During the latest episode of the WWE’s After The Bell, Bayley joined the podcast to talk about her career change from fun loving and hugging children babyface to hating the fans and the kids heel. She talked about the pandemic helping her transition better because a lot of the crowd still weren’t fully sold on her transition from baby face to heel after being one of the top baby faces in the entire company.
“Not having a crowd is what helped me the most,” Bayley said. “I was having trouble making the crowd believe and the fans believe that this is me now. I was with a ponytail and being a hugger for so long that it was hard for them to see me in this different character. They had like a weird, not reacting, don’t believe it and weren’t buying into it [reaction]. Then when we got to the PC I thought it was going to be a one night thing and then the more we did it without fans I thought you know what, I don’t have to worry about them, I can play off my opponents, I can play off Sasha who’s my tag partner.”
Bayley continued to talk about the transition from baby face to heel and knowing she had to change every single thing about her character. She knew the fun loving character who gave hugs to kids ringside had to be gone and now she needed to act like a jerk and get the fans to forget about the loving character she was in the past.
“I knew I had to go from being a good guy to being a bad guy,” Bayley said. “I knew I had to do a complete 180 for people to believe me and for people to buy into it. I had to do the complete opposite of what I was doing. I was there for the kids, I was all about the kids, I wanted them to have somebody to look up to and be who I was. I wanted all the little Bayleys’ in the crowd to have someone to cheer for like I did.
“Now I have to be the complete opposite and I hate the little Bayleys’ and all the children in the crowd. I knew i had to cut my hair, I knew I had to stop wearing colours, I knew I had to just be a complete jerk. I knew I had to shed the snakeskin and forget about it.”
Bayley also talked about using the commentators ringside as apart of her way of telling a story in the ring with no fans in the arena. Since WWE has transitioned to crowd-less shows, we’ve seen Bayley shout out words during her matches and chirps directed at Michael Cole in particular. She said she used that because the fans were noticing it on social media and it added a new layer to her heel character.
“Now our only fan interaction is through the internet, they read tweets and they could hear it and the more they hear it, the more they think it’s funny,” Bayley said. “I had fun with it and I think that’s what helped me find what annoying bad guy I want to be and also a part of who I am personally, how I am with my friends, the annoying person who pushes too many buttons and goes too far. Every opponent added different layers to me. Every time I got in there with Sasha, things she did, I would play off of and that added layers to me. You have to continuously do things differently to keep people interested. That’s where I found myself.”
In the last few weeks on SmackDown, Bayley has been introducing new talk show segments to showcase her talking skills on the blue brand. Bayley first introduced “Ding Dong Hello” and this past week brought in “Sweet Tweets” as new segments to continue her growth as a heel character. The longest reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion said she didn’t seek out having a talk show but says its helped her character grow and changed her ability to talk to the audience watching at home.
“This whole talk show thing, it wasn’t even my idea,” Bayley said. “It wasn’t something where I went to them and said hey, I’d love to do a talk show. I was the complete opposite of anything you see on T.V. now. I would get in front of Dusty and I would freak out and start shaking, all I wanted to do was wrestle and be in the ring. That’s why I wanted to be in WWE, I didn’t care about talking yet because I didn’t know how to do it yet, I was crying every single word I let out, I was shivering. Even in my past, it took me a long time to get comfortable even as the hugger character.
“It’s helped me find my words and find my voice and it’s so crazy. It’s something that I thought I was never going to find in WWE, when I signed I wanted to be the best wrestler in the world, wanted to be a champion, I wanted to do it all. I never thought this was going to take me to different heights. My dream was always to be well rounded, I wanted to be the one superstar that could do it all and I feel like I’m on my way to do that because this talk show has helped me in a different light.”
Bayley also talked about one of the more important women who has influenced her in a massive way. She said a lot of women many people wouldn’t think about have impacted her career and so many others in the locker room, including one who made her realize she could be herself and not try to be someone she’s not.
“Obviously I can’t name all the women that have helped us, but I always have to give credit to AJ [Lee],” Bayley said. “She changed my life when she just said it’s okay to be myself. Her whole thing was stay weird and be yourself and she dressed how she wanted to and it inspired so many girls. There’s a lot of women that people don’t even realize have made this all possible.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.