Bayley has talked about the tough early days of her career in WWE developmental and how advice from a WWE star helped her to overcome being told to “wrestle like a girl.”
Bayley had her very first match in NXT in the FCW arena in Tampa, Florida. She teamed with Charlotte Flair along with Paige in six-woman tag team action. The trio defeated Audrey Marie, Emma and Summer Rae. In weeks she appeared on NXT television before going on to be arguably the biggest star in the black and gold brands history.
Those early days, however, were tough going as Bayley explained to Renee Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast. Paquette asked the former WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion if there was anything that made her want to quit WWE.
“I don’t remember a specific moment but I just remember like, I had a studio apartment in Tampa and I literally slept on an air mattress and had the tiniest TV. I would eat tuna and egg whites every day because we were also on the verge of – they’d tell me we’re going to move to Orlando soon so don’t get too comfortable in Tampa. So I didn’t even buy furniture or anything. But I think training and then the promos always got me then going home to an empty studio and being so far away from home. I was homesick and I felt like – I didn’t feel comfortable. It wasn’t cosy, I wasn’t eating right and I was really like, it’s not wrestling. At that time it was really hard.”
Bayley then discussed receiving some words of wisdom from someone who had walked the same path before her – AJ Lee. Lee made her way to the top of WWE from humble beginnings. The former WWE Divas Champion joined WWE as part of the precursor to NXT – Florida Championship Wrestling. Bayley revealed that Lee’s advice made some other more unfavourable instructions more palatable.
“I know Sasha [Banks] has talked about this in past interviews but they would tell us ‘wrestle like a girl’ and I didn’t understand that. Why did you hire me for my wrestling if you’re not gonna let me wrestle? It was hard to balance that and I put over AJ Lee so much but she was the one who said ‘stick to you, be you and obviously you’re gonna work for them so you’re gonna have to do a little of what they want but as long as you stay true to who you are you just have to be patient’. That was maybe six months in and I was just struggling up until then. Until she basically said, it’s ok to be myself.”
The first-ever WWE Women’s Grand Slam winner also discussed her on-going feud with SmackDown announcer Michael Cole.
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