Why Sasha Banks is the female Shawn Michaels

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The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels is known to wrestling fans throughout the world as one of if not the best pure talents its has ever had. With his brash and confident charisma and his in ring prowess and his ability to play either a beloved hero or a hated villain, he would go on to have a hall of fame career. In my opinion, Sasha Banks is the female Shawn Michaels and here are 7 reasons why.

Big Match Performers

First of all, they are both big match performers. You would usually hear it in Shawn’s matches, there isn’t a better big match performer in wrestling than Shawn Michaels. From his classics at WrestleMania with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and his final 2 matches with the Undertaker, to his classic feud with Triple H there wasn’t a big match that Shawn didn’t excel in. The same can be said about Sasha Banks who has had many classics of her own. Lets start in 2015 in NXT, She would go on to produce 5 straight 4 star matches (and in my opinion some are ranked low) in a row; a fatal 4 way where she won the NXT title against Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch, her 2 NXT title defenses against Charlotte, her takeover unstoppable match with Becky, as well as her 2 matches with best friend Bayley at Takeover Brooklyn and Takeover Respect. She would also go on to have many top tier matches in all of 2016 with Charlotte on the WWE main roster in which PWI would vote it the feud of the year as well as voting Banks the top female of the year. Finally, in 2019 Banks would put on 3 more classics in big matches with Ronda Rousey at the Royal Rumble and Becky Lynch at both Clash of champions and Hell in a cell (IMO the womens match of the year).

Their Ability to make stars

One of the biggest needs to be able to consider yourself a star in the wrestling business in my opinion, is the ability to not only become a star yourself, but also make a star. While a lot of people would credit Shawn Michaels with helping many including Stone Cold Steve Austin become a major star in wrestling, the same can be said about Sasha Banks. In NXT in 2015, she had what I consider the best womens championship run ever in only 5.5 months. Her relationship with Becky Lynch (Team BAE) as well as her match with Becky at Takeover Unstoppable put Becky Lynch on the map. Her matches with Charlotte Flair (2014/2015) as well as their year long feud in 2016 on the main roster made both of them stars. Pro wrestling Illustrated actually voted Banks the #1 female in wrestling and her vs Charlotte the top feud of 2016.  Then there’s Bayley, who in 2015 NXT had THE greatest North America womens match (voted NXT match of the year men included) with Banks and would become the biggest star that NXT had at the time.  That historic match would also set the stage for women in wrestling to main event not only tv shows, but pay per views. They are now main eventing house shows which is something no one ever thought would happen.  Finally it led to 2 other historic things, Ronda Rousey joining the pro wrestling world and women main eventing WrestleMania.

Their ability to stay relevant despite questionable booking. 

There is one thing the WWF/WWE (especially WWE today) is known for and thats their odd booking of many top tier talents. While Shawn Michaels is known as Mr. WrestleMania how many realize he’s only won 6 of the 17 matches he’s had? How many big matches has he lost to Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart, among others, it hasn’t hurt him. The same can be said about Sasha Banks who really only has a few signature wins to her resume, however much like Shawn, she has been able to overcome questionable booking and it hasn’t hurt her star power at all.. While many of her fan base (the krew) will disagree with that statement, lets just look at the facts. How many big time babyface stars lose a feud in the end to the heel and overcome it?.  How many big time babyfaces could go on TV basically denounce her character and 2 weeks later come out to one of the biggest pops the women have gotten that year? How many women could survive a 2018 booking where she would lose almost as much as she won and in matches that really served no purpose. Finally, how many women could be dragged through the mud after rumors swirled of a 2019 walk out and return to one of the biggest pops of the year as well as split a crowd with the top star at the time as a villian no less? Her merch sales, quarter hour ratings, and fan base continue to rise above any questionable booking the WWE throws at her.  Oh by the way, Banks also now has appeared in a Super Bowl commercial in 2020 (the only wrestling woman to do so) along side Roman Reigns and is also rumored to be playing a role in the upcoming Star Wars Mandalorian season 2; that my friends is what a star is.

Their ability to make anyone they are in the ring with look good. 

