At the uber-controversial WWE Payback pay-per-view, Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley, becoming the first women's wrestler to become both the Raw and SmackDown Live Women's Champion. Bayley was defeated in her hometown of San Jose, California, despite being involved in local media throughout the week promoting the show and making herself look like a star.
As shown with Sasha Banks in Boston, Massachusetts, and Charlotte Flair in Charlotte, North Carolina, Vince McMahon has an odd fixation about WWE talents losing in their hometowns, especially babyfaces. His reasoning behind this, interestingly, is for the babyface to gain more sympathy after the match, particularly if the feud is scheduled to continue. However, on the next night on Raw in Fresno, California, Bayley also was on the losing end of a match, as her team including Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Sasha Banks was defeated by Alexa Bliss, Emma, Nia Jax, and Alicia Fox. Surprisingly out of the four babyfaces, Bayley was the one to get pinned.
Regarding the decision to make Bayley lose and make Bliss the champion at Payback, apparently, it was not an easy one. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, there were many variables that came into play which made the choice more difficult than normal to get the title off of Bayley. First, Bayley winning at Fastlane actually hurt her in the long run, as the backstage feel was that if she won initially at WrestleMania, she would have certainly entered San Jose with the title and would not have lost due to it being too early. However, having the title for two months was believed to be a good enough timeframe to do the typical ritual of the hometown name losing the match.
Another significant factor was the amount of flip-flopping WWE executives were doing regarding the finish, even hours before the match. According to the Newsletter, the call was to put Bayley over on Saturday afternoon. This was then changed early Sunday, and Bliss became the choice to win the match. The winner was then changed two more times on Sunday, shortly before the pay-per-view. Moreover, the actual conclusion of the match did not protect Bayley much, as she did not lose dirty. She fell victim to hitting her head on the post, and Bliss seized the opportunity by executing a DDT for the win and the title. Bliss actually received a quick pop for the title change, and did not do anything that would elicit boos from the crowd. She just simply beat the hometown girl and former champion. Overall, the constant switching of who was going to win had an effect on laying out the match in a way that made sense for both participants.
Bliss did ramp up her heel heat the next night on Raw, as she held a celebration of her being Raw Women's Champion as she was joined – reluctantly – by the rest of the women's roster on the Raw brand. This ended up with her stating very harsh and disrespectful words to Bayley about her losing in front of her family, which made Bayley so frustrated that she attacked her off the elevated platform that she was standing on. However, with the choice of the pinfall received during the eight-woman match, WWE may be changing the direction of who the top babyface is at the moment. Right now, the plausible candidates to face Bliss other than Bayley would be Sasha Banks and Mickie James.
Alexa Bliss heading into SummerSlam as the Raw Women's Champion is a possibility, but that has not been leading the discussion of what the match is going to be, come August. Still, the projection is that Bayley will compete against Sasha Banks for the title.
[Featured Image By WWE]