Saraya-Jade Bevis is the longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champion in history. (WWE.com)

WWE superstar Paige is in the news this week after she was unfortunately the victim of a hack and had many of her private photos and videos posted on the Internet without her consent. With Paige on everyone’s mind this week, fans are wondering what her current status is in the WWE and about whether she will return to the ring anytime soon.

The answers to those questions are complicated; this photo leak comes after several months of dramatic developments with the former Diva’s Champion, during which it has become increasingly unclear whether Paige will ever return to World Wrestling Entertainment. At this time, Paige is still a WWE employee, but she is away due to an injury.

Paige was last seen on WWE programming shortly before the 2016 draft. She was assigned to Monday Night Raw during the draft, but she has never actually appeared on Raw since then. In August 2016, Paige’s mother, Julia Hamer-Bevis, revealed on social media that her daughter is suffering from an injury and that’s why she has not been on WWE television recently. Julia wanted to clear this up and dispel any rumors that Paige was in hot water with the company.

It was already known before this that Paige suffers from scoliosis, a medical condition that causes a curvature of the spine. In a 2015 appearance on the Stone Cold podcast, Paige said that her spine looks like a question mark and that she should be seeing a chiropractor but isn’t. Stone Cold questioned whether this condition could lead to problems for her in the future, and she could not say that it wouldn’t.

On August 11th, it became clear that Paige’s injury was more serious than initially thought, as Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Paige may have suffered permanent nerve damage.

“Regarding Paige, there may be some nerve damage regarding her back and shoulder issues,” Meltzer said. “I was told her neck issue is similar to what a lot of the guys have had that had serious problems where the problem has led to weakness in the right arm which was the first stage for some major issues with a lot of the guys.”

A week later, Paige was suspended for a violation of the WWE’s wellness policy. This is the provision in a wrestler’s contract which states that they must not use any drugs that are not prescribed to them by the WWE’s doctors. It’s never officially made public what the wrestler is suspended for; sometimes it’s marijuana, while other times it’s painkillers that they did not obtain through the company. Paige was suspended at the same time as Alberto Del Rio, her real-life boyfriend, although it was not clear if the suspensions were related.

In September 2016, Paige revealed that she would soon be undergoing neck surgery.

Not long after this announcement, in October 2016, the WWE suspended Paige for a second violation of the company’s wellness policy. While the first violation of the policy results in a 30 day suspension, the second violation results in a 60 day suspension. If there is a third violation, she would be fired. Paige immediately reacted on Twitter by vaguely accusing the WWE of hypocrisy.

Paige’s father later took to Facebook to say that his daughter was not using any illegal drugs but that she was prescribed medication to deal with neck pain and that this prescription was against the company’s wellness policy.

“She has been in pain and out of in ring action for a fair while now and has been prescribed pain killers which apparently is against the wellness program,” he wrote.

However, the WWE immediately refuted this claim, releasing a statement saying that Paige was suspended after illegal substances were found in her system.

In late October, Paige had her neck surgery. At the time, it was reported that the recovery time would be anywhere between six and nine months. She later said on Twitter that the surgery went well.

There were some rumors at this time that the WWE’s doctors recommended that Paige not have this surgery done but that she ignored their advice. We never did find out whether this was true or not, though.

While all of this was happening, Paige was also in a relationship with Alberto Del Rio, another WWE superstar, and during the summer, it was reported that the WWE was not happy about this relationship and wanted to split them up.

Wrestler and commentator Mister Saint Laurent said on a podcast appearance in September, “Mark Carrano, who fans might know from Total Divas, kind of like the office liaison guy, approached Del Rio and Paige individually and harassed each of them about their relationship. It was indicated that the office wanted them to sever their romantic relationship.”

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later reported that wanting to break up this relationship is almost certainly why Paige and Del Rio were assigned to different shows during the 2016 brand split; Paige was sent to Raw while Alberto Del Rio was sent to SmackDown Live. 

Not long after these Del Rio rumors, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Paige had hired lawyers to try to get her out of her WWE contract; this was supposedly a response to being harassed over her relationship with Del Rio. Meltzer said at this point that Paige was probably done with the company entirely.

In September 2016, Alberto Del Rio was released from his WWE contract. There were rumors at this time that Paige was also going to quit, but that did not end up happening. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter later reported that the WWE was ready to fire Paige but that they had a change of heart.

“It was a touchy situation since a decision was almost made to fire Paige several weeks ago, to the point I was alerted about a firing to come on deadline, which was to be her, but at that point there was a change of heart,” Meltzer said. “That was back during the week where several people had been let go and before the announcement of her Wellness policy failure. She had gotten legal representation this past week.”

In February 2017, Paige revealed that she is interested in MMA, saying that she is already training for it.

“I’ve actually really enjoyed it. I’m like, I want to start training every single week,” Paige told TMZ.

As you can see, Paige’s current status in the WWE is quite complicated. She is still a contracted employee with them, and her contract extends into 2019. She is away due to an injury, with a return being possible between April and July of 2017.

However, it remains unclear whether Paige will actually return from that injury for a number of reasons. For one, she has already been suspended twice, meaning that if she were to fail another wellness test, her contract would be permanently terminated. It’s also difficult to imagine that the WWE would have been happy about Paige constantly showing up at rival promotions with her boyfriend, an ex-WWE superstar whose contract was terminated. Plus, her neck injury sounded serious enough that it’s possible she would not be able to return anyway and that she might want to move on with her career.