WWE has decided to once again give Bayley a chance to become its Raw Women’s Champion when she faces Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam. The uber-popular former champion defeated her BFF, Sasha Banks to earn the right to challenge for the title at WWE’s second most important pay-per-view of the year. In doing so, the company that just a month ago sent her into a tailspin, where it looked like she couldn’t rise from the ashes, is counting on a rebirth of her character to prevail over the black widow of the women’s division.
Maybe it’s a bit premature to toss all of the eggs in Bayley’s basket just yet.
I have never agreed with Ryan Dilbert more with his comments in a recent story on Bleacher Report. The columnist thinks WWE must book Bayley as a sympathetic performer who is best served giving Bliss the best match of her young career, only to fall short. If WWE decides to put Bayley over as the Raw Women’s Champion once again, the road to her “revival” cannot end in less than a month.
“It’s too soon to tell the story of her rising back to her feet against Alexa Bliss. It would be a mistake to carry on the status quo with one of Raw’s most endearing Superstars,” Dilbert writes. “Instead, sending her into a tailspin with her heart ripped out on the canvas is the best way to pave the way for Bayley’s success.”
While Dilbert summons the image of Sami Zayn traveling the same road as Bayley on a path toward success (he hasn’t gotten there yet), I think the parallel could be made with another WWE superstar – Roman Reigns.
Although Reigns is not the hero fans want to defend their wrestling flag, he too endured a long and winding road to championship glory. Wins and losses, heartbreak and elation. Having reached for the brass ring only to have it pulled away by the McMahons time and time again until he finally won the WWE World Title – not once but three times. Bayley’s love affair with the fans of the business is too passionate not to work. For Reigns, it’s a matter of him being booked as the top draw – whether the company’s allegiance of fans like it or not.
WWE must let this marinate for a while. Pulling the plug on this storyline could further destroy another run by the California native as fans tend to get tired of being toyed with like a cartoon character falling flat on their face.
Dilbert also points out, which I agree with, that the timing here is odd, to say the least. The match between Bayley and Banks was one of the better clashes this year in the women’s division. It sets up nicely for a heel turn by Banks, which could happen at SummerSlam as part of Bayley’s match with Bliss. There isn’t a defined role for “The Boss” within the division and a return feud with Nia Jax does little for either performer.
I would not be surprised if Banks costs Bayley the title, forcing a feud between the two with the Raw Women’s Title on the line at some point. WWE must be careful to balance this division as the depth is tepid at best.
Slowly building Bayley back up, like a sympathetic champion is the best way to maximize her potential. Bayley’s in-ring appeal isn’t as dominant as it was in NXT, where the nomadic following of fans was perfect for her to rise above as a larger-than-life hero. The feud with Banks, which will go down as one of the greatest of all time, didn’t hurt either.
Bliss’ persona is the antithesis of what WWE is trying to do with Bayley’s character. A more aggressive, more determined babyface could once again prove to be what’s best for this division. This time, it’s not Banks being the brash one in the ring. Maybe Bayley’s time has finally come – that the championship she held a few months ago was a bit premature.
It took WWE over a year to push Reigns to the top of the mountain. Bayley is getting her push in a little over three months. But if booked properly this could be the move the “Hugger” needs to finally stand atop the women’s division.