The Sasha Banks and Bayley storyline dates back to NXT but it has really ramped up over the last year-plus. The two started as tag partners before teasing a split, which then manifested a couple of weeks ago. Now the two are battling each other in the ring, and Banks won the SmackDown Women's Title from Bayley at Hell in a Cell.
"For me, I got really inspired from Trish Stratus and Mickie James. They had a year-long storyline, and when I was watching as a teenager, that's what I wanted growing up. I wanted a year-long story where you just were on the ride for the whole time. You were never going to get off this roller coaster," said Banks.
"For us, it's kind of almost a revamp of that, besides me and Charlotte as well. It's really cool to see just the investment and time WWE has given to not only myself and Bayley, but within all the women in WWE. Just every single week from Friday Night SmackDown, to NXT, to Monday Night RAW, it's been nonstop of this incredible momentum of women just taking over the company."
Banks got her wrestling start on the indie scene so she's likely used to wrestling in front of sparse crowds. But nothing can really prepare you for wrestling in front of no crowd, which is what WWE Superstars have done since the pandemic began in March.
Banks talked about what she's learned during these last months from wrestling without the fans.
"I've been wrestling without fans before I even got signed with WWE. That's just something that I just love. It's been very different; it's actually kind of hard to take in that we don't have that live audience in the arena besides the Thunderdome. I miss the energy. I get a little taste with the Thunderdome, but it's not the same," admitted Banks. "So I cannot wait for the time for us to come back to traveling again and having fans in the arena.
"Until then, I've had such a good time kind of almost going back to the basics of just listening to myself rather than listening to the fans, and as you can tell, my work - I'm the best. I'm the greatest. I don't have to listen to the fans to where I want to go with my matches. I just follow my heart and I try to give the best for you guys."
After signing with WWE in 2012, Banks spent nearly three years in NXT where she was a one-time NXT Women's Champion. She even returned to the brand this past summer where she took part in The Great American Bash, and she was asked what she thinks of the evolution of NXT.
"I do not watch NXT currently, so I do not know. I do know they have a lot of incredible, amazing women. I did get to go down to NXT during the summer and I got to wrestle Shotzi [Blackheart] and Tegan [Nox], who were incredible to work with," stated Banks.
"I would definitely love to go back there again and tie up with any of the women down there, but I know they have a roster that is so stacked. I just do not have the time because I'm Sasha Banks, honey.
Two years ago, WWE held its first-ever – and thus far only – all-women's pay-per-view with Evolution. At the event, Banks teamed with Bayley and Natalya in a six-person tag in which her team defeated Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan. She talked about that experience and if WWE should hold an Evolution 2.
"It's something I absolutely want again. I've been talking about it on social media. It's just something I think that was so incredible for the women and for the fans. I don't understand why there hasn't been a second one yet, but don't say never in WWE," said Banks. "It definitely can happen in the future. Whenever that does happen, I think it will be better than the first because the first one was so evolutionary. It was incredible."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Stephanie Chase with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.