Mercedes Varnado a.k.a, WWE Superstar “The Legit Boss” Sasha Banks has seemingly done it all. Over the last decade she’s become one of the first women to main event an NXT Takeover; she was one half of the first women’s tag team champions; she’s a five-time Raw Women’s Champion, the current SmackDown Women’s champion, and dammit y’all, she DDT’d Boba freaking Fett in The Mandalorian.
Her next history making feat will come this weekend during WrestleMania 37, a two-day event where she, along with Bianca Belair, will compete in the main event for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. This will be the first time two Black women will compete in singles competition at “The Showcase of Immortals.” The Root was fortunate enough to speak with Banks about her litany of accomplishments and just what history is left for this trailblazer to make.
In speaking with Banks I was immediately struck by how her much deserved confidence blended with a slight disbelief at how she even got here.
“I look back every day and I go “is this me? Am I really here? Is my life, like they say, really a movie?” I can’t believe that little girl who never thought she was going to make it, Never thought she was going to get out of Iowa, was going to be this beloved WWE Superstar who will be main eventing at WrestleMania,” Banks said.
Anyone who’s seen Banks in the ring, though, can definitely understand how a little girl from Iowa became one of the biggest stars in wrestling today. Not only is she charismatic on the mic, she’s a hell of a great in-ring performer who regularly delivers banger after banger. She’s been a mainstay in Hell in a Cell matches, which involve two wrestlers being locked in a cage with a litany of weapons and beating the living hell of each other until one of them finally takes the pin.
Banks has appeared in the stipulation more than any other female wrestler, with her matches often overshadowing the men’s Cell matches. When I asked her what it’s like to be considered by fans as the queen of the cell she was quick to correct me. “I’m not the queen of the cell, I’m the boss of the cell,” Banks said.
Having long been a Sasha Banks stan, this match is personally interesting to me because it’s cool seeing Banks go from being the one climbing mountains, to being the mountain a young up-and-comer like Belair has to conquer. When I asked her if she felt different coming into this match as the seasoned pro against an up-and-comer, well, that’s when the wrestler who kills it every week on Friday Night SmackDown was on full display.
“I always felt like I was a legend in the game when I first started. I always felt seasoned as a rookie and before my time. So this is nothing new. I go up against rookies every single week on Friday Night Smackdown. This is nothing new to me,” she said.
She didn’t mince words when it came to her challenger either.
“This is new to her that she’s going to face a star so bright. She’s just coming out of NXT, this is her first year on the main roster. If she would’ve listened to me, she would’ve walked into WrestleMania as the Women’s Tag Team champion, but she didn’t want to. She got a big head, she got a long braid, but come WrestleMania 37 I’m gonna show her what she already knows: That I’m the boss, the blueprint, and the standard for the women’s division.”
Shoot, she ain’t gotta tell me twice, y’all.
Banks is more than a wrestler, though, and last year she made a rather spectacular entrance into acting with her role as Koska Reeves on The Mandalorian. While acting is definitely something she has her eye on pursuing further, she’s looking to expand in other fields as well.
“I really want to get into music...I love makeup and giving back to my community. I want to do something for young women and young men just giving them hope that they can achieve their dreams, because I believe there needs to be more mentors letting young people know, and honestly letting everybody know that you can do it if you push through,” she said. “I want to do a lot in this world, and wrestling is just a little legacy I want to leave on this planet.”
You would think someone who has broken so many barriers and accomplished so much in her industry wouldn’t have much history left to make, but you would be wrong, as Banks has one more barrier she would like to break.
“The next thing I want to do is go into my rightful place in the [WWE] Hall of Fame next year,” she said. “I feel like I earned that, I deserved that, and why not accomplish that goal? Next year I’ll be 30, so I’ll be the youngest.”
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s up on the Hall of Fame stage next year. Clearly, Banks has a lot on her plate but right now she’s only focused on one thing. “The only thing I have my eyes on is Wrestlemania 37,” she said.
So, if you’re in the mood to watch some history be made this weekend, WrestleMania 37 will be streaming exclusively on Peacock on April 10 & 11.