Sasha Banks' Best Matches, Ranked

Since being called up from NXT on an episode of "Monday Night Raw" in 2015, Sasha Banks has been one of the most exciting female superstars in WWE. Actually no, let's be real, she's one of the most exciting superstars of any gender. And now, with a role in "Star Wars" and attention from ESPN and beyond, that excitement has been spreading outside of WWE and the wrestling world.

But as beautiful and charismatic as Sasha Banks is, the number one thing that has always made her stand out is just what an amazing wrestler she is, and how devoted to the craft of pro wrestling. Mercedes Varnado (as she's known outside the business) grew up worshipping the late Eddie Guerrero, and echoes of his particular mix of energy, physicality, and heelish opportunism undergird the Sasha Banks character. So with that in mind, let's talk about wrestling, and rank Sasha Banks' sixteen greatest matches.

16. Ronda Rousey (c) vs Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Women's Championship (Royal Rumble 2019)

Ronda Rousey arrived in WWE as a celebrated fighter, but a very inexperienced pro wrestler. To be frank, a lot of those matches in her first run were pretty rough, as she attempted to transition from a shoot fighter who prioritizes winning to a sports entertainer who prioritizes exciting a crowd. Her best matches were when she had a more experienced opponent who could channel Ronda's highly trained athleticism into a coherent in-ring story and single-handedly bring enough charisma to the table to keep audiences engaged. Needless to say, Sasha Banks excels at that sort of thing.

Thus, their match at Royal Rumble 2019 was one of Ronda's best showings in WWE. The story was that Sasha is a fantastically skilled pro wrestler, but Ronda's just too strong and violent to be taken down. At first Sasha seems to have a counter for everything Ronda throws at her, but Ronda just keeps coming and coming, until eventually she wins. This is when Ronda was beating everybody, but few looked as good in defeat as Sasha Banks.

15. Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Bianca Belair vs for the SmackDown Women's Championship (Crown Jewel 2021)

Triple threat matches are always chaotic, but when the three performers are as talented as Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bianca Belair, the chaos tends to be worth it. Back in 2021, Becky Lynch had just returned from maternity leave as a heel and won Bianca's "SmackDown" Women's Championship in an all-too-short match at SummerSlam. That match was originally supposed to be Sasha vs Bianca, with Becky filling in at the last minute. So when Sasha returned to find that Becky had taken her title shot and won, she forcefully reinserted herself into the title scene just in time for a triple threat at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.

As for the match itself, it was almost 20 minutes long, and all three women got their moments in the spotlight. There were times when it seemed like any of them could win, which is an impressive feat of expectation management in a multi-person match. Despite the competitors not being allowed to wear their usual gear, this was an impressive demonstration of just how entertaining women's wrestling can be, for an audience that doesn't always seem inclined to appreciate it.

14. Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella for the SmackDown Women's Championship (TLC 2020)

Sasha Banks is one of the most talented women in WWE, but Carmella is one of the most underrated. Carmella's in-ring skills might not stack up to Asuka or the Four Horsewomen, but she's an incredibly funny, charismatic performer, with enough speed and agility to seem like a threat when necessary. This match at Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2020 came during Sasha's run as "SmackDown" Women's Champion, and Mella was after that belt. She knew she wasn't as good a wrestler as Sasha, so her only shot at winning the title was to be as nasty, vicious, and opportunistic as possible. And that's what she did. She even had a little help from her sommelier Reginald, but let's be real, he was no match for Sasha either.

Nobody went into this match thinking Carmella was winning the title, but she was going so hard in this march that she made you believe it was a possibility. This might be the most violent Mella's ever been, and it's a great look for her. Ultimately, though, pure pro wrestling and its representative on this Earth, Sasha Banks, triumphed in the end, and all was right with the world.

13. Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks — Hell In A Cell Match for the the Raw Women's Championship (Hell In A Cell 2019)

Speaking of violence, this Hell in a Cell match from 2019 is just as vicious as anything Jon Moxley has done in AEW, except without the blading. Sasha had just returned as a heel, with her new blue hair and "the blueprint" nickname. Becky was still very much The Man, and still holding the "Raw" Women's Championship that she won from Ronda Rousey in the WrestleMania main event. As soon as Sasha came back from her long absence, her clash with Becky was inevitable, and Hell in a Cell was the obvious place to pay it off.

Sasha attacked Becky while the Cell was still lowering over the ring, getting as much offense in as possible before the match even started. Once they made it inside the big red cage, they employed all the usual weapons in both traditional (suplex onto a big pile of folding chairs) and innovative (propping Sasha against the wall with kendo sticks and then dropkicking her). It was an intense demonstration of how hard Sasha will fight to win a title, and how hard Becky will fight to keep one. The only problem with the match is that Sasha taps out much too quickly at the end. After all the intensity and pain tolerance she displayed in the Cell, you'd think she'd at least try to pull Becky's hair or otherwise get out of the hold.

12. Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship (SmackDown: November 6, 2020)

Now obviously there are a few matches against Bayley that rank much higher than this one. Part of what's fun about pro wrestling, though, is the way an ongoing saga can build with repeated matches, so each encounter becomes about history as much as its about the moves happening in the moment. This match came five years after Sasha and Bayley tore the roof off (Twice! But we'll get to that) in NXT, and just a couple of weeks after their struggle in WWE's custom-built purgatory box, Hell in a Cell. In comparison, this rematch on ""SmackDown"," in the crowd-free pandemic era WWE Thunderdome, could be called kind of basic. That said, it was a key part of their story, and feels a lot like a final chapter, even though these two will surely share a ring again in the future.

Once upon a time, Bayley was the underdog hero who had to prove she was a match for the flashier (and more successful up to that point) Sasha Banks. In 2020, Bayley had risen to the top, and become a nasty heel along the way. As such, it became Sasha's turn to put Bayley in her place — and to prove that could not only win the "SmackDown" Women's Championship, but keep it. More specifically, that she could do it in a standard wrestling match, not just the lawless confines of the Cell. 2015 Bayley refused to tap out to the Banks Statement, but 2020 Bayley has clearly lost a little of her heart along the way, because she did tap, giving Sasha the win.

11. Charlotte Flair (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Becky Lynch for the NXT Women's Championship (NXT TakeOver: Rival)

Rewatching it here in the far-flung future, this match feels like history happening before your eyes. The Four Horsewomen had already existed in NXT, but this match marks the moment when they really became solidified in the minds of fans as a quartet who stood apart from everyone else, despite never being an onscreen faction. Paige and Emma had started the process, but these are the four women who would change women's wrestling forever, in WWE and beyond.

And here in this 2015 match, none of them are quite there yet, but you can see it coming. Charlotte Flair is a hell of an athlete who hasn't yet figured out how to exude the level of glamour and prestige that came naturally to her father. Becky Lynch is a promising performer without the slightest clue what her wrestling gimmick is. Bayley and Sasha are two solid indie wrestlers who are just beginning to get their television legs under them.

As messy as multi-person matches can be, putting all four horsewomen in the ring together at this point in their careers really serves to highlight their strengths, as the four friends play off each other with perfect chemistry. And for Sasha Banks in particular (this list is about her, after all) this match is a big deal because she won the NXT Women's Championship from Charlotte Flair here.

10. Sasha Banks vs Asuka (Raw: January 29, 2018)

When Asuka joined the "Monday Night Raw" roster in 2017, she was carrying an undefeated streak that had lasted through her two years in NXT. And the thing about Asuka's streak was that she always had real matches, unlike some other wrestlers with famous winning streaks. Asuka didn't squash people. She sold her opponents' offense, sized them up over the course of a match, and then won. Every time, she won. For two and a half years, she won every match she had, and some of those matches were great. This is, obviously, one of those.

