Interview: WWE's Bayley talks defending her title at WrestleMania in Orlando

As kids, Bayley and her brother wrestle and make up names.
As kids, Bayley and her brother wrestle and make up names.
Published Mar. 27, 2017

Women's matches in professional wrestling once endured a regrettable reputation as popcorn breaks, bra and panties pillow fights populated with so-called "divas."

Not anymore. The matches have moved to steel cages, even the main event on some nights. Leading this revolution is a group of women know as the "Four Horsewomen." Charlotte Flair (yes, Ric Flair's daughter), Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and your current Raw women's champion, 27-year-old Pamela Rose Martinez, better known as Bayley, below. We talked to her to find out how she's feeling about her debut at WrestleMania 33 on Sunday in Orlando .

You're heading into arguably the biggest match of your career. How are you feeling?

Emotional. Nervous. I just want to get it over with. I'm so ready.

You seem so humble on TV. Have you come to grips with the fact that you do deserve to be here?

I'm just so appreciative to be here. I believe I do deserve to be here because I fought so hard to get here.

This is your debut WrestleMania, and you are defending the title at the biggest show of them all. How are you feeling?

I would have been happy just to get onto the show, even happier to be in the championship picture, but now I'm going in having to defend my championship where everyone is gunning for me.

Your match at WrestleMania just got a little larger with the addition of Nia Jax, going from a Triple Threat to a Fatal Four Way. How does this change things?

I was watching so many Triple Threat matches, trying to prepare, and now it's all changed. Not because it's now a Fatal Four Way, but because Nia Jax is just a force on her own. It makes it such a huge match.

Is anyone coming to cheer you on ?

My family. Dad, Mom, my brother, both my sisters, both of my nieces, my brother in-law, basically everybody. They bought their tickets a long time ago, and we were just hoping I would be on the show. I told them I can't guarantee anything. They just said, "We're coming to support you no matter what."

Growing up, were they supportive of your dream of being a wrestler?

Oh yeah, totally. My brother was also a huge fan. We would watch the shows together all the time. We would wrestle around the living room and make up names. We had our own wrestling federation called "Wrestling for Kids." But he kind of grew out of it and I never did. My mom was kind of nervous when I started training. But she had faith in me.

Were you ever able to attend WrestleMania as a kid?

No. I had been to Raw, Smackdown and a few pay-per-views, but never a WrestleMania. My first was WrestleMania 30, when I was already working with the company.

Who were your influences? Was there one match that made you want to be a wrestler?

Not really one match. It was more of the era. With Trish, Lita, Victoria, Molly Holly, Beth Phoenix. Ivory was a huge influence. They were so good and the crowd cared so much about them. I thought that was amazing. Lita was my favorite. She was so different. She looked different. She approached her match different. And I always felt a connection that way. Because I was a tomboy. I wasn't like the other girly girls. And she was like me.

Besides your own match, which match are you looking forward to most?

The Undertaker and Roman Reigns. Undertaker is the phenom. And I have become such a huge fan of Roman Reigns over the past few months. Being on all these shows with him and learning from him, seeing how his mind works going into these matches. I'm really interested to see how he holds own against the Undertaker.