Paige Officially Ruled Out for 2018 WWE Royal Rumble Due to Neck Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2018

COLOGNE, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Paige during WWE Road to WrestleMania at the Lanxess Arena on February 11, 2016 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Marc Pfitzenreuter/Getty Images)
Marc Pfitzenreuter/Getty Images

A neck injury will prevent Paige from competing in the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match at the 2018 Royal Rumble on Jan. 28, WWE announced Monday.

Paige hasn't wrestled since competing in a six-woman tag team match at a Dec. 27 house show. Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Al Castle shared a photo of a WWE medic tending to the two-time Divas champion:

The concern was heightened given her injury history. She missed 17 months while recovering from a neck problem that required surgery.

The injury is serious enough that PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported Paige's in-ring career may be over altogether. At the very least, WWE doctors have yet to clear her for a full return.

Monday's announcement will do little to ease the fears of fans who are bracing for the worst.

Paige remains an on-screen member of Absolution, though, despite the fact she is unable to wrestle. She was on hand to watch Sonya Deville beat Sasha Banks on Raw Monday night, courtesy of WWE Universe:

The fact WWE hasn't formally announced Paige will retire also seemingly leaves the door open for her to get back inside the ring. The company hasn't avoided addressing career-ending injuries in the past, allowing Edge and Daniel Bryan to say farewell to the WWE Universe.

Because she rose so quickly through the ranks in WWE, it's easy to forget Paige is only 25 years old and doesn't turn 26 until August. Edge, on the other hand, was 37 when he retired, while Bryan was 34. There's no need for her to rush back when she still has her entire career in front of her.

While it's premature to start talking about Paige's retirement, it would appear she'll be out of action for the foreseeable future.

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