On last night’s episode of WWE Raw, Vince McMahon and his family announced that they will be taking over management on the main roster to give fans more of what they want. Based on her success as the SmackDown Live GM over the past several months, it’s clear that fans want to see Paige remain in her role.
Paige is one of the most influential wrestlers in WWE history, having began her career at a young age as a true prodigy of the business before helping revolutionize women’s wrestling in WWE. Her rivalry with Emma in NXT, championship victory over AJ Lee on her debut, and work with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch as the faction PCB on the main roster are among her accomplishments as a wrestler.
Unfortunately, Paige was forced to end her WWE in-ring career early due to a neck injury. But while we’ve missed her perform in the ring, she’s transitioned into an on-screen authority role as the SmackDown Live general manager seamlessly.
Whether it’s knocking The Miz back down a size, managing the elite SmackDown Women’s Division with aplomb, or making sure AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakmaura didn’t kill each other before their WWE Championship matches on PPV, Paige has been a breath of fresh air as the GM of WWE’s superior main roster show. The shift from Daniel Bryan to Paige has arguably been an upgrade, and that’s no knock on Bryan, who was an excellent GM in his own right.
However, Paige’s future as the SmackDown GM is unclear, because Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Triple H all appeared on last night’s episode of Raw to announce a “shake up” in WWE’s approach. They stated that they would be collectively managing the main roster product, with the announcement coming a night after Baron Corbin was deposed of his Raw GM duties.
Their message was ambiguous and filled with flowery language meant to appease an upset WWE Universe, who have become increasingly apathetic towards the Raw product. By extension, SmackDown Live’s ratings have suffered, too, even though most fans online heavily praise the FOX-bound show.
This situation puts Paige’s job as the SmackDown Live GM in question, and the future WWE Hall of Famer tweeted her confusion at Vince’s big announcement.
Most wrestling fans are just as confused as Paige, but the support for the SmackDown GM has been almost universal. Though William Regal and even Drake Maverick get plenty of votes (Johnny Saint will get some praise, too), there are plenty of fans who believe Paige has been WWE’s best GM this year, especially when comparing her body of work in 2018 to Kurt Angle’s or Baron Corbin’s as the Raw GM.
Paige has handled her delicate role as GM with grace, and she is always prepared. She’s also fantastic at riffing off of the superstars, being entertaining on her own without ever overshadowing big heel personalties like The Miz, Mandy Rose, or Shinsuke Nakamura, the IIconics, or Samoa Joe.
WWE does need to change things up, but barely any of those criticisms are specific to SmackDown. Paige has been one of the examples of what WWE has gotten right this year, and the shift from a Shane McMahon-heavy show to a Paige-heavy show has been a welcome sight.
So while WWE is wise to push the envelope and change things up, Paige needs to continue to be a big part of the “Blue Brand”. She’s well-liked by the fan base and has earned their respect by quickly becoming an excellent authority figure, which isn’t an easy gig. Fans can tell that she enjoys her job and puts her heart into it, and hopefully WWE’s apparent decision to go with a collective leadership of Vince, Triple H, Stephanie, and Shane doesn’t impact Paige negatively over on SmackDown Live.