Bayley is back.
After a long absence following a torn ACL, she returned to WWE at Slam summer the day after the Becky Lynch-Bianca Belair match. Her impact, as well as her influence, was immediate, as she pushed to include Dakota Kai and Io Shirai – now Iyo Sky – in her new faction’s main roster.
The group showcases so much of what WWE has been missing. This is a collection of three badass professional wrestlers, presenting women in a more realistic and authentic way. Six years after debuting on their main roster, Bayley is their perfect leader. Seasoned, experienced and absurdly talented, she is eager to fight for the evolution of women in business on and off camera.
“We had to make some changes in the division,” says Bayley, whose real name is Pam Martinez. “It was the perfect time to spice things up, and it was the perfect time to bring the women’s tag team titles back to life.”
Tag titles became a non-factor when Sasha Banks and Naomi left the company in May. They were stripped of titles, and it seemed the belts had been erased from existence – or, perhaps worse, simply forgotten. That’s no longer the case, another reason why it’s so vital that Bayley is back. She is a strong and active voice behind the scenes, constantly fighting for the women of WWE.
Bayley’s work on Raw added one more reason for viewers to watch the show. She makes the most of her time, and this group has the potential to create some of WWE’s most compelling storylines. It all started at Slam summerBayley learning near the show that she was coming back.
“I knew my time was approaching, but it’s a very up-and-coming business, so I didn’t know it would definitely be at Slam summer“, says Bayley. “One of the first things I learned was always to have a bag ready and ready, and that’s kind of what happened in this situation.
With a vacuum of unpredictability in the final days of Vince McMahon’s tenure as WWE Creative Head, that quickly and suddenly changed with Paul “Triple H” Levesque overseeing the direction of product. Levesque and Bayley share a lot of history over the past decade, which has allowed him to champion Kai and Sky to someone who understands their immense value.
“These two women are amazing,” Bayley says. “They trained all over the world. But Dakota was released and Iyo was injured. We didn’t know if she would be used to her full capacity when she returned. It’s something I couldn’t wait, or risk taking a chance.
“Now that they’re here, Dakota and Iyo are going to take this division to the next level. I’m so excited for them. They’re also adding more fuel to my fire and what we can all accomplish together.
The yet-to-be-named faction (“We’re still working on the name,” Bayley says) will be in action Saturday at Showdown at the Castle, wrestling Bianca Belair, Asuka and Alexa Bliss in a six-woman tag. This match will be precise and full of attention to detail, vividly reminiscent of Bayley’s return to Slam summer.
There wasn’t much time to map out or plan the small but significant details, but veteran Bayley refused to pass up that opportunity. She made sure a plan was in place with a lot of meaning, including meaning for what the women were wearing when they walked through the curtain.
“I was shopping for clothes because I was injured,” Bayley says. “I have boxes of clothes that I binge bought when I was hurt and bored after finishing rehab for the day. When I got the call that I was going to be at Slam summerI needed to put something together.
“For some reason, white is always the color for Slam summer. When you think back to the first To resume in Brooklyn, I wore all white. Seth [Rollins] wore white to that Slam summer, too. I wanted to stick to the connection. That’s why I wore white, and luckily I had a few other jackets for the girls to tie us all together.
Thus began a new platform for two amazing and underrated stars of Kai and Sky.
“Dakota is incredibly talented,” says Bayley, who is sincere in her praise. “Other than Sasha Banks, and I’m biased, Iyo is the best in the world.”
Bayley and Banks are two of WWE’s most electric stars. But Banks has been missing since she and Naomi boldly left the company over creative differences. If they were to return, it makes sense to challenge Bayley, Kai, and Sky. This feud could feature tag titles, as well as battling for the company’s top spot. Competition is ingrained in the hearts of both Bayley and Banks, and the layers of this storyline would be extremely compelling.
“I didn’t think about whether they would join or if we would be against them, but something would happen,” Bayley says. “I just want them to know that I support them 100% no matter what.”
Bayley has created a plethora of truly great moments in pro wrestling, many of which also highlight Banks. Their Takeover: Brooklyn Match of the Summer 2015 is an all-time classic. Unfairly, this eclipses another phenomenal fight in their 30-minute Iron Man fight two months later, where Bayley beat Banks, three falls to two, in the main event of Takeover: respect.
Bayley and Banks have also served as a centerpiece and driving force behind WWE programming during the pandemic, carrying the product through Spring and Summer 2020 as a team before going their separate ways this fall. The culmination of their story ended in October 2020 inside the cage at Hell in a cellwhere Banks beat Bayley in a match that rivaled their To resume fight.
“I heard a story recently about Macho Man, how he was always trying to improve his game of Wrestle Mania III“, says Bayley. “He always strove to get a better game, even though he knew it would be next to impossible. Then I asked myself: “Are we like that? Do we know that we will never surpass Brooklyn? It wasn’t just the game, it was the feeling that surrounded it. It was also the first time that NXT had come out of Florida for a To resume. There was so much to do.
“Hell in a Cell was our trilogy. We had Brooklyn, the Iron Man game, and Hell in a Cell. I’m so disappointed that there are no fans. After the game, everyone in the back was like, ‘Man, if there had been any fans, you would have had a standing ovation.’ That would have been cool, but I still don’t want that to take away from what we were able to do and the story we were able to tell.
The timing was not perfect, but this program could have been extended to Wrestle Mania 37. It worked for Banks, who had a great historic match against Bianca Belair, but Bayley against Banks belongs to a WrestleMania showcase.
“I’m glad we were able to make it to the main roster,” Bayley said. “I don’t have that kind of chemistry with just anyone. I would have loved to be at WrestleMania.”
As difficult as it may seem, Bayley hasn’t worked a game to Wrestle Mania 37. She was a healthy scratch from active competition, instead used in several segments as a host. While she certainly made the most of her screen time, not having a match was devastating for her.
“I’ve put that on in the past,” Bayley says. “It bothered me so much that I was not on the show. I felt like I had had the best year of my career and I took the whole division to a different level. Not appearing in a match was a hard pill to swallow. At least I can say that I hosted a WrestleManiaand few women on our list can say that, so I’ll take that as a positive.
This year WrestleMania represented another source of pain. After tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in training last July, she didn’t recover in time to be part of Wrestle Mania 38.
“I thought I was going to be healthy enough to come back in time,” Bayley said. “Once I realized my leg wasn’t healing as fast as I wanted it to and my knee wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, I had to remind myself that wrestling is a lifelong sport. the year. Any other sport, there are seasons. We don’t have an off-season, we don’t have a break.
“WrestleMania is our Super Bowl, but we keep going. There is a show the next day. So I told myself that I would get back to it as soon as I got back. I came again Wrestle Mania 38 and I helped my friends to have matches, by doing my best in this situation.
His heartache for missed opportunities is real. One of the most passionate performers in the industry, Bayley harnesses that real-life frustration in her current work. And if what you see of Bayley in the ring seems authentic and real, that’s because it is. She devotes her heart and soul to becoming one of the best in the world, and this current expansion, remarkably, offers the possibility of being even better than what she has achieved before.
“This business is way too hard not to give 100%,” says Bayley. “My goal is to connect with the fans, whether that means they’re bored or laughing or cheering. Growing up, when I was in the stands, I was so connected to the wrestlers who were my heroes. This is the connection I want to make now.
Back in the competition, adding her distinct flair to the industry, the fight is a bit more whole with a healthy Bayley in the ring. She plans to leave a lasting impression tomorrow at Showdown at the Castle in Cardiff, Wales.
“I can’t believe we’re doing a pay-per-view like this overseas,” Bayley said. “I have so many fond memories of our tours there, and I know the fans are going to be so excited.
“It’s also a great milestone for Iyo and Dakota. I can’t wait for us to be together on the show, representing the group as a whole.