We can probably all agree that WWE has something special in Bayley. As much as the company has come around when it comes to promoting women’s wrestling—just look at how big a part of Sunday’s pay-per-view they were—she’s still the only women in WWE who’s specifically marketed to young girls. Even previous heroes to that demographic, Lita and AJ Lee, were more of a happy accident. Properly presenting Bayley and maximizing her time portraying the character we know and love is key. Which is why the timing and presentation of her first ever Raw Women’s Championship win on Monday was… less than optimal.
Don’t get me wrong: It was a great moment. The way the finish built, with Dana Brooke interfering to make the fans want Sasha Banks to run out and even the odds, was fantastic. The crowd went nuts, and it was good TV. In a vacuum, it worked, and it put a smile on your face.
But you can’t book in a vacuum.
Let’s look at it this way: The plucky underdog hero of children won her first world title with outside interference—albeit to get back at the heel doing the same—on a random episode of Raw after minimal chase. While there was a pay-per-view this weekend, this wasn’t even technically a “post-pay-per-view” Raw because the big show of the week was from the other WWE brand, and as such, the moment will become less memorable over time. In other words, Bayley’s first title win, which should be the culmination of a long main roster program, was wasted on hot-shotting a good Nielsen rating.
You can’t get that back. Whenever Bayley loses the title to Charlotte to set up a big win at, say, WrestleMania, the build won’t be about her finally achieving her dream. She already did that. What we have ahead of us is likely a compressed version of Daniel Bryan’s chase going into WrestleMania 30, in which his previous reigns were conspicuously omitted from discussion and it was treated as if he was going for his first world title.
And that doesn’t even take into account that the match ending, while a great finish for a title change, was not the right finish for this specific title change. Even if the heel got what was coming to her, the virtuous babyface shouldn’t have to cheat for her first title win; she should overcome cheating. Down the line, this would have been a great finish to begin a second title run. But now, and with the spectre of a Sasha Banks turn looming over it, it cheapens the moment. Even if just a little bit.
David Bixenspan is a freelance writer from Brooklyn, NY. You can follow him on Twitter at @davidbixand view his portfolio at Clippings.me/davidbix.