San Jose, Calif.
Long before she was a SmackDown LIVE Superstar, Bayley was a 10-year-old superfan in San Jose, Calif., watching her favorites like Lita and Eddie Guerrero on TV. She decided then that she wanted to inspire fans the same way the Superstars of the ’90s and early ’00s did for her.
Not all that long ago, Bayley still aspired to do all those things, but late 2019 saw the former hugger undergo a jaw-dropping transformation from one of WWE’s most pure personalities into a win-at-all-costs, rule-breaking brawler.
When she turned 18, Bayley started to train for the squared circle, and after learning the ropes on the indies, she joined NXT’s burgeoning Women’s division in 2012. Unlike her contemporaries, she didn’t mirror Charlotte’s confidence, Sasha Banks’ swagger or Becky Lynch’s toughness. Instead, Bayley had an ever-present smile and an overwhelming enthusiasm that made it impossible to root against her.
She quickly inspired young ladies to wear side ponytails and grown men to embrace hugs. In 2015, she competed in the first 30-minute WWE Iron Man Match featuring two female competitors, defeating Banks to retain the NXT Women’s Championship and setting a new standard for the Women’s divisions in both NXT and WWE. She then went on to have classic showdowns against Asuka and Nia Jax before debuting on Raw on the night after SummerSlam 2016.
On Feb. 13, 2017, Bayley achieved a lifelong dream when she defeated Charlotte to win her first Raw Women's Championship, and two years later, she made history alongside Sasha Banks when they became the first WWE Women's Tag Team Champions by capturing the titles in an Elimination Chamber Match.
Bayley then moved to SmackDown LIVE in the 2019 Superstar Shake-up and immediately began mixing it up with the likes of Flair and Lynch. She even won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and cashed it in to defeat Charlotte for the SmackDown Women's Title on the same night.
She didn't hold the championship for long, however, and she had a major surprise up her sleeve for the WWE Universe during a title rematch on SmackDown. Bayley made her entrance with a cold new look in her eyes, produced an ax and slashed her beloved Bayley buddies to bits. The former Hugger turned her back on those who adored her and used her newfound edge to reclaim the championship from The Queen.
Bayley reunited with Banks, and the two ruled over Raw and SmackDown for several months, but the alliance was severed when they failed to regain the WWE Women's Tag Team Titles and Bayley ruthlessly assaulted Sasha after the bell. Despite her heinous actions, SmackDown still selected Bayley with their first overall pick of Night Two of the 2020 WWE Draft.
Despite losing her SmackDown Women's Title to Banks at WWE Hell in Cell, Bayley still looks poised to dominate the blue brand as "The Role Model" for a very long time.