For the past several months, the WWE has been in the midst of the Divas Revolution. The arrivals of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch from NXT has ushered in a new era of women’s (emphasis on women’s) wrestling that is something more than 3 minute bathroom break matches. Gone are the days of bra and panties matches (and puppies!); we now live in a time where Sasha Banks and Bayley can headline an NXT Takeover special and wrestle in a 30 minute Iron Man match.
This movement culminated at WrestleMania 32, where the three newest arrivals from NXT fought in a triple threat match to wrap up the lineage of the Divas Championship. Out with the butterfly belt, and in with the new Women’s Championship, which much closer resembles the men’s title and is a small step towards equality in wrestling.
As someone who is often referred to as the “Anti-Diva,” Paige would seem to fit right in with this new emphasis on women’s wrestling. And at the beginning, she seemed to be the focus of this new movement; she was in the ring when Stephanie McMahon brought in the NXT trio, and there seemed to be a changing of the guard between the previous era ruled by the Bella Twins and the new era ruled by Paige and the newcomers from NXT.
However, the creative team had Paige turn on her friends, only to inexplicably have Charlotte and Lynch trust her after her betrayal. The early portion of the Divas Revolution, while booked with good intentions, didn’t quite click with many fans. There was catty, team warfare that failed to focus on any one woman. For example, the fans wanted to cheer for Sasha Banks, but she was forced into a true heel role along with Tamina Snuka and Naomi in Team BAD. And most mysteriously of all, the person who looked most out of place was Paige, the woman the Divas Revolution initially centered around.
With a mixed crowd reaction due to several heel and face turns, along with possible injuries that kept her on the sidelines for weeks at a time, the Divas Revolution shifted its focus to the newcomers Charlotte, Banks, and Lynch. While this feud was going on over the Divas Championship, Paige had a confusing program with Natalya that mostly went nowhere and asked “where has Nattie been?” over focusing on actual wrestling.
So how could someone as liked and talented as Paige seemingly get lost in the shuffle? She was the inaugural NTX Women’s Champion and is a 2-time former WWE Diva’s Champion. To do so, one must first look to the hit reality show Total Divas. Many fans welcomed her addition to the show, and she certainly added a different look and feel to the program. However, her addition to the show then subjected her to the “Total Divas booking” which always seems to feel forced and unnatural within a normal RAW telecast. While it was still a focus technically placed on women’s wrestling, the show took precedent over actual in-ring storytelling.
Instead of feuding with her former associates from NXT over the Divas Championship at WrestleMania, Paige was stuck with her fellow Total Divas in a jumbled mess of a 10-Diva tag team match against the remaining women on the main roster. Instead of being the Anti-Diva, she has unfortunately become just another Total Diva. Flying in the face of all she seemed to stand for, Paige has looked out of place for months and has slid further and further down the card.
When RAW visited London, England this past week, she was the 4th most important person on her team in an 8-women tag team match. When you are the least important person in that large a match, you know something is off. Aside from (or perhaps because of) the poor booking, Paige has appeared to be disinterested in her ring work as of late. She hasn’t been nearly as crisp in the ring as she has been, and perhaps it’s due to her recent injuries, but there were definitely those on Twitter who stated that Paige looked very disinterested during her last few matches. Could it be a sign that she’s possibly rethinking her career with the WWE, or maybe she’s just frustrated with her recent injuries and current place on the women’s totem pole?
Whatever the case may be, here’s to hoping the Anti-Diva returns to her former ass kicking ways, even if it means distancing herself from her Total Divas fame.