Throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, WWE Divas often competed in swimsuit contests on RAW and SmackDown. Paige joined WWE’s FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) development system in 2011. At the time, the company’s up-and-coming female Superstars were booked in the same way as main-roster women.
Speaking on Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast, Paige recalled how the bikini competitions made her “so mad.”
“When I first got there, I was like, ‘I have to do a bikini contest? Like what the f*** is that?’ I was like, ‘What?’ and I just remember being so mad about it one day because we had to find a cover and then unveil ourselves in the ring to, like, 12 people in the crowd, and then there was literally mostly children there, and I was like, ‘This is horrifying… this isn’t what I signed up for.’”
Unlike some of her FCW co-workers, Paige already had a wrestling background when she joined the developmental system. The 28-year-old, whose family are also involved in the wrestling business, competed in her first match at the age of 13.
Paige was unsure if Vince McMahon would like her
WWE officials used to focus more on female Superstars’ looks instead of their in-ring ability. With that in mind, Paige thought Vince McMahon might prefer other women from the FCW roster, including Audrey Marie and Shaul Guerrero.
“They looked at me like, ‘Oh, she’s different, this could be something really special.’ But at the time you had Shaul Guerrero and all these, Audrey Marie, and everything like that who they were like, ‘Oh, Vince is gonna love these ladies a lot more.’ You know what I mean? Just because still back then the aesthetic was t*** and a**, even though there was a lot of women who were trying their best to want to wrestle.”
Paige performed in WWE’s FCW and NXT systems until she moved to the main roster in 2014. The one-time NXT Women’s Champion and two-time WWE Divas Champion retired in 2018 due to a neck injury. However, she is hoping to receive clearance to return one day.
Please credit Oral Sessions and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.