Jim Ross on Paige: “20 Year Olds Don’t Belong on the Main Roster”

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has provided many a respected opinion over the years, and in the latest blog post on his official website, he has given his thoughts on NXT Diva Paige and why, in his opinion, she is not yet ready for the main roster.

Back in April, when asked about the progress of both Paige and Summer Rae, JR stated that he felt both women needed “more time in NXT”.

Now he has spoken out again after receiving messages on Twitter regarding his stance on Paige following her impressive advancement to the NXT Women’s Championship tournament final.

JR said that he believes, despite Paige’s experience, her age is still an issue. He made this perfectly clear in response to a fan earlier this month:

Fast forward to today’s blog post, and Jim has clarified and defended his opinion on the “Diva of Tomorrow”. He stated:

“Amazing how when people ask an opinion of a NXT talent and I provide it, then it becomes a manure storm on Twitter because I merely expressed how I felt per their question. Amazing times that we live in, right? I was asked if NXT’s Paige was ready for the next level and I simply said ‘No’ because she was only 20 years old and needed more time in development before being elevated to the main roster. One can’t even rent a car in the USA until they are 25 and, no, I’m not suggesting that the talented Paige will be in development for that length of time. Point is, I am of the belief that 20 year olds don’t belong on the main roster unless it’s a rare exception.”

Could Paige be that rare exception? It wouldn’t be the first time a Diva or Superstar had debuted aged 20 or younger. Back in 2006, Kelly Kelly debuted on ECW at 19 years old. In terms of Superstars, Kenny Dykstra also debuted in the WWE at age 19 in 2006. He even went on to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship less than a month after his 20th birthday.

You can read JR’s entire blog post by clicking here.

Do you think Paige’s age should impact whether or not she is called up?

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  • MomoMufFinSsFTW

    What a dick.

    • Looking Glass

      If Paige went on the main roster and suffered a career ending injury, everyone would have said she was too young to be there and say the WWE is to blame. It’s funny how people have such tunnel vision and unawareness of the bigger picture.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/QuaintKawaiix Francisco

        This ^ i respect JR’s opinion very much, he’s been watching the talent for years so he knows whether they’re ready or not. Ofc i would love to see Paige on the main-roster its just her time is not now, but it will come!

    • EVEROCKS

      Hes not a dick. It’s opinion hunny.

    • Rhawk

      You must be thinking of a different Jim Ross, cause this one has never been known for being a dick ever.

  • redsandman99

    Perhaps there were backstage issues involving maturity that changed the rule (if that rule ACTUALLY is a thing)? Jim Ross is entitled to his opinion and for those who will be upset about this, he doesn’t really have any control over who gets called up anyway. I’d rather they not rush her up though until a spot is actually ready for her. Doing her thing on NXT is better than being on the main roster and not doing anything at all.

  • DivaDestiny

    Don’t see how that makes him a dick.

  • Looking Glass

    You’re not even considered an adult in American until like 21, right? I know she’s British but you play by the rules of wherever you are. Ross is gonna get a lot of hate from the smarks here who just want to see Paige’s Hall of Fame Induction already but it’s true! Wrestling is still a tough business, you only have to see the amount of wrestlers who get injured and struggle emotionally and physically for the rest of their lives. Is Paige a good wrestler? Yes. Is she well received? Yes. Should be wrestling at the age of 20 when she may not be emotionally ready for the backstage politics etc. of the main roster? No, she’s only just won the title let her build her legacy in NXT rather than the armchair creative pushing for her to be involved in every storyline going.

    • revivingophelia

      Technically, you’re legally an adult at 18 in the USA. You can vote at that age, live on your own, etc. However, for other things, you do have to be 21. JR pointed out the car rental thing (saying it’s 25, but for some companies I think it’s 21), but I know that there are also hotel chains that won’t rent a room to anyone under 21. Could kind of make traveling an issue.

      And you’re right. Wrestling is a tough business, and I hope the WWE makes sure everyone is ready before elevating them to the main roster. It’s in the best interest of both the performer and the company if people are physically, mentally, and emotionally as ready as possible when they’re moved to the main roster.

    • divaindemise

      Agreed with Looking Glass completely.

