No matter what Saraya accomplishes in AEW, how many championships she wins, home many careers she ends or makes, and how long she goes in the promotion, she will forever be known to many, if not most, wrestling fans as Paige, the former NXT Champion who beat AJ Lee for the Diva’s Championship in her first appearance on RAW and then went on to define an entire era of women’s wrestling in WWE. Paige has had WWE documentaries made about her journey, a movie made about her life, Fighting with my Family starring Florence Pugh, and even saw her run end in a tragic neck injury that effectively transformed the UK native into a near-mythic figure, as her career instantly became a one of the biggest “what ifs” in the promotion’s history.
And yet, while Saraya initially tried to shy away from her WWE connection, portraying herself up as a babyface with a fresh start following a, shall we say, overly-excited first promo. But then, seemingly overnight, Saraya decided to embrace her past, embrace her WWE legacy, and embrace that, to some fans, she will always be an outsider who was “Outcast” from her former promotion and in the locker room of her current one too.
Discussing this new development in a conversation with TalkSport, Saraya discussed her newfound embrace of being bad and how The Outcasts emerged as the new AEW faction.
“It kind of started falling together because Tony (Khan) put all these different matches together and there wasn’t really a story to them right after me and Britt were done, and then they just started going together,” Saraya said via Fightful. “Toni was like, ‘I want to turn heel.’ Tony Khan did this thing where he was like, ‘We have to do this promo with (Hikaru) Shida. We did this backstage with Shida where I had to tell Toni, ‘Hey, I want you to be my partner.’ I told Tony Khan, because he was there for it, ‘Do you care if I turn my back to Shida? I feel it’s really sh*tty to do. It might come across as a little heelish,’ but I kind of wanted to turn heel. He was like, ‘Sure.’ We did it. ‘I love it. It was hilarious.’ Shida was so great with her response. Then he started seeing me and Toni together more and more and we started building this tag team where we were more obsessed with each other and started hating everybody else. ‘Okay, we need to bring one more person in,’ because they wanted to eventually do the six-person. We were talking about Ruby. Ruby is ex-WWE with an outsider kind of thing, and I love to give nods to NWO, they are one of my favorite factions.”
To be fair, it makes sense that folks would compare The Outcasts to The Outsiders, the proto-team of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash that predated the nWo in WCW, as the group were literally called the lowercase O “outsiders” for their first few appearances in AEW. With that being said, Saraya does wish fans would accept her current faction at its own thing, instead of calling it a rip-off of factions gone by.
Saraya wishes fans would accept her AEW faction, instead of comparing it.
Discussing the inspiration for The Outcasts, Saraya noted all of the obvious groups, nWo, DX, and even the Bullet Club, before expressing her frustration with how some fans have called the groups a “rip-off” of previous factions.
“I’m telling you, it’s when girls do sh*t or when I do something. It’s so easy for me to be a heel because they just hate me,” Saraya noted. “They really have this blood-boiling hate for me, and I don’t know why. Easy money though. You’re giving me the easiest paycheck of my career. I don’t have to do s**t to p*ss you off. Anytime we do it, or a female does something, it’s like, ‘You’re a rip off.’ Calm down, we’re having fun. All three of us are having so much fun that we don’t give a crap about what anyone is saying. We’re having fun, we’re enjoying ourselves, we love it, and you’re making us laugh and smile when you hate us so much because this is so easy.”
Unfortunately for Saraya, her efforts in AEW will probably forever be compared to other factions because the group really is a logical evolution in the time-honored tradition of heel wrestling factions. Fortunately, if Saraya can light AEW on fire like Hulk Hogan and company did back in the day for WCW those boos will turn to cheers in no time.
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