In a year that saw multiple Superstars and Divas make their debuts, one stood out above them all. Not Adam Rose, not Bo Dallas, not Emma, but Paige. Let's start from the beginning though. Paige, daughter of British wrestler Saraya Knight, was first seen by me at SHIMMER. She was teaming with her mom, with future fellow NXT star Becky Lynch as their manager, before moving into a feud with her mom. She was signed by the WWE and made a splash in NXT. Her "Anti-Diva" character got over and she won the Tournament to crown the first ever NXT Women's Champion. It was clear by her emotional reaction to winning, that this meant a lot to her. She would go on to be a focal point of the first NXT Special on the WWE Network, beating Emma in a damn good NXT Women's Championship match. As WrestleMania rolled around, Paige still had a stranglehold on the NXT belt, so nobody expected to see her on the main roster until she dropped it.
The night after WrestleMania, which is usually the biggest Raw of the year, the current Divas Champion came out to cut a promo. AJ Lee was in the midst of a 300+ day reign as Divas Champion and, less than 24 hours prior, head beaten 13 other divas. She called herself the "Best Diva in the World" before she was cut off by the theme of the NXT Women's Champion. Paige came out to a huge pop from the rowdy crowd in New Orleans and attempted to congratulate AJ Lee. AJ wanted no part and challenged the Anti-Diva, putting the title on the line. She was overconfident and it cost her as Paige put her down with the Paige Turner and captured the Divas Champion in a shocking moment. With the win, Paige became the youngest Champion in WWE history.
Now, as much as I love Paige, what has followed that historic night has been a bit
disappointing. Her title run as a face was just match after match with no real story and kind of fell flat. Then, she dropped the title to a returning AJ and became her "frenemy." This was odd until she turned heel from it and then I feel that she started to shine again. She would win her second Divas Championship at SummerSlam on her 22nd birthday. While she lost it again about a month later, winning two Divas Title by 22 is an impressive feat. Now, while she isn't directly involved in the title picture, she will be joining the Total Divas cast in January. Some see this as a negative but it gets her more exposure and money, so I think it's a good move. In the end, Paige has a lot of years in front of her and she could surpass the current record of three Divas Championships down the line. Her debut was impactful, shocking and a lot of fun, making it the debut of the year.