Since pivoting away from the ultra clean cut character which she had carried through NXT and during her first years on the main roster, Bayley has climbed to a whole new level.
The former SmackDown Women’s Champion became more focussed on herself and has gone on to produce what is largely recognised as some of the best work of her career.
In a new interview with Corey Graves on the WWE After The Bell podcast, the former ‘Hugger’ opened up about her career, her influences and interestingly how performing without fans helped her grow and evolve her character.
Bayley explained that as soon as the fans were taken away she realised that she didn’t have to worry about them.
“I was having trouble trying to make fans believe that this is me now,” said Bayley “I was Bayley with a ponytail and hugger for so long that it was hard for them to see me as a different character. They had a weird not reacting, don’t believe it (reaction). When we got to the [Performance Center], I thought it was going to be a one-night thing and the more we did it without fans, I was like, ‘You know, I don’t have to worry about them, I can just play off my opponent, my tag partner [Sasha Banks], what else can I do?’ I could be loud and hear an echo in the PC and I thought it was hilarious.”
One of the highlights of Bayley’s matches has been her on-going verbal battles with whoever happens to be on commentary. She added that she’d noticed that fans on the internet enjoyed her going after the likes of Michael Cole, so just leaned into doing it even more.
“Now that I realize I can hear Graves and Cole on commentary, I’m like, ‘If I can hear them, the fans can hear them.’ Now, our only fan interaction is through the internet and they thought it was funny, so the more I did it, the more I had fun with it and that’s what helped me find what kind of annoying bad guy I wanted to be and that’s who I am, personally. With my friends, I’m the annoying person who pushes too many buttons and goes too far. Every opponent added a different layer to me.”
During the conversation the former NXT Women’s Champion reflected on the women who had inspired her throughout her career naming former WWE Superstar AJ Lee as someone who “changed her life.”
Since turning heel, Bayley has also become somewhat known for her use of social media, using Twitter to taunt her rivals. Even recently, responding to a photo Bianca Belair had taken of her, she challenged the 2021 Royal Rumble winner to a cage match.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.