s wellness policy. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Paige had to sit out of competition for more time due to her first neck injury and another wellness policy violation.
Then, just one month after returning in December 2017, Paige suffered a career ending injury sustained after Sasha Banks kicked her in the back at a house show. The damage to her spine was so severe, in fact, that she couldn’t complete in any in-ring activity; although she still followed her tag-team, Absolution, into battle and appeared at commentary tables. Shane McMahon was still interested in keeping Paige with WWE, and he made her the SmackDown General Manager for a spell. Currently, she serves as manager to the Women’s Tag Team Champions, The Kabuki Warriors.
Paige’s passion in professional wrestling and devotion to WWE is unquestionable. She’s put her heart, health and life on the line on multiple occasions. She’s in the record books and routinely interacts with her beloved fans on social media. Recently, Paige underwent a corrective surgery with a new team of professionals in hopes of remedying the damage to her spine. It’s unclear if the procedure will provide her with the opportunity to return to the ring, or if it will fix whatever ailment is causing her pain. Whatever the outcome may be, I hope it serves whatever purpose Paige desires and sees her living a happier, healthier life.
With or without the doctors’ OK and passing the physicals WWE trainers would put her through, is it too hard to wonder if WWE could still use Paige in a limited capacity? There’s still a few options, less combative, stressful ones, that could see her back in the ring again. For starters, she could link up with Absolution from time to time in tag team matches where she isn’t tagged in at all and only offers cheap shots whenever her opponent is too close to her corner. Or she could join The Kabuki Warriors in a triple tag match with the same effect. These instances would allow her to compete for WWE once again without getting directly in the line of fire.
Also, she could still participate in group matches in limited roles. For instance, a Lumberjack/Lumberjill Match where other wrestlers surround the ring to beat on competitors tossed on the outside. Paige could tussle with another lady outside the ring before throwing her back inside. Or, I think back to the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and the Evolution pay-per-view, when gimmicks resulted in early eliminations, wrestlers were thrown over the top rope rather quickly and retired legends only delivered a couple of kicks before meeting the same fate. Paige could compete in a match like this with the ability to launch a couple of attacks before getting eliminated in a way choreographed to prevent any injury or further impact to her neck/spine.
If Daniel Bryan could return to WWE in a full time capacity following his own injury, and if Edge could return to deliver a spear at SummerSlam, then it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we could see Paige in the ring again soon. I’d take something small over nothing at all!