Will WWE Capitalize on Bayley’s Huge Potential on Raw?


Bayley’s potential is undeniable. The only question is if WWE will succeed in making her a top star on Monday Night Raw.

To any fan of NXT, the appeal of Bayley is no secret. She’s one of the main reasons for the brand’s growth to where it is today. As the likable underdog, she ascended to the top of the women’s division. Furthermore, her work in NXT is a catalyst for the current evolution of women’s wrestling on WWE television. She has had show stealing matches and even headlined an NXT Takeover with Sasha Banks. But now, Bayley is on a much bigger stage with a crowd that is not entirely aware of her brilliance in NXT. On Raw, Bayley has the potential to be the biggest star in the history of the women’s division.

One of the unique aspects of Bayley is her marketability to the young audience of WWE. In short, kids love Bayley. The merchandise machine is already starting to roll out with “I’m a Hugger” and “Hug Like a Champ” shirts being represented strongly at Raw events. Plus, the headband handouts to kids during her ring entrance is very reminiscent of the Bret Hart sunglasses of the early 90’s. In fact, WWE has never had a female star that has connected with kids the way Bayley can. She hits all the checkpoints with kids; great smile, colorful fun entrance, and comes bearing gifts. Furthermore, what separates her from other “kid friendly” gimmicks is that it doesn’t come off as corny. She has a sincerity that appeals to both kids and adults, allowing her to avoid the “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” treatment.

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But she does get plenty of other chants from the crowd. The catchy “Hey, we want some Bayley” and “Bayley’s gonna hug you” chants have followed her to Raw from NXT. However, it’s not only kids chanting, there is plenty of base in the voices too. Through her in-ring work, she gained the respect of the hardcore fans in NXT. Most chants emanate from hardcore or “smart” fans, and Bayley already gets her fair share during her matches and promos on Raw. Her popularity should continue to grow on Raw as she showcases her abilities.

Her ability to play the underdog role will also add to her appeal with the WWE audience. It worked in NXT, where it culminated in her NXT title win in a classic against Banks at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Before that great moment, she first had to go through Becky Lynch and Charlotte on her way to getting a title shot. This allowed her to continue to gain support with the fans. The build to her title match with Banks was slow and gradual, with Bayley gaining more confidence from each win. Now with  her loss at Clash of Champions, Bayley is the underdog once again. The onus is now on WWE creative to give her the opportunity to shine like she did in NXT.

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If Bayley is successful on Raw, she will likely reach heights never accomplished previously in the women’s division. In the past, women weren’t given opportunities in wrestling to be top stars. Even as recently as the Attitude Era, women were largely relegated to being “eye candy”. Included in this time, were exceptional performers like Trish Stratus and Lita being booked to appeal primarily to the adult audience. In the current era, Bayley has come along at an advantageous time. In addition, she has the marketability, in-ring work, and gimmick to be appealing to all audience demographics for years to come. WWE has never had a top face in the women’s division with Bayley’s potential. Let’s just hope it comes to fruition.