Just when WWE fans thought failed drug tests and Wellness Policy violations were in the rear-view mirror for 2016, Wednesday’s news found them shaking their heads again as both Alberto Del Rio and Paige violated the WWE policy and have been suspended. The Inquisitr reported on both cases, with Del Rio’s WWE future very much in jeopardy and the announcement of the suspension coming on Paige’s 24th birthday.
Many wondered whether the WWE was trying to send a message, specifically to Paige, by announcing the suspension on her birthday even though it didn’t officially go into effect until a day later. This reminded many fans and journalists of when CM Punk received his termination papers on the day of his wedding.
As it is, Del Rio had been in hot water even before the violation, especially with Triple H, who felt Del Rio had been difficult to manage, disrespectful, and a negative influence on his real-life girlfriend, Paige. Failed drug tests coming on the same day, just hours apart, would further support that negative influence even though this is both Del Rio and Paige’s first violation, and with it, the 30-day suspension.
According to Wrestling Inc., this is the first time in WWE’s history that they have announced a suspension effective a day later. Every case in the past has resulted in the suspension going into effect immediately, or at least when they are announced publicly.
The suspension will run out on September 17, which is a Saturday. Del Rio and Paige will obviously miss this Sunday’s SummerSlam, but it also means that Del Rio will not be available for the first SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view, Backlash, which is scheduled for September 11 in Richmond, Virginia. This also comes just eight days before RAW’s Clash of the Champions, but that would give Paige just one show to build towards a match, and it would be unlikely anyway.
There is a WWE live event the night that the suspensions conclude, with WWE listing Del Rio on their Events section for SmackDown live events starting with that night’s show in Springfield, Missouri. No word yet on if he’ll actually appear on the show, but in the past, the company has preferred bringing suspended or injured stars back to a house show before they reappear on television to knock any ring rust off.
Paige has been out of action since June, dealing with shoulder and back injuries that have become much worse than originally anticipated. She might have missed these 30 days regardless, but it certainly doesn’t help her case if and when she does return. Charlotte and Sasha Banks are the clear headliners of RAW‘s women’s division, but when new angles and challengers are needed, they may have to look to Nia Jax or Dana Brooke before they intended to.
As noted, Del Rio has been in Triple H’s doghouse for insubordination, resulting in Vince holding off on a proposed push for Del Rio coming out of the brand split. The two sides have not quite seen eye-to-eye since Del Rio’s return last fall, and this suspension may give him the opportunity to exercise an out clause in his contract, which would allow him to leave in September. Officially, the contract expires in October, so the difference is somewhat negligible.
We had previously noted that Hunter sent a direct message to Del Rio by splitting he and Paige up in the draft with Del Rio a part of SmackDown and Paige sent to RAW. This could be the last straw for Del Rio in Triple H’s mind, but it remains to be seen what, if anything, happens as a result for Paige. We will continue to monitor the situation.
[Image via WWE]