During last night’s WWE Battleground pay-per-view event, Pamela Rose Martinez, aka Bayley, received one of the loudest (and most deserved) ovations. Bayley’s long been popular with fans who watch NXT – which is sort of a minor-league version of WWE that has developed many of its current biggest stars – because of her down-to-earth nature and optimism. Her bubbly personality is best summed up by her “I’m a Hugger” tee. This year, Kotaku even named her the future of the WWE based on her ability to be a role model and shero for young fans and adults. But even with all this hype, she didn’t make her main roster debut until Sunday night as Sasha Banks’ mystery partner, and fans were ready for it.
In anticipation of Bayley’s jump to the main roster, fans have been faked out a few times. In April, many hoped she’d debut the night after Wrestlemania on WWE Raw, since it’s traditionally a time when a few of the big prospects in NXT get the call. Unfortunately, fans got nothing, but they made it clear who they really wanted to see at WWE Raw. When Charlotte gave a speech as the the champion of the newly renamed women’s division, fans sang “Hey Bailey.” Charlotte tried to sing along, but it was awk.
Earlier this week, the WWE went through one of its brand splits – meaning it held a draft and sent part of its roster to Raw and the other part to Smackdown, which just began airing live on Tuesdays. Six of the draft picks came from NXT, but WWE passed over your girl Bayley once more.
While the WWE didn’t announce her as Sasha Banks’ mystery partner for last night’s match, many suspected it was finally her time. Even Sasha couldn’t contain her excitement. Before Bayley’s music hit, Sasha struggled to fight back a smile as the crowd chanted for who they hoped would be her mystery pick. One of the reasons Bayley is and will continue to be a wrestling star is because of her insane popularity with young girls, and cameras were at the ready to show just how eager this demographic is for the Bayley era.
Izzy, Bayley’s No. 1 fan from NXT, had the reaction you’d expect from someone seeing her idol have the biggest moment of her young career.
It’s not just the kids, though. The grown-ass adults in the audience went un-ironically crazy for her and Bayley’s peers (and boss) immediately took to social media to offer congratulations:
While Bayley is likely to remain in NXT in the short term, hopefully soon she’ll become a permanent member of the main roster, because her energy and positivity deserve as big a platform as possible. #HugLife