OPINION — Since stepping into the ring of the WWE, Sasha Banks (real name Mercedes Varnado) has been making big moves. Whether as a heel or face, she draws a buzz, and at this year’s WrestleMania, she will experience one of the biggest moments in her career.
Banks will face Bianca Belair in one of the main events of WrestleMania 37. Banks has had many firsts, but with this match, she along with Belair will make history as the first time two Black WWE superstars main event WrestleMania.
As Banks is a current world titleholder, this match will also be the first time two Black wrestlers fight one-on-one over a world title in WrestleMania history. What makes this even better is the fact that they are not only the first Black wrestlers but also the first Black women to do so.
It’s sad that it’s taken this long to happen, but if anyone is deserving enough to have such a high-caliber match, it’s Banks. She has accomplished a lot in her career and has put in the hard work, but has not truly had her WrestleMania moment yet.
Banks is the current SmackDown Women’s Champion and has held the title for over 130 days now. Last year she ranked no. 1 superstar by Sports Illustrated and won no. 1 female superstar at the WWE Slammy Awards.
Banks is also one of four female superstars to become Grand Slam Champion, having won every women’s title WWE had to offer at the time. She’s competed in many first matches for the women’s division such as Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber and Iron Man matches. She also oftentimes is the superstar that draws in the most viewership per show. Whether she’s feuding with Bayley or Carmella on SmackDown or, months ago, cutting a promo on Raw, the ratings show that people love Banks.
Belair is the perfect competitor for Banks as well. As an up-and-coming superstar in the WWE right now, Belair is already a great wrestler with a great gimmick and a crowd favorite. Banks and Belair will make magic in the ring together.
I personally think Banks is the current best female superstar on WWE’s main roster and have thought so since she moved her way up from NXT. She’s come a long way since the past WrestleMania’s I’ve been to.
In 2014 at WrestleMania 30, Banks was used as an extra in an entrance for Triple H. Back then at age 14, the only female wrestler I paid attention to was the now-retired AJ Lee, who preferred wrestling in converse and jean shorts rather than the typical. She also had phenomenal mic and in-ring skills, which is something most of the females had no time to showcase because they were getting five-minute matches. Banks has spoken countless times about women deserving the same opportunities as the men and wanting to change the way people viewed women’s wrestling from “bra and panties” matches or “bathroom breaks” to “main eventers.”
At the next WrestleMania, I attended in 2018, Banks was a participant in the women’s battle royal and even though she did not win, she still delivered her signature style. Since I had become a fan of Banks in 2015, by 2018 I claimed her as one of my favorites.
The more I learned about Banks, as a real person outside of her WWE “bad b*tch, cocky, legit boss” persona, the more I loved her. She’s very vocal about rights for women and Blacks and she loves K-pop and her dog just like me. Banks even starred in Disney’s “The Mandalorian” as Koska Reeves. She’s battled through depression and having to rediscover herself and is an extremely humble and admirable role model for females, especially Black females like myself.
I’ve been a fan of WWE since I was 11 years old and this matchup is by far one of the moments I’m most looking forward to. Because she is my favorite, I personally want Banks to win, but whether she does or not, I know it’ll be one heck of a fight between these two athletes. Regardless of the outcome, Banks will continue to be a trailblazer for minorities in sports.