In recent years women’s wrestling has become an afterthought in the WWE. It has literally been weeks since the WWE has had any divas competition on Monday Night Raw (last time was a six person tag featuring Brodus, Tensai & Naomi vs. The Colons & Rosa) and when they were being featured, they seldom got more than 2 or 3 minutes to have a match, tell a story and build feuds; a task anybody would be hard pressed to successfully undertake.
It’s sad because while I never intensely followed the women’s feuds in the past, I never completely dismissed them when women like Mickie James, Trish Stratus, Lita, etc were involved. I respected the work they did and could appreciate a well-written and performed feud featuring WWE’s Divas as much as I could a rivalry between two of WWE’s male Superstars. While there are plenty of talented Divas employed by WWE today, Natalya, Kaitlyn, AJ Lee (let her wrestle!) and Naomi to name a few, the fact of the matter is that WWE is in need of something or someone to jump-start a new era in women’s wrestling. They need someone that can wrestle, draw interest, innovate and become a Divas division icon like Trish and Lita. Luckily the WWE doesn’t have to look far for the next big thing in women’s wrestling, because in my opinion, she’s working for them in developmental.
This week’s edition of A Matter of Character will focus on the next big thing in women’s wrestling (in my opinion), the Anti-Diva, Miss Hell in Boots, Paige. I will detail why I think she is the WWE’s best shot at a viable women’s division resurgence and why I think her future will be incredibly bright, (given a real shot to succeed that is). Let’s Do This!
Paige grew up as part of a wrestling family, with her parents and her two older brothers also being professional wrestlers. At 20 years old with 8 years of wrestling training and experience under her belt (she debuted for WAW, a promotion run by her family, at 14 years of age), she is a rare combination of experienced and young. She can flat out go in the ring and I for one have been very impressed with her work on FCW and now NXT. Her experience, skill and youth are just some of the reasons why I think she’ll lead a resurgence of quality women’s wrestling. She’s just too good not to.
Now as far as aesthetics are concerned, Paige is an absolutely beautiful woman. That being said she also has a very different look than most women in the WWE. She’s not a tanned model turned wrestler, but rather a fair-skinned raven-haired beauty, which certainly sets her apart from most of the other Divas on the WWE roster. She is supremely skilled which is the main reason I’m touting her as the next big thing in the Diva’s division, that being said, I need to recognize that she is definitely a very attractive Diva, which can only help her cause.
On NXT and FCW, Paige for the most part is portrayed as having an anti-social personality. She mostly keeps to herself mostly, rarely interacting or speaking with her male or female roster-mates, which creates a aura of mystery around her character. There’s a reason why William Regal, upon her debut in FCW referred to her as the Enchanting and Mysterious Raven-Haired Lady. She had a way of grabbing your attention, but keeping you at arms length, intriguing the audience, and making us want to know more about her.
She certainly lives up to the Anti-Diva moniker she has, and I personally love her character’s veiled personality. While she keeps her emotions and thoughts to herself as part of her anti-social character, she has very expressive facial features, particularly her eyes, which I credit for the intrigue she commands without uttering a single word. She likes to fight and she’s very expressive in the ring, which gives us as viewers short windows into her psyche that only make us more fascinated by her. She’s a wrestling Siren.
WORDS AND ACTIONS
When Paige does speak, she does so with emotion and she does so very well. She commands your attention, gets her point across, and usually doesn’t drag on like many young wrestlers do when cutting promos. What’s also refreshing about her (at least on NXT, we’ll see if it lasts in WWE) as WWE’s youngest contracted Diva, she sounds the least like a high-school mean girl when she speaks. She speaks with a purpose about real issues she’s having with people, not like a 16-year-old girl who doesn’t like another girl’s hair. Her accent is also pretty awesome, and further sets her apart.
As far as her actions are concerned, she has already been part of two angles in FCW and NXT that are far better concepts for angles than anything done on Raw or Smackdown for the Divas. She debuted quietly as an “Enchanting and Mysterious Raven-Haired Lady” who was mysteriously counseling then FCW standout Seth Rollins before his matches. She would tell him things target the leg, or wait till the opponent does his usual mid-match taunt and strike. She would watch Seth’s matches from the rafters and for weeks proved to be a master strategist. The storyline was abruptly dropped, but I personally really liked how mysterious and intelligent her character was made to look upon arrival.
