Paige's Title Defense Was Hurt by Botched Finish at Extreme Rules

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014


Paige's WWE Divas Championship match against Tamina at Extreme Rules was symbolic of her early run in the WWE. The Divas tried their best and looked good at times, but something was off.

The match featured several impressive spots. Paige countered a Samoan Drop from the second rope with a power bomb. Tamina countered a Hurricanrana by swinging Paige into the barricade. Tamina also showed off some hidden showmanship and did all she could to draw heat.

As hard as they worked, the match was defined by an egregious blunder made by the referee, who accidentally counted to three as Paige pinned Tamina and the challenger kicked out.

The spot took the air out of the match and overshadowed Paige's eventual tapout victory. Paige cannot be blamed for the match's pitfalls, and the same can be said about her early career on the main roster.

Paige was vaulted to the top of the Divas division upon her debut in a quick match against AJ Lee. Using an awkward-looking version of her finisher, she captured the WWE Divas Championship in her first outing.

With the babyface Diva reaching the top of the mountain so early, there is nowhere to go but down. WWE has now gone back to the drawing board, building up its young champion through a series of TV wins.

It's almost as if WWE is reintroducing the world to Paige, despite such a grand arrival.

Paige has been hit-or-miss against lesser opponents. The week after her debut, she and Alicia Fox put on a solid match. The following week, however, Aksana did more to slow Paige down than make the upstart champion look strong.

The go-home show of Raw did anything but make the Divas championship look strong. Paige randomly appeared in an impromptu Divas championship match against Brie Bella, who Michael Cole admitted had done nothing to deserve a title shot.

The match was announced by Stephanie McMahon as part of a greater plan to bait Bella, and her husband Daniel Bryan, into an attack from Kane.

Having the Divas championship serve as bait to a bigger storyline makes the title and its champion look minor league. The fact that Tamina did not appear to escalate their feud on WWE's flagship show had a similar effect.

Despite the sabotages, and the Divas going on after a hot John Cena-Bray Wyatt match, they did all they could to put together a competitive, compelling match. The match overachieved under poor circumstances, just as Paige has.

But until WWE and Paige get on the same pageno pun intendedher growing pains will continue.


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