It seems, even twenty years later, WWE still can’t resist lifting old ideas straight from the Attitude Era whenever it wants to pop a rating.
Most recently, WWE has been promoting Crash Holly’s old Hardcore Title once more, albeit with a new and completely on-the-nose name.
And WWE will always try to recreate 1999’s The Rock: This Is Your Life segment, and it will always be shocked when people hate it. Each time WWE has used the This Is Your Life format, it ends up even worse than the last time.
Case in point: 2017’s Bayley: This Is Your Life, which made John Cena: This Is Your Life look like Mick Foley: This Is Your Life.
This regrettable piece of television came about during a feud between Bayley and Alexa Bliss, which saw Bayley Goldberg herself into a ring post and lose her Women’s Championship to The Goddess.
The following month, Bliss ambushed the former champion with a kendo stick…
…leading Bayley to lobby Raw GM Kurt Angle for a stipulation match that would fit the theme of whatever that month’s Raw pay-per-view was. Fortunately, it was Extreme Rules, so Angle channelled his inner Vince Russo and put the two ladies in a kendo-stick-on-a-pole match.
Facing the prospect of an angry Bayley wielding a cane of bamboo, Alexa Bliss decided to get under Bayley’s skin and play mind games, to use a mixed metaphor. Thus, Raw viewers would be subjected to yet another “This Is Your Life” segment, this time aimed at the Doctor of Huganomics.
You might remember when Bayley, the ultimate babyface and hero to children, had seemingly limitless potential as a merch-mover.
She even had her very own superfan, Izzy, who was so invested in the Bayley character that not only did she cry when Sasha Banks stole her Bayley Bow, but Banks got unreal heat from the NXT Full Sail crowd for it.
Bayley had been cooled off significantly since then, but that didn’t mean WWE couldn’t put one final nail in the coffin, to use another mixed metaphor.
To open the segment, Alexa tries to get the crowd hyped by reminding them of her upcoming “kendo stick on a pole match!” [exclamation point in the original]
But nobody cares because it’s a dumb stipulation.
I mean, even Vince Russo has tried to distance himself from pole matches.
But to prove Bayley could never bring herself to “get extreme”, she has brought out three figures from the childhood of the Superstar that Alexa called a “human sock puppet”. And don’t you dare try to make anything sexual out of those comments –
– she’s only a child, you monster!
Before Alexa is even finished pitching the segment, though, the “What?” chants start rolling in. You can practically hear the gears turn in Alexa’s head as she starts to fully grasp the task ahead of her: convincing the home audience that the crowd’s boos are directed at her for being mean instead of WWE itself for putting on such a lousy segment.
To start off the next ten minutes or so of attempted comedy, Alexa browses a number of Bayley artifacts.
“You huggers [I think that’s a Bowdlerization] are really gonna like this one”, she says, holding up Bayley’s first childhood doll. But actually, Bayley still plays with it!
Alexa then holds up a trophy Bayley one… for sportsmanship! Cuz she never won anything!
And then there was Bayley’s yearbook, where she was voted Most Likely to… Apologize!
This yearbook gag rang more hollow than the time Billy Kidman dropped copies of Torrie Wilson’s fat yearbook picture from the ceiling (when in fact she had suffered multiple eating disorders back then).
Bliss then finally introduces the people who have been waiting patiently in the ring, starting with Bayley’s fourth grade teacher Mrs. Flapper. “If that is your real name”, joked Bliss. You know it isn’t, Alexa.
Mrs. Flapper, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Alexa has been running down Bayley this whole segment, plays along as if this is a genuine ceremony honoring the former Women’s Champion. She describes her former student as, “a really nice girl” with perfect attendance who always sat in the front row… next to her father.
Did I mention that, growing up, Bayley never went anywhere without her father?
Neither had WWE’s gaggle of writers. No wonder the joke fell flat.
Maybe Vince wrote that gag for Richie Steamboat, forgetting he had cut him from NXT years earlier, then re-purposed it for Bayley.
But see, Mrs. Flapper explained, if Bayley didn’t have her father with her, she would cry.
“Cry? Like cr-cry? Like… tears, cry?” Yes, Alexa, that is what crying means. “How embarrassing,” explains Alexa.
