Keen to risk hearing the boos that echoed through Brooklyn's Barclays Center upon her mere presence backstage at SummerSlam, WWE elected to bring Bayley back in front of a San José crowd that last saw her shockingly dethroned by current Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss at April's Payback supercard.
Though the response was nothing in comparison to the rapturous celebrations her Battleground 2016 soft-launch generated (nor, for that matter, any of her appearances since departing NXT for the main roster) it was at least positive enough to ensure that the announcement of her inclusion in Sunday's multi-Woman championship clash was greeted by hollers of disdain.
Wrestling has always benefitted from the element of surprise, but it can be a difficult art to master when the stakes are high. Fans invest hugely in title matches and/or layered storylines, and the abrupt inclusion of a new character can dislodge that somewhat, even if the returnee is raucously popular or furiously despised.
A brave booking technique when done well, there has at least been a precedent for the concept having some success. Handled with care, certain late arrivals have contributed well to their newfound situation, acting more as a satisfying bolt out of the blue rather than a blundering bombshell.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.