Bayley's change from a big babyface to her current character was a gamble for her, but it was one she was ready to do.
Back in 2019, Bayley underwent a change in her character that saw her become the longest reigning SmackDown Women's Champion in history as well as re-capture the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship. Appearing on "The New Day: Feel The Power" podcast, Bayley said it was time for her to grow out of the babyface character she was in for a long time as she felt like she was growing up and didn't want to be the same character for the duration of her WWE career.
"I think because I've been that character for so long, as much as it was me, it all felt kind of real with my age and what I was doing with my life and my career literally growing up. I started as a super bubbly babyface and just in awe of being there, like a kid with a ponytail. But then, when I felt myself growing up having these championship matches at NXT, winning the title in Brooklyn to being the leader of the locker room when Sasha, Charlotte and Becky were called up. It was a gradual growth, a real life thing. Once it took a couple of years, I kept seeing that it was time for a change and just didn't want to be the same character or the same person for the rest of my career. I felt like I had more to give. I didn’t think they would give me that chance until I had this random thing where I hit Becky with the chair and I cried when I lost the title at Hell In A Cell like, ‘I can’t go back to being the same person.’ So I really fought for the change and for everything to kind of take my career in a different direction," Bayley said.
Bayley admitted that it was a scary undertaking going through such a drastic character change, but did say it was the best decision she could have made for her career. Whereas the first several years of Bayley's WWE career was more dedicated towards the fans, Bayley wanted to take the time with this new character and make it more about her.
"Honestly, it’s been the scariest decision and the best decision I ever made and I’m so happy that they allowed me to do that. I just feel like the first seven years of my WWE career, I dedicated it to the fans and give back to the little kid me and how I wanted to be like a hero to those kids. But I feel like this end of my career is now just about me and now I need to do what I need to get to that next level and I can’t be down here anymore. I needed to get to that next level. I needed to be like, ‘I just don’t care about them. I care about me and what I am gonna do to succeed and it fit perfectly.’ In this crazy, crazy pandemic world that we live in the past year with no fans, it just kind of fit perfectly when I finally shut off the fans. ‘I don’t need you guys anymore. I did what I did for you guys. I did what I could. Now I need to focus on me.” I don’t have to pay attention to them. It was a focus on me and no one else in the arena. I can focus on my opponent and my character, so it felt like the perfect time for me and it worked out this year where I can focus on what I need to do to become a different performer but also make sure I’m at that level and people see me in that light," Bayley said.
The full podcast can be heard at this link. If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Fightful for the transcription with an H/T to "The New Day: Feel The Power" podcast.