Few WWE stars have become fan favorites as quickly as Bayley, who made an unforgettable appearance at WWE Battleground before her long overdue jump to the WWE main roster. Before the California native's hometown Raw appearance, and on the eve of the release of WWE 2K17, Bayley spoke with Fox Sports about her whirlwind 2016, gaming in the WWE locker room, and her most awkward hug.
FS: You’re a playable video game character for the first time in your career in WWE 2K17, what’s it like seeing your virtual self in a game?
Bayley: It’s amazing, I can’t believe how much detail they got - my ponytail and my gear. They actually even picked one of my favorite sets of gear, because I love that bright green, and to actually have the tassles on there, I was hoping they would get one with my tassles so I was really excited to see that. I’ve seen videos of my entrance and short clips from matches , they really got everything down to a T and it’s really cool.
FS: Did you ever create yourself in older games?
Bayley: Oh yeah. But I was such a tomboy, I would always create myself as a guy, because I always thought like - sometimes I would create women, but for some reason I was creating myself as a guy, I wanted to be a different version of the Hardy Boyz. So I would just be like the third Hardy Boy, and I would always create someone who was a mixture of Jeff and Matt. I kind of just wanted to be the Hardy Boyz’s sister, but they already had Lita, so I [had] to be the third member. I would always create the same one every year.
FS: You tweeted a photo a few weeks ago of a Nintendo 64 with No Mercy, is that still a go-to for you?
Bayley: It’s one that I always loved to play when I was younger. When I had the N64, that was a friend’s system, so I was like ‘we have to play No Mercy,’ and it’s just as good as I remember, it’s so amazing. One of my favorite games though when I was growing up was WCW Thunder. For some reason I just loved everything. I loved being the Steiner Brothers, and I loved their little pop when you picked them. Goldberg’s on the [back] cover [of WWE 2K17] this year and I used to play as Goldberg all the time, so it’s really cool that now I’m on a game with Goldberg.
FS: We see a bit of this on Xavier Woods’ Up Up Down Down channel, but are there any video game rivalries in the WWE locker room between stars?
Bayley: A lot of the guys, they’re really into it, and it has a lot to do with Woods and his video game show because now they can play each other on his show - everybody wants to be competitive with each other. And now I notice since the cruiserweight division started up on Raw, TJ Perkins is there with his system as well. He’s really into video games so now I imagine it’s going to get even crazier, but it makes it so fun to kind of step away from wrestling for a second and get into these video games.
FS: One of the most fun things about WWE games is the ability to make whatever match you want featuring the current roster and WWE legends. What would be your all-time WWE dream match?
Bayley: I have a few, but No. 1 that comes to mind right now would be … I would team with Macho Man and we would take on Sasha Banks and Eddie Guerrero. If I were to have a match with Lita, I would make that a championship ladder match.
FS: The Raw roster just returned from a tour of South America. What was that experience like for you?
Bayley: It was so incredible. Those fans were… there were hundreds of fans at the airport, hundreds were at the hotel, and they were so passionate. They were very… handsy, but not like aggressive or dangerous or anything like that, they were just so excited to see everyone. You could see the love on their face when every single person walked out, and they chanted everyone’s name. I don’t know how to explain it…. for myself personally I was super surprised how much everybody knew who I was being the newest member to the roster, and how excited they were to see me. That was just very humbling.
I can’t wait to go back, because we had two sold-out shows in Santiago (Chile), so I think that’s a good sign that we should be going back more often.
FS: You mentioned fans being handsy, and part of your character is that you give out hugs to everyone. Has that ever put you in an awkward or weird situation before?
Bayley: No, because the fans love the hugs and they want to take pictures and they want me to hug them, and I have no problem with that.
The only thing that I could ever think about, which turned out to be a joke on me, was …. we were at the [WWE Performance Center], we were doing that PC All-Access show where the fans come in and we’re able to hang out and eat lunch with them, they can watch a show and all the stuff like that. There was one fan who just kept coming up to me and was like ‘yeah, I like really weird hugs, so lets see how many weird hugs I can get in a row.’ And I was like ‘uhhh OK yeah sure.’ And he just came up and had his arms in different positions and was squeezing me for an awkwardly long time, and I was like ‘is anyone else seeing this?’
Come to find out he was the actor from Swerved.
FS: What’s the biggest difference in your day to day life since making the jump from NXT to main roster?
Bayley: Aside from being able to travel to different places a lot more…. honestly with NXT, we only had one day off, we had Sundays off. We trained every single day and we had three shows a week, and we only had Sundays to kind of do all of our errands and stuff like that. Now with the brand split we have an extra day, so I have more days off than I did with NXT and that’s been super helpful because there’s so much that I need to do now that I’m not home every night.
FS: What’s been the most surreal moment of your time on the main roster?
Bayley: I think Battleground, I mean that wasn’t like an official debut, but I think Battleground was something that… being able to open the show, open a WWE pay-per-view and have that support from the fans like I did. And I… I’m a loser, so like looking at Sasha’s face, I wasn’t able to look at her down the ramp because I think I would get emotional just seeing her. She just seemed so happy and genuine that we were able to have this experience together. And the fact that everybody trusted me to be in that position… I was a little worried that people were going to be disappointed that I was the mystery partner, but as soon as I got out there I was like ‘man, this is amazing.’
FS: You mentioned a dream ladder match earlier, do you think having women compete in things like Hell in a Cell matches or ladder matches is kind of the natural progression for women’s wrestling? Do you want to compete in matches like that?
Bayley: That’s definitely something I’d love to see in the future. That’s like another level. We’ve just started to make strides on having these huge matches and the women having the main event spot of Monday Night Raw like they did last week, so I think that’s kind of gonna be the next step. We want to start main eventing pay-per-views, main eventing WrestleMania someday. We want all the opportunities that the men have, and we want to be able to be put in those situations and know that we can handle it. I think if they… Hell in a Cell is a huge deal, if they wanted to start off small and maybe put us in a cage match or something, that’d be cool, but I know that’s something we all want to be a part of.
FS: The most important question... who has the best friendship on Raw? Jericho and Owens? The New Day? Bayley and Sasha?
Bayley: It’s Bayley and Sasha, for sure. Don’t tell anyone though.