Now that it is over, we can say that 2016 was quite an interesting year for WWE superstar Paige, leaving many to wonder whether fans would ever see her in a WWE ring again. She entered into a relationship with Alberto Del Rio and seemed to fall hard for him immediately. Their romance became the source for headlines throughout the year. It’s unfortunate that Paige’s work in the ring hasn’t been able to match the amount of heat she’s generated outside it.
When Paige and Del Rio first began dating, there were rumors backstage that it was causing some friction between her and Charlotte, who had previously dated Del Rio. Vince McMahon is known for relishing the idea of taking real-life animosity and exploiting it on WWE programming. Paige and Charlotte did engage in a memorable feud in late 2015, but nothing was reignited beyond a single match on RAW in light of the relationship drama.
In August, Triple H exercised his backstage power by splitting up the controversial couple. Paige was drafted to RAW, while Del Rio went to SmackDown. Several reports surfaced throughout the summer that HHH was at odds with Del Rio over a perceived lack of commitment to the WWE, a social life that was getting out of hand, and the belief that it was all rubbing off on Paige.
Vince still had high hopes for Del Rio following the brand split, but Triple H was able to convince him to hold off on any push, which would ultimately lead to the two sides parting ways. Paige was rumored to follow him out the door as well, reportedly going so far as to bring in legal representation to discuss her options if she were to breach her contract. Ultimately, she did not breach, but she did violate the WWE Wellness Policy on two separate occasions, resulting in a total of 90 days worth of suspensions.
Adding injury to insult, Paige had been dealing with neck issues for a large portion of 2016, and ultimately had surgery in October. She maintains hope that she’ll return to the ring, but whether that’s a WWE ring remains to be seen.
Last week, it was noted that Paige was backstage during the RAW taping in Tampa Bay, Florida. There was a ton of speculation that she would be back on the road full-time and potentially make an appearance on television. That’s since been squashed as she was only there to update WWE officials on the status of her neck and to discuss her role on Total Divas.
Furthermore, in a report from Daily Wrestling News, it appears that Paige’s current status is believed to be “touch and go” at the moment. WWE officials still want her neck to fully heal before she takes any bumps whatsoever, let alone wrestle an actual match. This has led to the inevitable news that Paige will not be back in a WWE ring in time for WrestleMania 33 in April.
While many WWE officials were writing her off completely, most of the issues between Paige and the company have been resolved. There is a strong belief now that she will eventually return, although a source mentioned that that wouldn’t be until sometime in the summer. If that’s the case, it will have been close to a year (more or less) since Paige last wrestled a match, with her last bout coming in June of 2016.
As noted, there was some serious conflict between Paige and WWE management throughout the latter half of 2016. The company did not promote her for the current season of Total Divas, primarily because it featured a lot of scenes with her and Del Rio. As part of Del Rio’s exit agreement, he could appear on the show, but any dialogue was removed. Paige has since been promoted on a week-to-week basis for the reality show, a further indication that the two sides are mending fences.
Unfortunately, however, Paige will not be on the WrestleMania card. She is expected to be in town for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view as Del Rio recently opened a restaurant in San Antonio, the host city for the event later this month.
[Featured Image by WWE]