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10 Things We Learned From Sasha Banks On The Steve Austin Show

Booking problems, finding the right character, and a women's Royal Rumble?

Sasha Banks was a recent guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, and the pair shared a very interesting discussion about various aspects of the pro wrestling business.

Austin is a big fan of Sasha's, as anyone who listened to Bayley's interview on the show can attest. The pair watched through Sasha and Bayley's landmark NXT Women's Championship match at TakeOver: Brooklyn and Austin was full of praise for both wrestlers.

Banks' appearance on the podcast is a little more straightforward. There's no focus on a specific match; instead, they discuss Sasha's career, from starting out in the New England independent scene to her current spot as one of the most popular members of WWE's women's division.

Sasha makes for a very good interviewee, speaking honestly about a number of topics, including certain limitations with WWE's current way of booking women's wrestling. She also touches upon issues with being a modern-day babyface, and the difficulty with striking a balance between flashy moves and proper storytelling.

From a show that is essential listening for fans of the four-time Raw Women's Champion, Austin, Austin's cute fandom of The Boss, and wrestling fans in general; here are 10 of the more interesting things we learned...

10. She Trained In MMA Before Pro Wrestling (Due To RVD)


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Sasha reveals that she actually trained in MMA before switching to professional wrestling, despite being a wrestling fan primarily.

The reason she gives is that she was inspired by Rob Van Dam's martial arts background but eventually stopped because she didn't take too kindly to being punched in the face.

Banks then says she encountered the opposite problem when she began wrestling training. None of her fellow trainees were too keen to throw a girl around, and the trainers had to force them to treat her as an equal.


9. She Used To Cry After Wrestling Training


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Sasha explains that she found wrestling training very difficult and that her trainer - 'Handsome Johnny' - was particularly harsh on her to toughen her up.

(I believe Handsome Johnny is Hanson, now well known as one half of War Machine alongside Raymond Rowe. They've found considerable success in ROH and NJPW.)

Banks reveals that training was so tough, she would often cry on the ride home. Despite this, she appreciates her trainer for making her more resilient and states that quitting never crossed her mind.

8. She Originally Wanted To Wrestle In Japan And Mexico


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Sasha is widely credited as one of the key reasons behind WWE's 'Women's Revolution' in recent years. Alongside Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch (The Four Horsewomen), she helped usher in a new era of fantastic women's wrestling - something not always too heavily prioritised by WWE.

She admits that she was worried about making it to WWE, only to be subjected to degrading stipulations such as bra and panties matches.

Once she realised that this was a possibility, she considered wrestling in Japan and Mexico instead. Like many wrestlers today, it seems as though Banks would rather have good matches on a smaller platform than a lacklustre WWE experience. Thankfully, not only had WWE improved its attitude towards women's wrestling by the time she gained prominence, it was a change she herself helped further accelerate.

7. She Contacted WWE Herself For A Tryout


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Sasha's in-ring persona is incredibly forthright and confident, but that also seems to be true to real life - if her entry into WWE is anything to go by.

She tells Austin that, despite her trainers not deeming her ready to attempt to break into WWE, she contacted the promotion herself and applied to be an extra. Banks claims that she had a reply within a few minutes - so clearly her work on the independent scene hadn't gone unnoticed!

Sasha then attended a tryout camp in the summer of 2012 and made her televised NXT debut by December of that same year.


6. Tyler Breeze And Mikaze Helped Her Come Up With 'The Boss'


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Sasha openly admits that for much of her early career, she was simply a 'moves' wrestler with little else going for her in the way of personality or charisma. That seems insane nowadays, as she's certainly one of the most vibrant characters on WWE's entire roster.

In the early days of her NXT run, Banks explains that she was mainly used to help other women look good, due to her in-ring ability. Things began to develop when she created 'The Boss' persona that we're familiar with these days.

When it comes to inspiration for this gimmick, Sasha credits both Tyler Breeze and her husband (Sarath Ton, better known as Mikaze, a WWE costume designer and regular guest on Xavier Woods' UpUpDownDown gaming channel).

5. She Finds Wrestling Babyface Difficult


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Austin asks Sasha whether she prefers working babyface or heel, and although she initially begins to give a standard answer about liking both equally, she reconsiders and admits that she finds being a heel far more natural.

In one of the most interesting parts of the podcast, Banks then considers the difficulty of being a babyface in the modern day WWE. Without criticising too heavily, she touches upon the fact that faces are often booked in a bland, uninspiring way, which can often lead fans to cheer the bad guys instead.

This is one of the moments of the interview where Sasha's keen insight into the wrestling business comes to the fore. She isn't overly critical, though, admitting that her favourite aspect of being a babyface is the joy it brings her younger fans.

4. The Women's Division Isn't Booked Too Well...


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Perhaps the most telling part of the podcast comes when Sasha reveals that WWE only really focus on storylines for the Raw and SmackDown Women's Champions (and their number one contenders). Everybody else seems to be left in the wilderness - certainly in terms of substantial feuds.

This is apparent to anybody who watches WWE's weekly product, but it's interesting to hear one of the wrestlers involved acknowledge it.

Sasha does say that the return of Paige (and the debuts of her new stablemates, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose) have helped matters and that she's grateful to be involved with that storyline. Hopefully, things continue to move in a positive direction.


3. She Wants Women's Tag Titles In The Near Future


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In terms of giving the women's division more storylines, one possibility Sasha suggests is the introduction of Women's Tag Team Championships.

This would certainly provide something else for the division to compete over, and open up a whole new set of booking avenues - but WWE would have to be careful not to make the same mistakes TNA did when they introduced their Knockouts Tag Team titles. Those belts lasted just under two-and-a-half-years.

2. She's Hoping For A Women's Royal Rumble


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When Paige's Absolution stable debuted a couple of weeks ago and were swiftly followed by Ruby Riott's 'Riott Squad' on SmackDown Live, speculation sprang up online regarding a potential women's Royal Rumble match.

This has been an occasional topic of conversation since WWE began expanding the size of their women's roster, bolstered by graduates from NXT. With the Rumble pay per view right around the corner, and the division packed with talented, popular athletes such as Sasha, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka, now would seem as good a time as any to give the match a shot.

Sasha seems to agree, and closed the interview by expressing her desire for it to happen. Should it indeed come to fruition, WWE could do well worse than to book Banks as the inaugural winner.

1. She'd Rather Retire Early Than Be Over The Hill


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One of the most interesting revelations of the podcast comes when Sasha reveals her biggest fear: being an over-the-hill wrestler who carried on long past her prime. She states that she'd rather retire early than become washed-up.

This is especially intriguing given the nature of the wrestling business, which sees so many stars cling on long past their sell-by date. It's refreshing to hear somebody take the opposite standpoint.

Banks also reveals that she'd like to be a mother someday, but refuses to put an actual date on retirement - explaining that she'd rather leave things in God's hands for now.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]