Did WWE Drop The Ball With Sasha Banks?

Sasha Banks was one of WWE’s top stars regardless of gender. She broke boundaries in the women’s division, helping the transition from “divas” to “women”, especially in her early NXT days. Her, alongside Bayley, Charlotte & Becky Lynch, noted as “the four horse women”, changed the game in NXT with longer women’s matches, better feuds & overall a better product for women in general. This eventually translated onto the main roster of Raw and Smackdown. Now, after 10 years with WWE, Sasha Banks may have been released. It has not officially been confirmed by WWE, but after a report from Raj Giri, questions began to swirl weather ‘The Boss’ is gone or not. If so, it begs the question, did WWE drop the ball with Sasha Banks? 

On the surface, the popular immediate answer would probably be “No”. I mean, on paper, Sasha Banks is a 10 time champion across the board with NXT, Raw & Smackdown Women’s Championships plus the Women’s Tag Team Championships. Not to mention, third ever Women’s GrandSlam Champion, Slammy Award Winner, multiple Match Of The Year candidates and a plethora of success outside of the ring. So why on earth would anyone think WWE dropped the ball on Sasha Banks? Well, let’s take a deeper look.

A Star Is Born:

The accolade of being a champion in WWE is what every WWE Superstar dreams about. It’s what everyone is looking towards as a goal. As I said, across the board, Sasha has 10 championships to her name, that’s an amazing accolade. But, WWE has sadly dropped the ball on multiple of her Championship reigns. Sasha Banks won the NXT championship on February 11, 2015 and was the third ever NXT Women’s champion, defeating her fellow Four Horsewomen members in the process. Sasha went on to have a 192 day reign with the championship which is her longest singles championship reign to date. This could also be considered one of the best, considering some of the classic matches, defeating the likes of Charlotte, Alexa Bliss & Becky Lynch before ultimately losing the championship to Bayley at NXT Takeover Brooklyn, which started the two match series of classic back-to-back matches with Bayley that are still highly regarded in both competitors careers to this day. There was no doubt that the start of the Women’s Revolution was largely in part to NXT, and Sasha was at the forefront of that. She only had one championship reign, but it’s hard to say WWE dropped the ball on that considering she was moved up to the main roster not too long after, which is what NXT is meant for right? So, overall we’re off to a good start. That is until the dreaded main roster run comes to light.

Movin’ On Up:

