Saraya, AEW
Saraya (formerly known as Paige) made her AEW debut on September 21, 2022. AEW


  • Saraya admits that he left WWE because he wanted to return to the ring
  • Her WWE career showcased glimpses of stardom, but it was cut short due to injuries
  • Saraya will have her second match with AEW on January 11

The pro wrestling industry was turned on its head when Saraya made her All Elite Wrestling (AEW) debut on September 21, 2022 during their Grand Slam special and many wondered how it came to be.

Better known as Paige during her WWE run from 2011 to early 2022, Saraya had an exclusive interview with Metro and revealed that it all came down to her betting on herself.

Saraya noted that while she and Triple H have had a good working relationship due to their time in NXT, her unfamiliarity with the "other [boss]" WWE president Nick Khan made her take a chance on AEW instead.

"I don't know if I would end up sitting on my arse for another five years, and that terrified me. And then not being able to do other projects terrified me. I can't sit on my butt again and do nothing!" Saraya was quoted to have said.

"I can't ask to go and do this and that and be told no again. I needed my freedom, and [AEW CEO] Tony [Khan] was willing straight out of the gate to give that to me. 'Just come to work when you're supposed to come to work.' OK, absolutely, I can do that!"

The former indie wrestling star made the leap to WWE in April 2011 as part of the now-defunct Florida Championship Wrestling and became a mainstay on the NXT developmental brand, with WWE quickly strapping a rocket to her back.

She would go on to become the brand's inaugural NXT Women's Champion and would shock the industry in 2014 when she made her main roster debut on April 7–the night after WrestleMania 30 and challenged then-Divas Champion AJ Lee to an impromptu match.

To everyone's surprise, Saraya won and allowed her to add three accolades to her name: the first Diva to win the title in her debut match, the youngest Diva's Champion in the belt's short-lived history at 21 years old, and the only woman to hold both the NXT and main roster women's belt concurrently.

However, injuries would become synonymous with her WWE career as she suffered two neck injuries, once in 2016 and another in 2017–the latter forcing her to retire from in-ring competition entirely.

While she would go on to have on-screen roles from 2018 up to her release, her last official in-ring performance for WWE was on the December 26, 2017 house show according to the Internet Wrestling Database.

Now with AEW and being cleared to compete once again, Saraya had her first match in five years when she faced and defeated Britt Baker at the Full Gear pay-per-view event.

Her next scheduled in-ring performance will have her and Toni Storm taking on Baker and current AEW Women's Champion Jamie Hayter tomorrow, January 11 on AEW Dynamite.

Though many felt that she had left a couple of things on the table during her WWE stint after being cleared for in-ring action, Saraya, still just 30 years old, is at peace being in a different company.

"I'm just really grateful to be in the place that I am now," she added.

Saraya, AEW
Saraya during an episode of AEW Dynamite. AEW