Paige will be Saraya again, just Saraya.
In a new editorial for The Players’ Tribune, Saraya Knight spoke about her WWE career coming to an end. The former Paige announced she would be leaving the company as her contract would expire on July 7, and now writes about what the moment arriving and what her WWE tenure as a whole meant to her.
You can call me Saraya now.
Tomorrow is my last official day as Paige.
I got signed in April of 2011, at 18 years old. I was just a baby from Norwich, England. And as I’m sitting here now, I’m only a month away from turning 30. That’s crazy, right? I’ve been Paige for over 11 years. For my entire adult life, I’ve been with WWE.
And while I’ve changed a lot over that time, one thing feels the same to me today as it did back on the day I tried out: the thrill of those three letters. WWE — those three letters have given so much to me. In many ways, they’ve come to define me. And they’ve never lost their meaning. The idea of being a WWE Superstar … I’m still blown away by that, still humbled by it.
Which makes it hard to say goodbye.
I’ve known this moment would be coming for a while, but it almost didn’t seem real. Now that it is real, though, I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude.
Saraya thanked her “fairy godmother” AJ Mendez (Lee) and the Bella Twins, as well as Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and many others, including today’s women’s roster. She spoke about how she got “pretty close to the bottom” with a leaked sex tape, failed drug test and other issues, but WWE never lost faith in her. She said they helped her when she needed it and noted that she’d cherish her in-ring retirement segment for the rest of her life.
Saraya closed by sharing a story about how Stephanie McMahon comforted her when she was coming back from injury, noting that moment made her believe she’s a survivor and it shaped who she would become.
And I’ll never forget this: As I was getting ready to go out there for my “re-debut,” Stephanie pulled me aside. And she just held me for a minute. She gave me the biggest, longest hug. And she said, “Hey — everyone out there loves you. They’re going to be excited to see you. You want to know why? Because you’re a survivor. You SURVIVED. And that means something. So hold your head up, and enjoy this moment. It’s yours.”
Stephanie was right (as usual). I went out there … and it was the most amazing feeling. No one hated me!! They were actually glad I was back. I was still Paige. The connection was still there.
And in a lot of ways, that story is my time with WWE in a nutshell. It was far from perfect. There were some brutal setbacks. And to be honest, I was a bit of an ass for a couple of years. But they always believed in my will to survive, and in the person I could grow to become.
Saraya previously said that letting go of the name Paige would be the hardest part of her departure, but still remained hopeful that she would one day return to the ring. Paige debuted on WWE programming on NXT in the summer of 2012, and she last competed in a six-woman tag team match teaming with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville against Bayley, Mickie James and Sasha Banks in December 2017.
Paige leaves WWE as a one-time NXT Women’s Champion and a two-time WWE Divas Champion.