It certainly didn't seem likely that Asuka's streak was going to end on an episode of "Raw," let alone the night after she'd won the first ever Women's Royal Rumble. Sasha Banks, though, has never been afraid of long odds. And even if nobody thought she was going to defeat Asuka, everyone had been desperate to see them go at it. These were two of the best in-ring workers not just in the women's division, but in the entirety of WWE, and this was their first match. Unsurprisingly, it was great, despite one cringeworthy moment when Sasha accidentally caught the rope with her leg on a topé suicida and fell out of the ring as awkwardly as anyone ever has. But that was just one iffy moment in a solid 15 minutes of two of the best women in the business trading strikes, holds, and kicks until Sasha inevitably tapped to the Asuka Lock.

9. Charlotte Flair (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the WWE Women's Championship (WrestleMania 32)

This match was such a big deal that it's almost impossible to look at it objectively. This was the first WrestleMania after three of the Four Horsewomen had been called up from NXT and begun to change the way that women's wrestling was treated in WWE. After years of super-short matches that would get pulled entirely if a show was running long, these three were given enough time to really put on a solid title match. And what's more, it wasn't a match for the pink-butterfly-styled Divas Championship that Charlotte had held for months, but for the new WWE Women's Championship that was replacing it. A new era was dawning and these three had plenty to prove.

It was a solid match, of course, although it did focus a lot more on Charlotte and Becky's story than Sasha's. Flair and Lynch had been allies on the main roster until Charlotte turned heel, and their animosity towards each other in this match was clearly personal (as was Becky's toward Charlotte's legendary manager/dad, Ric Flair). Sasha Banks, on the other hand, was just there to try and win that shiny new belt. Sasha proves time and again that just because you're a once-in-a-generation worker doesn't mean you can't also be the ultimate opportunist. Ultimately nobody managed to keep Charlotte from winning a new belt to replace her old belt, but all three women put on a great show along the way, proving that they belonged where they were and deserved what they were getting (and more).

8. Sasha Banks (c) vs Becky Lynch for the NXT Women's Championship (NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable)

Sasha Banks had already been the Boss for a while by TakeOver: Unstoppable in May 2015, but in many ways this is the match where Becky Lynch becomes Beck Lynch. For the first time she showed up with her previously dark hair dyed bright orange, a color she'd keep for a very long time. This was also the debut of her steampunk gear, which was never a gimmick for her so much as an outfit. Nobody thought Becky was going home and flying airships with the help of clockwork robots, but she looked good in goggles and bloomers, so it was fine.

But there's more to it than that. Sasha was one of the best villains in women's wrestling at the time, so she was the perfect foil to help Becky begin developing her fiery babyface persona. It would take her years to become The Man, of course, but at this early stage you can see the beginnings of it. Becky has that rare gift that makes a natural babyface able to not just show the crowd how much they want that championship, but to make the crowd want it along with them. Sasha would get better at that skill in time, but this right here might be the thing she's best at: playing the highly skilled opportunist who stands in the hero's way.

7. Charlotte Flair (c) vs Sasha Banks — Falls Count Anywhere for the the Raw Women's Championship (Raw: November 28, 2016)

Sasha and Charlotte had a whole series of matches in 2016 over the "Raw" Women's Championship, trading the belt back and forth several times. Some fans complained that Sasha was made to look bad by constantly losing a title she'd just won, and in terms of booking, they might have a point. The matches, however, were excellent, and this was the most memorable of them all. Technically, they had two matches on this episode of "Raw." They were fighting for the title in a regular match early in the show, when they brawled to the outside and got a double count-out. "Raw" General Manager Mick Foley came out and said they'd restart the match later in the show, and it would be no count-out, no DQ, and Falls Count Anywhere. So that became the main event.

