Exclusive interview: How Paige became the youngest Divas Champion ever in only 7,903 days

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May 14, 2014

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Paige

She’s the youngest Divas Champion in WWE history, but 21-year-old Paige is already what many would consider a seasoned veteran between the ropes. Coming from a wrestling family in Norwich, England, Paige’s in-ring history technically began before she was born, as her mother — not knowing she was pregnant at the time — actively competed with Paige in the womb.

Born into a world of spandex and suplexes, Paige was never pushed into the family business, but nevertheless found herself embarking on a globe-spanning ring career at just 13 years of age. The raven-haired prodigy quickly amassed indie accolades that rivaled performers twice her age before WWE came knocking — twice.

The Diva of Tomorrow recently spoke with WWE.com about her unique and, at times, arduous path to the Divas Championship, and the life-changing lessons she has learned along the way.

WWE.COM: What was your early exposure to wrestling like, growing up in a sports-entertainment family?

PaigePAIGE: I couldn’t really get a grasp on wrestling at a young age. I knew it was what my parents did, and they fought people. It scared the crap out of me, so I thought, “No, I can’t do that, I’ll get beaten up!”

WWE.COM: What changed?

PAIGE: When I got a little older, like, 10 or 11, my dad would run a training school every month, teaching people how to become wrestlers. I would get in the ring now and again and mess around with one of my brothers, and he’d teach me some stuff. I did that for a couple of years, until I was 13. My dad was running a show and one of the girls didn’t turn up. He said, “There will be eight other girls in the match, could you fill in just for today?” I was so scared, but as soon as I walked through the curtain I got this huge adrenaline rush and I got hooked straight away. And then my dad couldn’t keep me away. I knew this was what I wanted to do.

WWE.COM: How exactly does a 13-year-old girl decide to pursue a career in the squared circle?

PAIGE: I had a lot of setbacks because I was so young and I wasn’t really experienced. But my dad actually managed to get me into a company in Norway and that helped me a lot. People really liked that I got out of the country, out of England, and wrestled. So after that, I sent out my resume to every company I could find. I wanted to do it by myself, because I was always kind of in my family’s shadow and I wanted to create my own legacy.

WWE.COM: How did you go about doing that?

PAIGE: After sending out the resumes, more and more companies were taking the bait. So then I was traveling by myself by the time I was 14. I went to Belgium, France, Germany, Turkey, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark. I did all of that by myself. And just doing that, just being able to travel and do the stuff that I love — even though I wasn’t getting paid that much— it was all so great because it was what I wanted to do. I’d be doing stuff like setting up rings, building the sets, going out there with the leaflets and putting the posters up, and I’d be doing that for hours and hours a day. And then I’d also be training!

Obviously I’d be watching WWE all the time, and when me and my brother were watching I would say, “Oh, we could be there one day. Wouldn’t that be cool?” And then we were like, “That would never happen!”

View photos of every Divas Champion ever

WWE.COM: When did you first get WWE’s attention?

PAIGE: When I was 17, one of the talent scouts came to a show in England and said to me, “When do you turn 18?” It was in a couple of weeks, so he goes, “Okay, well, WWE is going to be here in November, would you like to come to the tryouts?” Of course I’d be there! An opportunity just to try out was amazing to me. I was freaking out.

WWE.COM: What was your tryout like?

PAIGE: I tried my best to be what I thought they wanted me to be. I went and I tanned, I dyed my hair, I took out all of my piercings, I wore color — I think it was a blue dress — I just wasn’t being me. And then I got there, and I’m looking at people that I’ve been watching on TV my whole life, like, “Oh my God, I’m surrounded by all of these amazing people and now I have to wrestle in front of them!?”

I got a little scared on my tryout, and basically they told me that it wasn’t the right time and that I just wasn’t being me. They could see right through it. I wasn’t being myself, so I wasn’t comfortable. They just said that to be more confident, you need to be this, that and the other. So I said, “Okay, cool. I’ll do it.” 


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