One of the most common things wrestling fans will tell you is that you need a dance partner, and while that is partly true, there are just some who stand out and are able to create a special dance with the lack of a great dance partner: Shawn Michaels was able to do it, and Sasha Banks is also able to do it. While both have had many big time classics that I have outlined already, I would like to point out just a few times that Sasha Banks was able to create magic without a real dance partner.  In 2017, with a green Nia Jax, Banks would go on to produce three solid matches including one in her hometown of Boston. She’s also credited by most wrestling fans with the accolade of getting the best match out of any woman she’s in the ring with, which is what Shawn Michaels was great at. In the art of wrestling, you have to also be able to make your opponent look good by selling moves , and both Michaels and Banks excel at selling the other’s moves whether they are playing a babyface or a heel.

Their ability to play a babyface or a heel

Speaking of, there are 3 characters that a pro wrestler can play in wrestling, a babyface, a heel, or a tweener (which is basically a babyface with some heel tendencies). In my and many others opinions, both Michaels and Banks excel at both. Lets start with Michaels, he orginally was part of a tag team known as the Rockers with tag team partner Marty Janetty as a beloved tag team. However, in 1992, on an episode of the barber shop, Michaels would end up throwing his then partner/friend through a barbershop window turning heel. His heel run would include a feud with Bret Hart in which he would make many disparaging remarks about Canada and end with putting over Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14 before he took a long hiatus returning to WWE again and starting a feud once again as a babyface with Triple H. In 2005, Michaels would turn on Hulk Hogan going into Summerslam playing a tweener role, he would still have his babyface persona but he would make fun of Bret Hart in Canada and run away from Hulk Hogan. In the same way Michaels could play all 3 roles well, so can Sasha Banks. In 2013 Banks would debut in NXT as a go happy girl just happy to be there. However one day that all changed and Banks decided she needed something different and turned heel, added some swag to her character, put on some shades and called herself the boss and became one of the best heels going. From 2016 to 2018 Banks would play the role of a babyface and was one of the most over talents on the roster In 2016; a roster that included John Cena who no one in wrestling is as big today. In January of 2019 while in a tag team with Bayley, Sasha would play the role of a tweener in a feud with then Raw womens champion Ronda Rousey where she would use both her boss persona from NXT in 2015 but also play the character she has been playing then at the time teaming with Bayley a beloved babyface.

The emotional and physical issues they dealt with thanks to pro wrestling and how it changed both

Lets start of by going back to Survivor Series in Montreal Canada in 2017 Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart. What happened that night is something most people thought wouldn’t happen, a script was broken, Michaels put Bret Hart in the sharpshooter and owner Vince McMahon called for the bell without Bret tapping out. Thats right, Vince screwed Bret (or Bret screwed Bret). Over the years of wrestling, Michaels would deal with drugs and alcoholism before he found Christianity.  One thing both share in common is back injuries, back injuries is what made Shawn have to retire from wrestling for many years, and while they aren’t as bad as his, Banks herself has dealt with back injuries in the past (probably from carrying a division for years LOL). As with Shawn, Banks one day decided that her love for wrestling was gone and she needed to take a break in the summer of 2019 due to depression, burn out and other issues stemming from the accident with fellow wrestler Paige in 2017 that forced her to retirement. That incident led to many questioning just how good she is, including herself. You could tell she just wasn’t the same after that especially with all the criticism she would face from social media fans. She has since returned and has returned to being as great as she has always been, some would claim even better and she seems more happy than she’s been in a long time. Sometimes you just need time away from what is destroying you no matter how much you love it.

Their overall impact on the business

While many wrestlers from the past and even the present have said they became a pro wrestler due to Shawn Michaels, the same can be said for Banks. Lets go back to the Summer of 2019 when it was rumored that Banks was leaving WWE, you had women pro wrestlers from every promotion asking for a match with her. That is still happening today as even impact stars like Tessa Blanchard and Rosemary are wanting to have a match with Banks. While Michael’s was known to use his pull backstage (kliq, his feud with Bret Hart, etc), Banks is known for something else. With her match with Bayley at NXT Takeover Brooklyn, they not only changed the game for women in North America but they raised the bar. That match set the stage for the likes of Ronda Rousey one of the biggest women stars in the world to venture into pro wrestling after years of being a fan, as well as mentioned before setting the stage for the WrestleMania 35 main event. Without that match with Bayley at Takeover Brooklyn, there is no guarantee that the womens revolution comes as far as it has.

