Bayley did the unthinkable on the September 2 Monday Night Raw, when she turned heel on Becky Lynch. Bayley attacked The Man with a steel chair and destroyed the Raw Women’s champ, leaving her for dead in the middle of the ring.
But The Hugger was not finished yet. She and best friend Sasha Banks appeared on the following night’s SmackDown Live, where Bayley used the chair again, this time on Charlotte Flair. As WWE fans begin to understand the implications of these events, one question has risen to the surface. Can WWE and most importantly Bayley herself, pull this off?
In the bizarro world of WWE, anything is possible and that’s once again been proven here. Becky Lynch, who is supposed to be the top babyface of the company, was viciously mauled by Bayley, who was one of the most popular Superstars of the women’s division. Instead of turning on Bayley and booing her out of the building, the fans instead cheered.
Charlotte Flair, who has been the most hated Superstar of the women’s division, was attacked by the newly heeled Bayley and fans chanted “one more time.” The crowd then began chanting Becky’s name, in hopes The Man would come in and make the save for her most hated rival of all time. It’s indeed another bizarre day in WWE.
Watch Bayley’s heel turn on Raw!
The fact is that The Four Horsewomen came up together and WWE fans know that. But what they may never have expected is that three of the four are now heels and the most unlikely villain of the trio is Bayley, who now has the hardest road to travel. While it’s still extremely early in the process, there’s plenty of reason to doubt whether or not all of this is going to work.
Bayley needed an edge, that much is certain. Her peppermint persona was too sugar-sweet and much too unrealistic for many fans, who had grown tired of her over the past several months. It could even be said that fan fatigue had set in with Bayley much earlier than that and WWE had pushed her squeaky clean personality too hard, too fast.
So rather than just turn her heel for no good reason, WWE instead began to give teeth to Bayley’s character. It was a gradual process but it was effective nevertheless. Bayley stood up for herself more than she ever had before and she was unapologetic in how she did it. She was becoming her own person and learning how to live without back-up.
Bayley and Sasha Banks wreak havoc on SmackDown Live!
That learning curve happened as a direct result of Sasha Banks’ departure following WrestleMania 35. The Boss took her leave of WWE after she and Bayley dropped the Women’s Tag Team Championships on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Fans wondered if Sasha would ever return and the same was true of Bayley’s character.
Bayley and Banks had their issues in the past, but they had become best friends over time and they definitely had each other’s backs. The duo were on the same page and they were in sync every time they stepped into the ring. So when Sasha left, Bayley had to find her won way, which is exactly what she did.
The end result was a new Bayley, who grew in confidence and determination. She looked out for herself and she didn’t ask anyone’s permission to be successful. That is the woman who assaulted Becky Lynch and when she did, it was more like a natural character progression than purely shock factor. But is that indeed the case?
How does this new and improved Bayley now appear to the fans? Is she indeed the confident, unapologetic tough-woman who does what she wants, when she wants to do it? Is this the Bayley that fits perfectly into the post-Ronda Rousey women’s division of WWE? Better yet, is this the Bayley that should exist, considering she and Banks played second fiddle to Lynch and Flair against Rousey?
Watch Bayley and Banks after Raw went off the air!
Or is Bayley lost in this new angle? When fans look her into eyes, do they truly see a killer? Can Bayley pursue this new character with the same zeal that she had for the babyface persona that made her famous? The crowd can sense when a talent isn’t connecting to a gimmick.
When that happens, the crowd cannot connect with that talent. Is that Bayley’s fate, or will she fully embrace this new turn and set her career on fire as a result?
Perhaps the biggest concern is WWE. Will the company spotlight Bayley the way she needs, or will her booking fail, as it’s failed so many before her? If WWE does not fully get behind her and give her the right moments to shine, then Bayley’s new turn will not work. She will ultimately fall flat and WWE will be forced to turn her back once again.
But Bayley is a pro and she should be up to the challenge. She’s been a babyface her entire WWE career and she could definitely use a change. As long as the company is in her corner, then this could become the hottest phase of Bayley’s run to this point. Wether or not that will happen, remans to be seen.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live