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Thread: Bayley

  1. #1
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Bayley

    Bayley debuted in NXT as a wide-eyed fangirl, and her progression from that into a serious wrestler challenging for the title itself was as big a part of that brand establishing itself as any other, from the influx of 'indy' names to the touring of Takeover.

    And yet I'm reading today that, after a little under 18 months on the main roster, WWE aleady view her as a lost cause and have 'aready given up' on her, according to comments from Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio.

    So, are WWE right on this front? Is Bayley on the main roster a busted flush? What would you have done differently with her to date, and indeed how would you rehab her in the future?

    More than anything, how could Bayley's success, that seemed like such a sure thing when in NXT, not materialise? Did WWE have gold in their hands and drop it?

  2. #2
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    Bayley's super fangirl, super positive, hugger gimmick always had a shelf life. Her character is a bland piece of vanilla white bread, with no personality. She can wrestle, but her promos are lacking, and she has no depth. The WWE had the opportunity to do something with her in her feud with Bliss. Bayley should have picked up the kendo stick and beat Bliss with it.

    Bayley didn't have to turn heel at that moment, but it could have made her have some internal conflict, in the fact that she liked hitting Bliss with the kendo stick. We could have watched her slowly delve deeper into turning heel in each match where she got more and more violent. Hell it could have even been similar to when Matt hardy was Breaking, but not going all "Broken Bayley" but similar in that Bayley was enjoying her slow and methodical turn to violence.

    Bayley can be salvaged, but she desperately needs a gimmick change. She would have perfect in the 1980s, but she ran her course. Look to Sasha, she also is failing currently. Sasha needs to become the Boss once again. Sasha needs to be the heel HBIC Boss, and take Bayley with her.

    I do not think that the WWE failed Bayley, it's just that the Hugger Gimmick needs to be changed. The Hugger is similar to Hogan in the ealry 90s when everyone was tired of his babyface gimmick. With all of the exposure today, the 52 RAWs per year, with 13+ PPVs, and specials, people get tired real quick with gimmicks that do not evolve.

    Bayley can be saved, it is just will the WWE allow it to happen?

  3. #3
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    I feel like they did, but I also feel as if it was inevitable that they would. I didn't have a good sense of how they were going to use a lot of the women when they were called up, and Bayley in particular just stood out as someone who was going to be a victim of that.

    I think she's still pretty popular though, judging by reactions of anything I have watched, and think that they don't really appreciate that just because she isn't as popular as she was when she was well handled, doesn't mean she still isn't one of the more supported people on the roster. I think if they did get behind her, really behind her, and actually booked the women well (and that doesn't just mean more of them, which was a start but only goes so far) then they'd be surprised at how quickly she heats back up.

  4. #4
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    Bayley is huge with the young girl demographic, AND if the WWE wants to keep her in the fan friendly gimmick, they still can tweak her so that she has personality and depth. The ultimate babyface, John Cena, the hero to all kiddies everywhere even does some heel tactics, and says some heelish stuff in his promos. He has character and depth. Bayley just needs to let some anger, frustration, and some personality out.

    Being a babyface doesn't mean that you have to be bland.

  5. #5
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    I never found her bland, and I hate the idea that heelishness is now just a shorthand for depth.

  6. #6
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    Not heelishness, just more darker behavior than complete babyface.

    In every bullrope/chain, Table, Ladder, Chair, TLC, or Kendo Stick match etc the babyface would use the props to their advantage, just like the heel would. So why didn't Bayley? That moment when she dropped the stick is when she was done. You don;t want her going heel/ No problem, but her actions would have been justified in WWE logic, where the heel getting her comeuppance.

    You do not have to be a heel to do heelish, for lack of a better term, acts.

  7. #7
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    You've missed my point. Darkness in itself is not depth. You can be as much a classic hero as you like and have all the depth under the sun if you know how to write it. Similarly, the WWE logic is generally, in itself, no deeper or more subtle than the alternative - it's just grey for the sake of grey. And it winds me up.

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    If Bayley's original gimmick had a shelf life, it's only because WWE built such a piss poor shelf. Astounded by how badly she's been handled.

  9. #9
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    I get your point, but how are you going to make a character, man or woman who is so vanilla, and so stereo-typically good without boring your audience? it is the Superman argument all over again. Superman in recent comics history is not completely vanilla anymore and he is much more of a better character. He is no where near the levels of Batman, but he is NOT such a Big Blue Boring Boyscout anymore. Bayley's problem is that she is. She doesn't have to be a heel, but she has to be less vanilla.

