2020 proved to be a banner year for Bayley. At the start of the year she was already WWE's first Grand Slam Champion, but thanks to her partnership with Sasha Banks and her year-long reign as SmackDown Women's Champion the San Jose native utterly dominated the Women's Division on both brands, consistently stealing the show over the summer with outstanding matches against Asuka before finally giving fans a long-awaited feud with "The Boss."
She discussed her WWE tryout recently on the New Day's podcast. It was an interesting story, and she told a surprising bit about how she was forced to change outfits because what she was wearing was deemed to revealing.
"So, my tryout was in LA - they had a warehouse out there. It was a three-day tryout, so I hadn't even seen FCW; I hadn't been there. I've only seen it in pictures or short videos. On my first day, I just remember seeing that all the walls were black and it was a little grungy. I liked it. There were three rings, and I was in so much awe," recalled Bayley.
"There were so many people because it was kind of small. We're passing all these people and I was already intimidated. I would say the main thing I realized throughout the years was to be comfortable in your skin and just realizing I didn't have to be this big old diva or model, which was what I was really scared of.
"[The writers] said, 'Wear something presentable' and I bought this dress that I thought was going to get me noticed. They made me go change because I was showing way too much cleavage. It was not me at all. I just thought that's what they wanted."
Bayley's signing was in 2012. This was before the women's division was presented with a focus on athleticism as it is today. Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and others helped bring about that change.
At the time of her tryout, Bayley was playing into what WWE was looking for at the time with their female stars.
"I remember them pulling me aside and they're like, 'You need to change. What you're wearing is unacceptable.' I'm like, 'What do you guys want from me?!' I was so unsure of where I was going to fit and how it was going to happen. I was pretty sure I was going to get fired," Bayley said.
"In that first month too, AJ [Lee] and Dolph [Ziggler] were on one of our shows. She pulled me aside and gave me this long talk about being myself, meeting the company halfway, and somewhere in the middle you're going to find who you are and how it's going to work. So, that's when I had the whole epiphany of letting me just be me, figure out the best that I can, and wrestle. That was kind of how the transition went.0comments
"It took a long while for me to feel comfortable with being there and not trying to put on a show. Now when I look back, I just wish that I was me from the beginning, because it took a long time. I don't know. I would just say it's been a long trial and error of me just being-- just be yourself and you're going to be okay. If you're not, at least you had fun being you instead of being under pressure and feeling weird this whole time."
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.