Paige has had a unique tenure with WWE. It’s no exaggeration to say that she’s been involved in the professional wrestling business her entire life, given that her parents were both wrestlers in England, and her mom purportedly wrestled a number of matches with Paige in the womb before she realized she was pregnant. From there, she grew up in a wrestling family, with both parents active wrestlers and promoters, only for her older brothers to follow them into the wrestling business. There was little question Paige would get involved, too. The family she claims she worked her first professional match at the age of thirteen, and there’s little reason to doubt it, given that video footage of her matches from the years to follow are available, and by the time she signed with WWE at the age of 18, she already looked seasoned. At 21, she’d debut on the main roster and become one of the most popular female stars based on a combination of an uncommonly high caliber wrestling skill, paired with a unique look. Her pale skin and dark hair, not to mention her pretty face helped her stand out from the crowd and appealed a lot of fans.
Last month, hackers leaked a set of videos and photographs that, by all accounts, Paige never meant to reach the public. The videos captured her in a variety of sexual situations, in some cases alone, in others with fellow wrestlers Brad Maddox and Xavier Woods. Paige has generally been pretty responsible with her social media and public activities, and so this was her first media to reach the public eye that featured anything like pornographic imagery. The Internet being what it is, the media spread quickly.
This article discusses 15 elements of the videos and pictures and the aftermath of their unveiling. On a clarifying note, I have not sought out the media first hand out of respect for the parties whose privacy was violated. This article does not feature the media itself, nor graphic descriptions thereof.
15. Paige Was In A Relationship With Brad Maddox
One of the big surprises after Paige’s photo and video leaked was the degree to which Brad Maddox was featured in the materials both as Paige’s sexual partner and holding a camera while she engaged with another party. Maddox was best known to WWE fans as a conniving non-wrestling character, and then lower card wrestler who appeared on WWE programming from 2012 to 2015, and was never meaningfully linked to Paige on screen. When the videos came out, however, people with backstage knowledge clarified that Maddox and Paige were, at the least, visibly close friends, while others claimed they were in a committed relationship. In any event, the idea that the two were sexually involved was not earth shattering or scandalous in and of itself.
14. Alberto Del Rio Stood By His Fiancee
Paige is involved in a high profile and somewhat controversial relationship with Alberto Del Rio. The controversy relates Del Rio’s animosity toward WWE management, stemming from both a racially charged incident that caused his first departure from the company and creative differences during his second tenure. Del Rio’s relationship with WWE had strained Paige’s situation with the company. The couple would surely claim that the Wellness Policy suspensions Paige has faced were related to her being targeted because of her affiliation with Del Rio; WWE might suggest Del Rio has been a bad influence.
Del Rio hasn’t said much on the topic of Paige’s videos and photos, but did put out a statement to explain he wouldn’t appear at WrestleCon—an independent wrestling convention during WrestleMania week—because it was more important to be with his fiancée after “the invasion of our privacy.” Del Rio, at least publicly, seems to have no ill will toward Paige or the other men who appeared with her.
13. Xavier Woods Appears On Video—In The Same Shot As Brad Maddox
One of the more surprising revelations from the videos was that they purportedly include footage of Xavier Woods and Paige actively engaging in intercourse. While Maddox hasn’t worked for WWE for two years and Paige had been off screen due to suspensions and surgery for a year, Woods was very much a featured performer with WWE. As part of the popular New Day team, he broke the record for longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign of all time last year. Moreover, the media got leaked only shortly after New Day was announced as the ceremonial hosts of WrestleMania, another high profile position.
The oddest part of all? Not only does Woods reportedly appear on video with Paige, but the leaked video also shows Brad Maddox nude and filming them. Woods was purportedly close to Paige and rumored to be involved with her in developmental, too, but having both men appear with her added an unexpected twist to the situation. It also led to questions of why they were filming with two separate cameras, and who exactly was behind that second camera.
12. Paige Is Alone In Some Of The Videos
While some of the hacked media shows Paige involved in sexual acts with others, there are also videos and photos of Paige alone which may have been an even starker violation of privacy. While people can speculate about why she agreed to be filmed having intercourse, reports indicate that the self-shot videos seemed more clearly aimed for Paige’s partner at the time, even addressing him as, “baby.”
