NXT Women's Champion Bayley talks Detroit show

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 18:41:17-05

When WWE NXT makes its first trip to metro Detroit on Saturday, NXT Women's Champion Bayley will be among the superstars wrestling a match at Royal Oak Music Theatre.

Bayley, who has wanted to wrestle in WWE since she was 10 years old, has worked very hard to get to where she is today.

She began wrestling when she was 18 years old at the Big Time Wrestling school.

"I figured I'd wait until I as 18 years old because then my parents can't say no," Bayley said by phone on Thursday.

Because she had been going to Big Time Wrestling shows since she was 13, she knew all of the wrestlers and promoters within the organization.

"I spent about 4 1/2 years with them, then starting doing shows in California," Bayley said. "I branched out to Reno, went to LA, then I went to SHIMMER in Chicago and that helped me get noticed."

After a tryout, she began wrestling with NXT in January 2013. Her character is described as a fan-girl that got started in a promo class.

"I was really just this wrestler from the Indy's (Independent Circuit) and I didn't have this character or personality," she said. "Dusty (Rhodes) just told me to start talking about Summer Rae to see how you present yourself."

According to Bayley, she started talking about Summer Rae and it came off as "really fan-girly". She came back next week after Dusty's suggestions and did it again.

"It just turned into how I was as a 10-year-old, and how I when I met my favorite wrestlers, how I would really act with them," she said. "I would always just want to hug them when I was leaving. I would take a picture, then I would give them a hug and take off."

Her "I'm A Hugger" slogan has taken off, with everyone from young girls to grown men wearing her purple shirt with yellow letters at NXT shows.

She was named NXT Female Competitor of the Year for 2015 after a fan vote, and also won Match of the Year for her championship match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn against Sasha Banks.

"Female Competitor of the Year, I was really surprised because of the other girls that were in it," Bayley said. "The match of the year, I always get emotional when someone brings it up or talks about it. It was really cool. I'm glad to have something like that to share with her forever."

Banks and Bayley also made history together at NXT Takeover: Respect, where they were the main event and had the first 30-minute Iron Woman match for the NXT Women's Championship which Bayley retained.

"When Triple H told us, it's funny, because I was just in disbelief," she said. "I was just like, 'Is this real? Are we really going to do this?'"

According to Bayley, she tried not to think about the match because it would have freaked her out. That all changed when she finally got in the ring and the emotions finally hit her.

"I could have cried throughout the whole match if I would've just let myself go," she said. "That's how much it meant to both of us."

More than 1,500 people are expected at the show in Royal Oak on Saturday, and tickets sold out quickly when the went on sale. She said that's much different from when she started in NXT.

"When I first got here, we were literally having shows in front of 12 people. I remember counting through the curtain 12 people at one of our shows," she said. "I remember we used to have to go out to the towns and put papers up, like literally hang them up on poles because we were trying to sell the shows."

Right now, her main goal is to be the longest-reigning NXT Women's Champion. She would have to hold the title belt for over a year to beat Paige's record. Ultimately, she does want to make the main roster for WWE and be on the stage at Wrestlemania.

"Getting to WWE is always on my mind because it's what I've wanted to be since I was 10," Bayley said. "That's my ultimate goal as much as I love NXT, I want to be on the big stage."

So far, NXT has gone on the road in Milwaukee, Green Bay and had two shows in Chicago two weeks ago. This weekend, they will be in Pittsburgh before heading to Detroit, which will be Bayley's first time in the Motor City.

She said the crowds have been amazing at all of the shows.

"Every time we go out, I never know what to expect," Bayley said. "Once we get there, every crowd, they never let us down. They are so, so passionate and so full of energy.

"I'm excited to be in Detroit for the first time, so I hope Detroit's ready for all of us," she added.

WWE NXT at the Royal Oak Music Theatre takes place Saturday, Jan. 30 with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.