Sasha Banks is Unstoppable
By Charlotte Wilder
FOX Sports columnist
There aren’t many people who can say they’ve had a banner year in 2020, but WWE superstar Sasha Banks defied the odds and made history — repeatedly.
It’s safe to say that no one in the WWE universe has flown higher than she has. Banks went from sitting out the Royal Rumble in January with an injury, to becoming one of the main faces of the company along with Roman Reigns and Drew McIntrye. Banks has held her own, winning multiple championships and even starring in the hit show The Mandalorian.
“Just at 28 [years old], don’t think I’m gonna slow down,” Banks told me when we caught up. “Oh no, no, Charlotte, I’m not gonna slow down just because I’m 28. I’m about to pick it up — 29, 30, 31. Even when I’m 60, I want to be just greatness.”
Banks is well on her way, and going over her accomplishments of the past twelve months was a wild ride. So much has changed since New Year’s Eve in 2019, but one thing hasn’t: Banks’ ambition. She wants to take over WWE even more than she already has, and I, for one, wouldn’t want to be the one standing in her way.
Here’s a timeline of her remarkable 2020 and what she had to say about it.
January 26, 2020 – Royal Rumble
Banks missed the Rumble due to an injury. She was super bummed not to be able to compete with her then-partner and best friend Bayley, but she didn’t dwell on it.
“I was already looking ahead to the future,” Banks said. “I was like, you know what? It’s okay. Because I’m still going to go to WrestleMania and make the same money!”
March 26, 2020 - WrestleMania 36
In the strangest WrestleMania yet, Banks found it challenging to perform without fans.
“That was so hard. I was in a little shock at the moment,” Banks said of the world grinding to a halt because of COVID-19. “It was pretty scary at the same time, but at WrestleMania, we always show up, and show out, and do it for our fans. I had to bring it even more for our fans so they could feel it through the television. To have such an incredible match with such incredible women in my locker room? I was just so thankful.”
June 5, 2020 – SmackDown
At SmackDown in the late spring, Banks and Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the Women’s Tag Team Title. At the time, Bayley was still Banks’ best friend. Banks had captured this title before, so what was different about it the second time around?
“It felt like the second time was even more delicious,” Banks said, laughing. “Because once again, [beating] Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross? It just felt amazing ... Alexa said I can’t keep a title, I can’t do this, and that night on Friday Night SmackDown, I shut her up.”
July 1, 2020 – NXT: Great American Bash
Banks’ July 1 match against Io Shirai set off the 'Summer of Sasha Banks.' In June and July, Banks appeared on NXT, RAW and SmackDown. How did it feel having Vince and the company trust her and Bayley with so much screen time?
“I mean, it hurt my neck and my back!,” Banks joked. “But it did not hurt my paycheck! But to go to NXT and face someone that is so legendary, like Io Shirai ... I remember her WWE tryout, and I would just watch her going, 'Ooh, wow, [I have] competition — finally! Scrumdiddlyumptious, I cannot wait.'"
July 27, 2020 – RAW Title Run
In late July, Banks defeated Asuka for the Raw Women’s Champion to become “Two Belt Banks.” She would go on to hold the title until SummerSlam. Banks made history with this win — she claimed the RAW title for the fifth time, the most in WWE history.
“All I wanted to do was have fun during the summer,” Banks said. “Being 'Two Belt Banks was probably the greatest time I’ve ever had. Working with Asuka, who is probably one of the greatest in the world, I could be in the ring with her every single week and I’d be so happy.”
September 4, 2020 – Smackdown...and a break up
Bayley turned on Banks when Banks lost her RAW title at SummerSlam. What was going through Banks’ mind as this betrayal was taking place?
“I just finished losing to Nia Jax, who’s incredible, and Shayna Bazler, who is so different, and my knee was hurt ... next thing you know, I take a crossbody, and my best friend of eight years, my ride or die, was like, ‘Girl do you want to stand up?’”
“Next thing you know,” Banks continued, “she kicks me in my face? I didn’t even have the time to register.”
Banks says she felt that Bayley’s energy shifted once she became 'Two Belt Banks.'
“I don’t know if it was jealousy?” Banks said. “Probably ... she’s always on my bus, she doesn’t have a bus. I felt the energy shift, but again, she’s my best friend of eight years, and she was finally getting a little bit of the spotlight. I was going to let her have that.”
October 25, 2020 – Hell in a Cell for Smackdown Women’s Championship
When Banks beat Bayley in this match, Banks became the third Women's Grand Slam and fourth Triple Crown Champion. With stats that impressive, what’s left for her to accomplish?
“To be the CEO of the WWE,” Banks says. “I am the legit boss, and how can I be more legit than owning the whole company?”
Someone warn Vince McMahon.
November 13, 2020 – The Mandalorian
Banks made waves in the entertainment world when she appeared in the third episode of the Disney sensation The Mandalorian. She never checks her Instagram DMs, but the one time she did, she saw a message from someone saying that director Jon Favreau wanted to talk to her. Favreau had no idea Banks was a wrestler — he had seen her on an episode of the show Hot Ones and thought she’d be perfect for the role he envisioned.
The hardest part for Banks? Keeping her foray into acting a secret.
“I couldn’t tell anyone, which was super hard for me because I went from RAW, straight to LA, straight off the set, straight to RAW, changing my hair, having no sleep, still being the best.”
November 22 – Survivor Series
Most recently, Banks defeated Asuka clean with an inside cradle. Many consider Charlotte Flair and Bayley to be Sasha's greatest rivals, but what about Asuka?
“I never put Asuka on any list. I don’t like to number people,” Banks said.
Maybe it’s easier to knock them down if you don’t build them up.
What a year. Banks will have to get creative to find ways to compete against herself, because right now, she’s her main competition.
But there’s little reason to doubt she’ll do it. If 2020 has shown anything, it’s that betting against Banks is a great way to lose.
Check out the full interview below: