Paige Named WWE ‘SmackDown Live’ GM After Daniel Bryan’s Return to the Ring

She will continue her WWE career in a new role after announcing her in-ring retirement on Monday due to neck injuries

A day after announcing her retirement from the WWE ring, Paige was named general manager of “SmackDown Live” on Tuesday.

She replaces former GM Daniel Bryan, who returned to in-ring action at WrestleMania Sunday night after being medically cleared to return following a two-year absence.

Paige, who’s real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis, was the first NXT Women’s Champion. She is best known for making her WWE TV debut at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans the night after WrestleMania 30. It was there that she defeated AJ Lee to become WWE Divas Champion and the company’s youngest double champion at age 20.

In that same stadium, Paige announced on “Monday Night Raw” this week that despite her attempts over the past two years to return to the ring, she had no choice to retire due to a series of neck injuries. The most recent was sustained during a match in December, when Paige suffered an impact injury from a kick, forcing the referee to stop the match.

Now Paige will be able to continue appearing for WWE in a non-wrestling role, as Tuesday’s “SmackDown” kicked off with an announcement from Shane McMahon that she would be the show’s new authority figure. Other wrestlers, like Bryan and WWE commentator Corey Graves, have taken similar paths as the company has retained wrestlers to take positions outside the ring after career-ending injuries.

Born in Norwich, England, Paige began her wrestling career in 2005 at the age of 13, serving as the tag team partner for her mother, Saraya Knight. After a career on the European indie circuit in which she competed against her mother for championships, she signed a contract with WWE in 2011. Her career will be the focus of a film being produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called “Fighting With My Family,” which comes out in September.

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