  10. #10
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    Her gimmick is somewhat limiting, but there's something there. She has so much potential and is head and shoulders my favourite of the "Four Horsewomen" in every aspect.

    There's something there with the ultimate fangirl that's just happy to be there and taking in every experience -- because that's her. There's even something there with the hugger stuff. But I agree with Powder that she needs a mean streak. It doesn't have to be heel stuff, but every now and then that smile needs to fall away and she needs to be ready to throw down.

    I agree that she should have tee'd off on Bliss. I think that's what she's missing; a willingness to go a little dark when she needs to. She's smiling, she's happy to be there, she's a hugger but when you push her buttons right she'll beat your ass just like anyone else if you push them hard enough.

    There's a certain naivety in her starry-eyed hugger gimmick that a heel could exploit and I like. Sort of like Sting constantly being betrayed, but being that pure babyface that just had to trust. WWE haven't done nearly enough of that. Someone like the heel Mickie James could have used her starstruck demeanor to her advantage, but WWE didn't capitalize on anything like that.
    Last edited by Team Farrell; 01-08-2018 at 12:17 PM.

  11. #11
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    I never thought she was that vanilla. Certainly not in NXT anyway. There was all sorts of nuances going on there. They just disappeared when she got to the main roster. But you need to slow down and not just fire back so quick, because you still aren't getting what I am saying. This sentence is evidence of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powder View Post
    but how are you going to make a character, man or woman who is so vanilla, and so stereo-typically good without boring your audience?
    By writing it well. You can write good well, and you can write it badly. Bayley has been written badly. So have most of the 'white meat' babyfaces who have failed in the WWE, for that matter - Kevin Nash jumps immediately to mind but you can find plenty of others. But the common logic nowadays equates 'good guys' with boring and 'bad guys' with depth, and it's infuriating because it just isn't that simple.

  12. #12
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    In today's world, you cannot write a vanilla stereotypical babyface character and have him or her succeed. They all need some flaws and some mean streaks. Supergirl on the CW is evident of that. She is as good and wholesome as they come, but she still throws down, has a mean streak, and lets emotions get away from her. But she is as goody too shoes as they come.

    When was Kevin Nash a white meat babyface?

  13. #13
    The Brain
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    I agree with Prime. Superman was never boring because he was moralistic. He was boring because he's so powerful nobody has a shot against him. A moral character in an immoral world is very interesting to me, but only if written with an inkling of sense.
    Last edited by mizfan; 01-08-2018 at 12:35 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powder View Post
    In today's world, you cannot write a vanilla stereotypical babyface character and have him or her succeed.
    Forget it, man. You're not taking the time to think about what I'm saying (continued use of the words vanilla and stereotypical are enough proof of that) so I'm going to stop trying.

    Back to Oli's point, plenty of people like Bayley, and if they can find something that taps into what people will do people will get behind her. I have very little confidence that they will be able to do that now, though. It seems beyond them.

    This is an interesting point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Farrell View Post
    There's a certain naivety in her starry-eyed hugger gimmick that a heel could exploit and I like. Sort of like Sting constantly being betrayed, but being that pure babyface that just had to trust. WWE haven't done nearly enough of that. Someone like the heel Mickie James could have used her starstruck demeanor to her advantage, but WWE didn't capitalize on anything like that.
    Hadn't considered using that star struck thing but it's a cool idea.

  15. #15
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    The thing with Bayley is that wrestling has changed. Its audience has diversified.

    Her "white meat" character works...but it's not a character for me or you. It's a character for all of those little girls that are in love with her. She gives them someone to get behind when Charlotte or Sasha Banks aren't all that relateable to a child.

    Bayley is a little girl's gateway drug into professional wrestling.

  16. #16
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    What was great was that when she was in NXT, they got so much of that right that if you went to a live event, you saw as many fat older guys in Bayley shirts as you did young girls (at least you did here). They clearly aren't the target audience but that character was totally tapping into something that crossed over. And now that the writing quality isn't there anymore, it's lost those outside the core demographic.

  17. #17
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    ...to be fair, you see a pile of fat old guys in My Little Pony shirts too...

