When one door closes, another door opens. When SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon announced Paige would supplant Daniel Bryan as the blue team’s general manager, it was as strong a move as any WWE had made in the last year.
Paige announced on Monday night that after a four-year run in a WWE wrestling ring she would have to retire from the business she grew up in. Her announcement wasn’t shocking as a neck injury cost her majority of last year and her in-ring return this year was short-lived. The company’s plan to move the former women’s champion to Tuesday nights is the perfect move with the Superstar Shakeup one week away.
Before we started talking about Rhonda Rousey becoming the next “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, there was a Paige. The rebel who led the Divas Revolution and one of the most outspoken performers in a WWE locker room, was a breath of fresh air to a division that was lost like a stranded puppy. Now, Tuesday nights will be known as “Paige’s House” while she still holds out hope to one day return to a wrestling ring.
Born Saraya-Jade Bevis, Paige is a two-time Divas Champion and was the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion in WWE’s developmental branch NXT, holding both championships concurrently at one occasion. She is also the first competitor born in the nineties to win a championship in WWE.
Bevis is part of a professional wrestling family. Her parents, Julia Hamer-Bevis and Ian Bevis, and her older brothers, Roy Bevis and Zak Frary, are professional wrestlers. The family runs the World Association of Wrestling (WAW) promotion in Norwich. Her mother owns and operates Bellatrix Female Warriors, a women’s wrestling promotion also based in Norwich.
Paige pointed out in her retirement speech in New Orleans that Bryan’s recovery after a three-year hiatus from performing gave her hope. WWE fans have grown to love the aggressive, sarcastic and even sometimes abusive style of the beautiful Brit. If she can stir the masses with her chutzpah in the same manner that Bryan was able to continue the “Yes!“ Movement, then WWE will not lose a step in replacing one character with another.
What WWE plans to do with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville following Paige’s departure from Monday nights is up in the air. Paige was everything right about the Divas’ Revolution, a movement that was further advanced by the success of Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch. Whenever anybody refers to the “Four Horsewomen” I immediately disagree with them. They were five women who put women’s professional wrestling back on the map.
The general manager’s role on WWE is in name only, see Jack Tunney, so how will Paige handle her new position?
Instead of being the mouthpiece for a small faction, she speaks for the entire blue team’s roster and I am interested to see how she will interact with the women on Tuesday night. What storylines will the creative team develop that include her being a peacemaker and problem solver rather than somebody who is used to being the instigator?
Whatever WWE decides to do with Paige, I like the fact that she is still a part of the company’s machine. For somebody so young (25) and full of energy, she brings a new dimension to SmackDown Live not specifically designed for in-ring performance.