Her 2018 booking almost beat me into submission, but I actually am a huge Sasha Banks fan.
I still sing her theme song every time she enters the arena on Raw, but an Iron Woman run in the first ever women’s Rumble match wasn’t enough to keep me from more or less giving up hope last year. The on-again, off-again issues with Bayley hurt a character already partially defined by an inability to hold onto a title. And segments like their asinine trip to therapy exposed the main weakness in Banks’ game – her mic work is great when she’s talking trash, but not great in the kind of comedy WWE loves on the main roster.
The announcement of women’s tag titles wasn’t exactly the thing which would deliver my favorite version of Sasha, but at least it would give the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection a goal to shoot for. After last year, that seemed like the most we could dream for.
Then came last night (Jan. 8), a Royal Rumble shot at Ronda Rousey and a return of the swagger which has been missing from her on-screen character for months. It was pretty great (except for the Nia Jax match, but what are you gonna do?) and has me wondering…
Is it safe to get excited about The Boss again?
The answer seems to be… “maybe?”
Banks isn’t winning in Phoenix on Jan. 27. There’s too much invested in Rousey and a potential WrestleMania 35 main event. At the very least, having Ronda bring Banks backstage reputation as the best worker in the company into kayfabe is a step in the right direction, though. Worst case, she solidifies her rep as the Ricky Steamboat of the Women’s Evolution. Best case, a loss continues to light a fire under her character, bringing back more and more of the heel Boss so many of us first fell in love with during her NXT run, leading to another shot at a more vulnerable champ.
If Bayley & Sasha’s 2018 taught us anything, though, it’s the danger of putting too much stock in where WWE might go, or where it seems they are going. So nobody should expect anything beyond a good match under some literal and metaphorical bright lights at Chase Field. There’s a good chance Banks leaves the Rumble and heads right back into her babyface buddy duo with the Hugster.
Her fallout interview from last night is all attitude – until it’s all smiles. The company loves Sasha as a baby, and a good girl run with the new tag belts still may be what they see for her in 2019.
The b**** who made Izzy cry isn’t coming back. Hey, that’s fine. Even if she goes back to babyfacing it up with her bestie in a few weeks – in contention for tag titles is better than they both had it a month ago. And WWE wouldn’t elevate her to a Big 4 PPV match against their ‘Mania showcase piece if they didn’t value her. Sasha is in this for the long haul, and fortunes can change it a hurry. Especially when a lot of fans are behind you no matter what and your superiors value your work.
So will 2019 be the Year of the Boss? Perhaps not.
But it’ll be another solid 365 days of Sasha Banks.
And there’s always 2020.