Bayley Beats Alexa Bliss, Retains SmackDown Women's Title at Stomping Grounds

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss at WWE Stomping Grounds on Sunday to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship in her first pay-per-view title defense.

With Bayley down on the mat, The Goddess climbed to the top rope for Twisted Bliss. However, Nikki Cross entered the ring and inadvertently distracted her friend.

Although Bliss fought off Bayley and repositioned herself for the move, the champion got her knees up to counter. That gave her the opening to hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for the win.

While Bayley and Bliss have plenty of history, their latest rivalry essentially came from out of left field since the latter is technically part of the Raw roster.

The Wild Card Rule allowed her to appear on SmackDown, and she was entered into a Triple Threat match for the No. 1 contendership. She beat both Charlotte Flair and Carmella, which established her as Bayley's opponent at Stomping Grounds.

Bayley experienced a whirlwind run to the top of the SmackDown women's division at Money in the Bank last month. After winning the women's titular ladder match, she successfully cashed in on Charlotte that same night to become the new SmackDown women's champion.

In the months leading up to her title win, The Hugger had been something of an afterthought in the women's division. She and Sasha Banks did become the first WWE women's tag team champions, but their reign was short-lived.

They dropped the titles to The IIconics at WrestleMania 35, which paved the way for Bayley to go off on her own on a singles run for the first time in months.

Bayley acquitted herself well in singles matches against Charlotte and Becky Lynch, which set the stage for her to become the new SmackDown women's champion.

Bliss' in-ring chances have been few and far between in recent months, but she has been a far more consistent presence in the ring over the past several weeks. She has also continued to further her manipulative and conniving heel character.

She planted the seed in Cross' head that Bayley isn't who she claims to be, and the Scot started to believe it on Monday's episode of Raw after Bliss' run-in with The Hugger resulted in Bliss and Cross losing to The IIconics in a women's tag team title match.

Cross pledged to be in Bliss' corner at Stomping Grounds, which seemed to stack the deck against Bayley in her attempt to have a long and fruitful title reign.

Bayley managed to retain the belt at Sunday's pay-per-view despite the numbers disadvantage. But with Bliss, Cross and a host of others looking to knock her from her pedestal, she can ill afford to rest on her laurels.

However, there may also be some fallout in the friendship between Bliss and Cross after the Scot's interference cost The Goddess her title chance.

           

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