Paige made a historic first impression when the raven-haired beauty won the WWE divas’ championship in her debut on WWE Monday Night Raw the night after WrestleMania XXX.
Now the English-born grappler looks to make a similar impact, joining the cast of “Total Divas” with Alicia Fox 10 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 4 on E!
After the season three premiere, the popular reality show returns to its regular timeslot 9 p.m. EST on Sundays beginning Jan. 11.
Paige, real name Saraya-Jade Bevis, isn’t your typical diva. Similar to her co-worker Natalya, the 22-year-old comes from a wrestling lineage. The Knight family not only has Paige, who competed as Britani Knight before she was signed by WWE at age 18, but her parents and brothers also mix it up in the ring.
“That’s the thing about ‘Total Divas’ because you don’t expect me on it; so it brings something new to the table,” she said. “That’s pretty much why they wanted me on it in the first place. They wanted me a while back. At first, I was like, ‘No.’ It was wrestling, wrestling, wrestling. After a while, I spoke to my family about it. Then when the opportunity came again, it was like, ‘You know what. Yes. I’m going to do it.’
“It was an opportunity I didn’t want to regret later on. These are girls I work with all the time, and they are great people. So I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to work with them on a reality show, too?’ The only thing I was worried about is that I shut off from my personal life. I’m not good at opening up with people. It took me a while on the show to do it, but when you see it you will say, ‘Okay. That’s the reason why.’”
Paige cites Natalya as someone the emerging talent liked to go to during the process because the third generation veteran was someone she could relate to.
“She tells me to relax and just be myself,” Paige said. “That is the whole point. It’s a reality show. She really calmed me down. She told me it was just me living my life, but with cameras following me everywhere. So I thought, ‘Okay, I can do that.’”
“Total Divas” isn’t one to shy away from drama. Paige hints to getting into her own share of it during filming. However, she says she doesn’t regret anything.
“You’re going to see me be very blunt with people,” she said. “You’ll see me have some kind of confrontation, whether it be physical or verbally. You’ll see me make terrible decisions. You know what though; that’s me. I just like people can see it. They can see I am completely different than the rest of the girls. I change the whole dynamic.
“…You’ll see me open up. I’m going to share a lot, which I never do. I’m going to share a lot of my background and a past relationship. You’ll see a lot of that, but then you’ll also see the crazy stuff I’m up to because I try to make the most out of my days off. When we are home, you run errands typically. But I’m like, ‘No, I’m going to do this or that.’ I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junky. I’m doing a lot of crazy stuff, and I drag Foxy [Alicia Fox] and Rosy [Rosa Mendes] along for the ride.”
When the news was revealed that Paige was appearing on “Total Divas,” the initial reception wasn’t 100 percent positive. A number of fans thought her participation on the show would go against everything she represented.
“The first time they heard about it they destroyed me,” Paige said. “They were like, ‘The ‘Anti-Diva’ is now a ‘Total Diva,’ huh? You’re a sellout.’ You know what though, my fans are just happy for me in the end. Once they saw a little teaser for it and saw I was being myself and not changing. I’m not a glamorous girl. I’m not someone who would whisper behind someone’s back. I’m very confrontational when it comes to issues that I have. I’m still being me. I’m still being the ‘Anti-Diva’ Paige or the ‘Anti-Diva’ Saraya. It’s just I’m going to be on this show. Nothing has changed. They were worried at first, but I think they are coming to terms with it now.”
Those who have followed Paige during her career thus far have learned not to judge a book by its cover. She is more than meets the eye.
“People are very surprised when they see me,” Paige said. “Here is this crazy Gothic woman, but when they speak to me in person they realize I’m a nice girl. I love to interact with my fans. They are the reason I’m here. They are the reason we have a TV show and the reason why we have people in the buildings. It’s because of them. I’m always thankful for them. I always take time to speak and interact with them.”
The world of “Total Divas” has spilled into WWE storylines a time or two. Paige likes it because it brings more viewers to all the programming.
“People who normally don’t watch wrestling will watch and understand,” she said. “It brings such a different market. I feel it’s a good thing. At the same time they are bringing real scenarios to WWE. So it can get pretty rough in the ring sometimes.”
Reflecting on all the popular diva has done, it’s hard to believe Paige hasn’t turned the page on the first 365 days on the main roster. Her transition from NXT, WWE’s developmental arm, couldn’t have gone better.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “I’ve been in the wrestling world my whole entire life. I started when I 13. I was traveling by myself when I was 14. My only goal was to be in WWE. So to want it for such a long time and to get here, then my goal changed. My goal was to become the divas’ champion one day. To get that, Vince [McMahon] couldn’t believe how I reacted when I won the title. You could see it in the video package for it. I come backstage and burst into tears because this is my life.
“If you want to be a wrestler and want to make it, you go to WWE. I feel like I accomplished so much in one night. I’m so thankful. It was absolutely incredible. Even now I get goose bumps just thinking about it. To be on all these pay-per-views and be divas’ champion twice and the youngest champion and the only women to hold the NXT women’s championship and divas’ championship at the same time, I’ve had so much. It’s been absolutely amazing. I can’t believe it. It hasn’t even been a year yet. I can’t imagine what the future holds. I’m so grateful and happy. Everyone has treated me so well. I couldn’t be happier.”
Paige credits AJ Lee, who she defeated for the divas’ championship in New Orleans, for helping her start off on the right foot. The two fought over the title for much of 2014.
“She is actually one of my best friends,” she said. “She knew I was coming up, and this was my debut. Here is me, this girl from NXT that wins the championship on her first day. AJ was so sweet and so humble, and she helped me every step of the way. She was incredibly nice. She gave me tips. Before she went away for a little bit, she told me what to do and how to react.
“She helped me with promos. I would go to her and say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ Then she would say, ‘That’s good, but what if you did it this way?’ She is so helpful. We travel together. I’m so lucky to have her and work with her. She has always been this different diva, kind of like the anti-diva. I really looked up to her. I’m happy to have had a storyline with her.’”
Paige realized her dream with a run in WWE with the richest prize in women’s wrestling around her waist. For the driven competitor, this is the tip of the iceberg. She is ready for 2015 and for the world to see her on “Total Divas.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of the girls,” she said. “I’d love to do something with the Bella Twins again, even maybe with AJ and I on the same side again. I’d be happy. I would love to be on every single pay-per-view. I want to be on a WrestleMania. One day I hope to make it on a WrestleMania. Hopefully, I want to find a spot in the Hall of Fame one day. That’s another goal of mine.
“Like AJ, I want to also change the look of the divas. You don’t have to be blonde or tan. You can be yourself and still be a diva. I just want to be able to get more opportunities because you get so much more opportunity with WWE. It’s fantastic. They really help you get movie roles and magazine spreads. There is so much you can do at WWE. I’m excited for it and hope to do all of that.”
- WWE divas Paige and Alicia Fox join “Total Divas” 10 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 4 on E!
The popular reality show returns to its regular timeslot 9 p.m. EST on Sundays beginning Jan. 11.
- Follow Paige on Twitter @RealPaigeWWE
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN
- PRO WRESTLING ON THE WEB