At the moment, the WWE has yet to issue an official statement confirming that Paige has retired from active competition. And while many fans are hoping that her injury-related issues aren’t as severe as originally thought, the latest episode of former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia’s podcast suggests that the “Anti-Diva” may have already wrestled her last match, and may be used in a different capacity following what could be the premature end of her in-ring career.
On the January 29 episode of her Chasing Glory podcast, Garcia had WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus as her special guest, as she recalled her experiences from her historic WWE career, and the preparations she made for her surprise appearance as the last entry in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday. At the 26-minute mark or so, both women discussed Paige’s injury history, which was where Lilian recalled speaking to the 25-year-old English wrestler on last week’s 25th anniversary special of Monday Night Raw.
Although Garcia did not outright say that Paige has officially retired from the ring, she commended the young wrestler for having a “great” attitude about the situation. Paige reportedly told Garcia that WWE will be utilizing her for “other things,” and while it isn’t clear what the company’s plans for her are at this point, Wrestling News speculated that these could include having her serve as the manager of Absolution, the three-woman stable which also features recent NXT call-ups Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. A “behind-the-scenes role” could also be a possibility for Paige, whom Trish Stratus put over as someone with great passion for the business.
As previously reported by PWInsider, Paige was told earlier this month that she will have to retire after WWE’s doctors refused to clear her following an injury she suffered toward the end of 2017. After getting kicked in the back by Sasha Banks, Paige had to be taken backstage in a stretcher, and while it was originally thought that she had merely suffered a stinger, she was asked to undergo further testing to determine the extent of her injury. PWInsider noted that Paige’s situation resembled that of WWE Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland, who abruptly retired in 2011, aged only 37-years-old, after being diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis, a condition related to his history of neck injuries.
Like Edge, Paige dealt with neck injures prior to her apparent in-ring retirement. She had missed more than a year of action following neck surgery in October 2016, and as PWInsider noted, the decision to have her come back in November 2017 as the leader of a new women’s faction may have been WWE’s way of slowly easing her back into the ring after a long absence.