The Real Reason Paige Retired From The WWE

Paige was the WWE's "Anti-Diva:" A pale, comparatively skinny goth girl whose rocker garb and unassuming attitude challenged the company's long-standing tradition of buxom, glittery female wrestlers who looked like cheerleaders. However, she wasn't about to let such disparity stand in her way, especially when she had copious in-ring talents to bring in the mix. As a result, she tore through the WWE's roster of Divas (as the company called its female wrestlers at that point) with such efficiency that the WWE fully admits in her official wrestler profile that her refreshingly different image and considerable in-ring talent played a significant part in ushering the company to a new, more enticing age of women's pro wrestling. So, why isn't she still ruling the roost in the women's division? As her IMDb profile reveals, she was born in 1992, so she should still have plenty of in-ring years left. What made Paige quit her sport (sorry, sports entertainment)? What made her retire from the WWE?

Paige's neck injuries forced her retirement from the ring

The ultimate reason for Paige's retirement from in-ring action was a series of accumulated neck injuries, as the BBC tells us. (As an aside, yes, Paige was a newsworthy enough performer that the BBC reported on her, though her being British probably didn't hurt.) "Unfortunately due to neck injuries I can no longer perform as an in-ring competitor," she told the shocked fans in April 2018. "This is one of the hardest things I'll ever have to say in my entire career."

Still, her retirement from wrestling didn't extend to all aspects of the business. Paige's announcement was followed by a chorus of adoring fans chanting her name over and over again, which reflected her extreme popularity. As such, the WWE has put her charisma to good use, and she continues to grace the company's shows in various on-screen managerial and executive roles: In fact, just 24 hours after her retirement announcement, WWE owner Vince McMahon's son Shane recruited her as the new kayfabe (in-story) General Manager of the company's Smackdown LIVE brand ... and after that particular stage in her career, she moved on to become the manager of popular superstars Asuka and Kairi Sane. So, who knows? Regardless of whether she ever performs another finisher again, Paige might still become a long-tenured WWE legend like Ric Flair – and even if she won't, she'll certainly be remembered for her many, many contributions to women's pro wrestling.  

The injury that finally forced Paige to quit WWE

As mentioned before, Paige had suffered a few injuries before her untimely retirement. However, as Wrestling Inc. tells us, her career was ultimately ended by a single unfortunate kick that took place far from the TV cameras. On December 2017, she was part of the lineup in a house show (an un-televised WWE show), and her opponent, Sasha Banks, kicked her in the back as part of their match routine. Unfortunately, the kick hit in the back of Paige's neck, which didn't mesh well with her ongoing neck issues. She flopped down to the mat, and as she struggled to get back to her feet, the referee realized that things had gone awry and gave the 'X' sign (the secret sign that shows the people in charge that something has gone wrong for real). Medics and WWE employees rushed to the stage, and a stretcher was brought out. However, Paige realized full well that this was likely her last rodeo, so she refused to be carried out of the ring. Instead, she walked away with the aid of the medical staff. 

Paige's final WWE match ended in a partial paralysis

Just in case you can't fully appreciate what it took for Paige to perform that last walk-out, here's what the woman herself has to say about the incident: "My neck just wasn't as strong as it was before so I ended up getting temporary paralysis on my entire body. So, I am laying there in the middle of the ring, and I could feel it. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to wrestle anymore. I had never had that done to me. I couldn't feel anything, I just laid there. I wasn't in any pain but I just started crying." 

So, yeah. She took a hit so hard, it actually paralyzed her — but she still insisted in walking away with her own two feet. That's dedication. What's more, she never blamed Sasha Banks for the incident. On the contrary, she makes a point of stating that Banks was not at fault in any way — her own neck was just not at the level required to take these kinds of hits anymore. Banks, for her part, didn't hide away and stayed on Paige's side throughout the aftermath.

In the end, doctors told Paige that her spinal cord looked like it had been through a serious car crash, and gave her two options: Retire straight away, or power through a surgery and then retire. She picked the first choice, and while she found it incredibly difficult to adjust to a life after in-ring competition — which, remember, had been her whole life up to that point — she ultimately powered through