Editorial Columns

Does Heel Bayley Work?

Josh Bannister argues the case that Bayley’s recent heel may not be working.

On the 1st September edition of RAW, Bayley sent shockwaves throughout the WWE Universe when she turned heel on Becky Lynch, destroying her with a Steel Chair as her best friend Sasha Banks looked on approvingly.

As the crowd erupted in raucous cheers, Bayley admired her handiwork as Lynch writhed in pain on the canvas before she left with Sasha, apparently having turned to the dark side. Three weeks have now passed so let’s ask the all-important question: Does Bayley as a heel work?

There were some people, your writer included, who thought that Bayley as a heel would be nothing but an unmitigated disaster. However, to her credit, Bayley has tried her hardest to make subtle character changes, most of which have worked. She’s added an extra edge to her offence and is clearly having the time of her life in the role. As good as she is, however, there are a few problems with Bayley as a heel.

One of the major problems is Sasha Banks. She had only recently returned herself, and had finally turned heel again, first attacking Natalya and then Becky Lynch as The Boss finally unleashed her inner bitch. Bayley becoming on-screen best friends with her makes sense. After all, they have been linked throughout their time together in NXT as well as the main roster. They have had classic matches both as a tag team and against one another, and they obviously have major chemistry together.

However, Sasha shines as a heel, to a point where it’s starting to harm Bayley. What Bayley needed to do is establish herself as her own dominant heel over on Smackdown first, and then maybe join Sasha after they had both dominated RAW and Smackdown for a while. Now, Bayley seems to just be Sasha’s lackey, which is no way to treat the Smackdown Women’s Champion.

Another problem is that now Bayley is heel, there’s only Becky Lynch as a top-level female babyface on either brand. In theory, that should lead to one of the lower level females (Naomi, Liv Morgan, Dana Brooke, Kairi Sane etc) to step up and challenge Bayley. However, Bayley ended up facing another heel in Charlotte Flair at Clash of Champions. You can see the reasoning. Charlotte was owed a rematch after losing her title to Bayley at Money in the Bank, and it was in Charlottes home state of North Carolina. However, the match itself was terrible. It only lasted a few minutes and Bayley got very little offence in and had to resort to cheating to retain her title. As good as Charlotte is, why couldn’t this have been Kairi Sane or Naomi? WWE should have used this opportunity to grant a title match to a rarely used babyface, someone who could have really benefited from a PPV match. I know they are probably building to a Four Horsewomen Fatal 4 Way match somewhere down the line, likely at Wrestlemania. But Mania is months away. A Kairi Sane vs Bayley feud could have done wonders for both Bayley and Sane. Sane would have gotten great exposure and a chance to show off her amazing move set, and Bayley could have done wonders as a vicious no-nonsense heel who enjoys beating people up. It could have been a win-win for WWE and for Bayley.

As bad as WWE’s booking of Bayley has been, Bayley herself has been great so far as a heel. She is clearly having the time of her life as a heel, and it’s nice to see her adding more layers to her character, which having spent all her WWE career as a babyface, had grown boring and stale. Her moves now have an extra edge to them, and she is growing more confident on the mic every week.

She’s using classic heel logic to justify her heel turn, saying that she did it for the fans, and she’s still the same person the fans all know and love. It may have been done countless times before, but there is a reason why WWE keep using it. Its effective and fantastic storytelling, which allows wrestlers to keep the majority of what made their persona great, whilst making a few miniscule changes to solidify their new heel character. If Bayley keeps continuing to produce great results, and if (and it’s a big IF) WWE book her correctly, then Bayley could go on to become an amazing heel.

At the end of the day, maybe it’s far too soon to be judging Bayley as a heel. She’s only 3 weeks into a heel turn, something she has never done before. She’s learning on the job, something that’s hard to do if it’s your first time doing it.

So far, it’s been a mixed bag, with Bayley herself shining, but the booking of her so far has been average at best. She’s been good, but she’s still got a long way to go before she becomes a great heel.

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You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!

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