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Ex-WWE star Saraya, previously Paige, debuts in AEW

Screenshot: AEW

No…not that one. Although it’s a superb one, if the film was a contact of WWE propaganda. We’ll get again to this.

It has been a uncommon prevalence that after an AEW present, the ladies’s division was creating probably the most buzz. It’s even rarer after an enormous AEW present, which Grand Slam most definitely is, because it’s in all probability their largest non-PPV present on the calendar. In reality, you’d be hard-pressed to suppose it has ever occurred. The one different contender was the primary match between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa, which occurred in the course of the pandemic and is getting a bit of small within the rearview mirror now. Possibly you could possibly argue the backstage drama surrounding Rosa, however in fact, that bought drowned out by the backstage drama of the dudes.

However that’s been about it. Like all the opposite failings of AEW’s dealing with of the ladies’s division, the shortage of having the ability to create any flash or magnetism, or desirous to, is likely to be its largest. As a result of all the opposite points get a complete lot simpler to unravel when folks actually need to see what occurs subsequent. AEW has not often supplied the “occurs” or the “subsequent.”

That’s not the case now.

The most important story to come back out of Grand Slam final evening was the return of Saraya (Paige in WWE). Saraya is a wattage that the AEW girls’s division hasn’t ever come near having. Ruby Soho was a cherished get when she arrived, however within the “underused expertise in New York” vogue. She was by no means a champion in NXT or WWE. Athena was in the identical mildew, although she held the NXT title for some time. Toni Storm, similar case. Unquestionably proficient, all may have the ladies’s division in AEW constructed round them with a bit of time, a bit of endurance, and a bit of work. However these are three issues that Tony Khan has by no means demonstrated he’s going to place forth for the ladies.

Saraya is as plug and play because it will get…no less than we hope so. As a result of the large matzo ball hanging on the market, and one of many large causes her look final evening was so shocking, is her neck. There was a time when it wasn’t thought to have far more stability than jack cheese. And nonetheless, nobody is actually certain, besides we assume (hope?) Saraya herself, Khan, and no matter docs every had checked out it. She definitely seems to be coming again as a wrestler. She repeatedly stated up to now that’s what she wished to do, and right here we’re. It would result in followers watching her first few matches by their fingers, however that’s no totally different than followers have needed to do with Bryan Danielson, Edge, or Christian Cage. And he or she’s considerably youthful than any of these was once they returned from their accidents.

Saraya comes with a pedigree unmatched by anybody on the AEW girls’s roster, and truthfully, there are few males who may declare as a lot as she will be able to. As a result of they didn’t really flip the trade on its head, which Saraya (then Paige) did. Most followers will let you know the ladies’s revolution in WWE and NXT began with Saraya’s matches with Emma in NXT, demonstrating to everybody simply what the ladies within the division had been able to. The 4 Horsewomen got here after that. These 4 could have blown open the trail, however the opening was created by Saraya.

She introduced that to the primary roster, famously successful the ladies’s title the evening after WrestleMania in New Orleans in her first ever match in WWE. She continues to be seen because the pivot level for WWE to take the ladies’s division as severely because it did the boys’s. She was from a wrestling household, in spite of everything. You might need heard about it. A yr later, Sasha, Becky, and Charlotte had been up, and you recognize the remainder.

Including to the depth and feeling of Saraya’s return is that she by no means hit the heights that Sasha or Charlotte or Becky have, and a variety of that’s right down to her. There’s a redemption story that AEW doesn’t must do something with and will simply let play out. Earlier than her retirement, Saraya’s story was a messy one, with drug and alcohol abuse, abusive boyfriends (which could still be something of an issue), leaked intercourse tapes, and wavering dedication to the enterprise. It’s form of onerous to consider she’s nonetheless solely 30 with how a lot she has packed in, each good and unhealthy, in her profession.

And AEW definitely isn’t afraid of a redemption arc. One needn’t look any additional than its present champ Jon Moxley, who has had the perfect yr of his profession contemporary out of rehab for a consuming drawback. Saraya making it again to the ring simply bodily is a narrative in itself. Pile all the pieces else on high of it and it couldn’t be any simpler to get followers on her aspect (which judging by the massive pop when she appeared final evening, they already are).

Saraya has that reference to followers as a result of in contrast to many of the girls wrestlers on the time of her ascent, she didn’t really feel constructed from one thing else. She was a real wrestler, raised in it, who cherished it, not imported from another place and made up. All the pieces that’s occurred since, and now her hopeful overcoming of all of it, solely makes her extra human. That’s somebody you may construct a division round.

All AEW has to do is need to. What the ladies’s division has badly wanted is storylines that aren’t only a title match — they usually’ve so not often gotten them. It’s been since that first Rosa and Baker match that any girls’s feud not round a title felt very important. Whereas Saraya shouldn’t be used to sideline Storm, the present champ, she definitely supplies a second line of storytelling as she begins her profession once more, and may purchase a while for others like Storm or Athena or whoever else to really nail down their character.

There are myriad prospects right here, together with the hard-to-miss one among Saraya lastly creating the everlasting fissure between Jamie Hayter and Baker that ought to have occurred already. It might be a boon if Saraya had been a whole ace on the mic, which she’s not fairly. However her star energy will cowl up most if not all of what she lacks, one thing maybe no different girl on the AEW roster can say. Followers will get pleasure from having Saraya on the display it doesn’t matter what, she’s simply that magnetic.

That is hardly the primary time followers have hoped {that a} new daybreak is upon the ladies’s division. And it simply hasn’t ever been. However they honestly haven’t had somebody like Saraya to work with earlier than. And room could also be opening up. For weeks there have been rumors that AEW is going to get another show on TV. It might be the long-awaited Ring of Honor present, which might unencumber all of the TV time that’s been getting on Dynamite and Rampage. It might be a women’s-exclusive show, as has been whispered. Nevertheless it really works out, there’s a gap right here.

It isn’t that onerous. All it takes is just sending Saraya on the market commonly. If she’s something like she was once, she’ll do the remainder. 

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