More recently on NXT, she broke ground with her feud with Summer Rae. Summer Rae, who does the ring announcing for NXT attacked Paige, seemingly jealous of her success, and two weeks later, Paige stormed the ring, interrupting the opening match featuring two male superstars, and tried to get her hands on Summer Rae. Summer Rae ran, Paige said she wasn’t leaving the ring till she got her hands on Summer Rae, and she sent the two superstars on their way with a slap to the face. It was impressive to see a female wrestler take charge of a WWE produced program’s opening segment, calling out her rival, not backing down from GM Dusty Rhodes and more importantly taking precedent over the boys. It was very entertaining and she carried the segment beautifully. She’s got an “it” factor very few male wrestlers have in my opinion.
With Paige’s character being so anti-social and mysterious to this point, it’s hard to decipher what her underlying motivation actually is. We know she likes to fight, that she wants to achieve success obviously, but what motivates her underneath all of that obvious stuff? Her motives being veiled is certainly a big part of her mystique, but eventually mysteries need to be solved, and at the end of the day, I believe what motivates her stems from her wrestling upbringing.
Remember she grew up in a wrestling family with her two older brothers and both her parents being wrestlers. She made her in ring debut for her families promotion in 2006 and was no older than 14 at the time. She’s a bit of a child prodigy and wrestling is all she knows. She needed to be tough, she needed to be strong, and she needed to accumulate skill quickly to hang with her brothers, her mother and her father, and she ended up doing so and then some. She made it up to the WWE, and is representing her whole wrestling family. It’s a lot of pressure that she carries on her shoulder, but she does so happily. She wants to represent her family in the WWE and forge a legacy that makes them proud. She wants to be the toughest and most respected Diva in the WWE, not only by her fellow Divas, but by the male superstars as well.
Being the one to forge your wrestling family’s legacy in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world is quite a daunting task, for anyone, much less a WWE Diva, whom rarely get the appreciation or respect that they deserve for their abilities. It’s a tough cross to bear when you are looked at as an afterthought. At times she’ll be discouraged and feel like she is letting her family down, and she will need to shake those doubts and continue to push until she’s recognized and respected in the WWE. The question is have her years of experience prepared her for the hardships of the WWE? That is her personal conflict.
As I said, I feel that Paige is destined for big things. She can be a catalyst for change in the way the Divas division is perceived in the WWE (it’s a long-shot, but she does have a shot). One change that I selfishly want to see her inspire is an abandoning of giving every Diva only a first name. Kaitlyn, Natalya, Paige, Cameron, Naomi, even the ones that had last names at first (A.J. Lee and Rosa Mendes) are going by their first names only now. Are they all pop stars? Are they all Madonna? It subversively trivializes the women’s wrestlers in my opinion, but again, not everyone will agree with that.
Back to Paige, and what the WWE should do to bring her up to Raw or Smackdown. I suggested in my AMOC article on Corey Graves that she should be brought up to the main roster paired with Graves as best friends and talented wrestlers who are living their dreams. Their friendship would slowly but surely develop into a romance over time and various storylines. It would work and could make them the darlings of the WWE Universe like Matt Hardy and Lita were (hopefully with a more positive ending).
While I like that idea, I really like how she debuted in FCW and would want to recreate that on Raw or Smackdown. Have her debut as a mysterious master strategist who helps a young talented superstar by giving him the keys to victory. Show that she knows everyone’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities (even the male superstars) and is very smart, perceptive, systematic and most importantly over time show she is ruthless in her pursuit of victory, willing top capitalize on any advantage, physical, mental or personal. The mystery of that character would be captivating and would capitalize on her siren-like ability to draw people in without revealing too much about herself. You could use Corey Graves as the male superstar or any number of other superstars on the roster. She could be the saving grace of goofball Zack Ryder now that I think of it. It’d be a perfect way to transition into a more serious, more focused character, and it would be a testament to her strategies if she could get Zack on track.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think? Do you think Paige is the next big thing in the Divas Division? Can the Divas Division even be saved? How would you debut her on Raw or Smackdown? What’s with Divas only having first names?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Stephen Curry is the purest shooter in the NBA today. What a performance last night from Steph, and it won’t be long till we stop referring to him as Del’s kid and we start calling Del, Stephen’s dad. Have a great week everybody!