Sasha Banks is a talented professional wrestler. If you’ve been watching WWE TV within the past few years, you’d probably know that. She’s charismatic, can put on a show, carries herself like a star and the list goes on and on. A report surfaced that Mr. McMahon, the Chairman and CEO of WWE may be having doubts on Banks being able to wrestle consistently without getting injured (this was also an issue with Daniel Bryan at one point). Mr. McMahon is a, let’s say, loaded figure (for lack of a better term) so sure, he knows what he’s talking about, but he could also just be jumping to conclusions. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions either, this is a rumor and we don’t know if there’s any credence to it. Plus, (in the middle of writing this column) Sasha Banks recently returned on the June 20th 2016 episode of Monday Night Raw, looking to take the women’s championship from Charlotte. However, if the rumor’s true, there may still be some reluctance from the higher-ups to consistently put Banks in an important position in the women’s division. It also brought to mind a topic which I have been thinking about for a long time concerning Sasha Banks: when should she win the women’s title?
I’m gonna talk about myself for a moment, but I’ll get back on topic shortly. Sasha Banks is my favorite wrestler. Before her, I was obsessed with everything Jeff Hardy. All Hardy everything… well all Jeff everything, no offense to Matt. Anyway, Jeff retired from WWE (I despised CM Punk at the time) and went to TNA. I didn’t want him in TNA, Jeff was so awesome and TNA was so… not awesome. So, while watching an episode of WWE Superstars, I said the next wrestler who makes his or her entrance will be my favorite wrestler. It was Jack Swagger. Jack Swagger jokingly became my favorite wrestler, but eventually, I actually began to like him. I defended his world title reign on Smackdown (it really wasn’t that bad, guys) and freaked out when he won the elimination Chamber match to “headline” Wrestlemania 29. It was this manufactured fandom, where I rooted for him even though I knew he wasn’t all that hot. But, no contemporary wrestler has captivated me like Sasha Banks.
Going back and watching clips of legends like the Rock and Roddy Piper in their heyday made me yearn to witness greatness on that level week by week. Watching Raw I thought, Where were my stars? Sure there was the summer of CM Punk thing and Daniel Bryan’s incredible run, but I didn’t have that connection with them. I knew they were special, but to me they didn’t feel special. (I wonder if it’s due to WWE conditioning fans that everything after Stone Cold’s retirement is sub par.) I didn’t feel that “there’s something special about this person and gosh, I just love them” feeling that I got from watching the Rock and Roddy until seeing Sasha Banks.
When Sasha began in NXT, I didn’t pay much attention to her or the show for that matter. When I saw her boss gimmick, I just thought it was cool at first. Then over the weeks, she became so enthralling. There’s an indescribable aura around her. The way she just struts to the ring makes me freak out with joy for no reason. She became my favorite wrestler, organically. When she came to RAW, the women’s segments were the only things I really looked forward to at the time. Everyone loved Sasha Banks, many did way before me because they were consistently watching NXT (I had to go back and watch the BFF stuff). But I figured that everyone would be on to the next internet sensation from ROH or whatever in no time.
Okay, so I guess she kept her fanbase. But all I kept hearing other fans say was how Sasha needed to win the title soon or claim that she was being buried or was better than this or more deserving of that and so on and so forth. Yeah, she is deserving, but I just wanted people to stop talking (they never do) and just watch things pan out. Everyone’s saying now, now, but I was thinking no, wait. They’ll say it when Finn Balor gets called up; if he’s not WWE champion within a year, he’s not being used to his full potential. That’s nature, we want it now. It was weird, I went from being the only person besides Jack Swagger’s wife who wanted him to be world champion, to one of thousands of Sasha Banks’ fans who wanted her to be a maineventer. Except, I wanted WWE to hold off on her being champion. I didn’t want her to win at Wrestlemania 32. I wouldn’t have been upset in any way, but I thought it was Becky Lynch’s night (of course it was neither’s). I also thought it’d be too soon. She doesn’t need it now. Think about it, she’s already over/popular, she’s young, and she could peak too early. But, in the weeks after Wrestlemania, I realized that all of my arguments were complete rubbish. My arguments could actually support the opposite opinion. Sasha Banks needs the women’s championship sooner than later. I probably don’t need to convince anyone on this, but let me explain why.
Sasha Banks is young/ she has time. Sasha Banks can wrestle a thirty minute match and survive. Hypothetically, if Sasha stays healthy she has 15-20 years of performing in great condition. If she stays healthy. She may actually be injury prone, who knows. But, let’s not bank on Sasha having years and years to give to the business (no pun intended). Mr. McMahon probably didn’t expect Chris Jericho to still be wrestling 17 years after Y2J’s debut. Let Sasha be champion now, because let’s face it, she’s pretty freaking great right now. It’s been proven to fail giving someone the title early (i.e. Jack Swagger, one can argue Sheamus) and it’s been proven to succeed (i.e. Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton). But Sasha’s already proven that she’s a great champion on NXT, so this isn’t something that she can’t handle. I used to think, she’s young, she doesn’t need it now. I thought the same with Cody Rhodes. He retired after nine years, not winning a world title. He may return and win one in the future, but someone with Cody’s potential shouldn’t have to wait over a decade to win a world title. So I’m not gonna say “oh Sasha’s young, she’ll win the title later” like it’s a guarantee, because it’s not. One may think, well she’s super talented and the women’s division isn’t as large as the men’s division, plus there’s only one title, so there’s no need to worry. Naomi would probably disagree. I still hope there’s a great story and build around her winning the title, but it’s too risky to not let her win the championship soon because of WWE’s track record.
