Saraya shocked the pro wrestling world late last year when she announced her exit from WWE. The former Paige had been with the company since 2011 and went on to win the WWE NXT and Divas Championship. Unfortunately, the gothic Superstar was sidelined from action after back-to-back setbacks in 2016 and 2017 stemming from neck surgery. In April 2018, she announced her retirement from in-ring competition on the WWE Raw following WrestleMania 34.
Flash forward to 2023, and things have changed dramatically for the now-AEW star. Following the announcement that she is All Elite, Saraya made her in-ring return to action at Full Gear, picking up a victory over Dr. Britt Baker DMD. In the weeks that followed, the raven-haired grappler began to find her footing in the women’s division with some of her best work coming in a triple-threat match against AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter and now-The Outcasts’ stablemate, Ruby Soho.
In an exclusive interview with Metro UK, Saraya reflected on that match and the support she got following it.
‘It’s the first time for the time I came back where I just felt confident again, I felt like myself again,” she said. “I feel like it shows! I even had Bayley text me at the time. She text me after and she was like, ‘You can see the old Raya coming back!’ I was like, it feels like it, it really feels like it!”
Bayley is also a former WWE NXT Women’s Champion and trailblazer of the Women’s Revolution, something many fans dub Saraya as well. The praise from the other side of the aisle is always appreciated but that isn’t distracting Saraya from her goal at hand, telling stories with The Outcasts in AEW.
“Me, Toni, and Ruby wanted to throw in a couple of hints that something was gonna happen without being a slap in your face,” she revealed. “So we’d do subtle things like, we were wearing green because Ruby has green hair. And then Toni wore a glittery red lipstick and Ruby wore glittery red eyeshadow. She wore the flannel which we’d been wearing. We were trying to put stuff in there to get the ball rolling, get people to see that.”
On the horizon for Saraya and The Outcasts is AEW All In from Wembley Stadium in London. The UK-born star is sure to be a big hit with the fans and she is excited about the spectacle, “It’s just gonna be incredible.”