Current WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, has been fortunate enough to be a part of many historic moments in WWE and its Women’s Evolution. Recently, she was able to achieve another milestone as she became the first woman in WWE history to defend her Championship when she faced Naomi at WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Speaking exclusively with Sports Illustrated, Bayley commented on how much the match meant to her and the research that she did going into the event to understand the current climate of women in sports in Saudi Arabia.
“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," said Bayley. "And I saw Naomi ‘Feel the Glow’ signs and I saw an ‘I Came for Bayley’ sign. I was in awe they were so excited to see a storyline-driven match. 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.”
Continuing on, Bayley talked about remaining grounded and her new heel persona, admitting that it is sometimes hard when the historic opportunities she is given can cause her to be very emotional
“My sister always tells me to take a moment, so there was a moment was I stopped and thought, ‘Holy crap, I’m defending my title in Saudi Arabia,’” she continued. “But I can’t go into Pam too much. I just get too emotional.
"When I was a kid, I played sports. I played sports all through high school. I hope little girls watch us and think, ‘I want to be a soccer star,’ or ‘I want to be a basketball star,’ or ‘I want to be a WWE star.’ That’s how I look at it. These girls in Saudi Arabia are seeing something right in front of them they wouldn’t have seen a year ago.”
You can read the full interview at this link.