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Yes, Paige said her surgeon told her not to wrestle again

Based on a mention from Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required) that’s making the rounds - and everything else that’s been online since last Friday when word came out that WWE informed Paige they would never clear her to wrestle again - there’s been a lot of discussion about her 2016 neck surgery and what recommendations she received from the doctor who performed it.

Meltzer stated the surgeon, Juan Uribe of Tampa, “told her not to come back”, but this isn’t something he received from a source backstage at WWE. Paige revealed it herself when talking to Lillian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast.

Here’s the full quote:

“He [Dr. Uribe] gave me a neck brace, but I was a pain in the ass and didn’t wear it. I was actually back in the gym a week later... I was like ‘I’m fine, I can do this’, but I was doing it [exercising] so much that I ended up getting another hernia in my neck...

He was like, ‘It’s not bad now, Raya [Paige’s legal name is Saraya-Jade Bevis], but if it gets worse, we’ll have to take it [the material fusing her vertebrae] out. So if I was you, I’d stop doing what you’re doing and just relax for a little bit.’ So I was like okay, and I stopped, but finally I got cleared, which is nice, so I started bumping around, but...

Dr. Uribe, he doesn’t understand a wrestler’s mentality, either. So we’re like ‘I can go back to wrestle’ and he’s like ‘No, you should not be wrestling’.

He doesn’t think I should be wrestling at all. That’s the thing with him. He doesn’t think Nikki [Bella] should be wrestling. He’s a fantastic doctor and he knows that I can wrestle and he’s fine with me doing that, but if he had his decision, obviously as a doctor, he’d be like ‘Please don’t’.

But I feel fine, I’m pain-free. I don’t have obviously full rotation in my neck, but - and I had to adjust all my wrestling moves - you don’t realize how much you use your neck in wrestling. It’s like, I can’t really tuck my chin to my chest when I’m doing bumps and stuff, so I have to kind of put it off to the side.

So I had to adjust that way, but I feel really good. And if I do have pain, there’s always someone to go to to get injections or whatever. But I’m not having any issues at all, and I just had a twenty minute match on Raw!”

That Dec. 4 match was against Sasha Banks, the same wrestler who delivered the kick which now looks like it could be the last bump Paige takes in a WWE ring (on Dec. 28 in Uniondale, New York). Banks has been subject of criticism from some fans for the move, but PWInsider says the pair did the same spot the night before in Madison Square Garden, and that there’s no heat on The Boss backstage.

And while hindsight is 20/20, the above quote from Paige can be read to paint the whole situation in a different light, too.

This is also interesting because WWE was reportedly against the surgery to begin with, and it was said to be a source of friction between the company and Paige amidst her Wellness Policy suspensions a year and a half ago. Whether that’s true or not, their medical team apparently liked the results enough to clear her to wrestle, despite it not being Dr. Uribe’s preferred course of action.

Still no direct word from Paige or WWE since the story of her retirement hit last Friday, but there’s certainly plenty to consider even without an official statement or confirmation.

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