Sasha Banks joined the Just Women’s Sports podcast with Kelly O’Hara to talk about her wrestling career. When asked by O’Hara what was the key to her success in WWE, Banks stated it was a combination of her work and the respect from the WWE fan base.
“I think number one has to be because of my work, and then number two the fans respecting and loving my work,” Banks said. “Because they love it so much, their engagement with me, you know, they were chanting ‘we want Sasha’ back when I first debuted on the main roster. They let everybody know, they let WWE know what they wanted to see. They’re always behind me, they have my back no matter what. And if you look at my career and my championship weeks, it doesn’t match up to some other women. But because my match history and what I do in the ring, I think the fans, they respect my work and my craft so much that they just get behind me. And I’m just so thankful I have their love and support.
“It felt so crazy because one, I went from being a bad guy and the fans hating me and booing me to the fans changing their tune and they me and love me. It’s always so weird to see what reaction I’m going to get with them. But no matter what it is, all the energy that I do get, it’s just so, it’s just something that you need to have all the time. You just get so entranced in it. It’s why I am a wrestler.”
Banks would go on to state she preferred being a heel, due to it being so much more fun and it being easier to get fans to hate you rather than like you.
“It’s such a good feeling,” Banks said. “I love taking that away from people. I love making them angry. The fact that I did that with my energy or because of my performance, it just lets me know my connection with them. Because a lot of times fans can change the way of a match or the way of a promo. They can take over, they are very, very in the know. But you’ve got to be ahead of yourself and you’ve got to have a voice and a base to let them know ‘no, let me take you for this ride. Let’s see if I can make you like me or see if you hate me.’ It’s such a cool vibe and experience that we get to play with.”
Banks has been absent from WWE since losing the Smackdown Women’s Title to Bianca Belair in the main event of Night One of WrestleMania 37. The match fulfilled a lifelong dream of main eventing WrestleMania for Banks, and she revealed she wasn’t sure she and Belair would be going on last until just a few days before.
“It was, that whole month was such an exciting thing for me,” Banks said. “We had no idea who was going to main event WrestleMania. The year before I was telling my best friend, Bayley, like ‘I’m going to main event WrestleMania 37.’ It was always my dream to main event a WrestleMania. So I was just putting it out there in the universe and really just striving and working towards it. So the month before WrestleMania, I really thought, I heard rumblings that it was going to be the guys. And I was like ‘okay, what can I do? What can I do? What can I do? All I can do is be me and just keep doing my work as best I can and show Vince that if I’m not the main event, I don’t know what main event you’re going to have.’
“It was legit the Wednesday before WrestleMania I found out that we were the main event. And I was again so nervous because I was asking around ‘did you get the card? Did anyone tell you?’ And they’re like ‘you’re not the main event.’ And I’m like ‘nobody told me that!’ I’m like ‘okay, I still have time because Vince hasn’t said anything. I’m going to go to rehearsals and if I find out, all I can do is maybe ask Vince and that’s all I can do.’ I went to rehearsals and TJ Wilson, who’s our producer, he told me that I was the main event. And I just instantly started crying and was just like ‘wow. No way!’ Like I knew it, it’s something that I wanted. Just to finally to hear the words that ‘you’re the main event.’ It was so overwhelming, it’s bringing back tears. It’s crazy, it’s crazy, because it’s the biggest thing you can ever do in wrestling. My heroes haven’t gotten to do what I’ve done. So not only that, and just being a woman and being an African American woman. We’re checking off so many things. But the biggest thing that I got to check off was my biggest dream in my heart. Fully accomplishing that last checkmark on my list of everything I had written down since I was a kid. That was just last month and I am on vacation right now still soaking that in. I’m just ready for what’s next.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Just Women’s Sports and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription