Former SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley has shown her softer side recently as she thanks Paige for her televised WWE debut match.
In the embryonic days of NXT, while a man from Newcastle-upon-Tyne known as Adrian Neville did battle with Luke Harper while having to contend with The Wyatt Family and a disrespectful Kassius Ohno earned himself a vicious slap from William Regal, a match took place on NXT television that nobody knew at the time would change the future of women’s wrestling in WWE.
On the episode of NXT television that aired on March 20th, 2013, Paige competed in what was announced as a “Divas Match” against a then little-known opponent named Bayley. The English star made short work of her opponent with Bayley forced to tap out to the Cloverleaf submission.
A run as NXT Women’s Champion, Raw Women’s Champion, and two reigns a piece as SmackDown Women’s and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion that young star Paige faced flourished into a fully-fledged superstar.
Now Bayley has taken to social media to thank her first opponent on WWE television, saying that she is forever grateful.
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) March 21, 2022
As a sign of how times change over the years, The Role Model is the only person who competed on that episode of NXT television who still wrestles for WWE with Leo Kruger, Justin Gabriel, Adrian Neville, and Luke Harper all leaving WWE in the following years.
Paige was forced to retire from the ring due to injuries with her last match taking place at a WWE live event in December 2017. On that show, Paige teamed with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose to face Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Bayley.