Reflecting on the downfall of Bayley in WWE
Bayley was one of the most over Superstars during her NXT days (2013-16). Being one of the four Horsewomen of WWE, she established herself as a talented pro-wrester. She had some classic matches during her NXT run.
Particularly, her 30-minute Ironman match against Sasha Banks for NXT Women's championship will be talked about for generations to come. Bayley won that match to become the NXT Women's Champion for the first time in her career. She went on to hold the title for 223 days until she lost it to Asuka.
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Bayley debuted on the main roster for a one-off appearance as a mystery tag team partner of Sasha Banks at Battleground PPV. The ovation given to her by the WWE Universe upon her arrival proved that she was a definite fan-favorite. But WWE universe had to wait one more month for her to make an official debut on TV as a RAW superstar.
WWE Women’s revolution was in full swing by then. So, the future obviously looked very bright for a talented Superstar like Bayley. She was deemed as a legit challenger to RAW women’s champion at that time, Charlotte Flair.
Bayley’s main roster run:
Bayley put on some good matches without losing any momentum from the day she debuted (August 22, 2016). Despite her lackluster feud with Dana Brooke, she performed well in Survivor series. She was a survivor alongside Charlotte, RAW Women's champion at that time, of Team RAW in Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match.
Bayley's eyes were always on the RAW women's championship. Also, she beat Nia Jax a few weeks after that to become the No.1 contender for RAW Women’s Championship Match at Royal Rumble.
This was the second time Bayley would challenge Charlotte for the title after her triple threat match, which included Sasha Banks, at 'Clash Of Champions'. Bayley, however, was unsuccessful at 'Royal Rumble' too.
Bayley’s controversial title win and disappointing reign:
Bayley's next opportunity to win the title came just three weeks after the 'Royal Rumble' when she pinned Charlotte clean in a six-man mixed tag match. The championship match between Charlotte and Bayley was set as the main event on Feb 13, 2017 episode of RAW. The match ended with Bayley winning the title after a hard-fought match, thus becoming the new RAW Women’s champion.
However, this win would be overshadowed by Bank’s assist to Bayley during the match for weeks to come. A week after Bayley won the title, RAW Commissioner, Stephanie, offered Bayley to relinquish the title and win clean at Fastlane. Bayley rejected to let go of her title. This seemed like an odd move as Bayley successfully retained the title at ‘Fastlane 2017’ anyways, thus breaking Charlotte’s PPV winning streak of 16-0.
Sasha Banks assisted Bayley in this match as well. Breaking Charlotte’s PPV winning streak was supposed to be a big deal and it didn’t get enough attention because of terrible timing in the execution by WWE. It should've happened at WrestleMania. Besides this, the portrayal of Bayley, needing ‘The Boss’ to overcome Charlotte Flair, received a lot of criticism.
This could be the point where WWE fans lost a bit of interest in Bayley’s character. If only Bayley had managed to win the title from Charlotte on her own, the scenario could’ve been a lot different. But that didn’t happen and Bayley’s future in WWE as a successful superstar seemed bleak with every passing week.
Still, there was a chance to get her over with fans as a fighting Champion. When she managed to retain her title at Wrestlemania, WWE creative seemed to be going in that path only. But they had different Ideas.
Post-mania, Bayley started a feud with Alexa Bliss. And it destroyed any hopes of getting Bayley over with fans again. By the end of the feud, she lost the RAW Women’s Championship. She lost the rematch. She lost the fans. She lost any hopes of retaining her past glory as a fan-favourite. Alexa Bliss was pushed at the expense of Bayley.
From here on out, everything went downhill for 'Everyone's favorite Hugger'.
Bayley being booked as a loser:
Bayley was the first Superstar to be eliminated in 2018 Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match. She fell short of winning the Rumble. She didn't make it to the last two in Elimination Chamber. She choked in WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royale.
All these shortcomings did no good to Bayley as 'The Huggable One' was unable to get any crowd reactions at all. Although her long-running feud with Sasha Banks seemed promising in the beginning, the storyline only got dragged by WWE creative to nowhere. The tension which started between the two horsewomen on Jan 28, 2018, at Royal Rumble is still going on as of now without a singles match between them that had a definitive finish.
Nothing looks good for Bayley in the near future either, as she failed to acquire a slot in Women’s MITB Ladder Match come this Sunday. To add salt to the wounds, she was also booked to lose against Ruby Riott in today’s RAW.
One can say, it’s not logical to make her win in today’s RAW when the opponent has an advantage in the form of her fellow faction members. But the way Bayley was booked to lose felt very flat. It was WWE creative following the same old formula of a blind babyface falling prey to the tactics of an intelligent heel.
Chances of Bayley being OVER with fans again:
I believe that a single solid feud with a good opponent is enough to get any Superstar over. But the real test comes after the feud. Can that Superstar carry that momentum? Can that Superstar keep getting the same reactions from the crowd? One can only bet on WWE creative to make those things happen.
In the end, It’s all about how a Superstar is presented by the Management. It’s all about the storylines. It’s all about giving them time to have stellar matches. Without these pre-requisites, every Superstar is doomed to fail no matter what. And Bayley is a perfect example, or, one can say, a victim, of this problem.
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