WWE: Fantasy Booking Paige’s Return


Paige could be making her return to the ring in the very near future as a member of WWE SmackDown Live.

Paige is reportedly close to returning to WWE. Immediately after her neck injury, I’m sure there was a time WWE would’ve thought that would be good news. Now, I’m not so sure they feel that way.

Unfortunately for all involved, just because Paige left the ring, doesn’t mean she left the news cycle. Nobody could’ve predicted what would happen with her in the past year and a half.

It started off good. It was announced that the rights had been sold to The Rock’s production company to produce a movie about her and her family. A scene depicting her WWE debut and Divas Championship win over AJ Lee was even filmed as a dark segment after a Raw in Los Angeles.

It all went downhill from there. Paige was involved in a scandal involving some leaked pictures and videos. There were also multiple incidents involving her boyfriend/fiancee/maybe-even-husband (it’s hard to keep up with these two), the man formerly known in WWE as Alberto Del Rio. There were some alleged domestic violence incidents, some occurring in public. Plus, they both were suspended under the WWE Wellness Policy on the same day, then Paige suffered a second suspension after Del Rio had officially been released from WWE.

While she wasn’t at fault in all of these incidents, with the way WWE feels about their family-friendly image, it seemed like it would all add up to cut her once very promising career at the knees.

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Paige has been resilient, though. She’s gone through all this while rehabbing a pretty serious neck injury and she’s ready to put it all behind her. Reports say she has been cleared to return to the ring and she’s been visiting the Performance Center to get back onto ring shape.

When she is 100% and ready to get back on TV, how should WWE reintroduce her? Which brand should she she join?

The second question has somewhat been answered. Although she was originally drafted to Raw, reports say that she’s headed to SmackDown Live. That’s a move that makes sense considering the current state of the rosters and Asuka’s impending Raw debut. So let’s run with the idea that she’s going to the blue brand.

As for her reintroduction, it seems like the easiest spot to slide her back in would be at Survivor Series. SmackDown’s last pre-Survivor Series PPV is this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell. If Paige returns the Tuesday after Hell in a Cell, that would give her six episodes of SmackDown to appear on before Survivor Series.

WWE should decide to go the Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown route again, and if they do Paige fits perfectly on Team SmackDown. While Raw would still be preoccupied with TLC, SmackDown could get the jump on planning and do it with a bang by adding Paige to their team.

The rest of the team would be made up of Becky Lynch, Naomi, Lana and Tamina, as Charlotte and Natalya (and maybe even Carmella) will be wrapped up in the title picture.

The Survivor Series team gimmick is a good jumping off point for feuds. Paige would be face upon returning, but she could easily turn heel for a feud with the most logical person, Lynch. The two have a history together that extends beyond WWE, which makes the storyline easy to work with, plus Lynch can make the transition back into the ring easy enough. If WWE doesn’t want to turn her, there’s plenty they can do with heels like Lana or Tamina that would allow her to stay face as well. Whether it be Tamina feeling overlooked, or Lana being the complete opposite of Paige, there’s a storyline for them to give Paige that’s simple and easy for her to get back in the ring with.

Next: The Lesnar-Reigns Problem

This women’s division is talented, but they could always use more depth, especially if they want to be taken more seriously. Paige adds a name to the division, but more importantly, she brings depth. While enough time has passed since these incidents, WWE still might be a little cautious with her. If they can get through that initial period, the women’s division will be better for it.