Damage CTRL leader Bayley faced Shotzi on tonight’s WWE SmackDown, with Bayley and her allies clearly thinking the former champion would have an easy win ahead of her. However, thanks in part to a distraction from the returning Charlotte Flair, Shotzi was able to pick up a win over Bayley. Flair has been absent from WWE since the August 18 episode of SmackDown, where she teamed with Bianca Belair to defeat Bayley and IYO SKY. Bayley and the rest of Damage CTRL were distraught by Flair’s appearance, allowing Shotzi to turn the situation to her advantage. It was later announced that Flair and Shotzi will team up next Friday night to take on Bayley and SKY.
After Bayley and SKY cut Shotzi’s hair on an episode of SmackDown last month, the WWE star debuted a new look tonight. Shotzi also came out in her tank, which had been missing from her presentation in recent months. Tonight was Shotzi’s first televised singles win since last November, when Shotzi defeated Shayna Baszler ahead of her title challenge against Ronda Rousey at WWE Survivor Series. Her victory over Bayley tonight marks one of the biggest accomplishments in Shotzi’s WWE career thus far, right up there with winning the WWE NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship alongside Ember Moon.
As for Flair, she has been afforded a lighter WWE schedule than usual in 2023, though the former 14-time world champ has still wrestled 40 matches this year including live events. The WWE star hasn’t wrestled on a PLE since the first night of WWE WrestleMania 39, where she was defeated by Rhea Ripley for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship (now known as the Women’s World Championship). Bayley’s last PLE bout was Money in the Bank in early July, though she came up short in the titular match while stablemate SKY walked away victorious, eventually cashing in at WWE Summerslam last month.