      The emphasis on wrestlers being entertainers and role models foremost entails a hell of a lot more responsibility in the media age and more importantly, the WWE’s imposed PG era. It would seem to me that a lot more preparation goes into the grooming of talent than the days when a 19 year old Kelly Kelly was let loose to strip on TV simply to cater to Playboy potential. The industry being a tough political game and one that also detracts from many a person enjoying the normalcy of a personal life is also something to be considered in the weight burdened onto someone.

      That she has been given a good profile on NXT already speaks volumes about how the WWE see Paige as a prospective talent. Fans need to chill out, enjoy the buzz surrounding her where she is, and be patient. Her time will come.

  • DJ8946

    She is too young. & I’m personally not ready for her to come up. Kaitlyn & AJ are still feuding (I guess, its not confirmed that’s over. RAW is in Texas & if she’s not there its over) Naomi is being built up, the Bellas are still relevant, & Tamina will most likely get a push when she comes back from the movie. Paige should stay down there to help get the title some prestige, have more than one reign unlike all the former NXT Champions.

  • Stuff

    Jeff Hardy debut at age 16

    • Looking Glass

      Wrestling was a complerely different industry in the 90′s, you’re talking like 20 years ago when wrestling was allowed to be cutting edge and controversial. Now there’s tighter regulations, rules, advertisers to please and focus on different things. Drug testing never occurred, blading went on more often, it’s changed a lot since then there’s more of an awareness of the rights and wrongs.

  • ernestoh

    Though JR may feel that way, he doesn’t have any entitlement to say who gets called up. I say it’s a matter of time before Paige is called up

    • Looking Glass

      He was a former chief executive and the current talent relations. He works closely with NXT both on and off cameras, it might not be his call to move people up but I’d say his voice is heard more times than not.

  • shameronstar

    Then way the hell is Jo Jo on tv. She just graduated high school last year! Also, Paige turns 21 in a month is I don’t think this argument can really work now!

    • Matty “EVA MARIE’S #1 FAN!” Ryan

      But let’s face it, JoJo won’t be around for long, sadly.

      • http://twitter.com/@xspecialpunker Kat

        Jojo’s not even close to debuting. Shes gonna be in NXT for a while after Total Divas because shes not ready to compeat in front of that size of crowd. Shes gonna get the training she needs to be there for a while. Trust me honey. Jojo isn’t going to leave wee anytime soon.

    • DJ8946

      Did JoJo wrestle? No. She isn’t officially on the main roster. She doesn’t have a WWE Page.

  • divaindemise

    Whilst I appreciate that Paige’s advancement in skill and experience in her field automatically equates her to many of the main roster talent, I am sure there is more to her development needs besides adapting her ring work. Perhaps JR’s opinion is formed on Paige and anyone of her age adapting to gruelling year long schedule of WWE life on the road and the maturity/resilience that requires.

    Given how defensive some of Paige’s fans are prone to being on here, though, I’m not surprised that his comments sparked outrage.

  • Matty “EVA MARIE’S #1 FAN!” Ryan

    It’s true, just look at Kelly & Kenny’s personal lives. Almost every time I see Kenny’s name he is bashing a superstar, and well I remember Shelly Martinez saying her, Trinity, Jazz, & Francine could barely stand Kelly cause she whined so much, also the poor girl couldn’t date a superstar cause she was labeled as a ‘slut’.

    Point being J.R. is right.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/JillianHallTNA TNAknockoutJillianHall

      Where did she said that?? :D

      • Matty “EVA MARIE’S #1 FAN!” Ryan

        In her interview with Diva-Dirt!

  • ernestoh

    Well we all have opinions and though JR is a decorated commentator and Hall of Famer i highly doubt when they call someone up they’re gonna say, “Well did JR approve?” Idk but Paige has had a lot of experience but it’s best she stay in NXT. As much as I would love to see Paige on RAW or Smackdown! , maybe she should just stay in NXT for a little longer. It could be a blessing in disguise

    • Looking Glass

      What!? People don’t listen to JR!? Have people forgotten that he and Stone Cold commented on how great a talent Awesome Kong was and not long after she was signed and became Kharma?

      Yeah you’re right no one listens to him don’t know why he’s stil there…

  • http://twitter.com/dustinhadley Dustin

    WWE isn’t the same as it was 5 or 10 years ago. WWE has evolved so much. Now a days, you are so much more than just a wrestler. Many superstars and divas are making TV and promotional appearances all the time. You represent a company inside the ring as well as outside of it. Paige is an amazing wrestler, with I believe nearly 8 years under her belt, but her indy days didn’t help her prepare for the activities that go on outside the ring. Now with the new NXT Performance Center, there is so much she and the other wrestlers can learn to help prepare them for everything that being a \WWE Superstar\ requires.

