Saraya-Jade Bevis (born 17 August 1992) is an English professional wrestler. She is currently signed to WWE, where she performs under the ring name Paige.
Bevis made her debut in 2005 in the World Association Of Wrestling, a promotion that her family runs, as Britani Knight. She went on to hold several championships on independent circuits within Europe. In 2011, she signed a contract with WWE and started wrestling within its developmental systems. Paige eventually debuted on WWE’s main roster in April 2014.
Bevis was the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion of the company’s developmental branch NXT and also a two-time WWE Divas Champion, at one point holding both titles concurrently from 7 April 2014 – 24 April 2014.
Bevis was born and raised in Norwich, Norfolk, the daughter of Ricky Knight and Julia Hamer-Bevis, who unintentionally wrestled while she was seven months pregnant with Bevis. Bevis said that as a child, she was scared of wrestling because of the injuries her family received, as well as the concept that her parents fought other people for a living. When Bevis was 10 or 11 years old, her father ran a wrestling training school every month. Bevis took this opportunity to occasionally enter the wrestling ring, where her brothers would teach her about wrestling. She did this until she was 13, which was when she officially made her debut as a wrestler.
Professional wrestling career
European independent circuit (2005–2011)
She made her debut in 2005, at the age of 13 when her father, who was running the show, got her to replace a wrestler who failed to turn up. Her earliest recorded match was in April 2006 when she (using the ring name Britani Knight) teamed with her mother (ring name Sweet Saraya) for a loss in a triple threat tag team match in World Association of Wrestling (WAW). Knight then allied with Melodi to form a tag team called the Norfolk Dolls and they wrestled in multiple English promotions. The Norfolk Dolls won the new World Association of Women’s Wrestling (WAWW) Tag Team Title in June 2007 by defeating the Legion of Womb, but it became inactive due to no title defenses by the Norfolk Dolls.
At the age of 14, Knight sent résumés to numerous wrestling promotions around Europe and earned a chance to wrestle in countries like Scotland, Wales, Belgium, France, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Germany, as well as the United States, managing to travel by herself at 14. She began to compete for singles championships without much initial success. In Scotland, Knight competed for the World Wide Wrestling League (W3L) Women’s Title, but lost to Sara in the tournament finals in September 2007. On December 2007, Knight took part in a tournament where the winner would become the first WAWW British Champion, but lost in the finals to Jetta. In 2008, Knight challenged both Sara and Jetta for their respective titles, but failed in her title bids.
Knight achieved more singles success from 2009. In August 2009, Knight defeated her mother Sweet Saraya in a two out of three falls match to capture the vacant Herts and Essex (HEW) Women’s Championship. Later that month, Knight defeated Saraya again to capture the WAWW British Title. In November 2009, Knight captured the Real Deal Wrestling (RDW) Women’s Title from her mother in an elimination match also featuring Chelsey Love and Stacey Baybie. In December 2009, while in HEW, Knight won the RQW Women’s Championship by beating Jetta in a champion vs. champion match with her HEW Women’s Title on the line. In May 2010, Knight and her mother challenged Amazon and Ananya for the PWF Ladies Tag Team Championship which they won. On 17 July 2010, Knight lost the HEW Women’s Championship to her mother.
On 22 January 2011, Knight captured the German Stampede Wrestling Ladies’ Title from Blue Nikita. On 11 March, she recaptured the HEW Women’s Championship from her mother. Knight returned to Pro Wrestling: EVE on 8 April to participate in a two-night tournament to crown the first ever Pro-Wrestling: EVE Champion. In the first night, Knight lost a four-way match to Jenny Sjödin, won a Last Chance battle royal, then defeated Sjödin in the quarter-final match. The next day, she defeated Jetta in the semi-final match, and later in the finals defeated Nikki Storm to win the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship. On 30 April, Knight won the SCW Ladies Title by defeating champion Amy Cooper. Also in 2011, Knight won an elimination match to become WAWW Hardcore Champion.
June 2011 marked the start of Knight losing her various championships. On 4 June, Knight lost her Pro-Wrestling: EVE Championship to Jenny Sjödin, and on 26 June, Knight lost her SCW Ladies Title to her mother during a four-way match also involving Amy Cooper and Laura Wellings. On 2 August, Knight and her mother lost their PWF Ladies Tag Team Championship to Amazon and Destiny in a two out of three falls match. On 12 November, Knight vacated the HEW Women’s Championship. Knight also lost the WAWW British Championship to Liberty in 19 November 2011, while also vacating the RQW Women’s Championship on that day.
Shimmer Women Athletes (2011)
Bevis, again billed as Britani Knight, debuted for the American all-female promotion Shimmer Women Athletes on 26 March 2011 at the tapings of Volume 37. Teaming with her mother Saraya Knight as the Knight Dynasty, they were managed by Rebecca Knox and defeated Nikki Roxx and Ariel via disqualification after the other team used the Dynasty’s brass knuckles. This led to a Shimmer Tag Team Championship shot at Volume 38, but the Knight Dynasty lost to champions the Seven Star Sisters, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata.
In October 2011 at Volume 42, the Knight Dynasty lost another Shimmer Tag Team Championship match against champions Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara when Saraya refused to help Britani. Saraya then scolded Britani after the match. At Volume 43, Britani lost to Jessie McKay in a singles match which was her third consecutive singles defeat. This led to Saraya disowning (in storyline) and slapping Britani before mother and daughter brawled and had to be pulled apart. Britani challenged Saraya to a match which happened on Volume 44, where Britani defeated Saraya under no disqualification rules in what would be her final Shimmer match.