She may only have one run at the top of the division. One thing I dislike about being a fan of someone popular is all of the dumb things you hear other fans say. Such as saying she’s the best wrestler in the world or most charismatic wrestler ever. Sometime’s it hyperbole (I’ve done it, but I was semi-joking), But it gets annoying because it’s like, she’s not actually at that point yet. She has potential, but she hasn’t reached it yet. I have dreams, man. I have dreams of Sasha being this MEGA-star. Getting Stone Cold level pops, cutting electrifying promos, having incredible feuds, and being this absolute icon. But, realistically it probably won’t happen. I’m not being cynical, I’m being realistic. No matter what I fantasy book, it’s just going to be a pipe dream reserved for a WWE2K game. So I say, just give her the title.
WWE may not let her reach her true potential, so why not just throw her the brass ring now?
This is Sasha Banks, she, her character, and the division will grow, but how high can they really reach? I hope that I’m proven wrong, but under WWE’s current regime, I’m just too jaded to see the opportunity for these things being presented. Her time as a top star may just be when she holds the championship and then it’d all be over. (If they let her have a marathon reign and beat the Fabulous Moolah’s reign I’d cry tears of joy.) All this to say, WWE may not let her reach her true potential, so why not just throw her the brass ring now?
Plus, I don’t think she’s being held back necessarily, it’s the state of the company which has me concerned. Sure, they’re giving the women more shine, but it’s not organic. We as fans keep saying this. (But maybe WWE will become fans of women’s wrestling like I became a fan of Jack Swagger.) I don’t even think this is an issue of gender because the lower tier male wrestlers, don’t get the opportunities they deserve. Perfect example: Dolph Ziggler, three-time world champion, oozing talent and potential (not as much as Sasha, but still). He won world titles and had a few major feuds, but he’s still not a star player. Honestly, look at Dolph’s position now. It’s embarrassing. If they don’t want you at the top, you won’t be at the top. If they want you at the top you’ll be at the top (believe that). I don’t think there’s any agenda against promoting Sasha Banks, but I don’t think there’s any incentive either.
Peaking early. My biggest gripe with fans wanting great wrestlers to be given titles early in their careers is that, the wrestler may have nowhere to go but down. Fans focus on now and not on “now what?” WWE’s not an actual competitive sport. If Lebron James wins 8 Basketball championships in a row (HAHAHAHAHA), people may get bored with him winning, but he’ll keep doing it. It’s not like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver can book a team to lose…. But WWE can, it’s scripted entertainment. Real sports make a story from what happens. WWE makes things happen for a story (at least that’s what I think they do). You can’t have the protagonist reach his or her goal on the first episode. What do you do for the rest of the series? At first, I didn’t want Sasha to win the title early because she could peak too soon and years from now fans would turn on her and call her “super Sasha” (#LOLSASHAWINS). That’s probably a future fated more for Bayley (an article for another day). But, now I think, who the heck cares? Better to peak early then to never have peaked at all, right?
Is peaking early really a bad thing? Lesnar seemingly peaked early in his career but may have eclipsed his initial run with his current run beginning in 2012. Miz peaked early, but he’s still in a good position (better than Ziggler may, I add). Jack Swagger peaked early, but he can say that he was a WWE world champion. Jake the Snake Roberts could never say that. Of course Roberts’ career still had a theoretical peak, but he was never world champion. Imagine if Sasha Banks doesn’t win the women’s title because someone’s afraid she might peak too early? Who cares? Go ahead and peak. Plus, if the fans get tired of her, it’ll be because she’s done a lot. Hulk Hogan was beginning to get some boos toward the end of his WWE run. I wasn’t watching (or born yet) to explain why he was getting boos, but I can guess it’s because the people had seen enough of Hogan. If I can one day say “maybe I’ve seen enough of Sasha Banks” that will mean that she’s had a long and hopefully successful career. A career so good that arguments over who’s the greatest WWE women’s wrestler will automatically have Trish Stratus and Lita contesting for the number two spot.
The boss could lose faith in the boss. Mr. McMahon might not want Sasha to be the face of his women’s division. WWE is his world. Sasha’s return and reaction on RAW shows that she will be a key player in the coming weeks. She was a key player heading into Wrestlemania, but after that show, she was incognito for weeks. I really don’t buy that she was injured during that time. I think they either wanted to wait to use her because they think she’s a special attraction, or the opposite, they didn’t want to use her.
There have been reports on the Chairman being “high” on Sasha and having doubts about her as well. He’s in control, so what can you do? But there’s one thing that will guarantee the Chairman promoting Sasha: banks. That’s a corny way of saying, if Sasha continues to draw money for Mr. McMahon’s company, McMahon will have to promote her, because it’d be best for business. Sasha has already proven that she can draw money through her merchandise sales. She landed a magazine cover and is consistently one of the only female competitors featured in WWE commercials. Not to mention her cross over appeal. She could appear at both a hip-hop award show and an anime convention and wouldn’t seem out-of-place at either. Like I said, she’s good now, so let’s hope she gets the title soon, so that her boss doesn’t lose faith in her later.
There’s little doubt that Sasha Banks will become women’s champion one day. I just worry that if that day’s not soon, WWE won’t capitalize on Sasha’s current potential because of their hope for her future. There’s no time to waste on Sasha Banks becoming the women’s champion because, who knows what the women’s division will look like in a year. (Asuka could get called up and injure everyone and would have to wrestle Jojo at Wrestlemania.) There’s no time like the present and Sasha Banks’ is WWE’s greatest present.