On the latest edition of E & C’s Pod of Awesomeness, Edge & Christian land an interview with the #1 contender for the Raw Women’s title and lightning rod for wrestling fan opinion, Sasha Banks.
A lot of familiar ground is covered, such as how Banks was drawn to being a wrestler and her paradigm-shifting match with Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn back in 2015. The Rocket Strappers dive into current events, too, though, and in true lightning rod fashion, The Boss is equal parts excited about what lies ahead of her in 2019 and frank in her portayal of life behind-the-scenes at WWE.
Her account of how the company’s new Women’s Tag titles have been rolled out, and how she & her Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection partner were booked in 2018, sounds like it played out backstage every bit as confusingly as it did on screen:
“All of last year, I feel like our career kind of like at a standpoint where we weren’t really doing much, where were told one thing, but the next thing was something else, or we thought we were gonna be facing each other, then they stopped that, so we’re like okay, if they’re gonna make us a tag team, let’s become the best tag team we can possibly be where we’re training together, we’re watching tape together, we’re getting matching gear - and just to be told that they weren’t gonna have the titles. And then next thing you know, they introduce the titles...”
The opportunity to face Ronda Rousey for the belt at next weekend’s show in Phoenix has her excited, but not something she got a lot of advance notice of...
“It’s kind of crazy. It was really unexpected, too. When I found out I was gonna be facing her, it was just out of the blue. I found out the day before Raw and I was just like, ‘Wait , huh?’ Of course, that’s how WWE always works. You never know what they’re gonna be doing. They tell you one thing and the next thing you know something’s different, but it’s honestly really cool because last year having the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, I got to open that match, and be part of that match for 54 minutes. Now going into this year’s Royal Rumble and actually being a part of the title picture, it’s kind of crazy how full circle life is.”
And she’s optimistic she and Rousey can steal the show at Chase Field on Jan. 27, but it would be nice if the WWE schedule allowed them more time to tell their tale... and get ready to wrestle for the first time:
“I do wish there was just more time to build, but I think that’s with a lot of people’s storylines. I just think we have way too many pay-per-views. Once Royal Rumble’s done, we have three weeks until Elimination Chamber. Once that ends, we have another three weeks until Fastlane and then it’s like four weeks ‘til WrestleMania - there’s never enough time where you can just sit and digest these stories. But for me I do think this is going to be a whole different matchup than what she’s ever had. But even, this is gonna be completely different than what I’ve had in a long, long time.
It’s hard because we’ve never trained together, we’ve never worked with each other, we’ve never touched each other, so I don’t know what her movements are going to be in the ring and that kind of makes me nervous, but just being the wrestler that I am, I have to prepare myself just watching her tapes and just getting ready the best way that I can. And that’s going to the PC [WWE Performance Center], or I’m gonna be going to New York this week to train with my friend Amazing Red, and just having all these options ready for me when I do get in that ring with her, and wrestle with her because she’s not a professional wrestler – she’s a fighter, so she’s going to be coming in completely different.
And I’m not Nia Jax where I can just pick her up and slam her around and it’s definitely gonna be a really different match-up for herself and myself too, but I’m ready for it. I’m excited that it’s at the Royal Rumble, and I’m ready for heads to turn.”
Christian gave Sasha credit for selling the feud with her promo on the Jan. 14 Raw, and the four time Raw Women’s champ admitted that mic work isn’t the best part of her game. But she’s figuring it out - sometimes on the fly, which says she did with the line which got a big pop the week before:
“It felt good. For me, promos haven’t really been my best strong suit, but I feel as a I keep getting kinda older - which kind of sucks - the more mature I get and the more I actually think about what I say. I also feel like now as a performer, I’m not really scared to speak up when I’m giving a promo and that’s the beautiful thing about WWE and them growing as well, if you get handed something and if you have questions about it, I’m not scared to go to Vince [McMahon] and asking him for changing it and making it into my own words.
So, for the past two weeks, I took liberty with that. The week before, I wasn’t supposed to say the ‘B’ word, but it just kind of came out and I feel like that added to the promo, as well. So, you just kind of always have to apologize later, but if you’re trying to do the best you can to make the story better, I think it’s OK to do those things for the better of the story.”
It’s a good listen, and features plenty more examples that either The Boss character really is Banks’ real life feisty, no $#!+s left to give persona turned up to 11, or that Sasha is a master of the worked shoot interview. And that WWE is a crazy place to work.
Check it out here.