While not everyone can relate to having videos of themselves having sex getting leaked, in part because not everyone would agree to let such videos be shot, it is easier to relate to recording a private message went only for someone’s partner. While this media is clearly sexual in nature, it’s all the more clear that this footage was never meant to be shown to anyone but Paige and her partner.
11. Paige Reportedly Had Thoughts Of Self Harm Because Of The Scandal
Days after the leak, Paige took to social media. She praised her supportive fiancé and condemned not only the parties who leaked her private media, but also the people she identified as cyber bullies who had inappropriately commented on and shared the materials. Along the string of messages, Paige wrote, “We are human. Unfortunately people don’t see it that way when they are behind a keyboard. “ She later continued, “I had days where I wanted to physically harm myself.”
The emotional outcry from Paige’s family on her behalf, and Alberto Del Rio’s statements about needing to be with her seem to support the idea that Paige at least had thoughts of self harm. This element of the scandal puts an especially human face on the victims.
10. Road Warrior Animal Came To Paige’s Defense
When people think of Paige, Road Warrior Animal isn’t one of the first people they’d think of in connection to her. Just the same, the retired tag team bad ass was extremely vocal in his support of Paige after in an interview with Hannibal TV.
Animal suggested that the person who leaked the videos should be locked in jail for exposing personal, private material. He went on to emphasize that anyone should be allowed to do whatever they want with whomever they want in their private lives.
While the old school wrestler may have little to no connection to the parties whose privacy was violated in the leak, he is a wrestler who lived most of his life in the public eye and seems to sympathize with anyone whose privacy gets violated.
9. The New Day Referenced The Video On Air
Present day WWE programming is very purposefully “PG,” and thus aimed to be family friendly. Questions arose as to what kind of response Xavier Woods might get from fans, then, and how he might handle it on air. True to form, Woods and The New Day were up to the task. In the immediate aftermath of the leak, his teammates asked him on Raw if there was anything he wanted to tell them about, in what seemed to fans like a clear reference to the videos. Woods looked abashed at first, but then turned it into a joke about telling the fans about WrestleMania.
Along similar signs, at WrestleMania 33 itself, the team referenced the event’s “Ultimate Thrill Ride” tagline. Big E looked at Kingston pointedly and referred to “pulling the lever” to start the show. While it’s possible he meant the comment innocuously, it read to many fans as a double entendre to subtly address Woods’s involvement in the scandal while keeping everything the group actually said family friendly.
8. The Scandal Has Not Affected The Paige Biopic
A few months ago, it seemed altogether likely that Paige was done with WWE. While she was still under contract, and technically missed time due to suspension and then an important neck surgery, her social media persona had turned bitter toward WWE, and she was more and more visibly publicly attached to Alberto Del Rio, who had left the company on poor terms. Things took an interesting turn this winter, however, when it was announced WWE Studios was partaking in film about Paige’s life and family called Fighting With My Family, to be co-produced by The Rock.
While one might think that the leaked media scandal might make WWE want to distance itself from Paige, it seems that management has accepted the incident was beyond her control (and certainly not something she wanted). While no official statement has gone out, the film seems to be continuing as planned. Filming for the movie picked in early April in Paige’s real life hometown of Norwich.
7. Booker T Was Critical In His Response To The Leak
While most wrestling personalities who have spoken regarding the scandal have been supportive of Paige and the other talents caught on film, Booker T was more guarded in his comments. The former world champion didn’t outright condemn Paige, but did speak on his podcast about how young people need to think more carefully before, not after they do things, and went on to articulate that this scandal will follow Paige for the rest of her life.
Booker T may have just been speaking his mind, though the comments did come just a few months after he announced his intentions to run for mayor of Houston. Some suspect that Booker T was, in a sense, playing a more conservative character to appeal to a segment of voters and distance himself from wrestling’s more controversial elements.
6. The NXT Women’s Championship Appears In Pictures
For, if nothing else, a time marker for when some of the media came from, Paige appears in at least one photograph mostly nude, except for the NXT Women’s Championship belt. Paige became the first wrestler to ever hold that title by defeating Emma in an NXT special that aired on the WWE Network, the summer of 2013. She held the title for about nine months before vacating it when she moved up to the WWE main roster. While it’s possible Paige borrowed the title or had a replica made, the simplest explanation seems to be that the photos were taken during that title reign.
