WWE fans were ecstatic when Bayley was called up to the main roster in 2016. The former NXT Women’s Champion was arguably the most popular character in NXT when she debuted at that year’s Battleground pay-per-view, coming out as Sasha Banks’ mystery partner in a match against Charlotte and Dana Brooke.
That night tied Banks and Bayley together in a different way than they were attached in NXT, where they were bitter rivals feuding over the NXT Women’s Championship, including main-eventing a Takeover show long before WWE main-evented pay-per-views with women’s matches.
Last night on RAW, they came together again.
Bayley teamed with Becky Lynch against the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. The match ended when Banks interfered and attacked Lynch, who is currently the RAW Women’s Champion; Banks will challenge Lynch at Clash of the Champions in two weeks. Banks brought a chair into the ring and was about to assault Lynch with it, but Bayley stopped her. After a few brief moments, Bayley took the chair and assaulted Lynch herself, turning heel for the first time in her WWE career an aligning herself with Banks.
Believe it or not, the turn is a welcome one for Bayley, who has been booked poorly, for the most part, in her three years on the main roster. You could argue that she had more momentum coming to the main roster than any talent in the history of NXT, and yet she was slotted into a role behind Banks, Charlotte and others in big main-roster matches. You wouldn’t have even considered her for a spot in the triple threat at WrestleMania this past year; if that match was taking place three years ago, Bayley likely would have been near the top of the list for women who might main-event a WrestleMania. The lack of strong booking meant the momentum and fan support behind Bayley dwindled, and before you knew it, she was nothing more than a mid-card act with little wind in her sails. She’d win some matches, she’d lose some matches, but nothing she did ever felt important or noteworthy.
Until last night.
Last night she put herself back on the map. The hope here is that Paul Heyman, who is running point on RAW creative, recognizes what he has with Bayley and will continue to feature her in a prime role. The attention might be on Banks vs. Lynch as they head into the pay-per-view, but Bayley should be an ever-present part of that match. Coming out of that match, it should be Bayley’s turn to feud with Lynch, especially if she plays a role in costing her the RAW Women’s Championship.
Bayley has a heel, in 2016, would have been unthinkably stupid. In 2019, it’s more than a welcome change.