Wrestling even before she was born

Wrestling even before she was born
Diva Paige(left) during a signing event. Photo: FACEBOOK

She was born to wrestle and even had a taste of it in utero, when her mother wrestled when she was seven months pregnant.

She did not know that she was pregnant at the time and quit the ring as soon as the pregnancy was confirmed.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Diva Paige grew up in a family of professional wrestlers, so it seemed natural for her to choose it as a career.

Her parents are better known by their ring names, Sweet Saraya and Ricky Knight, and her older brothers are Zak Zodiac and Roy Bevis. The term "diva" refers to female WWE performers.

Born and raised in Norfolk, England, she was 13 when she officially entered the ring and went on to hold several championships on independent circuits within Europe.

In 2011, she signed a contract with WWE and debuted on its main roster in April last year.

She holds the title of being the inaugural NXT Women's Champion and was the youngest ever WWE Divas Champion at the age of 21.

"Wrestling is all I've ever wanted to do," said 22-year-old Paige, whose real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis, in a phone interview with The New Paper from Buffalo, New York.

"All I've ever known is wrestling. Plus my mum was pretty much pregnant with me when she realised. So I've basically been wrestling since I was a foetus."

Paige will be in town for the first time for the WWE Live Singapore event next month, alongside other WWE Superstars including John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Kane and fellow female wrestler Nikki Bella.

No matter how unorthodox a wrestling career sounded to most people, it never fazed her.

She loved travelling the world with her family and meeting new people at such a young age, while balancing work with school.

Paige said she would tell her teachers she would be at "Norway one week or Germany and they would just hand me my homework and I'd do it on the plane or car".

But it was not always a bed of roses.

She recalled how when she was around 15, she would get into fights with boys just to "prove" herself.

Schoolmates were not particularly nice to her because back then, they thought wrestling was not cool. That was when she hit the lowest point of her career.

"When I was 15, I was wrestling all the time. I travelled every weekend and wrestled during the week," she said.

"I never got time to be a teenager or to be just a kid. I found my life consumed by wrestling."

However, Paige overcame her anxiety and steeled her resolve because she knew she never wanted to miss out on any of the experiences.

OBSTACLES

As a female wrestler, she also set out to change gender perceptions.

The tomboyish brunette babe said: "Obviously, people don't take female wrestling too seriously. So trying to prove yourself constantly was always tough.

"My obstacle was always trying to show others that (women) belong in the ring with the men."

As more people got to hear of her and as she wrestled more with her male peers, she said the respect grew. She now has fans from all over the world who turn up at meet-and-greet sessions and comic conventions.

Of her most memorable encounters, Paige said with a laugh: "There was one time where people were lining up to see (the WWE stars) and to get a picture. One guy had come up to the table just as I had scratched my nose and was adamant about shaking that hand.

"I've also had marriage proposals, which was nice. I could have been married about 50 times already. It's sweet because I think it shows how much they love me."


This article was first published on June 22, 2015.
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