The appearance of the championship belt is an uncomfortable addition to the media for WWE. While Paige, much less WWE, didn’t choose to have the photos released, the fact that official WWE hardware appears in them creates a connection. The appearance of the NXT brand in these images may send at least a subliminal suggestion that company supported adult images that company would rather not be associated with.
5. Paige’s Family Was Angry On Her Behalf
In the aftermath of the photo and video leak, Paige’s father was vocally supportive of his daughter on social media. He emphasized that his daughter hadn’t done anything wrong, but rather engaged in sex with another consenting adult. He expressed concern for her mental health and asked that fans back off from her. Meanwhile, Paige’s mom Tweeted that her husband was sobbing and that “the business we love will kill us it seems.”
Paige’s brother Rory was a bit more blunt. He took to Twitter to write, “All you need is family, f*** everyone else.” It seems Paige’s family has not only stuck with her, but used their own social media presence to defend her and speak out against those who would make light of her misfortune.
4. WWE Didn’t Punish Anyone
After the videos leaked, there was speculation that Paige might be released, or that Xavier Woods could be let go or at least formally sanctioned. By all accounts, however, the company came to the conclusion that the people caught on film were victims and didn’t do anything wrong.
WWE surely hopes the incident will blow over, and may actually be grateful Paige has been off screen so there’s more time for things to settle before she does return to a WWE ring (if she does so). As for Xavier Woods, he seems to have emerged from the issue unscathed, and must have been given the go ahead to make the aforementioned veiled references to the scandal on air. WWE approval, even to that degree, suggests the company acknowledges what happened, wants to defuse the crowd, and wants to move on.
3. Diamond Dallas Page Said He Wanted To Slap The Hackers
While former WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page has next to no connection to Paige, aside from his homophonically linked name, TMZ nonetheless asked him for a comment. Perhaps it’s because he was in the news when the story broke, on account of his own then-impending WWE Hall of Fame induction.
Regardless, DDP was in his trademark upbeat mood and was quick to come to Paige’s defense. He commented that he wanted to slap the person who was responsible for sharing the private materials, before saying, “I just want it to go away because she’s a good lady. She’s amazing.” Page went on to compliment the WWE women’s roster on the whole for the division’s great work in recent times, particularly singling out Charlotte Flair for praise.
2. Sites Cracked Down On The Video Before It Spread
A scroll through Reddit posts related to the scandal reveals some pretty humorous material. There’s a pattern of guys sharing links to videos and photos, guys lamenting that the links don’t work, and guys desperately asking for media to be shared in an ongoing cycle.
While it was a horrible violation of privacy for Paige and the men captured in videos with her for them to be leaked to the public, major video sharing sites like YouTube seemed to do an admirable job of staying on top of the matter, catching videos as they came up, and taking them down. It seems that photos and videos were only available with any stability from actual pornography sites, and given the legal issues associated with the media, they might be scrubbed before long, too. Yes, once a photo hits the Internet, it’s nearly impossible to erase it with any permanency or certainty, but hopefully the parties involved could find some solace in this media not being readily available to anyone who went looking for it.
1. Seth Rollins Had A Similar Scandal
Paige isn’t the first WWE Superstar to have a scandal of this nature. In February 2015, Rollins’s Twitter account posted a nude selfie of WWE developmental talent Zahra Schreiber. Rollins has indicated that he got hacked, though some suggest it may not have been a hack but rather a mistake on his part to accidentally post the picture to social media. Regardless, the issue quickly grew a lot more complicated because his Twitter feed fed directly to WWE’s home page, which briefly hosted the nude photo. Moreover, questions arose regarding why Rollins would have a nude picture of Schreiber to begin with, given he was engaged to another woman. Worse yet, his fiancée Leighla Schultz retaliated for the apparent infidelity by posting a fully nude photo of Rollins to her Twitter. The issue wrapped up with Rollins issuing a statement over social media, apologizing for the graphic photographs that were shared while indicating none of it had happened with his consent.
There may be some solace for Paige, her family, friends, and fans to take from the Rollins situation. Despite rumors he’d be punished by WWE, Rollins wound up winning his first world title a month and a half later at WrestleMania, holding the title for over half a year, and being treated as a main event caliber star ever since. While we can’t credit his success to the scandal, it doesn’t seem to have changed the upward trajectory he was on.
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