Now that the novelty of the gothic ‘Glampire’ figure getting the girly Diva title isn’t that big a deal anymore (especially considering that they are now Women’s Championships, without a pink and sparkly butterfly in sight), should WWE fans be excited about the return of Paige?
It is brilliant to see how the characters of women in WWE are more diverse than ever. There is the steampunk imagery of SmackDown champion Becky Lynch, the playful huggery of Bayley, and now even Naomi (previously best known as a generic Diva with a Rear View) has a great new party animal image. There is still an issue though in how all of the unique characters are faces. Now it is time for heel women to have a deeper character than being a Diva.
WWE have started to sort out this issue recently with the arrival and push of Nia Jax – the first woman since Kharma’s brief run at WWE, to have her character based around size and strength. However, there is one other woman who is ideal for bringing a unique image into the female heels – Paige. Her return after her recent suspension is also brilliant to exploit.
Once upon a time, Paige was portrayed as the ‘anti-Diva’. It’s a role that has become heavily diluted, facing a problem when the ‘Divas’ became ‘Women’. Her whole character had been based around being unique and out of place in image and style, therefore dropping quite a bombshell when she arrived from NXT. ‘The Four Horsewomen of NXT’ are regularly credited with bringing ‘proper’ wrestling to the Diva’s Division, and so they should be, but Paige definitely took on that character first.
With the surge of NXT wrestlers over the last year, that character has been made somewhat redundant as WWE made a point of ditching the ‘Diva’. The last time that the anti-Diva angle worked in theory (or would have done had it been managed properly) was ‘Team PCB’ – three wrestlers (Paige, Charlotte and Becky) in one place who weren’t complete bitches.
There is no problem with ‘diva’ characters remaining as heels. After all, Charlotte, Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks do this well. Hopefully Emma will do so as well. However, if “isn’t a bitch” is the sole definition of a face in the Women’s Division, there is nothing special about the anti-Diva character, as many are now doing it and are appropriate for the role. For example, Becky Lynch can be an anti-diva, and as a face champion with Alexa Bliss the number one contender, it appears that that is the way that Smackdown is heading. This has been the centre of Bayley’s growth too in her rivalry with Sasha Banks. Even Naomi now has an interesting new image that distances herself from being a generic Diva. Extending to NXT, the demonic Ember Moon will have that role as well. Maybe even a skater chick-styled Liv Morgan could do at some point.
For Paige to stay relevant, she needs to be a unique figure amongst the heels.