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EditorialThe "Paige" Turner: This Is My House

The “Paige” Turner: This Is My House

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The Journey Of Paige And How She Went From The Top Of The Mountain To Her Career Going Down-Spiral.

            Charismatic, in-ring talent, decent mic-skills when given time, the entrance music, first-ever NXT Women’s Champion and one of the longest reigning in that brand’s history behind Asuka, at 21 years old became the youngest WWE Divas Champion of all time. Now, as I sit back and look at all of that plus much more that went un-mentioned, I must wonder, what the hell went wrong? Paige went from ushering in the Women’s Revolution to being one of the first women to possibly exit out of it. I’m not going to bash Paige for her decisions because at the end of the day these athletes we look at on TV every day are human as well and they do indeed mess up. But, with Paige there still is and was so much potential and it’s a shame that we may not get to witness her show why in an era of women’s wrestling where they show exactly what Paige said every entrance: This Is My House

There are many of pro-wrestlers who started wrestling at an early age, but Paige started at the age of 13 under the name Britani Knight teaming with her mother who is also a former in-ring competitor. I did not know of Paige during the early stages of her career but anyone that makes a decision to choose pro-wrestling at the age of 13 years old and follow through with it has my respect.

2011

 

Fast-forwarding to 2011, this was the match that was reportedly said to have put the young “Britani Knight” on the map giving her a name in the Pro-Wrestling EVE promotion as well as in her hometown of Norwich, England. Paige went on to capture the Pro-Wrestling EVE Championship and although that may have been a monumental moment for her, little did she know that she would be a part of a revolution in the form of a Takeover. For those who do not know, before NXT was brought to fruition, there was FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and that is where Paige slowly came into her own. From the beginning of Paige’s time in FCW, there was always something that made her stand out from the rest of the Women competitors on the roster. Paige was not your typical WWE “eye candy”, did not look the part as some would say but that is what made Paige, Paige. The Norwich product would go on to start a revolution within being a part of one, the “Anti-Diva” revolution. The Anti-Diva movement wasn’t a revolt against Women’s wrestling, but Paige was simply tired of women’s wrestlers being categorized as anything less than what they were. Not knowing Paige at all, I can as well as most of you could guarantee that the “Anti-Diva” movement was not kayfabe and all real feelings by Paige. The Anti-Diva would go on to carry herself into the re-branded FCW, NXT.

Although Paige may have gone down in defeat her NXT debut, that would only be a minor bump in the road to her becoming the NXT Women’s Champion. Paige went on to face a character developing Sasha Banks, Emma & Alicia Fox just to name a few of the women Paige competed against in NXT. The WWE fans became very fond of Paige. I remember I would have to watch episodes of NXT on Hulu Plus and would use my grandmother’s credit card to do so, but all in all this is how I noticed Paige wasn’t your ordinary “WWE Diva”, in fact she was the complete opposite. I was not as informed about the company as I am now, but Paige had the potential to main event a show; she had the in-ring talent, her popularity among the fans was a draw as well and putting her in the ring with someone who could match her would be nothing short of a classic.

Heading into June of 2013, Paige was entered into a Women’s tournament in NXT to crown the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion. Paige defeated the likes of Tamina Snuka and Alicia Fox to ultimately lead her onto going one-on-one with Emma to determine who would usher into a new-era as the first-ever NXT Women’s Champion.

Image result for paige wins nxt women's championship

Paige was the victor in a moment where myself along as many of fans who were tuned into NXT were happy to see Paige be crowned as the first-ever NXT Women’s Champion. Paige would have one of the lengthiest reigns in the history of the brand until current NXT Women’s Champion Asuka came along. Paige would go onto hold on to the NXT Women’s Championship continuing her “Anti-Diva” movement.

 

Following a night where we saw Daniel Bryan capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, another success story came to fruition. The story of a 13-year-old who chose wrestling as job and eight years later all of her hard work would pay off. I want those of you who are reading to do me one favor, as you watch this video turn your headphones/earbuds all the way up and just listen.

If you were not aware of Paige, this was her breakout moment. A 21-year-old Norwich England product is the new WWE Divas champion and although Paige was now the holder of the Divas Championship, she was a Women’s Champion. Weeks later, Paige was forced to relinquish the title to JBL and he “bullied” her to get the championship (I had to take the cheap shot while it was there). As Paige became a regular on WWE television, people became critical of WWE creative for not being able to develop Paige’s character as she was the “weak champion” at the beginning of her time in the WWE. Paige was constantly proving herself much like how Sami Zayn does today. I must agree in regards that Paige’s gimmick from NXT, “The Anti-Diva” was no longer that and although she was a baby-face champion, that did not mean she had to be booked as a pushover champion.

