July 7th will be Paige’s last day in WWE. Here we look into the life of the legendary wrestler so far
WWE Superstar Paige, also known as Saraya-Jade Bevis, has announced her retirement from the organization after more than a decade. According to her, the decision was not made spontaneously, but in the process, because she had previously been seriously injured in a specific match. Regarded as one of the most promising stars, she shocked Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment with her star power and managed to stay in the running for a decade. Needless to say, the wrestler has a knack for making headlines every now and then. Be it for their wrestling accomplishments or their controversies.
Paige last announced her retirement from the ring in 2018 after sustaining a life-threatening neck injury at the hands of fellow wrestler Sasha Banks in a six-woman tag team match. She last appeared on December 27, 2017 at a live event in a WWE ring where she sustained the injury. Since retiring, she has held roles both on and off the company, most notably as general manager of SmackDown. But the superstar wrestler has always been in the news for something really weird – sex scandals! For two years, from 2017 to 2019, Paige was in the news after her videos and intimate snaps were leaked. But the superstar overcame the obstacle and is now in a blissful relationship with American singer-songwriter Ronnie Radke. She expressed how disturbed she was by the experience, but she didn’t let anything stop her career.
Paige: Global wrestling icon who inspires a movie
The WWE Superstar read in her statement: “Paige here! July 7th will be the last day in WWE. I am so grateful and appreciate the opportunities the company has given me. I will always be grateful to the company that took it in. An 18 year old British pale emo girl who didn’t look like your average diva gave me the chance of a lifetime and made me feel like a superstar. I know after my neck injury took me out of in-ring status, it’s been pretty hard to keep me here for as long as you have and I’m grateful for that too.” She continued, “Thanks to the WWE Universe. You guys are the most passionate group of fans I’ve ever seen. I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey. I think the hardest part, weirdly enough, is letting go of the Paige name! But Saraya is a hell of a man Name. Kudos to my mom for that. FYI I’m not saying I’ll never be in the ring. That day will surely come again! Wherever the return might be.”
It hasn’t always been easy for the wrestler. After all the needless intrusion of attention on her privacy and life-threatening injuries, she somehow managed to get back up and rock the ring like no other. Her not-so-easy journey was documented in the 2019 film Fighting with my Family, which received surprisingly good reviews. It follows Paige and her brother Zak, who come from a wrestling background, but only Paige manages to make it big. Set between 2011 and 2014, it’s pretty accurate overall with its portrayal of the real Knight family. Paige comes from a family of wrestlers. Her father “Rowdy” Ricky Knight is the founder and promoter of the World Association of Wrestling in Norwich, UK, along with his wife “Sweet” Saraya Knight (Lena Headey), a renowned wrestler. Their eldest son is Roy Knight, who wrestles as the Zebra Kid; Roy is Ricky’s son from a previous relationship and the half-brother to siblings Zak, who wrestles as Zak Zodiac, and Saraya, the only daughter who wrestled as the Britani Knight in WAW before becoming Paige in WWE. It was the whole family’s dream that both Zak and Saraya would make it to WWE.
The 29-year-old wrestler quickly made headlines when she became the youngest Diva champion at the age of 21, defeating AJ Lee. Paige became the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion on July 24, 2013. She debuted on the main roster after Wrestlemania 30 and won the Diva Championship the same day. Accomplishing so much in just 21 years was a feat no ordinary wrestler could match, and it certainly stood out. Her WWE career wasn’t without her injuries either. Most notably, she sustained a neck injury at a house show in December 2017. During a six-women tag team match, Paige received a kick from Banks, injuring her and causing the match to be abandoned. It was the injury that caused her to undergo multiple surgeries and forced her to retire just 4 months after the event
She previously revealed that her WWE contract ended in June (now confirmed June 7) and that there was no 2023 date. It’s unclear if she will return to a leadership position or as a pro wrestler. Of course the internet was too kind when she left as they wished her the best in her new journey. One user said: “I’m shattered! I guess I always thought you’d be back on WWE TV sooner or later. But of course we misfits will love and support you wherever you become queen! Hope to see you again in the ring No matter where you go it will always be your home #ThankYouPaige” Another user wrote, “Thank you and I really hope you find success in your next endeavor, even if it hurts , I really hope you don’t get seriously hurt there. Thanks!!!”
A Paige supporter said: “Thank you Saraya for all your hard work and dedication to the fans. I hope that this decision will end up being an elite decision! *wink!” Another Twitter user wrote, “You were such a warrior in so many ways. No doubt you helped drive the shift back to women being respected again to end the era of divas. Whether you go to Paige (because it’s inevitable) or Saraya, you’re still an absolute inspiration. Your journey is far from over.”
Recalling one of her many wins, one user said: “Heartbroken still remembers that moment like it was yesterday. One of the pioneers of the women’s revolution.” Another user said, “Thank you for the amazing moments you’ve given us all our years in WWE as active professional wrestlers, even though one door will close and another will soon open for you, you can enjoy the next chapter of your career as a wrestler.”
Paige’s fans celebrate her as a warrior, and she truly was one. In 2017, then 24-year-old Paige revealed that personal and private photos of me had been stolen and unfortunately shared publicly without my consent.” The videos included one of her with two separate male wrestlers. Other pictures show her flashing and posing in selfies taken in the bathroom. WWE later suspended her for 30 days for violating the company’s anti-drug wellness policy. In 2017, Paige went bald and contemplated suicide after a leaked sex tape and drug ban made her life almost unbearable. The 25-year-old suffered from stress-related anorexia and alopecia after she said she hit rock bottom. In the years following the initial leak, an explicit photo surfaced that appeared to show a sex act performed above the NXT Champion belt became. However, she survived all the humiliation and her story in the WWE world became one of inspiration.