During his chat with the media to promote NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II over the weekend, Triple H made the following “joke” about Edge and Paige’s future:
“More importantly than that [returning to the ring], though, I would like to see them live long healthy lives. You know, Edge has kids. Paige - maybe. She probably has some she doesn’t know of, but um...”
When some of the assembled reporters eventually laugh, The Game was relieved they got his joke, thanking them and teasing they needed coffee to wake them up.
It’s a common enough joke to make among guys, where it’s almost praise for having had so much anonymous sex you may have gotten someone pregnant and not even know about it. It’s probably in Hunter’s arsenal for when he’s talking about his male friends. It’s hard to imagine he meant to hurt or make fun of Paige.
But that just emphasizes the societal double standard at play. It’s a joke which can’t be reflexively made about a woman, because there are very different connotations when it’s applied to women. That’s especially true for Paige, who’s been the subject of online harassment because of her personal life, including a violation of her privacy which caused her to contemplate self-harm.
In case you have any doubt that this was an in-joke between Paige and a mentor (the power dynamic here is yet another way this is a remarkably inappropriate attempt at humor), this reaction from her makes it clear it isn’t:
Even my boss jokes about me.. no wonder you guys still do it too. https://t.co/dOmZAiwvyX— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) January 13, 2020
Paige is getting support from her friends and co-workers, such as well wishes from Nia Jax and this pointed criticism of Triple H’s remarks from Renee Young:
Big love to Paige. She’s been to hell and back but still some people wanna make jokes. We need (and she deserves) real change. https://t.co/vqdkWNyLMa— Renee Young (@ReneeYoungWWE) January 13, 2020
Nikki Bella also commented without making direct reference to Paige, or Triple H’s comment:
We will never see the true change in equality if we just see them as storylines. Change in a company starts from the top. Our leaders help set the example. For us women we need all the help we can get. Help with respect from our co workers and fans. We are all one. One love. ❤️N— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) January 13, 2020
There’s been no comment yet from Triple H or WWE.