In her second pay-per-view title defense since becoming Divas champion the night after WrestleMania XXX, Paige was once again successful as she retained the butterfly-emblazoned strap against Alicia Fox at Payback.
Paige has been on a roll over the past couple of months, but Fox posed the biggest challenge to date. Fox defeated Paige in her native England to earn a shot at the title; however, the Anti-Diva raised her game on the pay-per-view stage once again.
WWE's Emma was quick to express her thoughts on the outcome:
Despite Paige's status as perhaps the best in-ring worker among WWE's Divas, her title reign was very much in question leading up to Payback. Fox has been in the midst of an intriguing push that has seen her throw tantrums, attack ringside personnel and destroy WWE property following her matches.
Bleacher Report's Justin LaBar suggested Fox appeared to be the better in-ring worker, and was mimicking another diva incredibly well:
As seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account, Fox did a little bit of everything, including channeling her inner "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:
It was difficult to fully grasp what WWE was doing with Fox, as the booking has been as volatile as her character. Although Fox beat Paige, she lost to Emma on the go-home edition of Raw prior to Payback. With that said, Fox's meltdowns have garnered her more television time than any Diva in recent memory.
Even so, Paige wasn't worried about her run with the Divas Championship concluding at Payback, as evidenced by this tweet:
It is difficult to say how much this victory helps Paige's credibility, but this match was certainly in the spotlight more than past Divas matches due to Fox's antics.
Paige hasn't taken the Divas division by storm quite yet; however, she hasn't really been given the opportunity to showcase herself. Continuing to stockpile wins and appear on pay-per-views will certainly help her credibility, though.
In many ways, it seems like WWE is in a holding pattern with the Divas Championship until AJ Lee returns. Paige shocked the WWE Universe by beating AJ in an impromptu match and ending her record-breaking Divas Championship reign of 295 days.
AJ hasn't been seen on WWE programming since dropping the title, as she opted to take some time off. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), AJ is expected to return at some point between Money in the Bank and SummerSlam following her upcoming marriage to CM Punk.
Since Paige vs. AJ is a long-term feud that could really make waves within the Divas division, it makes sense that the creative team would conceivably want to keep the title on Paige until AJ comes back.
Even so, it will be interesting to see how Fox is handled moving forward. WWE obviously feels as though it has something with Fox since it has been willing to give her so much television time. The psychotic gimmick seems to work for her, and one loss at a pay-per-view won't necessarily derail it.
In fact, it wouldn't be particularly surprising to see this feud carry over to Money in the Bank. There aren't many interesting contenders in the Divas division right now, especially in terms of heels since all of the Total Divas cast members are essentially portrayed as faces on TV.
WWE is biding its time at this point, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing from Paige's perspective. She could definitely use a bit more mic time and some opportunities to refine her character, although it's important to remember that she is still very new to the main roster.
The 21-year-old star's best days in WWE are ahead of her, and this win is simply another feather in her cap as bigger and better challenges await.
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