“All I could do was cry. I was crying because of everything I’ve been through to get there, how I got there, who I was in there with, how many people were there with us, how important it was and because I was literally living the dream.”
These reflective words of Bayley recount her emotional reaction to winning the NXT Women’s Championship just two weeks ago. In an unprecedented event for the brand, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn represented the largest crowd to ever view a live NXT event, with nearly 16,000 strong packed inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Even more astounding? The co-main event featured a much-anticipated match-up between then-Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and the challenger and No. 1 contender, Bayley.
“It was a huge honor, It was an accomplishment in itself that the company would trust me in a spotlight like that. Sasha and I are officially a part of history.”
In what was her first trip to Brooklyn, New York, Bayley decided to forego the opportunity to sightsee, opting instead to keep to herself. The day before the match, Bayley’s activities consisted of watching tape, eating well-portioned, nutrient-rich meals and pushing through an extended late-night cardio session to prepare her for the rigors to come in less than 24 hours.
“In the past two championship matches I felt like I may have let some fans down who believed in me because I just couldn’t get it done,” she revealed. “I felt like my family just felt sorry for me because I couldn’t get the big one. I needed to prove to them and to myself that I could accomplish my dreams.”
Since making her NXT debut nearly three years ago, Bayley’s support among the NXT faithful has been nothing short of prodigious. While labeled a super fan for much of her NXT career, the San Jose, Calif.-born Diva continually displayed the one intangible that seemingly endeared her to the entire NXT Universe. Some might say it was that continued support from the NXT Universe that helped propel Bayley toward the moment that she would stand behind the curtain, just seconds away from entering the biggest match of her career.
“I was confident before I walked out there but so nervous that I was sick to my stomach, I couldn’t even watch the promo package leading into the match because I was so emotional.”
The pre-match nervous confidence would only be trumped by the glee of accomplishing the improbable. The moment the referee’s hand slapped three, Bayley shed her role as the proverbial bridesmaid, instead becoming the bride and, more importantly, NXT’s new Women’s Champion.
“It was one of the most overwhelming moments in my life, It may be the most magical moment I’ll ever have in wrestling or life. Hearing the crowd react like that was something I’ve never heard before. After the match, Vince McMahon shook both our hands. Everyone was giving us hugs. Triple H, Stephanie and even my favorite Diva, Lita, were there to say how proud they were of us. It was just amazing.”
That night, Bayley celebrated her victory with a special dinner alongside her siblings, mother and boyfriend. Taken aback by the number of text messages and phone calls she received after winning the Women’s Title, Bayley admitted it still feels weird to see the championship gold in her bag.
What doesn’t feel weird is knowing that the dream has been attained and the mission accomplished.
“I want every single person out there with a dream, no matter what it is, to know that it is possible,” she said. “And it’s possible to do it your way, the way you believe in. Nobody can deny your heart. It sounds so cheesy, but Sasha Banks and I had the same dream since we were 10 years old, and wrestling brought us together to prove that anything you want to do is within reach! And it can be special. You just have to believe in yourself.”