WWE must handle Bayley’s impending babyface turn correctly


Once upon a time, most wrestling fans praised Bayley as one of the best babyfaces in the sport. In a lesser performer’s hands, her audience surrogate superfan gimmick could’ve gotten dismissed as too schmaltzy by audiences that have grown to reject such displays of saccharine positivity, but her charisma and earnestness (and tremendous work rate) proved that these characters could resonate with modern audiences.

Unfortunately, WWE (specifically, Vince McMahon) didn’t get this memo, and after chipping away at Bayley’s carefully cultivated persona for years, they finally turned her heel and stripped away every vestige of what made her so beloved.

Fortunately, the talented former multi-time women’s champion figured things out and has enjoyed plenty of success on the rudo side, including a 379-day (as recognized by WWE) reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion (now the Women’s World Championship). However, her days as a villain could be ending soon.

Is Bayley turning babyface?

The countdown on Bayley’s imminent babyface turn started the second Kairi Sane returned to help IYO SKY retain the Women’s Championship at WWE’s most recent sportswashing pay-per-view (or premium live event).

When Sane showed up, a surprised Bayley remembered assaulting Sane back in 2020, forcing the former NXT Women’s Champion out of the company (in kayfabe). Bayley brought this up on the Nov. 10 episode of SmackDown, but SKY, Sane, and Dakota Kai assuaged her concerns, telling her that they accomplished their goal of keeping the belt on SKY.

Still, the tension between Bayley and her teammates persisted. It was there when Sane “forgave” Bayley and offered her a hug and when all of them and Asuka beat down Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Shotzi following the main event trios match.

Eventually, though, the healthy Damage CTRL members will grow tired of having Bayley around, and she will be back to her babyface ways. But how WWE gets there matters just as much as the result.

As much as fans would welcome a protagonistic Bayley, simply booking Asuka, Sane, and Sky to turn on her won’t be enough. If that happens (and it likely will), fans will have no storyline reason to rally behind Bayley. Sure, she gets some sympathy for getting betrayed by her friends, but getting rejected by other heels doesn’t erase the countless transgressions she enacted (including attacking Sane, which put Bayley in this predicament).

It’s similar to Seth Rollins’ babyface turn in 2016. After returning from a knee injury during the summer, Rollins spent the next few months as a heel despite the growing fan desire to see him as a good guy. Eventually, WWE gave in, but it did so by booking Triple H to turn on him. Rollins never atoned for his past actions, and as a result, it took a few months for the fans to warm up to him as a babyface.

WWE can’t make the same mistake with Bayley. It has to give fans hints of her changing her ways (with the babyfaces reminding her of who she was) before Asuka, Sane, and SKY expel her from Damage CTRL. The company could even forego the big beatdown and book an angle where Bayley sides with Belair and Flair over her old partners.

It would make the transition much easier for someone who doesn’t need much help getting over as a técnico. She probably shouldn’t revert to her “hugger” persona, but based on how she reinvented herself as a heel in 2019, there’s no reason to think she can’t do the same in her second stint as a babyface.

Next. Once again, WWE is trying to make Babyface Miz happen. dark

All she needs from the creative team is to get her off to a good start with some sound booking.