When it arrived, the match's stipulation gave the two rivals a chance to really work out their frustrations with each other, with the help of kendo sticks, steel ring steps, and of course the arena floor itself. If you ever watched this match, even all these years later, the finish has probably already appeared in your mind's eye: Charlotte, painfully trapped between the metal bars of a staircase railing, tapping out to a modified Banks Statement. In the long jumble that was the Flair/Banks feud of 2016, that's a moment that stands out, and at the risk of breaking kayfabe, it reflects an impressive and trusting collaboration between two performers at the top of their game.

6. Sasha Banks vs Asuka (Survivor Series 2020)

Any time Sasha Banks fights Asuka, it's worth watching, but this is a particular classic. It's low-stakes, of course — Sasha and Asuka were "SmackDown" and "Raw" Women's Championship, respectively, and consequence-free champion-versus-champion matches are what Survivor Series has been all about for the last six years or so. But with in-ring talents on the level of these two, there's a lot to enjoy about an exhibition match, especially since it's harder to guess who's winning. Plus, Sasha's win really isn't meaningless. Almost three years after she lost to Asuka on "Raw," Sasha getting a win over her here shows how far Sasha has come as a main roster star. It also shows how much trust the company is ready to put in her, as compared to all that belt-trading with Charlotte in 2016.

Asuka and Charlotte put on such a great show that you can just about look past the Thunderdome-era lack of a crowd. That era wouldn't have been nearly as watchable, to the degree it was, without these women and Bayley putting on amazing matches at every opportunity, and this is one of the best. And almost three years after their first match, it's satisfying to finally see Asuka tap out to a Banks Statement.

5. Sasha Banks vs Io Shirai (NXT Great American Bash: July 1, 2020)

Again we see the importance of a small group of women wrestlers to WWE's 2020 Pandemic programming. Before they split up, Bayley and Sasha were the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions, while Bayley was also the "SmackDown" Women's Champion. They showed up at NXT to defend the tag belts against Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox, but then NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai wanted a piece of Banks, and of course fans had already been wanting to see them in the ring together. So two weeks later, on the first night of "Great American Bash," Sasha was driven into the arena in a convertible with her two best friends: Bayley and a corgi named Ryu.

It wasn't a title match, but each woman clearly wanted to prove herself against the other. For that matter, Banks and Shirai are two performers who pretty much always go hard in the ring because they don't know any other speed. Naturally, that makes this match a lot of fun to watch. Even the "dirty" finish, with Asuka showing up to spray green mist in Sasha's eyes, isn't all that bothersome. Seeing Asuka emerge from under the ring was a genuine surprise, and Bayley had already interfered in the match, so you can't say the heels didn't deserve it.

4. Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks — Hell In A Cell Match for the SmackDown Women's Championship (Hell In A Cell 2020)

Hell in a Cell is the best match type WWE has for opponents who absolutely hate each other. And of course nobody hates each other like people who used to love each other. That's where Bayley and Sasha were in October of 2020. After years of being best friends and professing their love for each other, and two runs as Women's Tag Team Champions, the Role Models were enemies once again, with their alignments reverse from their classic NXT feud. Bayley's soul had festered amidst her year-long reign as "SmackDown" Women's Champion, and Sasha was on her own against her former friend. And with Hell in a Cell next on the schedule, there was nothing to be done other than two former friends getting in a metal box together and hurting each other as much as possible.

Heel or babyface, Sasha Banks had always been a risk-taking, thrill-seeking opportunist who will do absolutely anything to win a match, let alone a title, and at this particular moment in history, Bayley was pretty much the same way. So the energy level in this match is really something to see, and the finish is impossible to predict. Bayley had been champ a long time, and her run easily could have gone on even longer, but ultimately this was Sasha's moment, and it feels huge when she wins. Obviously this wasn't Banks' first championship, but it was the first time it really felt like the company was awarding her because they understood what a star she could be, and not just to further the development of Charlotte Flair.

