SmackDown General Manager Paige recently spoke with GiveMeSport and defended Sasha Banks from criticism over the career-ending injury that Paige suffered while working with Banks in the ring at a December 2017 WWE live event.
"Nothing was ever Sasha's fault," Paige said. "She got so much backlash and even in the ring, when we were in there, people are chanting 'Sasha sucks' and it really upset me to hear that because it wasn't her fault. The thing is with me, right, that move where she kicks me in the back, I had taken that so many times previously that I was so stubborn and I thought 'I can still do these kind of things' and I thought my neck was just as strong as it was before, but, unfortunately, it's not.
"So I called this move and I told her to do it and so she did it, and unfortunately, my neck wasn't strong enough and it snapped all the way back and it was essentially the same as having a really bad car crash - the whiplash was. My arms start losing the feeling and then I'm like 'oh my gosh, I can't feel my arms!' and I'm trying to grab her [Sasha's] legs and she's like 'you need to stop' and I'm like 'no, no, no. Wait, I can stand up, let me do this' and so I stand up, but then I fall straight back down and I'm like 'oh my gosh, I can't feel my body right now, this is crazy' and I was so petrified I was like 'I think I'm paralysed'."
Paige also revealed the emotional ringside moments after the injury as the other Superstars in the match were crying. She said Banks never left her side.
"The girls at the side of the ring were crying, Bayley was really upset and Sasha is sitting in the corner just devastated and I couldn't cry at first; I wasn't in any pain I was just in so much shock and I'm just looking at these girls like 'oh my gosh'. And I knew it, I felt it - my career was done," Paige continued. "I remember them bringing out the stretcher and stuff like that and I was like 'please don't make me go out on a stretcher, that's all I'm asking. I don't wanna go out on a stretcher'. I wanted to walk out gracefully and I just knew I was going to get told I wasn't going to be able to do this anymore.
"So I'm finally up and walking and the crowd are cheering - they were so sweet - so I get backstage and Jamie Noble and all the trainers and doctors that we had were checking my reflexes and my body felt fine after that, it was just achey. But Sasha was there the whole entire time. She did not want to leave my side - like literally did not want to leave my side - and she was crying her eyes out. She said 'I'm so sorry' and I'm like 'It's not your fault, none of this is your fault'."
Paige indicated that her neck wasn't strong enough and that it may have been just a matter of time before it was injured while working with another unlucky Superstar. She also revealed the conversation she had with WWE's Dr. Joseph Maroon and the scary warning he gave her.
"So then literally the next day I get flown out to Orlando to see a doctor," Paige said. "The next day after that I got flown out to Dr. Maroon. He felt my neck and he was like 'You can have another surgery if you want, but you still have to retire, either way'. He was like 'if you get hit again you'll be paralysed' kind of the same as Edge and I already knew that, I was just hoping he would tell me something different. So getting back to work, I didn't wanna tell anyone just yet. I was like 'I'm fine, I just need a couple of weeks'.
"But, I remember just telling Sasha 'I can't wrestle anymore' and she was devastated, she started crying, crying her eyes out. I was like 'I'm so sorry', I think it's just a British thing to apologise! But I was like 'I'm sorry, it's not your fault' and she's just been so, so supportive. She always texts me like 'hey, how are you doing, how things going?' you know, and she's just always been really great."
You can listen to GiveMeSport's new "Turnbuckle Talk" interview with WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page at this link.