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Heel Turns: Paige writing new chapter

Posted by Achilles Heel On December 2

Paige burst back onto the scene two weeks ago on Raw, bringing NXT’s Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville with her to form a new group known as Absolution.

If it seems as if Paige’s return came out of nowhere, that’s because she hadn’t been seen in WWE for nearly 1½ years. As was the case when she made her WWE debut, winning the Divas Championship from AJ Lee the night after WrestleMania XXX, there is a lot of background leading up the surprise “appearance out of nowhere.”

The 25-year-old Paige has been wrestling for nearly half of her life. She made her professional debut at age 13 for her family’s wrestling company in England. So there is a long history for this relatively young competitor.

Even though it has been a long time we saw Paige in a WWE ring, she wasn’t completely out of mind. Unfortunately.

First, came the news that she was injured. Then WWE announced that she was suspended 30 days for violating the company’s wellness policy. Paige then revealed during the fall of 2016 that she was going to undergo neck surgery and would be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. That was followed in October of 2016 by an announcement from WWE that she was suspended 60 days for a second violation of the company’s wellness policy.

As if her situation wasn’t tumultuous enough, Paige became engaged to Alberto Del Rio. A reference to Paige’s prior relationship with Xavier Woods during a New Day in-ring promo caused Del Rio to challenge Woods and Triple H to street fights. The low point was certainly a domestic incident involving the couple in a Florida airport. Although no charges were filed, Del Rio (now knowns as Alberto El Patron) was stripped of his Global Federation Wrestling Championship and suspended. More importantly, some members of Paige’s family took to social media to plead for her to get out of her relationship with Del Rio.

With the relationship with Del Rio reportedly over, Paige is back making news in the ring. Although her return was rumored to be imminent, her return with Rose and Deville to form a new faction was a complete surprise.

Of course, her WWE debut was a surprise as well. Paige was the inaugural NXT Women’s champion. Having the NXT champion show up on Raw to challenge the WWE Divas champion was a huge shock. At 21 years old, Paige became the youngest women’s champion in WWE history.

Absolution is pushing the idea that Paige buried the Divas image, transforming the women’s division into a wrestling division, with models being replaced by athletes. Although that’s a bit of an overstatement – and what isn’t an overstatement in professional wrestling promos? – there is some truth to that assertion.

Paige certainly contributed to the transformation of the women’s division from a bikini contest to a wrestling-based division. Even before the “Women’s Revolution,” with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, Paige had started to steer the women’s division toward competitive wrestling instead of pillow fights and lingerie matches.

With her pale skin and Goth look, Paige appeared different from the traditional Diva right away. Once she stepped into the ring, it was clear that she could wrestle as well.

The wrestling ability isn’t surprising, considering Paige gained a lot of experience in Europe was a teenager. The story of Paige breaking into wrestling with her family’s promotion (both of her parents were professional wrestlers) and then ascending toward the top at a young age was the subject of a documentary entitled “The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.” That documentary is the basis for the upcoming film, “Fighting with My Family,” which has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a co-writer/director.

The movie isn’t the only thing to look forward to if you’re a fan of Paige. (You’re also in good company; the Greek God of Wrestling is also a fan.) There appear to be great things on the horizon for Paige as she returned to action in WWE.


NXT IN PHILLY: Tickets are on sale for NXT Takeover: Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center on Sat., Jan. 27, one night before the Royal Rumble. Achilles Heel detests spoilers, so he won’t give away the main event, but I’ll say that Philadelphia wrestling fans should be pleased by who is challenging for the NXT Championship.


WARGAMES REWIND: The Greek God of Wrestling rarely makes mistakes. Last week was one of them. There wasn’t anything in Heel Turns about NXT Takeover: WarGames. And it certainly wasn’t because it was a forgettable show.

WarGames was excellent – both the show and the match. WarGames, with two rings surrounded by a steel cage, was a brutally physical affair. The nine combatants found incredibly clever ways to inflict pain on one another. In the end, The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) emerged victories against SAnitY (Eric young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain) and The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) and Roderick Strong.

In another tremendous bout, Andrade “Cien” Almas captured the NXT Championship from Drew McIntyre (more on McIntyre in the next note). NXT also crowned a new women’s champion, with Ember Moon defeating Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane and Peyton Royce in a fatal four-way match for the title vacated when Asuka moved to WWE.