3. Sasha Banks (c) vs Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women's Championship (WrestleMania 37)

As we reach the top three Sasha Banks matches of all time, we've arrived at the part of the list where the matches inarguably made history. Not in that kind of silly WWE-talking-point kind of way, like the first women's Hell in a Cell match (although for the record, Sasha was actually in the first three women's Hell in a Cell matches), but in the sense that these matches really are going down in the history books when it comes to mainstream women's wrestling. When Sasha faced Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 37, it was the second ever women's match to main event WWE's biggest show of the year. Sasha and Bianca were the first Black women to headline WrestleMania, and the first women to main event in a one-on-one match. 

No disrespect to Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, who faced Ronda Rousey in the main event of WrestleMania 35, but Belair and Banks were the first women in the WrestleMania main event to put on a truly great wrestling match, worth watching for its own sake. This was Bianca's coronation, and perhaps the first time it really felt like WWE was elevating a new female star to the level of the Horsewomen. And under all the pressure of this moment, Sasha and Bianca delivered. Bianca's bigger and stronger, but Sasha's agile and devious. When she messes with Bianca's hair, though, she's in for a trademark ponytail-whipping, and pretty soon she's lost the title.

2. Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks — Iron Man Match for the NXT Women's Championship (NXT TakeOver: Respect)

This match almost felt like an apology or a make-good from WWE to Sasha and Bayley, but they really made the most of it, so it's hard to object. Their previous match, which we're about to get to — the one you knew would be on the top of this list from the moment you clicked the link — should have main evented. But way back in 2015, giving women the main event of a big show just wasn't something WWE did, even in NXT. So Sasha and Bayley went on next to last, and emotionally exhausted viewers did their best to care about Finn Bálor defending his belt against Kevin Owens in a rematch from Beast in the East. It was the wrong choice and everybody knew it, but cultural inertia (and possibly Vince McMahon) got in the way.

So for Sasha's rematch against Bayley, Triple H gave them the main event of TakeOver: Respect. Not only that, it was an Iron Man match, albeit only a half-hour version. But even with the shorter timeframe (which was still incredibly long for a WWE women's match in 2015, to be clear), the stipulation elevated things nicely from the previous match. It gave Sasha more chances to be vicious, and Bayley more opportunities not to give up. It wasn't a copy of their previous effort, but in some ways it was an expansion on it. These two performers hadn't reached their peak yet (have they now? It might still be too soon to say), but seeing them deliver a second great match in just a couple of months gave everyone a sense of how high that peak might prove to be.

1. Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley for the NXT Women's Championship (NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2015)

Here we are; this was always the destination — the top of the list. Barclays Center, Brooklyn, August of 2015. The first NXT TakeOver to go on the road instead of streaming from NXT's usual headquarters. The moment it became absolutely undeniable that NXT was making stars, and making stars of women in particular. Sasha Banks had been called up to the Main Roster along with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, but Bayley was left behind. Sasha didn't even relinquish the NXT Women's Championship like Paige had when she went up the year before. She just kept carrying the belt, while Bayley had to fight every one of her former friends just to prove she was worthy of a chance for it.

This is the sort of match that you show people who don't watch wrestling, so they understand how great it can be. Anyone can understand the story of naïve underdog Bayley and vicious opportunist Sasha Banks. And if they needed help, Sasha came out in a Cadillac Escalade, accompanied by bodyguards, just to make it clear what sort of heel she is. And in the ring, of course, anyone can tell how great these two are, and how much chemistry they have. Bayley had a recent hand injury, and Sasha didn't hesitate to work that hand for the entire match. And when Bayley fixed her hair on the top rope, everybody felt it. And after she'd won, when Charlotte and Becky joined her and Sasha for a curtain call, the future of women's wrestling in WWE felt brighter than ever before. Even though Sasha Banks and Bayley both continued to develop as wrestlers and characters, the moment would never be quite this perfect again, which is why this match remains in first position.