You’ve got to hand it to Alexa, though. She knows the lines she’s reciting aren’t any good, but she’s doing her darnedest to mug for the camera and get the segment over.
Then there was Bayley’s ex-best friend, Tracy Havalina, who is audibly bored out of her mind. Tracey says she and Bayley were inseparable “until *that* happened”.
“Until what?” presses Alexa.
The dramatic end to their friendship, it turns out, was when Bayley always wanted to stay home and watch, “uh, Monday Night, uh, Raw or Smackdown” instead of hanging out.
As you know, Bayley has been a lifelong fan of wrestling; Raw has been on since all the way back in 1993, and Smackdown since 1999, so when exactly were she and Tracy friends?
Tracy, by the way, does a spot-on impression of someone who never watches wrestling and thinks it’s stupid. Which, watching this segment, suddenly doesn’t sound so unreasonable.
But why in the world would WWE want to make fun of kids who love to watch WWE, seeing as how that’s practically their target audience? There’s no reason to make fun of someone for watching Raw and Smackdown every night years ago as a kid. Now, an adult watching Raw and Smackdown every night nowadays – that should be fair game for ridicule.
Finally, there was hunky Phil Johnson, Bayley’s first boyfriend. “Phil, what was it like being Bayley’s ex-boyfriend?” asks Alexa. I think she means, “Bayley’s boyfriend”, as Phil technically still is Bayley’s ex-boyfriend and always will be.
She was a really nice girl, says Phil, but there was one problem. What could that one problem be (keeping in mind that they’ve already ragged on Bayley for being a woman-child, a loser at sports, a daddy’s girl, and a stupid wrestling mark)?
Oh, it’s her father again. See, Bayley would always take her dad with her on dates. One time, Phil almost kissed Bayley’s dad by accident!
Problem is, no one’s ever seen Bayley’s father. Not once.
We’ve seen Mom a few times, but never Dad.
Even John Cena’s and The Miz’s respective fathers have shown up on TV to embarrass their kids, but never Bayley’s.
I thought for a second that this one picture was of Bayley and her dad…
…but it was actually RVD.
While the whole WWE Universe is in revolt, demanding to “delete” this segment, Tracy over there is gazing into Phil’s eyes, toying with her hair, and biting her lip, more randy than the Macho Man.
And yet when Phil reveals that he had only been using Bayley to get close to Tracy, Horny Havalina can’t believe it.
So they make out.
“This is hard to watch,” said Booker T. You’re telling me! The camera work is so bad, you can barely see the good stuff.
Having sat back and listened to such withering accusations of having had a supportive family and liking wrestling, Bayley at last can’t take it anymore, crashing her own ceremony and tackling Alexa.
This raises some important questions, though. The bad acting, the insults, and the far-fetched anecdotes by the three guests would lead the viewer to assume they were all just actors, not real figures from Bayley’s past. But if that’s the case, why would Alexa have them make out? And why would Bayley get mad about it? On the other hand, if all these guests and gags were supposed to be legit, then Bayley really was a total loser growing up, and Alexa was simply letting the truth be known.
After taking way too long looking at the kendo stick on a pole…
…Bayley gets jumped from behind by Alexa, who has an extra kendo stick hidden under the table to lay out the Huggable One.
[Note: they actually called her this]
This segment was so bad, WWE scrubbed all their social media of it except for the post-ceremony scuffle.
So could Bayley ever go extreme, or was she as meek and ineffectual as Alexa had portrayed? The answer came at Extreme Rules, where Bayley chased Alexa all over the ringside area with the kendo stick, but hesitated when she had Bliss cornered.
Remember, it was Bayley who specifically asked Kurt Angle for an “extreme” stipulation…
…but she couldn’t even bring herself to use the one weapon in the match when she had the chance.
All together, Alexa the bad ass hit Bayley eight times with a kendo stick that night, dwarfing Bayley’s total of zero, en route to a decisive victory.
So it turned out Alexa was right about Bayley being a loser who’s too nice to ever win anything.
Bayley, the ultimate babyface everyone loved in NXT, has never recovered. Rumors of a last-ditch heel turn have persisted ever since, as everyone but little Izzy the superfan has lost faith and jumped off the Bayley bandwagon.
…Oh dear God, no!