On July 25, 2016, Sasha Banks won the Raw Women’s Championship from Charlotte. Her first defense, she lost to Charlotte. Sasha and Charlotte traded the title back and forth a total of six times. Sasha never once successfully defended the Raw Women’s Title. That is insane. Between the matches with Charlotte she never defended against anyone else. Charlotte on the other hand, at least, successfully defended the championship against Bayley between her series of matches with Sasha. It’s crazy to think one of your most popular stars was your champion on your most popular brand, Raw, and never successfully defended the championship once. Not only that, Sasha’s shortest reign with the Raw Women’s Title was 8 days, when she defeated Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam 2017, then lost it back to Bliss a little over a week later. Her longest was 27. Are you serious, WWE? Her longest reign was twenty six days longer than her shortest reign and never held it longer than 27 days! This seems made up, but it isn’t. One of the most popular women in your division gets six championship reigns with zero successful defenses and the shortest reigns. Definitely a ball dropped with Sasha regarding the Raw Women’s Championship. As far as the SmackDown Women’s Championship goes, Sasha held the title one time. But, after defeating Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship inside of a Hell In A Cell at the Hell In A Cell PPV on October 25, 2020, Sasha went on to successfully retain her championship in five matches. She defeated the likes of Carmella, Nia Jax & Bayley. Sasha eventually lost the championship in the main event of WrestleMania 37 against Bianca Belair. Sasha held the SmackDown Women’s Championship for 167 days. Overall, I think she could’ve had a better reign with the championship. But, she definitely had a better reign with the SmackDown Championship compared to Raw. Arguably, her SmackDown Championship Reign and her NXT Championship reign are close in terms of her best singles championship run, but I think the NXT run takes the cake. The SmackDown run was solid for what it was, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it could’ve been better. Did WWE drop the ball with the SmackDown reign? Arguable. Having only one reign, though, is disappointing. But, we can’t forget about the Tag Team Championships which Sasha Banks won three times. Not only that, Sasha Banks, alongside Bayley, were the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. They won the titles in a Elimination Chamber match on February 17, 2019 at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. Sasha and Bayley had one successful championship defense against Tamina and Nia Jax at the 2019 FastLane PPV. Their next defense was in a losing effort at WrestleMania 35, where the Iiconics, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, captured the gold. One successful reign for the first ever women’s Tag Team Champion’s is not ideal, but luckily for Sasha & Bayley, unlike her SmackDown championship reign, they recaptured the titles on a June 5, 2020 episode of SmackDown when they defeated Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross. Their second reign was miles better than the first. Sasha and Bayley held it down, especially for the SmackDown brand, during the pandemic while WWE was in the performance center. Banks and Bayley successfully defended their championships four times across all three Raw, SmackDown & NXT brands. They defeated the likes of Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Asuka & Kairi Sane. They eventually lost the titles to Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax at the 2020 Payback PPV. The second reign blows the first out of the water, but then, Sasha Banks won the Women’s Tag Team Titles for a third time, except now, it was alongside Naomi. Sasha and Naomi won the titles at WrestleMania 38 against Zelina Vega, Carmella, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Natalya & Shayna Baszler in a Fatal-Four-Way Match. Sasha & Naomi then went on to successfully defend the titles two times, but the reign came to an abrupt end when the duo walked out of Monday Night Raw, causing the Titles to be vacated. Ultimately, the walk-out is the reason I’m writing this right now. Overall, Sasha Bank’s as a Women’s Tag Team Champion was by far and away the best set of title reigns she’s ever had. Multiple successful reigns, and having held the titles for 192 days combined, which coincidentally tied her NXT Title reign. I’d say WWE did a good job, all things considered, with Sasha as a Tag Champion. And who knows, she may have still been champion right now if the walk-out didn’t happen. Her final tag team reign was significant for another reason though, as she won the championships at WrestleMania and broke a curse for The Boss herself.

Grandest Stage Of Them All:

Sasha Banks wrestled at seven consecutive WrestleMania’s spanning from WrestleMania 32 all the way to WrestleMania 38. At WrestleMania 32, she lost in a triple threat against Charlotte & Becky Lynch. At WrestleMania 33, she lost to Bayley, Charlotte & Nia Jax in a Fatal-Four-Way. At WrestleMania 34, She lost in the Women’s Battle Royal. At WrestleMania 35, she lost against the iiconics in the multi-women Tag Team Championship match. At WrestleMania 36, she lost a Fatal-5 Way against Bayley, Lacey Evans, Naomi & Tamina. At WrestleMania 37, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair made history as the first two black women to main event WrestleMania and the 2nd Women’s WrestleMania main event in history. But, she lost. Sasha Banks was 0-6 at WrestleMania but, finally, at WrestleMania 38, Sasha and Naomi captured the Women’s Tag Team Championships marking it Sasha’s first ever WrestleMania win. While the win was a cause for celebration for Sasha and her fans, did she really need to take seven years to win a match on the grandest stage of them all? Year after year and not a thought went through anyone’s head to give Sasha Banks a WrestleMania win? Even if it was in the pointless Battle Royal, with a trophy that means absolutely nothing, a win is a win and they waited seven years to give her that. WWE really did Sasha Banks no favors when it came to WrestleMania and she has one of the worst WrestleMania record in history. That is asinine and not needed. That should’ve never happened when you have a star of that caliber, especially in the Women’s division where major stars are few and far between currently. WWE majorly dropped the ball when it comes to Sasha Banks at WrestleMania.

