AEW Star Namedropped By Michael Cole During SmackDown

WWE AEW Logo over Roster

Following Vince McMahon’s retirement on July 22, numerous sweeping changes have been made to the WWE product. This has ranged from certain WWE Superstars being pushed to words such as ‘hospital’ and ‘wrestling’ being added back to the list of allowed phrases. The latter of those has seen a vast improvement in the company’s broadcasting.

Previously, it would be strictly forbidden from mentioning other wrestling promotions outwith WWE and indeed wrestlers affiliated with those organisations, regardless of their history – if any – with the sports entertainment giant. This continued on the latest Friday Night SmackDown, as Michael Cole referenced AEW’s Saraya, formerly Paige in WWE.

The mention came during the return to WWE of Emma, who answered Ronda Rousey’s open challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Saraya and Emma are considered pioneers of the women’s evolution, owing to their contests in NXT.

Specifically, the duo’s contests on the July 24, 2013 NXT and at the following February’s NXT ArRIVAL are heralded as having started the changing of the guard as it pertains to women’s wrestling in WWE. As Paige, ‘The Anti-Diva’ won both collisions, the former of which saw her crowned the inaugural NXT Women’s Champion.

Saraya Has Been Cleared For Action In AEW

Leaving WWE, officially, on July 7, Saraya debuted for All Elite Wrestling during the second annual Grand Slam Dynamite. She’s since been embroiled in a feud with Britt Baker and co., which has seen her get physical for the first time since 2017.

This caused speculation as to whether or not the two-time WWE Divas Champion was cleared for in-ring competition. Per Dave Meltzer in a recent Wrestling Observer Newsletter publication, Dr Michael Sampson is said to have given the Norwich native the all-clear to wrestle.

It’s unknown when she may return to the ring, though it’s expected this will come vs. Britt Baker.