Bayley: From Fan to Superstar - Part 1

By Jon Waldman     October 11, 2016    

Photo: WWE, Inc.

Recently, sat down with WWE Superstar Bayley for a one-on-one chat. Below is part one of this exclusive interview.

Part 1: Growing up in the Stratusphere

If the effect of any Superstar's impact on the business is in the people they influence, then consider this a study in just how much of an impact Trish Stratus made in the world of sports entertainment; because while Trish was lighting it up in the ring en route to a Hall of Fame career in WWE, a young girl born in Newark, CA was falling in love with wrestling.

This girl loved the bright costumes of wrestlers like "Macho Man" Randy Savage and was enthralled by what women were doing in the squared circle, doing the kinds of things that were usually exclusive territory for men. This same girl made it her business to talk about her passion at school and just about everywhere else as she set her sights on a career in the ring. A few years later, after tolling on the independent scene and later becoming a Women's Champion in NXT, this same girl debuted on Raw to one of the most raucous standing ovations ever seen.

That girl is Bayley, one of the hottest stars in WWE today.

Bayley's future career in the ring was, as she explains, was affirmed when she saw how big the women in WWE were becoming. Though it was the "Macho Man", at the time in WCW, that caught her eye at first with his bravado and skill, Bayley's attention soon turned back to WWE which she had watched with her dad and brother and the women who were rising up the ranks that really turned her passion up.

"I was into WWF(E) during the whole Attitude Era. I was so obsessed with it," Bayley said in an exclusive interview. "It was The Rock and the Hardy Boyz, Lita, Trish and Victoria. Everything about it was so cool to me, and when I was 10, I had never felt about anything like that before."

Stephanie McMahon chats with »

When Trish and Lita broke out on their own and really started to gain the spotlight, Bayley thought that she indeed saw that she had a future in the ring.

"It was them that made me realize it was possible for a woman to be so successful in WWE," Bayley said. "We kind of watched them grow up through their time. Lita's first appearance, she was with Essa Rios as a valet, same as Trish who was a valet for a bit with T&A. Then we saw them having matches and getting better and better. They weren't having to be valets or having to be attached to any of the guys. It was just Trish and Lita and it was what people wanted to see.

"It just made you realize you can be successful in WWE. You saw that they didn't just want to be arm pieces and be part of the show. They wanted to be the show. That was when I realized it was possible to be a huge name with WWE."

All along the way, Bayley continued to watch WWE, particularly Trish, Lita and Victoria, who she calls, "my three girls." At times when WWE tours, fans get their opportunity to meet their heroes through public signings or private VIP events; Unfortunately for the young Bayley, however, she didn't have one of these encounters with Trish. It wasn't until many years later, whilst a rising star in NXT, that Bayley got to meet one of her idols.

"Honestly, the first time I met her was at WrestleMania 30, just backstage at one of the Axxess shows. She was so sweet!" Bayley recalled.

Though a meeting between the two didn't happen, Bayley vividly recalls the admiration she had for the seven-time Women's champ.

"Some of the stuff I remember about her is just what a huge personality she was. She was so entertaining," Bayley said. "Her stuff with Triple H and Vince... she was doing stuff no one else was on the entertainment side, and in her matches, she was so athletic. I know she had to prove a lot of people wrong because they saw her in that character."

READ: Part 2: Breaking out in WWE »

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