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Bayley acknowledges AJ Lee for impacting her career and credits Tamina & Natalya as locker room leaders

Bayley recently appeared on After the Bell with Corey Graves and had a lot of insight about her career thus far. She discussed her character’s heel turn, the current Ding Dong, Hello! segment, and how AJ Lee was impactful to her career. She even went on to credit the veterans Tamina and Natalya as SmackDown locker room leaders.

The former and longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion has always boasted about being a wrestling fan since she was young. She has constantly talked about the women that came before her and how much she idolized them. When it comes to someone who has helped her tremendously, she singled out former three-time Divas Champion – Aj Lee.

“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 to 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.” (credit transcription: Inside The Ropes)

Bayley and Aj Lee formed a close friendship outside of the ring. Lee also frequently endorsed Bayley before she was on the main roster. In fact, in Lee’s final match she wore a Bayley shirt prior while Bayley was still in NXT.

The character of Bayley was always known as a bubbling personality and was the quintessential definition of a babyface. When the time came for her to turn heel it was very understandable that it was going to be a challenge. Her heel turn started in October 2019 but it wasn’t until after the COVID pandemic started and the removal of the crowds where her heel work really started to shine.

“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.”

The Role Model then spoke very highly of two women who have been through a lot in this industry and have gone through different eras in the women’s division in WWE. She considers Natalya and Tamina as locker room leaders.

“What I was really thinking about yesterday was that I’m in the locker room with Nattie and Tamina, who literally went through everything. Went through those bad matches, went through those bad times and almost every single SmackDown we all… well, a couple of us, sit in the locker room and talk about the show. We talk about what we want next. We talk about how we want our locker room to be carried.

Just learning from Nattie and Tamina since I’ve been on SmackDown has been so incredible and we owe so much to them. I’m so happy that they’re together right now because I think it’s just gonna show the world what the whole locker room knows. They’ve been carrying this for so long and have gone through so much just to see what it is now. They went through everything so that Bianca and Sasha can have this singles match at WrestleMania.”

Another point that Bayley discussed during the interview was Peyton Royce and her recent explosive promo on RAW Talk this past week. Graves asked her what does she have to say Royce knowing that she is a huge supporter of her.

“When I chopped off my hair and changed my attitude it’s because I truly felt that I needed to change my direction in order to get the success I wanted and it’s worked. So I feel like for Peyton specifically this anger is only gonna help her and it’s gonna help her truly find herself. It’s gonna help her find how she wants to carry herself and how she wants to be perceived by the fans and by the company. And it’s just gonna shine through and her work’s only gonna help that.”

For more of what Bayley had to say about Peyton Royce and Aj Lee you can watch the video below.

What did you think of this interview with Bayley? Leave your thoughts below.

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