In December 2017, Paige suffered a career-ending injury during a WWE live event that she would later reveal to the WWE Universe the night after WrestleMania 34.
Paige, still only 26 and one of the brightest female talents the WWE has ever had, was forced to retire after damage to her neck meant she could be paralysed if she took another bump.
While the two-time Women’s champion had been suffering with neck issues long before she took that kick from Sasha Banks, this was the scare that prompted WWE doctors say no more. As a result, Banks received vicious backlash at the event and, subsequently, online.
Paige has since gone on to become one of the most universally loved general managers of all-time in the WWE on SmackDown Live, The Rock is producing a film on her family’s wrestling dynasty and she has returned to the cast of Total Divas for their eighth season.
However, a lot of fans of both Paige and Banks have wondered what really went on the night Paige suffered her final bump and how her relationship with The Boss has been since.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, the Norwich-born star explained what exactly happened to her neck and cleared up any internet rumours surrounding herself and Sasha.
“Nothing was ever Sasha’s fault,” Paige began. “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’.
“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 said.
“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’.
“So then literally the next day I get flown out to Orlando to see a doctor,” Paige continued. “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.”
A lot of WWE fans attacked Sasha after the incident, but as Paige rightfully states, it wasn’t Sasha’s fault and it appears as though she’s been nothing but a close friend ever since.
Paige alludes to the fact that her neck wasn’t strong enough and it may have been a matter of time before someone injured it. Sasha, unfortunately, was that unlucky superstar.
It must have taken a lot of strength for Paige to recall the night so vividly, but the WWE Universe are lucky to still have her as a part of the company and as mentioned prior, she’s got a full plate beyond in-ring competition right now where she continues to thrive.
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