While it may be far too early to start casting ballots for year-end awards, it’s well past time that this statement is made: when the voting does begin, Sasha Banks deserves consideration for wrestler of the year.
It’d be easy for anyone to bring the conversation to a screeching halt here and say “Well, duh! Of course Sasha Banks is a sure-fire bet for female wrestler of the year,” and I wouldn’t even blame them. With the booking approach to women in WWE, we’ve been conditioned to believe that certain things are off-limits to them. With the astronomical level of success that Sasha Banks has reached by leading the charge of NXT’s revolutionary women’s division, however, I’m willing to argue that she’s outshined so many of her male counterparts that restricting her accolades to female-only awards would be an injustice.
Not only does Sasha Banks have out-of-this-world charisma that radiates through her flawlessly executed character, but she also benefits from consistent booking and has a string of great matches. Through her agility, technical prowess, and in-ring aggression, she was instrumental in making her last three TakeOver bouts (vs Charlotte at R-Evolution; vs Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley at Rival; and vs Lynch at Unstoppable) the best matches on each of their respective shows, bar none.
While the talent that she naturally possesses is paramount, the “sky’s the limit” environment fostered in NXT is invaluable to Sasha Banks’ success. NXT Divas aren’t intentionally inhibited from excelling, nor are they lambasted for doing so. The women of NXT are given the exact same tools that their male counterparts are: time, the platform, and an opportunity to be the best that you possibly can be, and Sasha Banks has taken full advantage of every bit of it.
The standard of gender parity in NXT is a model that I desperately wish the main roster would adopt, and it’s exactly why a conversation like this is possible. I’m so ready for this campaign that I feel as if I’ve wasted my time drafting this column, because the question is no longer “Why should Sasha Banks be in consideration for Wrestler of the year?” but “Why the hell shouldn’t she be?”
MAJOR credit to my friend Charlie for bringing the suggestion of Sasha Banks as Wrestler of the Year to my attention. Check out the discussion below from PWF Empire Live where he originally suggested the idea: