With WWE’s Divas starring in their own reality-series “Total Divas” on E!, and the Divas competing twice this past Monday Night on RAW–including a renewed rivalry between Divas champion AJ Lee and Kaitlyn–the Divas division is finally making some headway. But the most promising news regarding the division’s future was the crowning of the first NXT Women’s champion, Paige.
Follow Paige on Twitter: @RealPaigeWWE
Ever since WWE rebranded its developmental territory into NXT Wrestling, the focus has been on competition. Wrestlers on NXT compete either for the NXT championship or NXT Tag Team championships; but for the longest, the Divas simply competed for ring and air time. This all changed when WWE Vice President Stephanie McMahon made the announcement of NXT hosting an eight-women tournament to crown the first-ever NXT Women’s champion.
Paige and Emma, the two finalist, emerged from a series of grueling matches against Divas from the main roster to get to the final round of the tournament. Emma, WWE’s first Australian wrestler, defeated Aksana and Summer Rae; and Paige knocked off Tamina Snuka and former Divas champion Alicia Fox.
The two fan favorites met in the finals on the July 24 edition of NXT Wrestling to deliver one of the best women’s pro wrestling matches in a long time. The Full Sail University crowd were split between Emma and Paige, and even chanted that this was awesome. When was the last time the WWE Universe generated that kind of reaction for a Divas match on Monday Night RAW or Friday Night SmackDown? Unheard of.
Emma and Paige exchanged hay-makers, headbutts, submission holds, and near-falls. The caliber of the match was a bona-fide main event, fighting not only for the dubious honor of being crowned the inaugural champion, but also showing WWE brass and the WWE Universe why they belong. The match ended with Paige executing the Paige Turner finisher, swinging leg-hook fireman’s carry slam, to become the first-ever NXT Women’s champion.
In an emotional celebration, Paige was met in the ring by a number of the NXT Divas, and by a surprise guest, WWE C.O.O. Triple H. The Game entered the ring filled with the lovely Divas, and raised Paige’s arm in the air with his stamp of approval on the aptly nicknamed “Diva of Tomorrow”.
Paige, better known by her former ring name, Britani Knight, is an English professional wrestler who trained at the WAW Academy by her family: Klondyke Kate and Jason Cross. She’s competed in singles and tag team competition throughout Europe, including World Association of Wrestling and Pro-Wrestling: EVE. She has also teamed up and competed against her mother Sweet Saraya. Paige defeated her mom to become the WAW British champion, and lost to her mom for the HEW Women’s championship.
Paige made her USA debut with Saraya for SHIMMER Women Athletes as the Knight Dynasty in a series of loses. The two split up, and in Paige’s final SHIMMER match on Volume 44, she defeated Saraya in a No-DQ match. Then on September 2011, Paige signed a WWE developmental contract and reported to Florida Championship Wrestling and transitioned with the rebranding over to NXT Wrestling. The rest is history.
Answer the Question: Does the future of the Divas division seem brighter with Paige as the new NXT Women’s champion?
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[Watch Paige’ promo on NXT Wrestling]