Bayley has been ranked the second best wrestler of 2020 in the first-ever ITR 50 as announced in the latest issue of Inside The Ropes Magazine.
Bayley may well have one of the biggest turnaround stories in wrestling this year. Starting 2020 as SmackDown Women’s Champion fresh off her somewhat disappointing heel turn (at the time), she would successfully defend the title against Lacey Evans, Naomi and Carmella throughout January and February to become the longest-reigning champion in the belt’s history. She would cap off the spring with a somewhat forgettable defence at WrestleMania 36 in a five-way elimination match before an equally boring rivalry with Tamina.
It was in the summer, however, that things really picked up for Bayley. Being accompanied by best friend Sasha Banks, the SmackDown Women’s Champion would show more confidence on the mic and in her character than ever before – picking up the Women’s Tag Team Championships with Banks from Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss. The two would have superb defences opposite The IIconics, The Kabuki Warriors and Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox whilst Bayley would continue to retain her singles title, this time over Nikki Cross and Asuka.
The two would eventually lose the tag titles to Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, causing Bayley to brutally assault Banks and put her former best friend on the shelf for nearly a month.
The resulting rivalry would be one of the best WWE produced all-year culminating with the two facing off inside Hell In A Cell in October. The match was a brutal spectacle and arguably lived up to their NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn bout five years prior, widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s wrestling matches of all-time. Banks would come out on top, ending Bayley’s reign at an astonishing 379 days – well over double the second-longest reign in the belt’s history, which Charlotte Flair holds at 146 days.
“Bayley – against all odds – became one of the most integral parts of WWE TV across all three brands during one of the company’s most difficult times. Found true success in a role many doubted she could do, playing the ultimate heel.”
Issue 4 of Inside The Ropes Magazine, which features the ITR 50 in full, is available for both digital and physical purchase online worldwide as well as in the United States, Canada, Australia and Ireland through select retailers.