WWE: Is It Time for Bayley to Turn Heel?


We’re at a point where Bayley is at a crossroads (no, not that one), and a heel turn could be around the corner.

The first person I ever saw raise the idea of Bayley turning heel is Becky Lynch in an interview with Games Radar:

"“Oh, 100 per cent. And [I’ll do it] when people least expect it! Mostly for social media: Twitter or Instagram becomes so much more fun when you can be boastful and say whatever you want. You can be so full of yourself and ridiculous when you’re a heel. And if I’m ever going to feud with Bayley again, you couldn’t have her be the heel. Actually, I would love to see Bayley heel though. Wouldn’t that be funny. What would she do? Kick puppies? I don’t know!”"

Yes, I understand that she was joking, but that’s what makes it so interesting. At the time of this interview in November, the notion of Bayley turning heel was preposterous. It was so preposterous, in fact, that it was pretty much spoofed in a Snickers commercial.

You can go hug yourself if you didn’t enjoy that commercial.

Becky Lynch’s comments about Bayley turning heel were a joke, Bayley’s commercial with Snickers was a joke, and now Bayley’s character is a joke.

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From giving her overly scripted and robotic promos to making her too afraid to use a freaking Kendo stick, the WWE did everything possible to make Bayley look like a loser. They devoted an entire segment to making her look terrible, too, and it ended up being one of the most painfully awkward segments in recent memory. When Booker T said, “This is hard to watch,” he truly lived up to his status as the voice of the people.

I mean, there’s no two ways around it; the WWE completely botched Bayley’s character. The report that there is friction between Triple H and Vince McMahon over the poor booking of former NXT stars on the main roster came as no surprise, and Bayley was the name many fans first thought of as someone who has been wasted on the main roster.

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Bayley won the Raw Women’s Championship from Charlotte Flair on a random episode of Raw, and it was a great match and moment for her. She successfully defended her title against Charlotte Flair at Roadblock, but it came with Sasha Banks’s help and didn’t exactly make look Bayley strong. All of that seemed to be rectified with another successful title defense in a Fatal Four-Way match at WrestleMania 33, but that went out of the window when she dropped the title to Alexa Bliss at Payback in her hometown of San Jose.

Since then, the matches and victories haven’t been there, which means that Bayley has been badly exposed on promos. As we saw in NXT, Bayley is perfectly capable of cutting a babyface promo and getting over as an innocent, likable hero who will put her head down and win. Like Sami Zayn, she had the odds stacked against her but overcame them and gained huge fan support with her gutsy performances. She didn’t need anyone (cough, Sasha, cough) to hand her victories, and she didn’t need to keep regurgitating the whole, “I always wanted to be a superstar!” line. It was obvious that this was her dream.

The WWE hasn’t given her a chance to tell these kinds of stories in the ring, and, yes, they’ve failed her to greater extent on the mic. Why is this the case? They think that booking babyfaces to look like losers gets people over. Vince McMahon has actually been high on Bayley, but, as luck would have it, the WWE thinks that the whole “B+ player” storyline with Daniel Bryan is the right way to push babyfaces. Essentially, burying a babyface and making them lose repeatedly is the best way to get them over.

That doesn’t actually work. Making someone lose often, booking a bad-ass wrestler to be afraid of weapons, and giving a talented performer lazy promos only makes it more likely that the fans will turn on them. And despite all of the purple shirts and all of the merchandise sales, Bayley somehow got booed at Extreme Rules. Somehow, some way, the WWE dropped the ball on someone who couldn’t have been, pardon the pun, “hugged over.”

Now, she’s in limbo. Out of all the competitors in Raw’s “Women’s Gauntlet Match”, Bayley was the first one to get rag-dolled and eliminated by Nia Jax. She looked like a star in the prior week when she cleaned house on the heels after emerging from backstage, but she was given basically no offense against Nia.

In her interview with Corey Graves following her loss at Extreme Rules, Bayley said, “I’m not here to put bruises on people’s backs or to send them to the hospital. I’m here to put smiles on people’s faces.”

Is that something a serious contender says? No. In fact, nobody in the WWE says that, because it’s so ridiculous. The WWE had a chance to save face and tell a story with Bayley, build her up and salvage that disastrous squash match at Extreme Rules. Instead, they buried her further, shoving her into a hole that the Undertaker would be proud of.

Bayley knows that she’s in a tough spot, and she is willing to take a new  direction with her character at this point. On The Steve Austin Show, Bayley said that she is in a “weird spot”. Cageside Seats’s Sean Rueter transcribed some quotes from the interview, and I would encourage you to follow the link to either the full interview or to his quotes. Bayley already has an idea of who she would emulate as a heel, if it were to come to that.

In the interview, Bayley takes some blame for not getting over as a babyface, stating that the crowds in NXT and WWE are different. But I would argue that a goody-two-shoes babyface like Bayley would have an easier time getting over with the WWE crowds, which are made up of more kids and casual fans. The “smarky”, “Internet” fans in NXT can be harsher to the more typical babyfaces, but Bayley’s character was nuanced enough – and she was such a phenomenal performer – that it didn’t matter. She got over.

It’s clear that Bayley needs a change in character to get the ball rolling in a new direction, because it just isn’t working right now. The WWE needs to book her stronger, give her better promos, and find some way to make up for how weakly they booked her during her feud with Bliss. But if they aren’t going to do that and give her the edge back to her character, then they might as well turn her heel. Sadly, the WWE is quite possibly the worst major wrestling promotion at booking babyfaces, so we might get a chance to see the most intriguing heel turn in a long time.

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If the WWE isn’t interested in making her look strong as a babyface, then “heel Bayley” might be the best thing for her. Will it happen? I don’t think so, because it all boils down to merch sales. But do I hope it happens? You bet. I have a feeling a few others who are fed-up with Bayley’s nonsensically weak character (she’s not a small child, for crying out loud) are in the same boat.