Fast-forwarding to the early stages of 2015 was where we slowly started to see the decline of one of the company’s most talented workers. Paige made her WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania 31 and picked up a victory alongside AJ Lee in a tag-team match. Little did we know, this would be the last time we saw Paige pick up a victory for a while. Paige would go on to lose match after match and just when she would get close to winning the Divas Championship once again she would always fall short which of course made fans of hers upset but those who critiqued the product heavily asked why isn’t Paige being pushed as the best competitor on the Women’s roster at the time, thus the Anti-Diva was gone.

Heading into the summer, Stephanie McMahon made it clear that it was time for a “Women’s Revolution” to begin. In came names like Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch & Charlotte. Although it was good to see fresh faces in the Women’s division and ushering out this “Divas” division, did it not feel as if Paige was just a 4th wheel to Sasha, Charlotte & Becky? Paige was a member of this revolution but she left the nest earlier than the rest. Although it did appear that Paige was being excluded out of this Women’s Revolution there was one moment where she was feuding with at the time, current Divas Champion Charlotte and performed one of the most debatable and argumentative promos of all time.

Months following that promo, Paige would go on to be unsuccessful at capturing the WWE Divas Championship three consecutive times. After her losing streak, Paige took some time off due to injury (kayfabe). Upon her return, Paige was lost, as WWE was focusing on heading into newer things such as the conversion of the Divas Championship into the Women’s Championship, focusing in on Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch & Charlotte to be the leaders of the new division. Paige was lost in the shuffle, she had no direction and it just appeared as if she was a part of the past. Paige was on the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, while the Women from NXT where headlining their division for the renewed WWE Women’s Championship.

The Decline:

In the summer of 2016, Vince McMahon announced that there will be WWE Draft, superstars will be moved to different brands and there will be a new look in the company. Paige was drafted to RAW, but we never saw the former Divas Champion and it was later discovered that Paige was out due to injury. A few weeks following her injury revelation, Paige was suspended from the WWE for violating the company’s wellness policy which is where WWE officials began to be frustrated with Paige and very much so Paige with her career. She went from being the one of the creators of the Women’s Revolution to not even being a part of it. A month later in September of 2016, Paige revealed that she would be undergoing neck surgery, think back 2 years prior, on your first night on WWE television you were the face of the division and were a sign of hope that Women’s wrestling would be back and 2 and a half years later this would be her current situation.

In October of 2016, Paige was once again suspended from the WWE for the same reason as the previous suspension, a wellness policy issue with an extended 30 days onto her already 30-day suspension. WWE reportedly was fed up with Paige’s “unwise decision making” as they even aired it out on Twitter that she failed her test due to illegal substances. Paige responded with…

June of 2016 had been the last time we seen Paige in a WWE ring and unfortunately that is how the situation remained.

The Women’s Division train in WWE had long gone on and it left Paige at the previous stop. Looking back at it, I feel for Paige, let alone if she had time to reflect on it I know she was pissed as well seeing where her career was headed. But, unfortunately things only became worse. In March of 2017, still no in-ring action from Paige as she at 24 years of age seemed to be a part of past for the Women’s division in WWE. There were graphic pictures & videos leaked online of Paige which caused her parents to intervene and even state that they were concerned about the mental health of their daughter considering what has happened to her.

The funny thing is, WWE never gave an official statement addressing the photos that had been leaked of Paige. Instead they made a non-verbal gesture of sorts. One of the graphic images that Paige was in, saw the NXT Women’s Championship and it was reported that the reason there are new NXT Championship Titles was because of that photo, but WWE couldn’t just blatantly change the Women’s Championship and not change the rest. It also does not help Paige that her boyfriend, Alberto El Patron is posting videos on Paige’s social media saying explicit comments towards WWE officials considering she is still signed with the company, but that has been going on with El Patron for a while. But, seeing as how him and Paige are together, he is a representation of her, giving her a bad look on top of the other things that has happened to her over the past year.

Paige’s last televised match was in June of 2016. The former Divas Champion started wrestling at 13 years old, turned her dream into a reality, became the youngest Divas (Women’s) Champion of all time and all of it left her side in less than 2 years. WWE reportedly has no plans for Paige moving forward and it there does not appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel for her. Paige belonged in this era of Women’s Wrestling beside the Alexa Bliss’s, Charlotte’s, Naomi’s, Sasha’s and Bayley’s just to name a few of the women who are carrying the Women’s Revolution that Paige basically started. The Anti-Diva is no longer and it is sad to say, but there may not be a future for Paige in WWE at the current moment. Maybe, in a few years Paige will return, but by the looks of it right now, this is no longer Paige’s house.

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