Developmental territories (2011–2014)
Bevis was first informed that there will be try-outs in the WWE when a talent scout came to a show in England. She failed in her first try in November 2010 but succeeded in April 2011. In September 2011, Bevis had signed a contract with the WWE and would report to its developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Bevis made her debut for FCW at a house show on 5 January 2012, using the ring name Saraya. Bevis’ ring name was then changed to Paige as she made her television debut in an appearance on the 26 February episode of FCW TV. From March 2012, Paige formed an alliance with Sofia Cortez, dubbing themselves the “Anti-Diva Army”. Paige made her televised in-ring debut in a tag team match alongside Cortez on 19 March, which the duo lost to Audrey Marie and Kaitlyn. Paige and Cortez then formed a brief association with Rick Victor in a win against Marie and Aiden English. On 6 May, Paige pinned the FCW Divas Champion, Raquel Diaz in a non-title triple threat match, which also involved Audrey Marie. This earned Paige a title shot against Diaz on the 27 May episode of FCW TV, where Diaz’s chicanery led to Paige being disqualified and Diaz retained her title. Dissension was teased within the Anti-Diva Army as Paige moved on to feud with Audrey Marie. Paige lost to Marie on 11 June on FCW TV after Cortez interfered against her, signalling the end of the alliance. On the final episode of FCW TV on 15 July, Paige and Cortez ended their feud with Marie victorious in a no disqualification match.
WWE went on to rebrand its developmental territory FCW, into NXT Wrestling. Paige’s NXT television debut took place on the third episode of the rebooted WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University, where she lost to Sofia Cortez. From September 2012, after gaining a large surge in crowd support, Paige went on a singles winning streak, defeating wrestlers including Audrey Marie, Sasha Banks, Emma, Aksana, and multiple wins over Alicia Fox.
On 30 January 2013, Paige was attacked by ring announcer Summer Rae, as Rae was jealous of Paige’s popularity and success. On the 13 February episode of NXT, Paige suffered a shoulder injury after brawling with Rae, which Rae exploited later that episode to end Paige’s undefeated streak. After Paige continued to confront Rae, Paige finally faced off against Rae in a singles match on the 1 May episode of NXT, where Paige emerged victorious despite Rae’s pre-match attack. Paige entered a tournament to determine the first NXT Women’s Champion; she defeated Tamina Snuka and Alicia Fox en route to the final, in which she defeated Emma to become the inaugural champion.
Paige made her first successful title defense on the 14 August episode of NXT, defeating Summer Rae. In the following months, Paige teamed up with Emma to feud with Summer Rae and Sasha Banks. Paige successfully defended her title against Natalya on 4 December, on NXT, and on 27 February 2014, at NXT Arrival against Emma. On 24 April, Paige was forced to vacate her NXT Women’s Championship, ending her reign at 308 days, due to being elevated to the main roster and winning the WWE Divas Championship.
Divas Champion (2014–present)
Paige feuded with AJ Lee over the WWE Divas Championship throughout mid-2014
Paige debuted on the main roster on the 7 April 2014 episode of Raw, the night after WrestleMania XXX. She congratulated WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee on her successful title defense at the pay-per-view event. AJ slapped Paige and challenged her to an immediate match with the championship on the line. Paige quickly defeated AJ to capture her first Divas Championship and ended AJ’s 295 day reign, making Paige the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history at the age of 21. Paige had her first successful title defense on the 28 April episode of Raw in an impromptu match against Brie Bella which went to a no contest due to interference from Kane. In her first successful title defense on pay-per-view, Paige defeated Tamina Snuka on 4 May at Extreme Rules.
She suffered her first main roster defeat on the 19 May episode of Raw to Alicia Fox in a non-title match. Because of the result, she defended and retained her title against Fox at Payback. In June, Paige feuded with Cameron and defeated her in two non-title matches. However, Cameron’s tag team partner Naomi went on to beat Paige in a non-title match, leading to Naomi being granted a title match at Money in the Bank, which Paige won. During this time, WWE was criticized for failing to develop Paige’s character despite being able to do so for Paige’s opponents, and for portraying Paige as a vulnerable champion while she was proving herself in the storyline.
On the post-Money in the Bank episode of Raw, on 30 June, a role reversal occurred when a returning AJ Lee quickly defeated Paige in a title match to regain the Divas Championship, in which Paige was initially reluctant to face AJ but agreed to the match per request of the live audience. Despite the championship loss, Paige acted as if she were best friends with AJ during tag matches in which they teamed together. At Battleground, Paige lost a rematch for the Divas Championship to AJ. On the post-Battleground episode of Raw on 21 July, Paige and AJ won a tag match, but Paige launched a post-match assault on AJ, thus furthering the feud with AJ and turning heel. This eventually set up another title rematch on Paige’s 22nd birthday at SummerSlam, which Paige won to capture her second Divas Championship. One month later at Night of Champions, Paige lost the title to AJ in a triple threat match which also involved Nikki Bella. Paige then formed an alliance with Alicia Fox while still feuding against AJ, but after Fox failed to secure Paige a victory in another title match against AJ at Hell in a Cell, Paige dissolved their alliance by attacking Fox the following night on Raw. At Survivor Series, Paige participated in a 4-on-4 elimination tag team match where she was the last person from her team to be eliminated, courtesy of Naomi.
On the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw, Paige showed signs of a face turn as she rescued Natalya from a post-match assault by the Divas Champion Nikki Bella. This led to a non-title match between Paige and Nikki the following night on Main Event, which Paige won.
In July 2012, Channel 4 produced a documentary about Bevis and her family entitled The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.
In October 2014, Bevis made her video game debut as a downloadable character in WWE 2K15. On 20 October 2014, it was announced that she would be joining the cast of Total Divas, a reality television show produced by WWE and E!, for the show’s second part of its third season, which began airing on January 4, 2015