Examining Bayley's Strengths, Weaknesses and Long-Term Potential

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Examining Bayley's Strengths, Weaknesses and Long-Term Potential
Credit: WWE.com

Cuteness and being warrior-like are usually separate traits, but not in the case of NXT's Bayley.

The hug-loving, big-grinned prospect backs up her entertaining ways with the ability to kick ass in the ring. She's far from the prototypical Diva that WWE has preferred in the past, but she's an asset to the company, a future champion and the kind of wrestler who inspires fervent fan clubs.

She laid her strong in-ring foundation during her time at Big Time Wrestling and Shimmer as Davina Rose.

NXT has since packaged her as one of the most irresistible characters at WWE developmental. At just 24 years old, Bayley hasn't yet reached her full potential. She is already winning fans over in a big way, though.

 

Strengths

Good luck trying to fight off Bayley's charms.

As a starstruck fangirl and lover of hugs and pogo sticks, Bayley is thriving. Hers is one of the most entertaining gimmicks at either NXT or WWE. It's a marketable one, too, that bursts with fun and already has its own hashtag, "#huglife."

Her character will stand out in a division filled with catty women, even with Emma's bubbly shtick around. Her act is inherently enjoyable, and it allows her to be funny, endearing and memorable.

Even in something as banal as a video tour of the outside of the WWE Performance Center, Bayley is a delight. Working alongside AJ Lee in a backstage segment, she achieves the same results.

Bayley challenges AJ, sort of.

Her bit with the Divas champ was funny, and she exuded stage presence, flourishing in a role that many prospects would have stumbled with.

She'll fit in perfectly on Raw and SmackDown among all the silliness and comedy acts of the current era. Kids will dig her goofiness. Some young girls will see themselves in her. 

In her performances so far, she's shown a great sense of comfort on stage, becoming her character just as much as Mike Dalton has become Tyler Breeze and Windham Rotunda has morphed into Bray Wyatt.

The gimmick travels with her in the ring. Her exaggerated naivety and exuberance are infused into her matches. That leads to easier storytelling between the ropes.

In a match against AJ, she tried to hug her foe mid-match and after attacking her showed concern, becoming distracted from the purpose of the bout. Moments like those will make for amusing action.

The end of Bayley's title bout against AJ.

Bayley is not just a goofball gimmick, though.

She's a well-rounded wrestler whose indy experience shows up when she goes to battle. Her speed, strength and mat wrestling skills are better than many of the Divas on the main roster.

While women like The Bella Twins and Aksana have been working to slowly learn the complexities of pro wrestling after careers in modeling and bodybuilding, respectively, Bayley has been wrestling since she was a teenager.

In matches, like her collision with Paige, that's clear.

Bayley takes on Paige.

She sells extremely well here, writhing in pain with just the right level of theatrics. She moves smoothly in the ring and hits moves like a flying elbow and a modified exploder suplex in impressive fashion.

With performances like that, she'll elevate the WWE Divas division like her peers Paige and Emma are capable of doing. Possessing excellence in the ring, charm, comic timing and a successful gimmick leave very little to criticize about Bayley.

 

Weaknesses

Regarding her ring game, what needs the most improvement is her inconsistent striking.

Divas matches aren't known for their intense blows, but should she want to stay at Paige's level, it's an area she must focus on. Against Alicia Fox, she broke free from a hold and began to tag her with right hands.

They were ineffective punches that didn't look realistic enough.

Bayley hits Alicia Fox with right hands.

Later in the match, she hit a number of forearms, some of which were excellent, while some seemed to miss. It almost seems as if she is holding back at times.

While her gimmick doesn't make Bruiser Brody-like aggression a requirement, weak striking will lower the quality of her matches. With as little time as WWE gives its Divas to perform, every move counts more.

Aside from tightening up her overall in-ring performance to avoid the occasional sloppy move, like her sunset flip against Summer Rae, there is little to nitpick about her ring work.

It's tradition and WWE's habit of sexualizing its female wrestlers that is most likely to hold her back.

She looks much more like an athlete than Brie Bella and is plenty adorable, but like Paige, she's a poor fit for photo shoots like the "Divas Day Off" series. Summer is more of the mold that WWE has leaned on in the last few years. 

Bayley would look silly trying to be sexy while eating breakfast in bed.

Credit: WWE.com
Summer Rae in Divas Day Off photo shoot

It's just not her style. Perhaps that means WWE hesitates to bring her up, as she's not the right candidate for donning sexy Halloween outfits or showing leg as Mrs. Claus.

If the company is smart, though, it will portray Bayley as more of a role model to young girls and less of a piece of eye candy.

 

Long-Term Potential

Should officials want a fun character and talented wrestler to challenge AJ, feud with Paige or form a formidable team with Natalya, Bayley is ideal for the job. Should they want to focus more on women who can make the cover of Maximlike Eva Marie, the "Dr. of Huganomics" is likely to be stranded in NXT for a long time.

Given a true opportunity, count on her being extremely popular with WWE fans. She's too much fun not to catch on. 

Bayley's gimmick is ready for the main roster, and she has ring skills that would immediately push her past many of the Divas already there. 

Fan-made tribute to Bayley

Her character lends itself to a story along the lines of when Mickie James grew obsessed with Trish Stratus, leading to them battling at WrestleMania.

She's a sillier version of James' crazy fan character and a bubblier version of Emma.

A viable candidate to be Divas champion, Bayley is one of NXT's two can't-miss female prospects along with Paige. Her ceiling is serving as one of WWE's top Divas for years to come.

Put her on center stage and prepare for smiles and warmed hearts to ensue. She can make the audience fall in love with her as she fends off all the division's bad girls, all the while trying to solve her problems with hugs and having a blast.

 

Be sure to check out previous installments in this ongoing series:   

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