Friday, April 12, 2024

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Women of the Year 2015: Bayley

Every hour until the clock strikes midnight (Eastern time) and we usher in 2016, Diva Dirt will highlight – in no particular order – the women who made an impact in 2015.
 

Bayley

Whenever you watch NXT and “Turn it Up” blares through the arena, you know you are in for an experience. Fans are chanting their love for her, waving their hands out for hugs and high fives. Bayley’s 2015 was by far her biggest and most successful year to date. Through hard work and excellent utilization via booking, Bayley has become the most over woman in NXT, maybe even the biggest wrestler male or female in the company.

Bayley started 2015 as an unlikely contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, she came close to winning the prestigious title in a Fatal Four-Way match at NXT TakeOver: RIVAL with Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks but was robbed by the Boss.

She spent her spring in a series of feuds with Dana Brooke and Emma before sustaining an injury keeping her on the sidelines briefly for a month or two. This break would open the door for the beginning of the biggest feud and matches in Diva history.

Bayley’s summer was based on proving herself as she seriously challenged for the NXT Women’s Title. She gained wins over Becky Lynch and Charlotte and the fans were rooting for her, but had the reminders of Bayley coming so close but never quite getting the win. She became the number one contender for the title and would challenge the champion Banks at the biggest TakeOver to date in Brooklyn.

Bayley entered the arena honoring her heroes “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Dusty Rhodes. The match in Brooklyn would shatter the glass ceiling, standing up to the archaic gender roles that the Divas have battled for years, and the level of emotion would be unmatched. The women tore up the ring and played on the heartstrings of fans perfectly and the climax of Bayley winning the title would be the greatest Divas moment in history. Social media blew up and the critics would hail the match and feud with such praise, hailing it as the greatest of all time. One match stole the show and the year at the same time. The NXT Title Ladder match struggled to keep up. Bayley’s time was now.

October’s NXT TakeOver: RESPECT would prove to show how highly the WWE thought of Banks and Bayley when the two would main event in a thirty-minute Iron Man match for the title. Bayley’s first title defense would have the eyes of the wrestling world on it. Despite the Divas stealing the show Takeover after TakeOver, some critics still had their doubts: Nia Jax at TakeOver: London she led the newer Diva to the match of her career thus far in a solid David vs. Goliath story in the ring. A short-term feud with Alexa Bliss and a thriller with Eva Marie proved the Bayley is the centerpiece of the division and has earned it.

For many years, Bayley was a part of the narrative of the stories in the NXT Divas division. In 2015, she became the narrative.

Come back at the top of every hour to see who else has been crowned 2015’s WOTY.

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