Current SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley recently did an interview with Sports Illustrated to talk about her heel turn, WrestleMania, wrestling in Saudi Arabia, and more. Check out the highlights below.
On turning heel:
I wanted a new challenge. I did the same character for so long and the same style of wrestling. At some point, when you’re so familiar, you know what works. You know what’s going to get a reaction and what won’t. And if I stayed the same, I could only work with certain people.
On changing her look:
I knew how I wanted to look and how I wanted to approach things in my mind, but it turned out to be a lot harder for me than I imagined. Once I got my hair cut the morning of that SmackDown, it was a shock. I needed to get Sasha [Banks] to hold my hand. All I could see were eight inches of hair falling to the floor.
When I finally looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it. I kept asking myself if I made the right decision. It definitely was hard at first, especially for people who were so used to seeing me the way I was before. But I think it’s starting to work now and I’m having fun doing it.
On the possibility of facing Sasha Banks at WrestleMania:
If we were put in that position, there is no way we would let that slip through our fingers. I do believe one day we will get the opportunity to have a match at WrestleMania. It would be pretty crazy to have a one-on-one match at WrestleMania, but you need the story behind it. I would also love to include all the women on SmackDown. It’s kind of hard to say. I want to involve everyone, so bring them all to me. I’ll defend against all of them.
On wrestling in Saudi Arabia for the first time:
I didn’t know what to expect. Watching Lacey and Nattie’s match from last time, it was a very introductory match for a lot of fans who had never seen women’s wrestling. It was a great introduction to what we do, and I kind of thought that’s how it would go this time.
I did a lot of research beforehand to see what I was walking into as a female athlete, and I learned that a community all-women’s soccer team just started in Saudi Arabia, which was so cool. And I saw Naomi ‘Feel the Glow’ signs and I saw a ‘I Came for Bayley’ sign. I was in awe they were so excited to see a storyline-driven match.
On finally getting to wrestle Naomi:
I was very proud to be wrestling Naomi. That was our first singles match together, ever. She was a Funkadactyl, she had a WrestleMania match cut, she’s been part of the company for so long. She’s done so much, and sharing that moment with her was very special for me.