  18. #18

  19. #19
    They completely failed her. I don't see how that can even be up for discussion. Regardless of how you want to categorize Bayley's character in NXT, the fact is she was (at times easily) one of the most over performers on the show thanks to the in ring work, the way she could maintain her fan girl character while also shifting into more serious territory when needed (the Sasha feud, the Asuka matches) and the fact that NXT booking always hid her flaws, treated her as a big deal and built up her big moments accordingly. Not a single lick of what made her successful in NXT has been done since her call up. Bayley has a long, satisfying buildup to become NXT Women's Champion? Let's throw the belt on her on a random RAW with little build so we can pop the audience for one week. Bayley's a girl who loves the business? Let's mock her for it and throw in some bullshit about Bayley never kissing a boy (I still don't understand what that shit was about). Throw in WWE making her cut promos (not her strong suit) and having Alexa completely and utterly humiliating her during their feud (with no follow up to get Bayley's heat back) and we're now supposed to be surprised it didn't work? This is all on WWE. They took a talented performer who could've been absolutely huge and blew it because a) they have a hard on for Alexa (a really strong mic/character performer who has since gotten exposed big time in ring) and b) they have no clue what they're doing.

    This makes it all the more unfortunate that the options for women outside of WWE are slim. We all know how Impact is viewed, ROH's women's division is still in the midst of a very slow roll out, Lucha Underground isn't around long enough to give steady work, New Japan has no women's division and the best Joshi promotion out there (Stardom) isn't on a level that most fans will know how to keep up with a Bayley if she were to leave. It gives very few options for someone like Bayley, which means she pretty much as to take WWE's abysmal booking of her, sit back and hope that Vince and them eventually get it right. Just like the rest of us with the whole thing really. Pretty ironic given her character.


  20. #20
    I beat up Kong! Powder's Avatar
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    And this guy...


  21. #21
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    The thing with the kendo stick match is remarkable - Alexa essentially squashed her in that, as I recall, all because Bayley couldn't take the 'dark' route. I thought they were playing it off like they did with Neville/Zayn in NXT, where he didn't use the title and take a shortcut but won on his own terms in the end. But then they flipped that and it seemed to be the start of unravelling here. Not to mention that she debuted and didn't have any of the struggles she had in NXT - I think those were key to the groundswell of support she got there, to be honest, the losing streak and the failing at her first attempt at the title (Charlotte vs Bayley still gets me right in the chest) only to pick herself up and come back again for it, beating all the competition that had previously kept her down.

    And, like, she had that mean streak in NXT - it just wasn't portrayed by her breaking the rules or doing anything dark. Look at when she took the title in Brooklyn, it wasn't by bending the rules but it was by breaking out a poisoned Frankensteiner off the top rope, getting up, tightening the side pony and belly-to-Bayleying Sasha. That was her mean streak, it was getting it done in the ring on her terms, and doing so my toughening up.

    I get the Cena comparison, given that she's clearly appealing to a younger demographic, but to be honest I saw a lot more in Bayley than just that.

    My way of turning it around is, to be honest, start from scratch with her. She's not doing anything right now, so have her go on a losing streak, make her question whether she can do this. Get her a couple of backstage sit down interviews with Cole, pre-taped so they can work around any kinks if necessary, where she opens up about how this is all she wanted, she stood at the top of the mountain, defended the title at WrestleMania, but is now questioning whether she has the strength and ability to keep going because the losses are knocking her back. Maybe even do that Roddy Strong thing they did in NXT where they show us her history and how she always wanted to do it. I know it's ground that's been trodden, but there's no reason to not show the working again. And then have her come out of those and start to build up little wins before moving up the women's card.

    I think if they play the long-game with Bayley, they can reconnect her with the fanbase and get some crowd support going for her even with an extended period of losses. NXT helped with that because it wasn't every week she was losing, just given the nature of the programming being an hour a week.

    Break her down and build her back up. There's a lot of stagnation in the women's division right now (especially on Raw, where Alexa (who I like and think is very, very good) has had the title for nearly 250 days with only an 8 day period where it was Sasha's) and it doesn't feel like anyone is actually growing.

    Actually, I'd suggest starting the process by having Absolution take her out. I mean, out out - through an announce table beat down or similar. Get her off screen for a while with an 'injury'.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    And, like, she had that mean streak in NXT - it just wasn't portrayed by her breaking the rules or doing anything dark. Look at when she took the title in Brooklyn, it wasn't by bending the rules but it was by breaking out a poisoned Frankensteiner off the top rope, getting up, tightening the side pony and belly-to-Bayleying Sasha. That was her mean streak, it was getting it done in the ring on her terms, and doing so my toughening up.
    Quite right, couldn't agree with this more than I do.

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