While some would consider Banks to be more like the likes of Eddie Guerrero which is who Banks credits to wanting to be a pro wrestler or Randy Savage as my friend believes (flamboyant, fans made her turn babyface, willing to ruffle feathers and stick up for herself among other things), I believe she’s more of a Shawn Michaels, she might not retire with the accolades of a Triple H (13 time WWE champion, RR winner, etc), she will however retire one day being known as a star creator and much like Michaels, one of if not the best pure in ring women talents ever.

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5 Reasons Sasha Banks should win the Royal Rumble.

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The WWE is about to kick into high gear and kick off their WrestleMania season starting with January’s Royal Rumble pay per view. While you can make a case that a couple other women are options to win the women’s Royal Rumble, these are five reasons why Sasha Banks is the best and most logical choice to win the annual event.

  1.  She is one of the biggest stars in the company men or women based on popularity, merchandise sales, ratings, and other metrics. She is known as one of the members of the esteemed 4 horsewomen of WWE that includes Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bayley. However if you follow her booking, she hasn’t exactly been pushed on the level of those other 3 women. There are four major pay per views and she has a combined W/L record of 4-10 at those annual events including 0-4 at WrestleMania. That is simply unacceptable for a star of her status. Yes, you can say wrestling is scripted so wins and losses dont matter, but I’ll argue they matter more because of it being scripted it feels like every time she gets hot the WWE does something that undermines her and tries to kill her momentum.

2.     She has earned it for everything she has done for the women’s division over 4 years. Her NXT run in 2015 would put fellow 4 horsewomen Becky Lynch on the map, as well as make other 4 horsewomen member Bayley the star of the entire brand after their matches at NXT Takeover Brooklyn and Takeover Respect. For the last 2 years, she has been in pointless rivalries and feuds with no direction that were started and dropped. while putting over almost every other woman on the roster.  Then just recently making a red hot return and being the talk of the company after a 4 month hiatus and giving Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch the match she needed to heat up her record breaking title run that before that rivalry most will admit had fallen flat.

3.     She would have the best story of any other woman on the roster.  Does she jump back over to Raw and look for revenge on Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch for the defeat at Hell in a Cell? Does she do the unthinkable and decide to go back to NXT which is now considered a third brand and look for revenge on NXT womens champion Rhea Ripley due to what happened at Survivor Series? Finally, does she decide to stay on SD and challenge best friend and Smackdown womens champion Bayley because winning that title would make her the second grand slam champion in history? Yes, some have argued there is the Elimination Chamber, but based on storyline wise where Sasha doesn’t want the title as long as she’s facing Bayley, why would she want to enter either a #1 contender match or a match that is for the Smackdown womens championship as long as Bayley is the champion?  However, the possibilities of her turning on Bayley, or Bayley turning on her which is something we’ve never seen on either side are endless and could make for compelling television if she were to win the Royal Rumble. Not only that, fans for years have been craving for Sasha Banks and Bayley to get a chance to re create the magic they did 4 years ago at Takeover Brooklyn and Respect. It’s time to give the fans what they have been asking for.

4.    If not now, when? The truth is, this should have already happened 3 years ago. In 2016, Sasha Banks was one of the hottest things on the entire roster, so much so that the WWE would pair her a few times with Roman Reigns in order to try to get him over as the face of the company that they have been trying to do for years now. Instead, the WWE failed to capitalize on her popularity, and instead chose someone else. Fast forward to today, they once again have a chance to make her the top star on the Smackdown brand alongside Roman Reigns. Do they finally pull the trigger or do they again pass over her for someone who doesn’t do as much for the company as she does? Yes she is 27 years old so you can claim they have time, but this summer she almost walked away from it all because she was suffering from depression and anxiety. The truth is no one knows what tomorrow will bring, you can’t keep pushing it off thinking you have time due to her age.

5.   The company claims they value her. While she got a rumored substantial bigger contract signing with the company, money only goes so far. The WWE has no problem using her on billboards and posters and magazine covers among other promotional material to help draw fans into the buildings, but yet dont treat her on TV like the star they promote off screen. The last two years she has been constantly involved in tag team matches, 6 women tag matches, she’s had rivalries started and dropped, she’s had a title reign promised to her and then taken away from her 8 days and 48 days later (this was due to extenuating circumstances however) among other things. She along with Roman Reigns are the top 2 stars on the highest rated WWE show Smackdown.  She supposedly has a really good relationship with WWE owner Vince McMahon now and is one of the easier people to work with again in the locker room by accounts.

