Gleed’s Blog: What exactly has gone wrong with Paige in WWE?

paige1By Haydn Gleed

The women of WWE and NXT have been in the news recently with the announcement that the Diva’s division on the main roster is now the WWE Women’s division. The move is long overdue, but the woman who many thought would be the reason for such a change has seemingly being pushed to the background. What exactly has gone wrong for Paige?

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since Paige debuted on the main roster with a bang, by winning the Diva’s championship against AJ Lee on her first night. With a firm wrestling background, obvious skills in the ring and a kick ass attitude in NXT and FCW before that, people saw the introduction of Paige as a sign that the powers that be were going to push the “Divas”, and with Paige previously playing an Anti Diva character, there was hope that the term Diva would also come under the spotlight.

But since WrestleMania this year and the mega announcement of the change of the division, we haven’t seen anything of Paige other than a brief standing role as part of the renaming ceremony. This is a woman that WWE seemed to be very high on. They put her on the Total Diva’s television show. She was trusted to do a live edition of the Stone Cold Podcast with Steve Austin. She was also a judge on the panned Tough Enough reboot. It’s obvious that management thinks highly of Paige, but all of those accolades may tell the problem – they have overexpoed her.

When you read the paragraph above and saw that she’s only been on the main roster for two years, did you think I made a mistake? For a long stretch of time it felt you couldn’t turn on a WWE affiliated show and not have Paige on your screen. After all the heel and babyface turns, the reality tv shows, the WWE Studios movie, and everything else they have pushed Paige into, doesn’t it feel like she has been around longer than two years?

The problem is she hasn’t come across as particularly likable and her character hasn’t been defined enough for us to care and want to see her all the time unlike Bayley. On Total Diva’s she comes across as immature, lacks the ability to take responsibility and not at all likable. We didn’t get the Tough Enough reboot here in the UK, but by all account she didn’t particularly come across well on that show either. I’m not saying that this is Paige the person, but the way she’s been produced hasn’t led to fans wanting to see more of her either as a likable babyface or want to see her get her comeuppance as a heel, she’s just not been particularly likable.

From the first night she debuted it seems that WWE have been so eager to get her to the same level she was at in FCW and NXT that they have missed some crucial steps along the way – from the title win on the first night depriving the fans of being on a journey towards that level and getting to know her along the way to being thrust onto reality TV shows before she has had a chance to establish her character. WWE has to take a large chunk of the blame for this, and if any silver lining can be gathered from what has happened to Paige, I hope WWE have learnt from this before their next big ladies call up from NXT *coughBayleycough*.

So what now for Paige? At her age, she is in no way of becoming an afterthought. I listened to the Q&A show that Jason Powell hosts for members on Mondays. Ironically enough, he spoke about Paige and brought up the idea of sending her down to NXT for a stint which I think would be a great move…..if done right. You can’t have her go down to NXT to have a quick feud with any of the established ladies, because if she wins it defines the ladies in NXT down, wheres if Paige loses in a quick feud you are left again with the UK girl having no momentum or traction. To fantasy book, you could have Paige go down as a heel, and take on all of the not quite NXT ready ladies to prove that she is still the best (in her mind). After two months of screaming about NXT being her house, this would lead to Asuka putting the belt on the line, and allowing Paige and her to show what they can do in the ring. Ultimately, Asuka would win and get the rub of beating a former main roster champion, but Paige has gained some traction by beating the “lesser” females in NXT and developing a persona she can take with her, while also giving main roster viewers a break without just burying her in the background.

So it’s not all over for the Anti Diva who ended up on Total Divas. There is a lot that can be done with her, but when WWE showcases her again, I hope they remember the mistakes they made with her the first time around. More importantly, I hope they don’t try take two steps forward instead of taking it one step at a time. As we have seen, she will end up taking three steps back if they make the same mistake again.

As always feel free to get in touch either through email haydn.gleed@gmail.com or twitter @haydngleed.


Readers Comments (8)

  1. not particularly likeable is why she’s still one of the most popular women on the roster right? if you don’t like her that’s okay, but dont generalize and say “fans” please

  2. As one of the most popular WWE superstars with fans, it is quite amazing how WWE has produced her television character to be potentially unlikeable with some people.

    For Tough Enough she admitted weeks prior that she was presented with the role of a “Simon Cowell” type judge. To which she said, and I quote “so I guess I’ll have to be the mean judge” and she did her duty as contracted and fans that allegedly are aware WWE is indeed a work, translated that as her real-life personality.. but then again these are the same types that watch Total Divas and believes that show is a shoot as well.

  3. Paige is one of the most popular women in the company and consistently is one of the most sought-after panelists for Wizard World conventions in the and had one of the longest lines at WrestleMania Axxess this year. Not only that, but she still gets strong crowd reactions and seems to still perform strongly in WWE.com’s favorability polls. To say that she’s “unlikeable” and that “fans don’t want to see” her is just factually wrong.

  4. There were rumors that she had heat for a while last year, but I don’t think there was anything to it. Now I’m not so sure. She has done nothing of note since TLC, and based on what she said at her Comic Con panel last week about WWE not knowing what to do with her, there doesn’t appear to be any long term plans for her either. It seems to me that someone as popular as Paige is would regularly be featured in some capacity on the main shows, even if it’s in a non wrestling role. Instead she has only had 3 matches on Raw and 1 on Smackdown this year. The company has done a bad job of booking other popular stars like Ambrose and Wyatt, but they at least have consistently had something to do, while Paige has had nothing but random meaningless matches and only got on the Mania card because they were doing a Total Divas story. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is more to Paige’s current situation.

  5. Aside from the many, many grammar errors throughout this article its purely just this authors opinion and clearly has no clue the pulse of the fans. Shes isnt unlikeable at all, shes more likeable than almost every other woman in the wwe. Shes also one of the best female wrestlers and not to mention really hot. Shes likeable on every level. WWE management makes countless mistakes with their talent and having Paige not be big role player in the womens division, much less lose to the likes of Emma is just another one.

  6. I think Paige was damaged a ton being repeatedly fed to Nikki Bella during her far too long title reign. It overexposed her in the title picture without giving her any shine at all. You can tell at times in the ring and with her comments that it’s demotivating her which is such a shame as I think if she’d been allowed to keep her persona and more agressive ring style from NXT she would be difficult for the four horsewomen to keep up with. Paige is very likeable but social media fills in a lot of the gaping holes WWE leave in her character development i’d be all for her going back to NXT to regain her focus at a time when she’s clearly not part of their plans.

  7. I wouldn’t say people don’t want to see her at all. I think she’s one of the most popular women on roster. The woman I get the most impression fans don’t want to see is actually Charlotte, though that may be my own bias as I don’t like Charlotte’s current character of “my dad is Ric Flair”, at all. Honestly, I think all thats happened with Paige is that WWE doesn’t like having more than one women’s story going at a time and their focus right now are Natalya and, much to my chagrin, Charlotte.

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