    Plus, wrestlers go out and party after the shows sometimes. Sometimes drinking is involved. How bad would it be if one of the younger wrestlers under 21 were caught drinking? It would probably be covered on sites like TMZ as well as the wrestling dirt sheets and it puts WWE in a negative spot light.

    Basically, even with years of experience, there is always more to be learned and help prepare them for the future. And with Paige being so young, she has MANY years left. There is no need to rush things. Paige is one of the most talented wrestlers WWE has ever seen, just let them properly groom them before bringing them up to the main roster.

  • http://myworld.ebay.com/ferociouscougar 09DHK

    But didn’t Kelly Kelly debut with a stripper gimmick on the main roster at 19? Personally, I don’t think someone’s age should hinder their move to the main roster. However, I don’t really want Paige to immediately appear next month since she’ll finally be 21. Mainly because if she debuts on the main roster too early, I feel like she’ll lose A LOT of the hype she had in NXT that made people want to see her on the main roster in the first place. Though I do believe she will be called up in the fall (at the latest) since she’s the NXT Women’s Champion, and WWE has a tendency to call up NXT talent that currently hold titles (i.e. Seth Rollins and Big E were respectively the NXT Heavyweight Champion at the time they were called to the main roster). So yeah, I think she’ll be there toward the end of this year.

  • Ambrose-DivaFan

    1000% agree, and I love Paige, can’t wait until she debuts, hopefully soon, her 21st birthday is in less than a month, that was the rumored age WWE was going for!

  • ernestoh

    Whatever the case is for Paige whenever they feel she should debut, if they want a big pop they should run vignettes the same way like Bray Wyatt. Minus the whole cult deal lol, Paige’s vignettes I feel would capture everyone’s attention like, “Damn! She means business!”. Then once she debuts she’ll have a great payout

  • Johnyfaction3

    Kelly was 19 years old like 8 years ago. Things have change and like many have said with the PG era there is a lot to keep in mind.

    Some people took way too much offense on this. He didn’t say she was talent-less or that she couldn’t wrestle. Now Is obvious that Paige will not be in developmental for 5 more years, but people just have to be more patient. There is a lot of hype on Paige but there was also a lot of hype on Sin Cara and even Kharma and look at them now. People make it like it’s the second coming of JESUS.

    If you look at the current divas the youngest one is Naomi. Naomi is 25 and Cameron is older than her by like 20+ days.

    I wouldn’t be surprise if Charlotte debuts before Paige to be honest. Charlotte is 27 right now.

    I rather have Kharma come back then Paige to be in the main roster.

  • BorisG

    Age is not really big deal, but they won’t bring her to the main roster until they have a storyline for her. She can wait month, 6 months or a year before she could go to the main roster.

    When WWE hires developmental wrestlers, some of them are trained wrestlers and more experienced than half of the main roster, like Rollins, Ambrose… They can wrestle and don’t need to train, just have to wait until WWE has something for them. When WWE felt it was the right time to introduce The Shield, Rollins was put on the main roster, as well Reigns and Ambrose.

    She is ready. But, until AJ finishes with Kaitlyn, and probably when Tamina finishes movie, she’ll get a push. So, not yet debut for Paige.

  • http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/WWE_Divas/ art

    Paige would fit the main roster really well….

    • EVEROCKS

      I have to ask, whos ass is that????? :p

      • http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/WWE_Divas/ art

        hahahaha lay’s from a house show awhile back….

  • Paige Knight Revolution

    I think it’s an ignorant comment of JR, then again…I think he’s biased, somewhat sexist, pretentious and condescending – eh, so what else in new? I think Paige is more than ready to make her debut however, I don’t mind that she’s doing NXT for now. There are obviously ways around the car rental thing, she could carpool with some of the other roster, etc… Since WWE is PG, they could use a young fresh faced anti diva to liven things up and be the voice of the millions of girls (and some boys)who might relate to her. I see it as a business opportunity for WWE more so than a hindrance. She is young, hot, better than the Bellas at wrestling, and has that “It” factor going for her.

