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The heart and soul of NXT and the purest baby face in all WWE has finally arrived on the main roster. From her humble beginnings as an awkward but lovable super fan girl to a beloved underdog who never compromises her ethics, never backs down, and is always herself, Bayley pulls back the veil and allows us to be kids again.
Bayley, real name Pamela Martinez, 27, has tapped into what so few other superstars have been able to during their career, the power of wonder and awe that inspires all of us and hearkens back to an innocent time where anything is possible.
When wrestling is good it can be like this:
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten – Neil Gaiman,
And Bayley’s ascent to the top proves that with perseverance and resilience, anything can be done.
Let us take a look back at Bayley’s stellar accomplishments in NXT and examine what’s in store for the hugster.
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Before Bayley even stepped into the squared circle, she was first and foremost a wrestling fan. Bayley cites women like Lita and Ivory as her role models. She channeled this passion into a doe-eyed fan girl character that was positive albeit a little awkward. Her peers targeted her for her innocent obsession with wrestling and her frequency to express her love for others with a hug.
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After facing AJ Lee for the Divas Title in a losing effort, Bayley soon found herself at odds with Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Summer Rae, and Emma. It was after a series of matches, and a string of constant losses, with her fellow four horsewomen that left her hungry to make a statement.
She set out to prove that she could rise to the occasion despite constantly being targeted by everyone in the division. She was betrayed by all of her friends at one point, including Becky who sided with Sasha as Sasha became a big threat to the rest of the division.
She continued to show off her evolving skills in classic matches against her peers, taking on Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky in a variety of matches including the hailed fatal four way at TakeOver: Rival.
Her rise begins to parallel Sasha’s ascent to the top. However, before Bayley could start even thinking about challenging for the NXT Women’s Championship, now being held by Sasha, again, Emma takes her down by breaking her hand in the spring of 2015. The real life injury would sideline her for weeks but would begin her evolution into a more complete baby face that could stand on her own.
NXT starts setting the stage when Bayley returns in July 2015. She takes on Emma in a winning effort to end their rivalry, she calls out Charlotte and then makes her way through the toughest fighters in the division before coming face to face with Sasha.
Sasha and Bayley began a collision course way back before both began to become the centerpieces of the division. Sasha would transform into the boss with a little help from Summer after Sasha failed to connect as a face with the NXT audience.
Meanwhile, Bayley continued to rest on her laurels, refusing to change herself just to fit in or succeed. This begins to finally pay off and leads them to the grandest showdown in the history of WWE women’s wrestling.
Sasha and Bayley would meet at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on August 22, 2015. In what was billed the co-main event of the show, both women were taken to their absolute limit. In the end, it was the combination of a reverse top rope Frankensteiner and a Bayley-to-Belly that would allow Bayley to unseat Sasha to become the new champion.
The Four Horsewomen would gather in the ring for a curtain call to commence Bayley’s reign as champion in an emotional post match segment that would signify the end of their time in NXT. The match would go on to become one of the best women’s matches in the history of the company, and top many lists, including number one on WWE’s list of “Greatest NXT Match” and number two on WWE’s “Greatest Match of the Year 2015.”
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The bout at Brooklyn would begin Bayley’s 223 day reign. As she held a delicate grip on the title, she would take on every woman in the division in a series of matches that saw Bayley become one of the best NXT had to offer. She would make history again with Sasha in the first ever women’s 30 min Iron Man match in October where she would defeat Sasha with 3 falls to 2 after securing the third fall with three seconds left the match to retain the championship.
During her reign she constantly changed and evolved for each title match, getting better and better than before. She was the centerpiece of the developmental system and elevated the title by always showing up. Every feud was different and fueled the fire within her to prove that dreams can come true.
It wasn’t long until she carried the division on her back while NXT prepared its next crop of stars. She took on the role of a leader in the locker room and helped new talent develop. It was apparent that she held the magic to make her fellow competitors comfortable in the ring and bring out the best in them.
She would eventually meet Asuka and lose the championship in Dallas, sending her into a spiral to reclaim the title while a new batch of heels stood in her way. She again climbed that mountain and put on great matches with Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. As her fellow competitors made their way up to the main roster, she saw herself get left behind again despite a one off as Sasha’s partner at Battleground, the two having become keyfabe friends (and already real life buddies) out of mutual respect and love for wrestling.
She reevaluated her goals until she fought Asuka for the second time in Brooklyn at TakeOver. Bayley became more determined than ever, possibly also letting Asuka’s ruthlessness get in her head, in order to become the first two-time women’s champion. In a close bout that saw her push Asuka to her limits and match her strike for strike, power move to power move, Bayley ended her story in NXT in defeat.
Her achievements weren’t ignored though as she left the arena to a chorus of “Thank you, Bayley” chants.
— Triple H (@TripleH) August 21, 2016
Now that she’s on Raw, she will continue to make an impact and further the future of the division in the company. Losses do not hurt the Bayley character, through them she only gets stronger and that, in the end, teaches us too. With every defeat, we should look towards the future, never give up, never surrender, and only get better. She inspires you to become the best version of yourself, she’s so infectious.
Bayley embodies everything that’s good in the world and she will not be denied her time to shine alongside her competitors. She will go down in history as one of the best, the cream of the crop. Everything she does, she does it with heart, we should all be so resilient.
— Triple H (@TripleH) August 23, 2016
Thank you Bayley, it’s been wonderful watching you grow, now it’s time to show your magic on the big stage!
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Congratulations to Bayley, Diva-Dirt is so happy for you!
What do you think the future holds for Bayley? Are you happy she has been promoted? Who will lead the division in NXT? Sound off in the comments below.