Recently on WWE Network's Bring It To The Table, WWE commentators JBL and Corey Graves weighed in on a number of topics including Bayley's current rough patch following her loss to WWE RAW Women's Champion Alexa Bliss at WWE Extreme Rules and the ongoing headlock versus dive debate within the professional wrestling world.
"Having been there, and witnessed, and commentated on most of the rise of Bayley, I was there firsthand and watched her growth from when she arrived in FCW at the time to what she evolved into and all these different character transitions. And once the Bayley character caught fire, man, I don't think there was a person in this company that didn't see it as a license to print money. Little girls were showing up to the buildings with the headbands, and the merchandise, and Bayley was it. And this is also the same Bayley that a few months ago at WrestleMania retained the RAW Women's Championship at WrestleMania, on top of the world. For some reason, I don't know what the disconnect is, but this isn't the same Bayley that got her to the dance."
According to JBL, even though Bayley was over in NXT, she has not connected to the greater WWE Universe yet. In JBL's view, Bayley may not make it.
"I think with Bayley though, it hadn't transcended to the audience. Look, just because you make it some place doesn't mean you're going to make it in another. Look at Johnny B. Badd. He was one of the first, if not the first guaranteed contract WWE gave out during the Monday Night Wars. He came over as Marc Mero and he failed so miserably that at the end of his contract, they just let him sit home and paid him. They weren't even bringing him in to get him beat by somebody." JBL continued, "I think Bayley has a chance of not making it. But remember Isaac Yankem came in and wasn't working, and fake Diesel, and became a Superstar that's going to go into the [WWE] Hall Of Fame. 'Stone Cold' came in with a monster push as 'The Ringmaster' with Ted DiBiase. That didn't work out."
Predictably, JBL firmly entrenched himself on Team Headlock, has the former world champion stated that sports entertainers do dives because they do not know how to work.
"Guys do dives because they don't know how to work. Guys do flips because they don't know how to work. I watch these guys do tryouts every single week at WWE. I sit out there in the announcer desk and watch these guys come in. So few guys even know how to lock up, how to put a headlock on properly. All they do is get a headlock because they want to get to the next move, some silly, stupid dive. And it is a silly, stupid dive. They want to get the crowd chanting, 'holy s--t'. Do you want to talk about matches that matter? Randy Orton can go out there, John Cena can go out there, AJ Styles can go out there and put together matches that matter and not have to do silly dives because they don't know how to work."
As predictably, Graves sided with Team Dive, claiming that the genre has evolved and the audience's attention span has changed. The self-proclaimed "most well-informed man on the WWE payroll" stated that 205 Live would be the best show if the performers were permitted to do what they can do.
"I understand the contributions that these guys made, but just like in any form of entertainment, things evolve. The audience's attention span has changed. You need to do more high impact things. Do I think you need to do 30 dives and 30 superkicks a match? Absolutely not. But for everyone to kind of be dismissive of the guys that work that highflying style, or the daredevils, the cruiserweights, I think 205 Live would be the best show in television if all these guys got to do what they are able to do all the time. It's not a matter of not being able to work."
Graves opined that indie darlings like Will Ospreay and Ricochet want to get noticed, but that style might not necessarily work in WWE. 'The Savior Of Misbehavior' went on to say that good workers dive when the time is right and pointed out that The Undertaker and Roman Reigns are great workers who dive on occasion.
"Maybe sometimes the guys don't have great physiques or are undersized, but if you want to get the world talking about what you're doing, last year sometime, there were a couple of guys named Will Ospreay and Ricochet who over in Japan had this match that set the internet on fire and you had a very similar discussion. You had a lot of the old-timers saying, 'well, this isn't wrestling,' 'this sucks,' 'this isn't whatever, whatever.' The fact is, those guys want to get noticed. They want to get their name out on a grand stage and it worked. Do I think that match would work in the WWE? Not necessarily, but those are two incredibly talented guys who deserve to be recognized for what they can do. And I think that the business is evolving. It's changing. John Cena goes to the top rope. Does he have to dive? No, but guess who does: Roman Reigns dives from time to time; I've seen Undertaker do it. That doesn't mean they can't work. They're the greatest of all time. It's a situational thing."
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Source: Bring It To The Table