Becky Lynch seems to be the odds-on favorite to win the WWE Royal Rumble, but the winner doesn’t have to be the only star to emerge from the 30-woman match. The wrestler who lasts the longest can get a huge boost, and here’s why Bayley should be that superstar.
It has been quite the road back to prominence for Bayley, who heads into the WWE Royal Rumble Pay Per View as an afterthought to actually win the match. She was in the same position heading into last year’s Rumble, except this year, “The Hugger” is in a much stronger position.
Sasha Banks and Bayley are seen as the favorites to win the new Women’s Tag Team Championships at the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View in Houston on Feb. 17. Their chemistry is off-the-charts, and both women are widely seen as two of the most important superstars in WWE today.
Of course, Sasha’s importance is clear, as she’s a four-time Raw Women’s Champion who has a match at the Rumble for said championship against Ronda Rousey. The current champion, Rousey, has given Banks effusive, well-earned praise, and chances are both women will produce a Match of the Year candidate in front of the Phoenix crowd.
Bayley will have an important role at ringside, especially with the threat of interference from the likes of Shayna Baszler, but it is telling that she isn’t the one in the title match. In fact, she hasn’t had .a singles match for a championship since that infamous Extreme Rules 2017 match against Alexa Bliss.
But even though Bayley isn’t gunning for singles gold, she still needs to be seen as a threat. Because, you know, she is. This is the woman who defeated Banks in two title matches in NXT, putting her heart and soul on the line to defeat one of the scariest superstars in the company – a woman who had previously held that prestigious NXT Women’s Championship with aplomb.
Bayley beat her twice. And on the main roster, it was Bayley who defeated Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship, ended her PPV undefeated streak, and successfully retained that championship at WrestleMania against three other women – including Charlotte and Sasha, who had traded title wins back-and-forth in preceding months.
Those are Bayley’s roots, and it’s important for her fire and competitive brilliance to be showcased in something as chaotic as a Rumble match. Stars of the past, present, and future will be in this match, and Bayley has the opportunity to emerge as more than just an underdog by lasting longer than anyone else in this match; she would immediately remind fans of how great she is in her own right.
Of course, Sasha was last year’s “Ironwoman” in the Rumble, lasting approximately 55 minutes after entering at No. 1. Wouldn’t it be something if Bayley exceeded that 54:46 mark, giving the Boss’N’Hug Connection two Ironwomen in their tag match? The fact that Bayley had an emotional “Ironman Match” win over Sasha is worth mentioning, too, because if Bayley outlasted Sasha then, shouldn’t she outlast her now? After all, her skill-set and character traits make her more likely than anyone else to push past the pain and outlast the competition in a match.
When tagging with Banks, who truly is arguably the best women’s wrestler WWE has ever seen, it’s easy to get overshadowed. A more important point, though, is this: we don’t have to always compare them, and WWE can show fans that they are both at an elite level. That could be solidified by having Bayley last longer than any other woman in the Rumble this year.
Banks will undoubtedly shine in her title match with Rousey, and it’s an absolutely huge spot for her. So as the two make their march towards the Women’s Tag Team Championships in an effort to help – and they’ll have plenty of help from the likes of the IIconics and Riott Squad – make women’s tag team wrestling an important part of WWE programming, WWE should be interested in making both women look good.
As we have seen in the past, Bayley has the talent in the ring and the character outside of it to be an important superstar. WWE has to be more interested now than ever in building stars, especially win the women’s division. The fact that Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda feel like huge deals, particularly “The Man”, is a sign that WWE should keep trying to build their women into big stars. Asuka, Sasha, and Bayley are all talented wrestlers and well-liked people who can make that jump.
Both Asuka and Sasha have key title matches at the Rumble. And while Bayley shouldn’t win the Rumble over other candidates like Becky, Charlotte, or even rising star Ember Moon, she should have a killer performance.
Last month in a Gauntlet Match on Raw that was ultimately won by Natalya, Bayley didn’t manage to go all the way, but she did impress fans with her usual high standard of wrestling in 20+ minutes of action after opening the contest.
Hopefully, those 20-ish minutes were a teaser of a longer, more impactful performance on a bigger stage at the WWE Royal Rumble, because the promotion has a chance to continue to push Bayley in the right direction by setting her up for a big 2019 this month.
That nudge should begin at Chase Field.