WWE fans were given a bit of a fright this week when former WWE Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks teased that a back injury suffered as a result of her SummerSlam clash with Charlotte would force her into retirement from in-ring competition. But when the announcement came, the pressure was relieved when Banks’ “bad news” was actually for Charlotte’s title reign.
Instead of walking away from the action, Banks has been medically cleared to compete, and will be invoking her rematch clause at Clash of Champions, where she and Charlotte will go at it one more time with the championship hanging in the balance.
Though Banks vs. Charlotte is a match that few will take issue with having to see again, this development does come at an interesting time, considering the newest woman on the WWE’s flagship show, Bayley, has already made a strong name for herself as one of the most over individuals on the roster. She also holds a victory over the champion on Raw.
It’s apparent that the bout at the pay-per-view will be a singles match as opposed to a triple threat with Bayley involved, but the newcomer’s impact thus far should put her name right up there with those deserving of a championship opportunity. That makes it inevitable that Bayley and Banks are going to come into contact very soon.
Before “The Boss” made her permanent transition to the main roster in 2015, you may recall the classic battles that she and Bayley pulled off at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and Respect. The first of the two was highly regarded as the best match in WWE that year, while the second marked the first time the women main-evented a WWE special, in a 30-minute Ironman match to boot.
It was a highly intense battle of the brash heel and the ultimate underdog that skyrocketed the names of Bayley and Banks within the ranks of the WWE Universe, and the pieces are starting to fall together quite nicely for the two to recreate that magic on the main roster this fall.
The interesting difference between this potential feud then and now, however, is the fact that Banks, albeit one of the most popular females on the entire WWE roster, was the villain of the piece heading into both encounters. Now, she’s an extremely over babyface, which begs the question of whether or not things will stay that way when the two inevitably collide once again.
It wouldn’t be all that difficult to make the switch, since Banks has been acting more and more self-confident since her championship victory at the beginning of the brand extension.
She’s never exactly been modest – after all, you don’t christen yourself “The Boss” without a firm belief in your abilities as a performer — but it’s even come into question within WWE that Banks’ loss at SummerSlam happened as a result of becoming too big for her boots when she won the strap.
Her cocky demeanor is already that of your stereotypical heel, sans maybe the friendship with Bayley, because she carries herself with such confidence and hardly ever panders to the crowd.
It would actually be pretty easy to turn her, especially if it was in attacking a fan favorite like Bayley, whose fun-loving energy has translated surprisingly well to the main roster, and whose popularity continues to grow as the weeks go by when she steps into the arena and puts on a show.
There would obviously be some downsides to putting Banks back in the heel role, the predominant examples being that the babyface representation on Raw would become mighty thin, and the WWE Universe has spent so much time getting behind her that some fans may not be sold on cheering Bayley instead. However, there are far more benefits.
Banks would have a lot more opportunities to weave some great promos together if she was playing the bad guy. These days it’s all about how she’s making a mark as the baddest woman on the roster, how Charlotte isn’t worthy of the title because of her tactics and how they’re all making women’s wrestling great. But as a heel, she could really cut deep and make a significant impact.
Most importantly, it would mean she could go back to wrestling more like a dominant athlete and less like an underdog. Not to say her matches lately haven’t been good, because they have. But in NXT, she was the clear alpha female in the ring, which made her matches more interesting.
In many ways, regardless of Banks’ face/heel status, her character is somewhat of a polar opposite to that of Bayley. The WWE’s resident hug-enthusiast represents something more like a fan breaking into the business despite all odds, who goes to great lengths to show that she’s humble and really just happy to be there. Banks firmly believes she’s one of the very best and won’t be satisfied until everyone knows that she’s on top of the Raw women’s division.
They say that opposites attract, and in the case of Bayley and Banks, that couldn’t be truer if you consider the level of chemistry these two showcased in their battles last year. The story of Bayley and Banks is the quintessential wrestling rivalry, and given some effort, it could easily be one of Raw’s biggest draws as we head into the final months of the year.
Better yet, the electricity that Bayley and Banks create when they step in the ring together is so captivating that WWE might even hold off on this match until WrestleMania 33, which would easily make for one of the best matches at the event.