It’s put up or shut up time for the WWE in 2020, do they finally decide to go all in and let her get the chance to carry the ball starting with a Royal Rumble win, or do they just continue to treat her like they always have, a star who makes stars but never gets a real chance to be THE star? If the company is going to go all in with her, it should start January 26th with a Royal Rumble win, if not fans will once again realize that no matter how much they try to talk about how much they claim to value her, she will still be seen as someone who is not quite that level to the company.

 

Should we bank on WWE pushing Sasha Banks in 2020?

Sasha Banks was one of the hottest acts in NXT in 2015, so much so that when she debuted on the main roster alongside Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair on Monday Night Raw, fans thought that she was going to be the next big thing in the womens division and one of the women to carry Monday Night Raw or Tuesday Night Smackdown, It hasn’t exactly worked out that way so will it change this time? If you listen to many fans on social media, they believe nothing will really change.

Going back to late 2015, the WWE universe would chant “we want Sasha” in matches she was apart of, matches she wasn’t even in with other women, or heck even arenas she wasn’t in, this continued until 2016 where she made her big “return” at the January pay per view Royal Rumble. She went into a feud with Charlotte all of 2016 and despite being the 2nd overall merchandise seller (this included a roster that had Roman Reigns, John Cena, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and even a red hot Dean Ambrose), someone who brought in big ratings (Her vs Charlotte did 3M in a 3rd hour of Monday Night Raw), someone who helped sell out arenas in a time where wrestling was bigger than it is now, the WWE never capitalized on that momentum and never gave her a chance to run with the ball. They essentially in the end chose Charlotte over her and went with the other 4 horsewomen member Bayley in 2017 before going to Alexa Bliss.

For 2017 and 2018, both Banks and Bayley would be reduced to constant tag team matches with no direction, whether it be with the Riot Squad or with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose known as fire and desire. Basically, Sasha Banks and her partner Bayley were on TV just to be on TV.. This continued until the womens tag team titles came early 2019 where they won the tag titles as the inaugural champions.

In 2019, Sasha and Bayley defended the tag team titles on PPV (or even tv) one time before they lost them to the Iiconics at WrestleMania. Now there were extenuating circumstances as Sasha Banks said in her chronicle that she was suffering from burn out and depression and just didn’t have the urge to do it anymore at the time. For months and months fans were wondering if she would even come back, they asked time and time again for her to come back into a feud with Becky Lynch, which ultimately she did after a red hot heel turn. However, much like her whole main roster run, even as a heel with a new attitude, new look, and the talk of the business again, she wasn’t chosen to be given the ball. She eventually lost her very first big feud back to Becky Lynch and then was drafted to Smackdown where she also at Survivor Series ended up losing being eliminated by Rhea Ripley but was protected in the loss.

Fast forward to today, Sasha is presented as a big deal on Smackdown, she is constantly involved with Bayley who is the SD womens champion. She is treated as a special attraction as she doesn’t really wrestle much, the roster has been basically cleared for her without Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, or heck even Asuka. She is on constant posters, gets constant promotion from Fox, and SEEMS to be heading into a WrestleMania program with Bayley, has been protected pretty much the entire time, yet fans on social media are constantly believing that the WWE will yet again ultimately choose someone else be it someone like Lacey Evans or Alexa Bliss.

The truth is, can we really blame those fans? Every single time Sasha has gotten red hot the WWE has done something to stop her momentum (purposely or not is up to what you believe), they technically just did it again this October unless there is a bigger picture really here. How do you not only book her as a face to lose big matches, but even with a change that made her successful from NXT she also loses 2 big matches as a heel? Most people have no belief at all she will win the Royal Rumble to kick start some momentum in 2020.

Even the biggest, most optimistic fan has belief that once again the company will choose someone else to give the ball to. Will this new found relationship with Vince pay off? Will sticking up for herself and betting on herself pay off? or will she be used as what she’s been used time and time again on the main roster to make the next star?.. Will she finally be treated as a star herself, or simply the star maker? I guess we will find out in 2020 starting with the Royal Rumble.

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