Speaking in a new interview, SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair was full of praise for her long-time rival Bayley.
Belair and Bayley have been at odds since the EST of WWE won the SmackDown Women’s Title at WrestleMania 37. The pair met at WrestleMania Backlash with Belair just about escaping with her title before going to war inside Hell In A Cell a month later.
The two women had been scheduled to meet one more time at Money In The Bank, but Bayley suffered a serious knee injury in training. With the former NXT Women’s Champion set to miss nine months of action, Belair took on, and beat, Carmella on the July 16th episode of SmackDown.
In conversation with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Belair heaped praise on SmackDown’s former Women’s Champion. Reflecting on their rivalry, Belair said that it meant everything for her to work with Bayley.
“It meant everything for me to work with Bayley. She’s been there every step of the way for me until now. She gave me momentum going into the Royal Rumble, we came full circle after WrestleMania, and she helped show the SmackDown universe who I am. She brought out a whole new side of me at Hell in a Cell.”
“We found out for sure that we were having that match in the cell on the Friday two days before the show. We were still able to make something special, and that shows how great Bayley is and how great we are together. When you’re in the ring with Bayley, it’s different. You have this full confidence that things are always going to go well.”
Belair continued, describing Bayley’s status as a locker room leader, before praising her further as a “legend in the making.”
“Fighting Bayley after winning the title at WrestleMania was perfect. I’ve been very fortunate to work with her. She has contributed to so much of my success. She’s made me better, and I’m going to carry that forward and carry that through. Bayley is a locker room leader, and an amazing person inside and out. I’ve watched and learned from her, the way she handles situations and adapts so easily and quickly. She has the ability to make things look so easy. We’re going to miss her so much while she’s out. She’s a legend in the making, but she does so much more than just make it about herself. She gives and contributes so much to the locker room.”
As WWE welcomed back fans on July 16th, Belair defeated Carmella with the K.O.D to retain her prized championship. Predictably the result didn’t sit well with the challenger who complained that she had only six days to prepare for the match.