What can you say about a 26-year-old who’s already the subject of a biopic and still has a whole life ahead of her? Paige has a lot going on. The aforementioned movie about her life, Fighting with My Family, is already available digitally and comes out on Blu-Ray, DVD, and On Demand next Tuesday, May 14. Meanwhile, she’s also returned to WWE TV, becoming an onscreen manager for the tag team of Kairi Sane and Asuka. With Spandex had a chance to sit down for a quick chat with Paige, to discuss both the movie and her new role in WWE.
With Spandex: I know that you’re interested in acting yourself, so I have to ask, was there ever any discussion of you performing in Fighting with My Family yourself?
Paige: No, actually. My whole family got cameos, but I didn’t necessarily think I should be a part of it. I mean, I was happy just at the fact that they made a movie about me in general. But I was very hands on with the script and stuff like that, and my story. Like Stephen [Merchant, writer/director] and Dwayne [Johnson, producer] would call me like every other day, to discuss each scene, and they wanted to know every single detail. We were very passionate about this movie. So I was happy, and then, in the credits, they ended up throwing me in there anyway.
Is it weird seeing Cersei Lannister on TV and recognizing the woman who played your actual mom?
I know! That’s the thing, my Mom has never really watched a lot of TV, so when I was like “Oh my god, Mom, Lena Headey is going to be playing you! It’s insane!” she was just like “I don’t know who that is!” I was like, oh my god, she’s only one of the biggest stars we have right now in the freaking world. You know, especially now that Game of Thrones came out again. And she’s so similar to my Mom anyway, like in real life. They’re very similar. And then when she has the wig and all the gimmicks on, she looks just like my mom! Like, just like her.
I thought that too. I only know your Mom from indie wrestling and Total Divas, but I was definitely impressed by the resemblance.
It was mindblowing how much they look like each other. It’s crazy. It was just me and the rest of the cast and Dwayne and everyone. We watched the movie, and then Lena came up and hugged me, and she was like “I felt like your real mom!” and I was like “You pretty much are!” But I was also like, Lena Headey’s hugging me right now, this is so cool.
In Fighting with My Family, the other women you were training with in NXT aren’t really clearly identified. They seem like amalgams rather than portrayals of real people. But I was curious about the one blonde women your character ultimately befriends and puts on a memorable match with. Was she somebody specific from your NXT days?
I mean the girls were inspired by other women, but the other women aren’t in the company anymore. They didn’t even all make it to the main roster in the end, but they were definitely all inspired by real girls. And I’ll be real with you, they were actually a lot meaner back then too. But I don’t want to portray them in that way in the movie. But yeah, they were definitely inspired by women that I knew.
The blonde girl that I actually befriended though, who was actually nice to me from the beginning, was Summer Rae. We were always friends right from the beginning, and she was the one who I accidentally hit! I didn’t actually smack her in the face, but I accidentally made her cry and I was like, “I’m sorry!”
These days you’re working with some different women on the Main Roster, as manager for Kairi Sane and Asuka. Did the idea of managing a tag team come from you, and was it always going to be that specific tag team?
It wasn’t going to be that specific tag team, but I was always pitching the idea of managing someone, even if it was Ronda Rousey, or Asuka by herself. You know, because the thing is with Asuka and Kairi, it’s just that their English isn’t too great right now. They’re incredible wrestlers, like the best wrestlers that I feel like we have, but sometimes you need to have the talking on the microphone, as much as people think we don’t need it, we do. So I pitched the idea to Asuka, but then Paul Heyman called me and said that pretty much I was going to be the female version of him, but with these two instead, and I was super-excited about it. Slowly but surely we’re creating a really cool bond between the three of us. I know it looks kind of weird at first, you know, the dynamic of having this pale goth chick and then these beautiful Japanese wrestlers who are very colorful and vibrant like unicorns. So the dynamic is very strange, but I think as the weeks go on people are really going to fall in love with it.
Are you satisfied playing a non-wrestling role in WWE right now, or do you find yourself thinking about other directions you could take your career?
I love my non-wrestling role that I have. I mean obviously my first passion was to be an actual wrestler, but obviously I can’t change that, and there’s no point dwelling about it. So now I do love my part, but it obviously opens up other doors to other things. The acting career, and things like that. All these doors that are open to me, which I’m excited about.
You were one of the first women in the modern era who really challenged people’s ideas about what women’s wrestling in WWE could be like, both in terms of your appearance and your skills. After everything that’s happened since then, do you think there are still obstacles for women in WWE who aren’t prototypical blonde bombshells?
The dynamic of the women right now is that everyone is so different. Everyone’s so different! Obviously you’re going to have your blondes with tans and stuff like that, but you also have your bigger beauties like Nia Jax, and even other goth girls like Ruby Riott. Everyone is so different now that it opens up doors for everybody. Everyone has a chance at WWE now, which I think is incredible. Obviously all the women are beautiful, but they’re focusing on their wrestling ability now. Because people want to see girls wrestle, you know? We’ve gotten over that stage where they want to see us in bikinis and fighting in freaking oil and stuff like that. Nowadays they want to see us do matches, and a lot of the girls have better matches than the guys, and I think that’s extremely entertaining for people.