Missed Opportunities:

Of course, Sasha Banks has won matches at Pay-Per-Views, and even in special matches like Elimination Chamber and Hell In A Cell. But, two major missed opportunities was never having Sasha Banks win a Royal Rumble or a Money In The Bank briefcase. Sasha Banks went over fifty-four minutes in the 2018 Royal Rumble, where she came out at #1. This was the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and though she didn’t win the match, being in that long was an impressive feat to accomplish. Sasha Banks did not compete in a Royal Rumble again until the 2022 match. She came in again at #1, but this time, only lasted a little over nine minutes. Incredibly disappointing. Though Sasha has some good reasons for not being in the Rumble between 2019-2021, like being champion and having to defend on the shows, it’s really frustrating that she never won the Royal Rumble, especially in this last year’s (2022), where she felt like a shoe-in to win, but was abruptly tossed out nine minutes in. It only made it worse when a returning Ronda Rousey came back to win the match, sending fans home less than thrilled. But, Royal Rumble wasn’t the only special match WWE dropped the ball on with Sasha Banks, Money In The Bank is the next one on the list. Sasha Banks competed in the 2018 Money In The Bank match only. The women’s ladder match started in 2017, and she was only in one year. Though, she did defend the Women’s Tag Team Championship’s one year, Sasha still could’ve competed and should’ve won at least once, after all the selling point is in her name, Banks. Money in the Banks, Bank-on-it and any other catchy phrases you could come up with that would’ve sold Sasha Banks as the briefcase holder. WWE loves when promotional things like this fall right in their hands, yet they overlooked this one. WWE made a mistake by not letting Sasha Banks win the Money In The Bank or the Royal Rumble.

Promotional Failure:

With Sasha Bank’s WWE career basically flipped through, there’s only one thing to talk about, and that’s her popularity outside of the ring. Sasha Banks has made many media appearances, has been in TV shows and is even the cousin to world-known rapper, Snoop Dogg, which WWE acknowledged on multiple occasions, so fair play to that. But, Sasha Banks has appeared on popular YouTube shows like Hot Ones and most recently, Cold As Balls with Kevin Hart. WWE gave her little to no promotion on that and if you were a WWE fan who didn’t keep your eyes on social media, you probably didn’t see it. Sasha Banks was also apart of the Uber popular “The Mandalarian”, which is a part of the StarWars universe. Sasha played the part of Koska Reeves. Though, Sasha was only in two episodes, it was one of the most popular shows in the world at the time of release, on the very popular Disney+ streaming service. Yet still, WWE gave her little to no promotion for that. Which in the grand scheme of things is mind-blowing. Sasha Banks did promotion mostly without WWE. One of your WWE Superstars is apart of one of the biggest series of all time and you barely plug that? How?! I guess it’s true that WWE wants no one to be bigger than the brand, because not pushing that your star, who is synonymous with your brand, is in Starwars is asinine. Any other business/brand  would be promoting that until their voices ran out, but not WWE.

Consensus:

WWE let Sasha Banks (potentially) slip through their fingers, which is wild to think about. But, not surprising when you think about some of the choices WWE has made over the years. Overall, after going through her career, I’ve come to the conclusion that WWE did indeed drop the ball with Sasha Banks. Again, her release was not confirmed by WWE and is still up in the air, but if she is gone, it was one of the biggest missed opportunities in WWE history. If Sasha Banks was not released and will remain with the company or even leaves and returns down the line, WWE better recognize what they have and use her like the star she is. The lack of Women’s superstars is few and far between, and if WWE gets a second chance, they better not flop it.

If you enjoy Bodyslam’s content, you can help donate to the site here. You can also visit our PWTees store and buy Bodyslam official merchandise here.

You can listen to all of Bodyslam’s podcasts by following us on Spotify and subscribing to our YouTube Channel,  or any of your favorite podcast platforms.

Comments