In the opener, Lars Sullivan defeated Kassius Ohno in a match that showcased Sullivan’s power. Aleister Black beat Velveteen Dream in match featuring wonderful psychology. Black won the match, but Dream won newfound respect, both from Black in the storyline and from the fans for his performance.


MCINTYRE INJURED: As if losing the NXT Championship wasn’t enough, Drew McIntyre tore his biceps in the closing segment of his match with Andrade “Cien” Almas at NXT Takeover: WarGames. McIntyre could return right around WrestleMania, which raises the question whether he will return to NXT or join the WWE roster.


YOU SOLD OUT: According to the CHIKARA Web site, its final event of the year, “Closing Time,” sold out The Wrestle Factory today (Saturday). In the main event Juan Francisco de Coronado defends the Grand Championship against Dasher Hatfield. Among the other matches, Hallowicked battles “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti, and Hype Rockwell squares off with former tag team partner Race Jaxon.


FINAL BATTLE: The card for Ring of Honor’s “Final Battle” is filling up. In the main event, Cody Rhodes defends the Ring of Honor World Championship against Dalton Castle.

Three other championships will be on the line. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defend the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship against Best Friends (Beretta and Chuckie T), the Young Bucks and Adam Page defend the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championship against Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee and titans, and Kenny King defends the Ring of honor World Television Championship against Shane Taylor, Silas Young and Punishment Martinez in a four- corners elimination match. In non-title bouts, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion Marty Scurll battles Jay Lethal, and Will Ospreay meets Matt Taven.


TICKETS AVAILABLE: Tickets are still available in most sections for Ring of Honor’s television taping at 2300 Arena on Sat., Dec. 16 (7 p.m.). The last set of television tapings in Philadelphia sold out, so don’t wait too long.


TICKET RUMBLINGS: Despite recent commercials for tickets, the Royal Rumble at Wells Fargo Center on Sun., July 28 is sold out. The Greek God of Wrestling’s staff also reports that the lower level appears to be sold out for Raw the following night. There are still lower level seats available for Smackdown on Tues., Jan. 30.


ANOTHER TICKET UPDATE: If you can’t wait until the Royal Rumble to see WWE and it’s not feasible for you to get to upcoming shows in India or the United Arab Emirates, or you’re looking for the perfect gift for the wrestling fan in your life, here are some upcoming WWE events in Pennsylvania: Allentown, Dec. 17 (5 p.m.) (a Raw show on the same night as Clash of champions; Hershey, Dec. 29; Reading, Jan. 19; Penn State, Jan. 20; Wilkes-Barre, Jan. 26; and, after the Rumble, Newark, Del., Jan. 29 (a Smackdown show the same night as Raw at Wells Fargo Center).


CLASH MATCHES ADDED: Every Smackdown championship will be on the line at Clash of Champions, which takes place in Boston on Dec. 17. In the main event, A.J. Styles defends the WWE Championship against former champion Jinder Mahal. Other matches added this week are Charlotte defending the Smackdown Women’s Championship against former champion Natalya, Baron Corbin defending the United States Championship against Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler in a triple-threat match, and Jimmy and Jey Uso defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against the  New Day and Shelton Benjamin Chad Gable in another triple-threat match.


TOYS OF DEATH? In one of Achilles Heel’s favorite promotions, fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or game to Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Cage of Death 19” next Saturday (Dec. 9) at Rastelli’s Complex in Sewell, N.J. The mix of charity with cages of death and CZW’s customary blood and guts is … special.

In the main event, Rickey Shane Page will defend the CZW Heavyweight Championship against former champions Shane Strickland and Joe Gacy. In the main event of “Night of Infamy” on Nov. 11, Gacy defeated Strickland, only to have Page take the title from him.

In other matches at Cage of Death, MJF (Maxwell Jacob Feinstein) challenges Joey Janela for the CZW Wired Championship; Desmond Xavier and Zach Wentz defend the CZW Tag Team Championship against oVe (Jake and Dave Crist), The Rep (Nate Carter and Dave McCall) and Matt Palmer an Alex Reyonds; Jimmy Jacob battles Jimmy Havoc; Matt Tremont squares off with Jimmy Lloyd in a thumbtack massacre; and Ethan Page faces David Starr. There also is an open invitation for a six-man match for the CZW ultimate opportunity coin. NWA champion Tim Storm has been invited by CZW to attend the event.

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