Diva Dirt presents its fourth annual Writers’ Choice Awards, as decided by the Diva Dirt team. As we come to the end of 2014, we have picked the best of the best to be awarded our Writers’ Choice trophies.
Diva of the Year: Paige
2013 was the year of AJ Lee, for better or for worse. She dominated the division, holding the Divas Title for what would be a record 295 days. As a result of some less than inspired booking, her opponents arrived and left as if on a conveyer belt, disappearing just as they begun to soak in the spotlight.
That all changed in 2014, but not until the night after WrestleMania.
A standard promo by AJ turned into the surprise main roster debut of Paige, which resulted in a shocking Divas Title win. That win signified a changing of the guard, but not necessarily just to Paige. It opened the door to several other Divas, allowing them to stand up and claim a piece of the spotlight. No longer was it a one woman show.
With AJ away in the months following WrestleMania, Paige was thrown into the deep end, headlining three consecutive Pay-Per-Views and defending the title against Tamina Snuka, Alicia Fox and Naomi, Divas who had sat on the sidelines for much of AJ’s reign.
While there were no long term Divas Title programs booked over the summer, the period became known to fans as “the summer of Divas”, featuring a number of secondary Diva feuds that made good use of previously underused Divas. With a new Diva at the top of the division, there was plenty of love (and TV time) to go around.
Paige as a babyface wasn’t setting the world on fire, but she more than answered the challenge set before her in April. Who else has carried the division on her back from her second day on the main roster? It may not seem like a huge deal to some, since Paige comes across as anything but a rookie: she’s an excellent wrestler, comfortable in her character and as popular with the fans as any first year Diva has ever been, sporting a range of merchandise that Trish Stratus and Lita would have killed for in their heyday.
With her heel turn, Paige turned into the total package. She was finally able to display the Knight family ferociousness, and it fit her like a glove. Paige clearly was at home screaming at her opponents and the fans between headbutts and knee strikes.
Unfortunately, it was around that time that she was moved out of the Divas Title feud. However, unlike most Divas ushered out of the title picture, she’s managed to stay relevant in the meantime, having a handful of memorable moments that made it clear that she’s still being invested in, waiting for her next stint atop the division.
Paige has had easily one of the most successful rookie years in Divas history, leaving 2014 in the rear view mirror with two Divas Title reigns to her name and a following that rivals any Diva on the roster. Ahead of her is a spot on the Total Divas cast and all the valuable exposure that comes with introducing her to a host of non-wrestling fans. And that’s just for starters.
Think Paige has been shunted to the side? Think we’ve already seen the best of her? Think again.
Stay tuned for more Writers’ Choice Award reveals throughout the day.