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Bayley admits WWE releases have hit her ‘really hard’ this year

WWE superstar Bayley on SmackDown in July 2021

The Role Model opens up on the recent departures (Photo: WWE)

WWE superstar Bayley has admitted this year’s releases have hit her ‘really hard’.

The former SmackDown Women’s Champion is embroiled in a bitter feud with Bianca Belair on the blue brand, but a series of roster cuts since April mean things are looking very different both in front of and behind the camera.

Speaking candidly about the changes, she exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘For me, the past few have been really hard because most of them are really good friends and so talented, and I’m just like, “What?!”

‘It’s really hard not to see certain ones in our locker room and share travelling the road together.’

Even just in terms of the women’s roster, 2021 has seen the likes of Ruby Riott, Lana, Chelsea Green, Mickie James and IIconics duo Billie Kay and Peyton Royce all exit the company at various points this year.

On the men’s side, big names such as Braun Strowman, Aleister Black and Samoa Joe – who has since returned to NXT – have been let go alongside veterans like Tyler Breeze, Fandango, and more.

Former WWE NXT superstar Tyler Breeze

Bayley will particularly miss Breeze (Photo: WWE)

Despite the releases, Bayley is certain those who have moved on will ‘be successful’ wherever they end up next.

She added: ‘I know that everything happens for a reason in life, and whatever that may be, we’ll found out later, but I know they’re gonna be successful. I just can’t wait to see them all do their thing, wherever that may be.’

For the Role Model, the release of NXT’s Tyler Breeze was a tough one, as she paid tribute to him on social media after the news dropped.

Explaining her post, she heaped more praise on the 33-year-old star and the impact he’s had on so many people within WWE.

‘For one, he gives you his time. It wasn’t just me, he was helping Eva Marie at the time, he was helping so many girls that just wanted more. He helped Sasha so much,’ she said of their extra training sessions to complement their regular classes.

‘Everybody was learning the same exact things and we wanted more. So, we would ask Breeze if he could watch our matches. Whether [or not] we knew what we needed to get better at, he did.

‘For me, it was trying to get sympathy from the fans and learning how to sell a body part, certain things.’

Bayley noted that Breeze – who was with the company for over a decade and famously faced Jushin Thunder Liger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in the Japanese legend’s only WWE match of his career – has carried over his skills over to his Flatbacks Wrestling school.

WWE superstars Bianca Belair and Bayley fight inside Hell In A Cell in June 2021

Bayley will face Bianca Belair at Money In The Bank (Photo: WWE)

‘I’ve been to his school and I’ve seen all his students, how much fun they have learning from him and the consistent students he has coming in – that just goes to show that he’s doing something right,’ she pointed out.

‘He’s such a good guy, he’s hilarious, he’s passionate and he’s such a hard worker.’

She even recalled late sessions with Carmella and Tye Dillenger (now Shawn Spears in AEW), which proved invaluable.

‘We’d all work together and he really pushed me,’ she admitted. ‘I owe so much to him.’

While Bayley is set to face Bianca Belair in an I Quit Match for the SmackDown Women’s Title at Money In The Bank on July 18, she’s also looking ahead to WWE’s upcoming live tour across the UK.

The four-date run will be the company’s first stint on these shores since November 2019 after the pandemic put a stop to any travel or live crowds, but she’s excited for their return.

‘I’m obviously really excited. It was a shock,’ she admitted. ‘I didn’t think we were gonna go anywhere that’s not in the States for a long time.

‘I’ve been travelling for this whole time so it’s not really a difference for me [laughs], but it’ll be fun to get outta Florida and it’ll be fun to get back over there to our passionate fans.’

*Fans attending WWE Live will see their favourite WWE Superstars from SmackDown including Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Big E, Sasha Banks, Bayley, The Usos and more bring the action.

The superstars will be touring four major cities including Newcastle (Utilita Arena, September 19)London (The O2, September 20), Cardiff (Motorpoint Arena, September 21) and Glasgow (The SSE Hydro, September 22). Ticket info for London can be found here.

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