Bayley making history at forefront of WWE women’s evolution

Bayley

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Monday’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was historic for WWE. For the first time, six women entered the imposing structure, which towered over the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at nearly eight metres tall.

The pressure of the moment didn’t faze Bayley.

“I honestly felt comfortable as soon as the bell rang,” she revealed on a WWE conference call.

“I was really intimidated going into it, obviously, and scared of all the things that could go wrong—anybody getting hurt—but I felt really comfortable and I felt like the crowd was so ready for it and so into everything that it just turned out perfect… except I didn’t win.”

The all-women’s Elimination Chamber Match is the latest in a long line of firsts for WWE.

WWE held a 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match in January, following the likes of a women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match in 2017, and a Hell in a Cell Match in 2016 that was both the first time women had competed inside the structure and also in the main event of a pay-per-view.

“It’s been just incredible to know that we’re doing all these matches and being able to be in the same spotlight as the guys,” Bayley said.

“We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves … to have a really good performance and I feel like last night [Monday] everybody did such a great job of making this history-making match a memorable one.”

Monday’s Elimination Chamber Match was filled with breath-taking moments – perhaps none moreso than Sasha Banks’ betrayal of Bayley. Banks kicked the former Raw Women’s Champion from the top of a pod and sent her falling to the metal grating below.

Banks also eliminated Bayley from the Royal Rumble in January. It’s the most combative the (former?) friends have been since their days in NXT.

Before the women’s evolution had become the full-speed movement it is in 2018, Banks and Bayley battled over the NXT Women’s Championship in 2015. A 30-Minute Iron Man Match between the two was voted Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Match of the Year in 2015, and ranked second in a recent WWE.com list of the greatest NXT TakeOver bouts.

With the bright lights of WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans on the horizon, Bayley is willing to reignite the rivalry.

“I really do think we have such a great chemistry and just the natural bond it doesn’t matter where it happens, we can pick it up anywhere,” Bayley said.

“Not to sound cocky or anything but we have a really good connection to where whenever it’s time to tell that story we’d be able to. Last night [Monday] after what she did I think now’s a good time. I would love to start that up and get some payback.”

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David Dunn: As a well-documented superfan, what’s it like to be on the WWE Raw roster and be sharing a locker-room with Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, Lita, people you grew up watching as a fan?

Bayley: It’s so crazy, I feel like- y’know, I’ve been around these people for a while now and I still don’t get used to it. Like yesterday, even, I was walking up the ramp before doors opened and Kurt Angle was coming down the ramp and he’s like, ‘Hey Bayley!’ and to me it’s just so weird, Kurt Angle knows who I am. Sometimes his daughter will be backstage, and his daughter’s a huge fan, so it’s crazy Kurt Angle’s, somebody who was one of my favourites, daughter is like a huge fan of mine.

Matt Hardy is the one who, I was obsessed with The Hardy Boyz and Lita, and when we’re on tour together we sit on the bus together and he tells us so many stories, he has such great stories and he’s such a cool leader to have in the locker-room and it’s all very surreal to me still.

As a fan you would have collected a bunch of merchandise over the years. Can you explain the experience when you make it to WWE and then there’s merchandise with your face, your logo, your branding all over it?

It’s weird because I spent—well, my parents—my parents spent so much money on merch for me. I have so many shirts, I have posters everywhere, I have action figures, I still have everything in storage, so I feel like now I’m finally getting all that money back [laughs]. To see little kids in the crowd wearing my shirt or a headband or anything like that’s it’s just so crazy ‘cause it’s like looking in a mirror, that was me, and now there’s people willing to spend their hard-earned money, or waiting in line just to get my shirt and, I don’t know it’s such a cool feeling, it’s very humbling, and I don’t know its’ really cool just making like mini Bayleys.

Around this time of year, WrestleMania and after, it seems to be the time people make the move from NXT to the main roster. Is there anyone you’ve got your eye on to come up in this next batch of call-ups?

I don’t know… Johnny Gargano just lost his NXT career so maybe we can have him come here because he’s so good and he’s awesome to have around so we’ll just bring him on up—love to have him on Raw. As far as the women, I’ve been saying it for years but Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, they’re just incredible. There’s a lot of girls that are there that’re really good but they still have a lot to do in NXT, I think there’s a lot to be done there to grow the division and all. And I really like Velveteen Dream, I think he’s so different, he just puts on a different show than everybody. I’d like to see him up here, and I feel like his WrestleMania entrance would be awesome, his gear would be awesome. He’s interesting.

 

WWE WrestleMania 34 airs live Monday, April 9, on Sky Arena and WWE Network.