Despite now being in AEW, two-time WWE Divas Champion Saraya (FKA Paige) has a lot of kind words for one individual in WWE who was instrumental in her early ascent in the company.
Speaking on the Mark Hoke Show, Saraya opened up about her memorable main roster debut, where she dethroned AJ Lee to become Divas Champion on her first Monday Night Raw appearance, and how none of it would have been possible without Triple H.
“Dude, seriously, I get chills every time (I think about my first WWE Divas Title win) but I think it’s because — Triple H was really wonderful with us in NXT. It was FCW then he took over and named it NXT.
“Yeah, so I just won the NXT Women’s Championship and it was the first-ever female match that was on the Network. Remember that? (She laughed) The Network?
“And so we were the first-ever females on the first-ever pay-per-view that was on it and then my t-shirt got released which was the ‘Think Again’ t-shirt that Triple H had made for me and it sold out instantly, like that. It’s done, it’s sold out so I think they were just like, oh, she could make us money and so they were like, let’s bring her up on the main roster and also, it was just something different.
“I feel like there was only one of me down in NXT at the time. The pale, goth chick who wore a lot of black and studs and stuff like that. Now it’s the norm and it’s really cool to see so many different alternative girls out there. But at the time, I was thinking about Lita when I was dressing like that.
“I was like, I love Lita. That’s who inspired me to be myself, and my mother of course. She’s crazy but, yeah, I feel like it was a different flavor of ice cream and it was the shake-up that the division needed at the time too.
About her call-up specifically Saraya revealed that it was Triple H who piled the pressure on Vince McMahon to get her on the main roster, with Vince McMahon eventually giving in on one rather strange condition.
“It was Triple H who was the one like pitching for me to go on the main roster and Vince (McMahon) was like, ‘Fine! But she has to wear purple’ and that was it. So I had to get my purple wrestling gear and I slowly transitioned back into the black again eventually and he didn’t notice again.”
It was the brightest possible start to her WWE career, Saraya unfortunately saw her in-ring future derailed in late 2017 following a career-threatening neck injury.
This injury saw her retire from in-ring competition up until her eventual move to AEW in September 2022, where she would eventually be cleared to return to the ring after almost five years out.