Bayley, the longest-reigning SmackDown girls’s champion in historical past, will attempt to get her championship again when she faces present titleholder Bianca Belair on the WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view on May 16 (7 p.m., Peacock). Before getting into the ring, WWE’s resident function mannequin took time for time Q&A with The Post’s Joseph Staszewski.
(Edited for readability and size)
Q: When you do a 180-degree character turn as you have, that’s not all the time one thing that works out for individuals. What has it meant to you as an expert and performer to have the success you might have and to have gotten the fan response with it and now you might be simply including layers on high of it?
A: It feels actually rewarding, you recognize, it’s sort of like I like rubbing it in everybody’s face that I used to be capable of pull this off. But I’ve to thank WWE and Vince [McMahon] actually for giving me the go-ahead and his blessing to do that. It’s one thing I’ve been eager about for years and, no, I didn’t suppose it was going to work out this manner. I had a completely totally different imaginative and prescient, however with the pandemic and us being in entrance of no followers and simply an empty area various things simply sort of flooded into my concept mind and totally different emotions got here out and in and it was simply was a extremely good mixture of like, OK this can be a completely totally different a part of my character that I can put into this character that I’ve been eager about for years. I prefer to suppose for me all of it labored out for a purpose and it’s simply been actually enjoyable to be one thing totally different. I need to have the ability to be somebody who did the whole lot within the WWE and didn’t simply sort of have a straight-through story.
Q: What was the totally different imaginative and prescient you had for the character?
A: Oh, I’m not telling you guys. What about if that comes later?
Q: What has it been like to decorate for SmackDown currently along with your hair and outfits the place possibly that’s not one thing you have been all the time afforded initially? Where did a few of the inspiration for these outfits come from?
A: I suppose from me. I believe for a very long time I used to be simply attempting to look a sure means, be a sure factor and nervous about what different individuals are doing or what’s going to they are saying about it. I simply sort of restricted myself for no purpose. Nobody’s telling me no. Nobody’s telling me I can’t do that, I can’t look a sure means, I can’t do this. So, I simply began doing issues I all the time wished to and no person’s saying something and I’m truly getting compliments and I’m like alright. It makes me really feel extra in character. It helps me go together with the entire thing. You seemed good, really feel good, really feel a sure means. You should be the entire bundle to painting these characters that we’re on TV.
Q: And the place are you getting a few of inspiration for a few of these seems?
A: From me. I’d say that the attention make-up might be the one factor I pulled inspiration from … I’m an enormous fan of Egypt and Egyptology. So I pulled inspiration from their fashion for make-up, however that’s about it.
Q: What’s it been like to inform this story with Bianca the place you might be working together with her on the best way up earlier than she’s champion at WrestleMania and now you get to have the rubber match on this feud together with her as champ on the other side of WrestleMania?
A: It’s been enjoyable to be sincere. I felt fairly pleased having the ability to do stuff together with her at the start of the yr after dropping the title. Still being on SmackDown after dropping the title in some kind of a narrative was a giant deal for me. I used to be actually proud of it. I clearly had a whole lot of enjoyable embarrassing her, beating her at basketball, beating her up with a basketball, pulling her hair, no matter it’s. And I’m going to have much more enjoyable beating her at WrestleMania Backlash.
Q: You have stated there isn’t anybody fairly like Bianca. How does having somebody together with her bodily attributes, the various things she will do within the ring, add to a few of the storytelling you are able to do?
A: She simply has the power to sort of do all of it. You know that she’s very succesful and even at WrestleMania you noticed with the stress and her inexperience, she remains to be capable of deliver top-level sport to that match. It takes two to tango and all of us notice how nice Sasha [Banks] is however Bianca actually introduced her personal. To me, it’s actually good to see any individual who hasn’t been within the enterprise very lengthy and is ready to decide issues up in a short time.
Q: How totally different was it so that you can not have a WrestleMania match to organize for?
A: Well, it sucked as a result of that’s everybody’s favourite time of the yr. But, I’m gonna say that is the final interview I’m going to speak about WrestleMania as a result of I’ve lastly put it to peace. I may solely be upset about it for thus lengthy, however I used to be capable of present up Hulk Hogan, present up Titus O’Neil. I obtained embarrassed by the Bella Twins, no matter. I obtained to be on each exhibits of WrestleMania and I obtained to sit down again and take within the followers slightly extra as a substitute of simply being wired.
Q: With Hulk and Titus, was it enjoyable to inject your character in WrestleMania that solution to have a two-day story arc of simply packages within the again this time?
A: For me, it’s cool as a result of I used to be by no means one to be good in entrance of a digicam and everybody who’s seen me after I first obtained signed to WWE is aware of that. I did additional courses with Dusty Rhodes. I did additional promo work. I did additional the whole lot to get comfy and it took me a very long time. The incontrovertible fact that they trusted me on the largest stage of all of them with somebody like Hulk Hogan. I really feel like that’s a cool pat on my again that I can all the time say I’ve achieved and now I’ve actually achieved all of it at WrestleMania just about. So, yeah, it’s cool whenever you have a look at it that means.
Q: You talked about how you weren’t comfy doing promos early on and now you might have your personal discuss present (Ding Dong, Hello). Could you might have ever imagined that occuring and being on condition that freedom and belief?
A: I by no means anticipated that. That’s one of many issues I’ve to actually remind myself of if I get mad at myself for one thing or I’m dissatisfied in myself for an additional factor. It’s like dude, look how far you’ve come, you couldn’t even discuss in entrance of a digicam with out breaking down into tears since you have been so nervous and now you might have your personal discuss present they usually (WWE) make some extent to make it essential. It’s loopy to suppose how far I’ve come. I actually have a whole lot of enjoyable with it as a result of earlier than I simply wished to wrestle and now I’m having fun with all these character issues.
Q: What do you consider what Alexa Bliss has been doing? It’s sort of the primary time we’ve seen this sort of supernatural kind character within the girls’s division.
A: It’s cool. I simply wouldn’t wish to replicate any Bray Wyatt tales, so if I have been to be in a narrative together with her or go into one thing together with her I’d stress myself out attempting to make it totally different in a roundabout way. It’s cool to see her do one thing like that as a result of I bear in mind when she first got here to NXT, when she first obtained signed to FCW and I’m like, oh this little woman’s fairly athletic and he or she’s like I did this, this and this. She wore sparkles and spit out pixy mud. She’s a whole 180 on what he’s now.
Q: Is there room for a couple of function mannequin in professional wrestling?
A: (Shakes her head no)
Q: You and (AEW’s function mannequin) Britt Baker have had slightly enjoyable forwards and backwards on social media. Does that profit all people as a result of it will get followers engaged speaking in regards to the two of you?
A: I like Britt. She’s superior and the whole lot she’s doing is de facto cool, so I can’t even hate on her. I’ve heard a podcast the place she talked about it and there’s no arduous emotions, there’s no disrespect and I solely need the most effective for her as a result of as a task mannequin that’s the way you’re imagined to react to those kind of issues. So, go get ’em Britt Baker.