After suffering a career-ending injury in January, current SmackDown Live general manager Paige had a hard time accepting that she could never perform in the ring again. It took her four months to finally announce her retirement in an emotional speech on Monday Night RAW the night after WrestleMania 34. Paige opened up to Edge and Christian on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness about how she was able to get some closure after her retirement speech.
"I had to actually go home back to England for like 8 or 9 days to get my Visa fixed, so I literally didn't do any work, I was just with my family. It was definitely the best for me. It gave me a minute to figure out what just happened and allow it to sink in, but I feel good about it surprisingly," Paige said. "I remember you [Edge] telling me that after I were to finish with my promo I would have this huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, and that it would be great closure, and then to be announced as the [SmackDown Live] general manager the next day, it's kind of like winning the lottery for me. It's a different role and I love it. I absolutely love it. I get to be a boss. I'm a woman that gets to be a boss."
Edge was actually backstage at RAW the night that Paige retired. He was also forced to retire due to a neck injury like Paige, so he was able to offer her advice and comfort before she made her speech. Paige said she received an outpouring of support from her fellow superstars backstage which she enjoyed, but she knew it wasn't the end for her.
"I didn't tell many people that I was going to retire, but when I saw you [Edge] I had to do the speech so it was perfect and asked if I could speak with you whenever you had a moment before I had to go out there. When people saw me afterwards--it was really hard afterwards because I was on the stage and I was thinking, 'Oh my God. This is it--closure,'" she said. "Then I came back into the curtain and people were crying, and I was like, you guys are making this so much worse. I said to myself that I got this, and that I am good, but then I went to the back and Stephanie [McMahon] grabbed me and hugged me for the longest time, which was lovely, and then Vince [McMahon] and Hunter [Triple H]. I felt like I died or something, like, 'Oh, she was such a good person.' I was like, 'Guys, I didn't die! I'm still here!'"
She is still here, as she was named general manager of SmackDown Live the night after he retirement. Paige said she was caught off-guard by the news because the WWE kept it a complete secret. She said she enjoyed the reception she received from fans because it showed her that they still want her to be a part of the WWE.
"It's all secrecy. They didn't want it to spoil it. They didn't even tell me. They told me that I was going to SmackDown Live the next night. I had asked why, but they didn't tell me. At that point, I had been touring a lot. Did a lot for WrestleMania week, so I was exhausted physically and mentally where I just wanted to go home so I was curious as to what was going on. I got to SmackDown the next day, Road Dogg, along with my writing team surround me and I was thinking, 'Oh my God, am I about to be beat up. Do I owe you money?' It was then they told me I was going to be the SmackDown general manager, but don't tell anyone. We don't even have the script yet," she said. "I go through this thing where when I do something big I tend to lose my voice. When I re-debuted I lost my voice. When I did commentary at WrestleMania I lost my voice, it's like, oh my God. What is wrong with me? Fix your voice! They told me that they had to check my voice because today was a very big day. By then I had already drank a bunch of tea and cough drops. Once I got out there the crowd was great, and received a bigger reception than my retirement speech the night previous. I was like, 'Wow, this is super cool. You still want me around.'"
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.