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Paige Says Goodbye To WWE In New Article For Players’ Tribune

July 6, 2022 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Paige Sayara Image Credit: WWE

In a piece for the Players’ Tribune, Paige said goodbye to the WWE as her contract with the company will expire this week. She has been a part of WWE since 2011. Here are highlights:

On who she wants to thank: “I’ve known this moment would be coming for a while, but it almost didn’t seem real. Now that it is real, though, I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude to people like A.J. — what an absolute badass she is. But she’s also so sweet and so thoughtful. I remember the first time we went on the road back to England, she got me this pair of Doc Martens with a Union Jack on the toe. Those little things that make someone feel cared about … that’s A.J. for you. I used to call her “my fairy godmother.” Gratitude to people like the Bellas, who took me under their wing when they definitely didn’t have to. This business hasn’t always been the most encouraging place for strong women, and I admire how Nikki and Brie just came in and said, “You know what? Fuck that.” The Bellas empowered me, and then they taught me how to empower myself.”

On those she wrestled with: “Also, seriously: the gratitude I feel toward each of the AMAZING women I shared a ring with!! While there are a million pieces to being a WWE Superstar, in the end for me it all comes back to wrestling. And that’s where a lot of my best memories are. Whether it’s my matches with Nattie (my favourite opponent), or with Emma (forever proud of the work we did in NXT), or countless others. When I first got to WWE, we weren’t very far removed from the time of bra-and-panties matches. A lot of people still considered the women’s match on every show to be the “pee break.” And I’ll always feel such a kinship with the women of my era, because we worked so damn hard to prove ourselves. To prove that we couldn’t just wrestle — we could wrestle our asses off.”

On WWE supporting her: “You learn about people’s true nature, I’ve found, from how they treat you when you’re closer to the bottom. And a few years ago I got pretty close to the bottom. It was like, almost overnight, so many things changed: Suddenly my neck was fucked and I couldn’t wrestle. I popped a drug test. My sex tape leaked. I got depressed. I started drinking. And I became less of an asset to WWE, and more of a liability, for a long time. I’m sure of it.

But they never lost faith in me — they never once threw me off to the side. They got me the help I needed when I needed help, and they gave me the time and space I needed when I needed time and space. They even gave me a full segment on Raw to announce my in-ring retirement. I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life. Not just getting to make the announcement like I did, but also the respect it showed on WWE’s part, that they viewed me as worthy of that kind of treatment — the kind normally reserved for an Edge, or a Daniel Bryan, or an HBK, or a Hunter. That they viewed me as someone who’d built a legacy of her own.”

On a personal moment with Stephanie McMahon before her return in 2017: “And I’ll never forget this: As I was getting ready to go out there for my “re-debut,” Stephanie pulled me aside. And she just held me for a minute. She gave me the biggest, longest hug. And she said, “Hey — everyone out there loves you. They’re going to be excited to see you. You want to know why? Because you’re a survivor. You SURVIVED. And that means something. So hold your head up, and enjoy this moment. It’s yours.’ Stephanie was right (as usual). I went out there … and it was the most amazing feeling. No one hated me!! They were actually glad I was back. I was still Paige. The connection was still there.”

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Saraya, Joseph Lee