Exclusive: Bayley Explains How Her Fortunes Changed Between WrestleMania 39 and WrestleMania 40

After the bell had rung on Damage CTRL’s loss at WrestleMania 39, in Los Angeles, Bayley cryptically tweeted “And sometimes the most romantic love story comes to an end. Bye”. But what felt like goodbye in 2023 had become a very warm welcome to a rejuvenated and newly crowned WWE Women’s Champion in 2024.

Just over a year ago, Bayley and the rest of Damage CTRL (at the time Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai) felt as though they were on borrowed time as a faction. A couple of reigns as Women’s Tag Team Champions had done little to convince WWE fans that were a force to be reckoned with.

On night one of WrestleMania 39, the trio came up short against the team of Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus. Taking an L in a match where 2/3’s of their opponents were part time acts with only a small handful of bouts since their mid ’00s retirements felt like a death knell for the group.

Damage CTRL had far from a Hollywood ending at WrestleMania 39, in LA. Image: WWE

Bayley’s tweet after the event seemed to compound things even further. And after everything had felt so promising when she returned at SummerSlam in 2022 alongside Kai and Sky.

But then, something happened.

Titles Turn The Tables In Damage CTRL’s Favour

A couple of months later, Iyo claimed the women’s Money In The Bank contract. A little over a month later, at SummerSlam, she was cashing it in and bringing the WWE Women’s Championship to Damage CTRL for the first time.

In November, a returning Kairi Sane aided her compatriot in a title defence against Bianca Belair, at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. Sane’s return also confirmed her alliance with Damage CTRL, strengthening a group that would then also add Asuka to its ranks less than a week later.

Fast forward to WrestleMania XL five months later, and, while Bayley had been betrayed by her former stablemates, she was now a Royal Rumble winner and number one contender for Sky’s title in one of the most eagerly anticipated matches at the biggest WrestleMania of all time.

A million miles away from tweeting from within the bowels of the SoFi Stadium a year earlier.

Stealing the show, a year on from heartbreak in Hollywood. Image: WWE

So where did it all go right? How did Damage CTRL’s damaging loss to Becky, Trish and Lita turn itself around to reach the point of almost main event level ‘Mania within 12 months?

Bayley Breaks It Down

During the night two press conference at this year’s ‘Mania in Philadelphia, SPORF posed the question to the newly minted Women’s Champion.

“That whole experience was very humbling for me. I imagined creating a group that was so different and the fans were going to love it and we were going to dominate everything. But there is so much more that goes into it behind the scenes and we had to work on our chemistry as friends and share our goals with each other, like what we want out of this and how we can help each other get there.

“When we started ironing those things out and getting confident in ourselves and trusting each other, we started to feel better, everybody started being themselves. Iyo won the title and we were on top of the world. Iyo winning the title was definitely a shift change. Just hearing the reaction when Dakota came in the ring there, it was like ‘oh they do care about us’.

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“It’s been a long journey. I didn’t think we would be here right now. To me, although Damage CTRL took a loss last night [against Naomi, Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill], them coming out and getting an entrance, y’know they had a little bit to their entrance. So Damage CTRL was on two nights of WrestleMania and that’s a win to me. Although they both lost.”

And while Damage CTRL’s losing streak continued with Asuka and Kairi Sane dropping the Women’s Tag Titles to Jade Cargill and Bianca Belair at Backlash earlier this month, there is no denying the group still feel revitalised and an important part of whatever show they’re on. Bayley, meanwhile, remains on top of the world, with a stellar first Premium Live Event defence of her title under her belt, reigning supreme over Naomi and Tiffany Stratton at Backlash.

Long may it continue.

Featured Image Credit: WWE

WWE Clash At The Castle will emanate from Glasgow, Scotland on 15th June, 2024, available only on Peacock, WWE Network and PPV