Charlotte Flair def. Bayley to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion

SACRAMENTO — The true test of a role model isn’t how they handle victory, but how they handle adversity. And Bayley unquestionably showed her mettle — if not always her sportsmanship — by evading Charlotte Flair to hold on to the SmackDown Women’s Championship over the last two months. But inevitability, and perhaps karma, caught up with The Hugger at WWE Hell in a Cell, where The Queen toppled her fellow Horsewoman to earn her 10th Women’s Championship, cementing herself atop the SmackDown pecking order just days before the WWE Draft.

Bayley clearly learned from the pair’s last bout at Clash of Champions, which was looking like a decisive victory for The Queen before Bayley landed a cheap shot. But she made the mistake of employing the same strategy as Charlotte, trying to take out The Queen’s leg for a seeming attempt at her own Figure-Four. Of course, as any role model should know, copying will never get you anywhere, and Charlotte dismantled The Hugger far more efficiently than Bayley did to her.

Charlotte also, crucially, seemed to anticipate Bayley’s dirty tricks before the champ could land them. No one wheels and deals like a Flair, after all, and Bayley’s confrontation with the ref after he caught her trying to pin Charlotte with her feet on the ropes gave The Queen the opening she needed. Charlotte instantly took Bayley to the mat, locked in the Figure-Eight Leglock and secured the submission victory.

To say the now-former champ took it poorly would be an understatement. Bayley pounded the steel steps and slumped at the bottom of the ramp, sobbing “Why does it always have to happen to me?” It doesn’t always have to happen to her, of course. Every role model knows that. But given that Bayley often retained her title through unscrupulous means against The Queen, it’s safe to say she might have delivered her most valuable lesson yet to the impressionable youths who watch her: What goes around, comes around.