You can just hear her name or see her face and your mouth curls into a smile. Is it the thought of hugs, headbands and high ponytails? The electric personality evident in most everything she does? Whatever it may be, Bayley is one of the most unique characters at the level she performs at, and arguably the most important character in all of WWE, because Bayley dares to cover territory a woman in WWE has never been allowed to enter.
If you take a peek at the women’s division in WWE, for years it has been plagued with the stale notion of “all women are catty and out to get each other.” This has led to the absolute minimum amount of differentiation between faces, heels or the Divas in general other than “this girl dresses goth” or “this girl wears sporty clothes.” It’s not often that you can be quirky and happy all the time without having some kind of “crazy” label stamped on you.
Bayley is as babyface as a babyface could get. She only truly hates her opponents when they’ve given her no reason to like them, and although her counterparts may deem her strange, she’s never painted in a negative light for her positivity, ultimately earning the respect of many of her opponents because of her passion and heart, and maybe even her hugs.
It could have gone up in flames from the get go. A perpetually giddy, awkwardly shy superfan could have been a nonstop cringefest. But Bayley touched on moments and experiences that many if not all wrestling fans could relate to. Let’s be honest, not all of us have played it super cool when meeting professional wrestlers, and some of us to this day still embarrass ourselves around anyone who’s laced up a pair of boots. We have all experienced the excitement that Bayley showed about wrestling and as a result people connected with her.
As she’s developed, more of her own personality has come through in shows. Bayley has never made any secret of her pogo-sticking past and love of Randy Savage but on a deeper level, the superfan persona has evolved into showing her drive to be a great wrestler and how much she loves wrestling. Bayley simply can’t be bothered to constantly engage in tearing her rivals down, she’s busy making sure she is the best she can be.
One of the strongest examples of Bayley’s heart and determination was in her match against Charlotte at NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way.
Bayley was the loveable underdog who put her all into battle with the whole crowd behind her. While her efforts were not enough to secure the championship, Bayley earned the hearts of the fans and gained new appreciation from Charlotte.
Of the “four horsewomen”, Bayley interestingly enough brings the hard hitting moves to competition, ramming opponents into the ring, employing a number of suplexes including her signature Belly-to-Bayley, in essence taking her #huglife to a punishing level.
As far as role models in wrestling go, Bayley is no doubt among the top of the list. Her genuine nature, drive for self-improvement, respect for her peers and colourful presentation style has made her a favourite of young and old. And to have a character in wrestling that dares to be different beyond the normal alternative, not-like-most-girls specifications is refreshing. Bayley is all of us deep down, many years ago, when wrestling was the number one thing in our lives, and for quite a few of us out there, Bayley is still us.