    • Wolverine

      You want her to be called up immediately and once she just ends up in the roster with nothing for her to do you will still come here to rant about her she is underutilized and blah blah

    • marcum1234

      Being a good wrestler doesn’t mean Paige should get called up. They have a full year travel schedule, press events, and all sorts of meet and greats. She has to get prepared for all of that. Yes she’s a good wrestler, but the majority of her matches are taped weeks in advance and take place in one arena. I don’t think that she is ready to jump into the main roster travel schedule.

  • Monkey Tennis

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s not that Paige isn’t ready for the main roster yet – It’s that the Women’s Division isn’t ready for Paige.

    What would be the point of putting her on RAW/Smackdown only to wrestle in 3 minute matches, maybe once a fortnight (if she’s lucky), whilst probably having to job to the Bellas and be in a ‘relationship’ with some random Superstar.

    JR’s comments do say a lot about the WWE, in terms of the women’s division though. Basically, age is an issue. But talent and ability are often completely irrelevant.

  • charovnica

    I actually agree.I’m a huge Paige fan,and I really like her character,but for the past few months she has been stale,and I’m not saying it’s all her fault,but seeing how Emma is developing,it’s a little odd to see Paige fall out a bit.I think Paige needs to work as a heel imo,she’s a lot more convincing like that,so maybe that’s the missing piece.

  • EVEROCKS

    T’f JR-___-

    I don’t agree at all. Shes more than ready, and has been for a while now. Kelly came at 19 Jeff Hardy at 16, and Jojo is 19? 20? Is shes not on the roster by the time shes 22 I will lose all hope for her.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/JillianHallTNA TNAknockoutJillianHall

      Imagine Paige turning 22 and starts singing to WWE’s Main producers: “Hey! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22, everything will be alright if you keep me next to you!” LOL

    • Ambrose-DivaFan

      Look what Jeff has been known for, not his ability, but his arrests for drugs, you want that to happen to Paige, when you’re younger, you’re more likely to end out like eff, and look at Kell, after six years she got burnt out, and JoJo’s one appearance doesn’t mean she has a permanent spot. JR isn’t saying she isn’t ready ring wise, but its hard to be on the road all that time, she has more of an edge because of her Indy days, but she isn’t even old enough to rent a car in America or drink in America, she will be on the roster, she just has to have a couple more birthdays, her 21st is next month, maybe WWE will start working out plans for her to come up!

      • EVEROCKS

        Half of what you just said is complete bullshit. Jeff Hardy made the choice to turn to drugs. Jefff is only known for drugs by people who dont like him. By NOO means does that mean that Paige will do the same. Zero. Kay?

        And Kelly was released. 6 years isn’t a bad run for Divas. Kelly made a bigger impact on fans in 6 years than some will in their whole run. Trish was only around for 7 and look how she turned out. Paige would do fine imo.

        • AG Sky

          Kelly Kelly didn’t get released, because they didn’t want her. She asked for her release, because she had Neck issues, couldn’t do any outside projects with her Ring Name Kelly Kelly, which she was famous with and because of the much traveling, which she did for 6 years. She didn’t leave on a bad mark

  • Bikini model destroyer

    It sucks to realize she will loose to the Bellas someday, if they can beat Beth, natalya, Victoria, and Aj Lee then Paige is an easy opponent for them.

  • charleshp

    Meltzer recently said that she did herself no favors and wasn’t getting called up anytime soon because of whatever she did.

    • Kala

      Yeah, but you have to realize that you don’t have to do bad things to get a bad rep, especially if you’re a woman.

  • TCsinger09

    So Kelly Kelly was a “rare exception” ?!?

    • charovnica

      Stop looking at age and see the other factors that make up the decision.NXT is used to develop the character that the talent will debut on the main roster.Bray Wyatt spend a lot of time on NXT exactly because of that.
      Also as someone above pointed out…JR has no power over talent management,he can only give his opinion,but I doubt if WWE already have plans for her,they’ll call her off just cause of JR’s opinion.
      Let the WWE develop an idea how to use her and then have her debut.

      • charovnica

        Replied to you by an accident.I was refering to the general opinion.

      • Looking Glass

        Also Kelly was on the roster for a while before she actually wrestled. She had two matches with Ariel in which she did very little. She was a character until like 07/08 when Extreme Exposé split.