The Legacy of Sasha Banks in WWE
Sasha Banks is one of WWE’s greatest wrestlers, men and women. Sasha’s list of WWE accomplishments is endless, and she has broken many barriers and glass ceilings as a woman and a Black woman. Sasha debuted in New Japan Pro Wrestling at Wrestle Kingdom as Mercedes Mone, but this article will focus on her WWE and NXT career.
Sasha dominated NXT after her 2012 debut. Over the next two years, she competed in several tournaments to determine the NXT Women’s Championship’s top contender, but she lost. At NXT Takeover: Rival in 2015, she faced Bayley, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair. The boss pinned Charlotte to win her first WWE championship and the first Black NXT Women’s Championship.
Sasha lost the championship to Bayley at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, winning Match of the Year at the NXT year-end awards. The Boss told Bayley she wanted a rematch, so Sasha and Bayley competed in the first 30-minute iron woman match. In the following weeks, the pair became the first women to headline NXT Takeover: Respect. The company’s best women’s matches have been Bayley and Sasha’s. Sasha lost her championship, but it was a great send-off since everyone knew she was joining WWE’s main roster.
Sasha made more history when she joined the main roster. The Boss faced Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch for the WWE Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 32. Charlotte Flair’s great feud helped her become a 5-time Raw Women’s Champion. With Charlotte, they became the first women to compete in a Hell in a Cell match and headline a WWE pay-per-view (Hell in a Cell 2016). At Roadblock 2016, Sasha became the first woman to compete in two iron woman matches.
Sasha and Alexa Bliss won Abu Dhabi’s first women’s match in 2017. Sasha became the first Black woman to play in Abu Dhabi, a huge success for her and all women of color.
The Boss made more history in 2018. Banks entered the first women’s Royal Rumble match of the year. She was lauded for her nearly 55-minute match. She competed in the first Elimination Chamber match for women the following month. Evolution was the first all-pay-per-view. women’s Bayley, Natalya, and Sasha Banks defeated the Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan). WWE announced female tag team championships in 2019. The 2019 Elimination Chamber match determined the inaugural winners. Sasha and Bayley were the Boss n’ Hug Connection.
Sasha and Bayley defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to become the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Banks became the first Black woman to hold a WWE Tag Team Championship. The Boss returned to wrestling and won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships with Bayley despite their ongoing feud. Sasha and Bayley became the first women’s tag team to hold both singles and tag team championships simultaneously. Sasha won her first Smackdown Women’s Championship after Bayley betrayed her in a Hell in a Cell match.
Banks has had many career-defining moments in WWE, but her biggest was headlining WrestleMania 37. Bianca Belair won the 2021 Royal Rumble and could challenge for any women’s championship. The EST chose Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Bianca and Sasha will headline WrestleMania 37 night one.
It was the first WWE marquee match between two Black women and the first WrestleMania main event between two Black wrestlers of any gender. WrestleMania 37 was also special because fans were allowed back in after WrestleMania 36 and the next year of events were held at the Performance Center in Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fans knew this match would be emotional for both women from the start. Bianca cried after seeing and hearing the crown and realizing how historic the match would be. Sasha kept her composure better, but when she realized she was making history again, she smiled big. The Boss lost her championship to Bianca, but the match proved that women, especially women of color, belong in the WrestleMania main event and deserve top billing.
Sasha accomplished a lot in a few years. She may make more history as Mercedes Mone in NJPW or other promotions. Sasha had many WWE “firsts” and was a pioneer for Black women. WWE has traditionally promoted white women as division faces. Sasha Banks changed that by creating Black Girl Magic every time she wrestled.
WWE is more diverse than ever. Bianca Belair is the longest-reigning black WWE world champion. Sasha amplified Jazz, Jacqueline, Alicia Fox, etc. She always spoke up for herself when she felt mistreated by her employer. Sasha Banks will continue to make history in other promotions and other fields. Rightfully, The Boss will be a hall of famer.