WWE Extreme Rules 2014 Will Be Proving Ground for Paige

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterMay 1, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

The first major strides of Paige's journey to greatness begin at WWE Extreme Rules 2014.

In her Divas Championship defense at the pay-per-view, Paige has a store of hype to live up to, a chance to prove her greatness and an opportunity at increasing the Divas division's visibility.

WWE showed great confidence in her by having her win the Divas Championship in her debut on the main roster. Fans familiar with her NXT work had to be thrilled to see her be called up and take home the gold all at once. 

She looked understandably nervous that night, delivering an awkward version of her Paige Turner finisher for the victory.

As immensely talented as she is, it's still a challenging jump from NXT to WWE. She was a 21-year-old asked to go from performing in the cozy, familiar atmosphere of Full Sail University to performing live on WWE's flagship show. The transition wasn't going to be perfect.

The spotlight is about get even brighter. Paige is charging toward the biggest match of her WWE career so far.

A battle with Tamina Snuka is an opportunity to fulfill her great promise. Paige has been NXT's blue-chipper, possessing the look, magnetism, toughness and mat acumen required to be successful in WWE. 

Not all potential is converted into success, though.

As much as it feels that Paige becoming an elite wrestler for WWE is an inevitability, she still has to win over casual fans and produce when standing on center stage. Can she be as good as many have predicted she can be? Can she be today's version of Lita?

"The Anti-Diva" can begin to answer those questions against Tamina.

Her first pay-per-view match comes without as much hype as Evolution vs. The Shield or John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, but there will be no shortage of eyes on her when the bell rings. In 2013, Extreme Rules was just below SummerSlam in terms of buyrates, per Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestleView.com).

Both competitors go into this clash having put on a standout performance their last time out.

Tamina and Natalya delivered an excellent match on the April 25 SmackDown. Paige followed that up with an above-average outing against Alicia Fox on the April 29 Main Event.

The amount of drama these women packed into those bouts hints at how good their collision at Extreme Rules can be. Give them ample time and count on a potent showing of two ass-kickers.

Although it has far less story and buildup, Paige and Tamina are capable of making their matchup as much of a talking point as AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn at Payback was last year.

Each woman's aggression is enthralling. They both command attention in the ring.

They are birds of prey in a field of peacocks.

AJ was also involved in the most recent great Divas match—her title defense against Natalya on March 11. Paige can show WWE officials and fans alike that she's capable of putting on performances like that, that she's just as worthy to sit atop the division as AJ was.

If Paige and Tamina is just okay, it won't be a huge deal. The expectations for Divas matches are so low that some four-minute bout with a smidgen of drama will be enough to satisfy a good portion of the audience.

These women have the talent to accomplish far more than that. They can bring focus to WWE's female wrestlers.

Tamina and Paige face off at Main Event.
Tamina and Paige face off at Main Event.Credit: WWE.com

Whenever there is any spark of greatness from the Divas division, buzz accumulates in a hurry. From Kaitlyn's loss at Payback to AJ's scathing denouncement of her peers, the division's highlights reignite interest in a division that is often ignored, overlooked and treated as a snack break.

Another potential highlight hangs above Paige now, waiting for her to grab it. WWE has not only afforded Paige the opportunity to defend her title at a show where Kaitlyn was left off last year, but it has pitted her against one of today's best Divas.

Were Paige to be taking on Brie Bella at Extreme Rules, there would be less to get excited about.

Tamina's power and intimidating aura make her a viable contender. Her superkick is one of the most stunning moves one will see in a Divas match.

She will soon serve as Paige's foil, as the Divas champ reaches for higher rungs.