Craig Wilson, Brian Damage and Jamie Lithgow
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely or poorly used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we Book or Cook Paige.
Craig: There is one thing you can’t dismiss about Paige: she certainly made an immediate impact. Debuting on the main roster, after a successful stint on NXT, the night after WrestleMania 30 she immediately defeated AJ Lee to become the youngest divas champion aged just 21.
Since then she’s had a second reign with the title and a mainstay on WWE television. However, it’s fair to suggest that in recent weeks and months as the WWE women’s revolution has come to the fore, Paige has been left trailing.
So what does the future hold for her? At 23, there’s little doubt that there is plenty left in her tank. Is there a suggestion that she needs to leave the company to better her chances or is it just a change of direction and booking that she requires?
All that and more in this latest Book or Cook piece.
Brian: Paige was originally booked as the “Anti Diva” in NXT and the main roster. To be honest, even though Paige has been a two Divas champion and is only 23…she already seems old and in many ways passe. I think having her on the reality show ‘Total Divas’ has done more damage than good for her wrestling career.
She is no longer looked at as the renegade, pioneer of the Women’s revolution but the thing that she was never suppose to be, namely a WWE Diva. She has all the talent and ability in the world, but right now seems better suited for lingerie pillow fight matches than wrestling with Charlotte, Becky Lynch and others.
Jamie: Exactly what Brian just said. Had her casting in Total Divas been accompanied by a change in attitude on WWE TV then fair enough, it could have been put down to character development. Problem is, she still appears to be this slightly crazy anti-Diva character she was before. She is still highly regarded – based on her recent victory over Charlotte – but her character needs defining, it feels slightly neglected. She can’t be an anti-Diva and be on Total Divas, so what is she? She needs to turn the volume up and make it clear; has she sold out – which would draw great heat – or is she less anti-diva and more bat-shit crazy – which she has shown signs of?
I think Paige is possibly just a victim of something that still plagues women’s wrestling in WWE i.e. the writers can only deal with one angle at a time for some reason.
Craig: I agree with Brian too and we really shouldn’t: she is a very competent in-ring performer. The inclusion of her in ‘Total Divas’ has undoubtedly hurt her and hurt her badly. There’s obviously time for her to recover but maybe a slow build. I don’t think I could take her seriously thrust back into the title picture.
That said, she is one of the many “lost in the shuffle” that could well benefit from the brand split and fact that the same top guys, and gals, can’t appear on both shows. I’d like to see more of Paige. There’s something, but I can’t place my finger on it, that I like about her. She deserves a chance.
Brian: Don’t get me wrong, I like her too…but she just seems tarnished by that damn Total Divas show. I think in my opinion, it does ladies careers more harm than it does good.
Craig: Again, I agree. I think the best outcome would be for a show that focusses on the Bellas – if the WWE continue to want to go down that route – and leave the others to, not wanting to sound cheesy, tell their story in the ring.
Have Paige take a short break off TV and return with a bit of a bang. The anti-diva doesn’t really have a place any more so creative have to come up with something new for her. But she’s the sorta talent the WWE must see as the long-term future for their women’s division. It’s about using her properly and not burning her out through over exposure.
It’s a definite book for me. But carefully and with consideration to the fact she’s still quite young.
Jamie: A good point I never picked up on, how can she be anti something that no longer exists?! That said I’d book her, just give her a direction because at the moment she appears to be drifting aimlessly.
Some consensus here around the idea of booking her. She just needs something different. What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.