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WWE Talk: Paige nude pics, porn video - how should WWE handle situation?

Nude pictures and videos of Paige were leaked this past weekend.

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The road to WrestleMania is filled with surprises and controversy, but I don’t think anyone could have seen a sex tape scandal coming. In what is easily the largest leak of nudes and personal videos in pro wrestling history -former Divas champion, Paige, was the victim of hacking this week. Though Paige has been in trouble with WWE for some time and has had her fair share of missteps, this nude leak is no fault of her own. But it will be interesting to see how WWE handles this, if at all.

Paige had been previously suspended for violation of WWE’s wellness policy, which combined with a neck injury has kept her out of action. She is also a prevalent cast member on the E! Network’s Total Divas, which helps Paige stay in the cultural limelight during her suspension. Shortly after her relationship with Alberto Del Rio became public, the Mexican Aristocrat was given the “future endeavor” treatment and was terminated. Paige then appeared at a wrestling show, meeting Del Rio in the ring, getting down on one knee, and proposing.

The videos that were leaked appear to be a few years old, since some of them feature another former WWE Superstar, Brad Maddox. So, don’t worry about Del Rio. Although the videos were leaked without Paige’s consent, they’re practically shot like amateur porn. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to find tamer content on PornHub. I mean...that’s what I’ve been told...of course…

Anyway! The point being is that this makes Paige both a sympathetic figure while at the same time adding to her character. Before now, Paige’s gimmick was practically just a tough goth chick. Now she has the perception of being a sex positive and promiscuous rebel to back her up. The videos also feature current Superstar, Xavier Woods, who has skyrocketed to stardom with The New Day in the past year. At the time that these videos were presumably taken, WWE was still in part engulfed in the PG era. But since they seem to be straying from family friendly toward something resembling the Attitude Era (or a compromise somewhere in the middle), I don’t expect WWE to penalize anyone involved.

In fact, Paige could potentially turn it around and own it. Since more eyes are on the company before WrestleMania, Paige capitalizing on this leak could bring a much needed reboot to her career. If this were the Attitude Era, she probably would already be written into a storyline with Xavier Woods and might have gotten Brad Maddox rehired. Matt Hardy was brought back into the company just to make some money off of his love triangle with Edge and Lita. As sleazy as that time was, they didn’t cast judgement in regards to sex. This is the same company that promoted their Women’s Division as Playboy cover girls, held regular bra and panties matches, and ran an angle where Triple H had sex with a dead body. The ethics get a little foggy here, but I’d rather see the behavior of consenting adults be exploited rather than punished.

It wouldn’t be the first time a reality star was aided by a sex tape. It made Kim Kardashian a household name akin to Oprah. Paige could even return as a Paul Heyman girl to “hide the negatives and accentuate the positives,” like only Heyman can; especially since he’s never one to shy from controversy and scandal. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear the New Day joke about Xavier with a wink and a nod. Only a couple of years ago, Seth Rollins had a nude leak from his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day after she found out he was cheating on her with an NXT talent. It was just one nude photo, but his career wasn’t deterred in the slightest because of it. The only allusion to it was (I believe by Dolph Ziggler?) in an in-ring promo where he asked Rollins, “How was your Valentine’s Day?”

So, there is a subtle way to refer to these leaks indirectly. By not addressing the elephant in the room, but just tipping their hat to it, they can reclaim control in these situations, and keep the insider fans happy while still “putting smiles on children’s faces.”

But for sure, Paige shouldn’t be penalized. Leaks of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence may have even helped their careers. This would be a blatant gender double standard to damage her career while pushing someone like Rollins. Even commentator, Tom Phillips, seemed to come out of his recently leaked lewd text messages unscathed. Besides, unlike most of these leaks, Paige’s were actually good (once again, not that I would know…) and in 2017, we shouldn’t still be pretending that sex is so icky. No one should lose their jobs just because of some lingering puritanical views on sexuality.

Unfortunately, this is similar to (or at least the reason given by Triple H) why Chyna isn’t in the Hall of Fame. God forbid a child google Chyna (whose Playboy cover was widely promoted by WWE) and find porn...as opposed to Seth Rollins, who has been a top star for the past few years. That’s only the reason given for Chyna’s exclusion, and not the fact that Stephanie McMahon holds a grudge.

Considering how sexually open Paige seems, I would love to see her flip this into a storyline, and WWE needs to stop acting like they’re above it. And it’s important to remember that Hulk Hogan was fired over his racist rant and not his sex tape. So, it’s refreshing that maybe we’re finally recognizing our priorities. While it’s very unfortunate and invasive for Paige to have been a hacking victim, there is always a way to use it to your advantage. And given their history, WWE would be hypocrites not to.

Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston. He hosts the comedy podcast, "So Now I'm the Asshole" on Fans.FM and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke

 
 
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