Why WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley is the world’s best wrestler right now.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley has had a rough road to the top, but right now I feel very comfortable calling her the best in the world.
During the Money in the Bank 2019 PPV, I wrote about Bayley finally stepping out of the shadow of Sasha Banks and while she would return to Banks’ side a few months later it was no longer as the happy go lucky follower that we had seen previously. That briefcase and subsequent championship win was the catalyst for a personal journey that redefined her as a character and made her a favorite of fans, colleagues, and management.
Speaking personally, I never expected a Bayley heel turn to go as well as it has. After initially being cowardly and hiding from the fight with Charlotte Flair – including a very memorable roll up and run so fast you can actually miss it if you’re not paying attention – the ex-hugger got angry. With the haircut and the outright murder of her buddies, she shed her NXT skin and with it seemingly everything holding her back.
To be clear, the Bayley buddies, not her actual group of friends.
Bayley is regularly producing the best matches of the week in WWE
Since then, the champ has been dominant. Charlotte Flair was dispatched. Bayley’s first pay per view main event was the next month at Survivor Series. Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, Carmella and Naomi would follow. At WrestleMania she beat everyone and has dominated WWE television since. She is a proven draw and comes with proven match quality, particularly shown by her recent run of matches both in tag teams and solo. The IIconics, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, and Asuka have all done some of their best work lining up opposite the SmackDown women’s champion.
It used to be that when I asked people to mention a good Bayley match I would always get the same answer: The Iron Woman match against Sasha Banks. That is far from the only answer now as every week Bayley gives us a new contender for her best match and match of the week on WWE TV.
This week, a classic rivalry was renewed as Bayley stepped into the ring against Asuka; the woman who claimed her NXT championship many years previous. Once again Bayley delivered, showcasing a level of technical and submission based expertise that Asuka herself would be proud of.
While I’m understandably putting a lot of focus on her in-ring acumen, I don’t think we can discount how freeing the change in direction has clearly been for Bayley’s promos and general background acting.
Bayley deserves to be at the top of the WWE mountain
Background acting is very important to me, and when Bayley starts shouting at Michael Cole in the middle of matches, that is exactly what I mean. Very few people have used the current era of wrestling as well as Bayley; turning an uncomfortable silence into a blank canvas to paint on.
On March 13th, we had the first SmackDown from the Performance Center and Bayley took part in the first non-crowd match of the era. That shows the incredible faith that WWE keep in their role models. Her run is no longer all about Sasha Banks.
She is a powerful entity all of her own with a championship run that will live long in the memory. She is a leader. A role model. A hero of many. Bayley thoroughly deserves her spot at the top of the mountain.
While fans continue to wait for Bayley and Sasha Banks to tangle, there is no longer one woman clearly ahead of the other. Bayley has continued to chase the other four horsewomen and, at least right now, she has overtaken everyone.