WWE SummerSlam 2020: Sasha Banks’ journey is a beautiful complexity

Sasha Banks, WWE Credit: WWE.com
Sasha Banks, WWE Credit: WWE.com /

The stakes are higher than ever for Sasha Banks’ biggest SummerSlam match yet.

It’s true what they say: what a difference a year can make. Sasha Banks is no stranger to that mantra as she prepares for perhaps the biggest title defense of her career against Asuka at SummerSlam. There are several moving parts to this rivalry, and it’s all in the name of long-term storytelling.

In fact, this story doesn’t just begin at WrestleMania 36 or even one year ago on the Raw after SummerSlam. The real turning point occurred during the first women’s Royal Rumble match in 2018. Banks walked out as the first entrant dressed in Wonder Woman-themed gear, ready to be the trailblazer that she knows she is. However, not all went according to plan.

Sporting a more aggressive side, Banks did what she had to do to last nearly an hour in the ring, even if it meant tossing out her idol Trish Stratus and her best friend Bayley. Asuka ultimately went on to be the victor, which set up a riveting first-time match-up the following night on Raw where Banks once again came up short.

More from Summerslam

One could argue The Boss had her confidence shook again after Bayley tossed her out of the WrestleMania battle royal. Sure, they were able to get back on the same page and went on to become the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Champions a year later, but Sasha wasn’t fine. She took a hiatus (for non-kayfabe reasons) and reemerged with blue hair and that edge that she was looking to bring back in 2018.

She couldn’t have picked a better time either. Her fellow Four Horsewomen members were at the top of their game with Bayley and Becky Lynch holding gold. And rather than targeting Bayley, who statistically has Sasha’s number, Banks had her eyes set on defeating Becky and becoming Bayley’s equal.

However, it took quite a while for the two-woman power trip to be legitimized by championship accolades. That’s where WrestleMania 36 comes into play. Banks was slated to compete in a five-way for Bayley’s SmackDown Women’s Championship, a title she has yet to call her own. Bayley inadvertently cost Sasha, but Sasha was wiser this time. She knows how to play this game now.

The Golden Role Models got their hands on the Women’s Tag Team Titles for a second time, but who was using who? Bayley had used Banks up until this point to keep hold of the blue title, so it appears Sasha used Bayley to reestablish her confidence. As a duo, they bested Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, The IIconics, Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart, and The Kabuki Warriors. On her own, Sasha put on incredible performances against Asuka, Kairi Sane, and Io Shirai.

This summer hot streak culminated in Sasha Banks capturing her fifth Raw Women’s Championship in July, but on a technicality. It didn’t take long for her to realize that things don’t get easier on top of the mountain. In fact, Banks and Bayley are now faced with the same consequences in the form of Asuka.

Here’s where the stakes are higher than ever at SummerSlam. She’s never properly beaten Asuka one-on-one. Sasha has won tag matches and even dethroned her, but it’s never been clean. The same could be said for Bayley, who was unable to beat Asuka twice in NXT and again recently on Raw. Additionally, Sasha has never successfully defended a singles title on pay-per-view. Defeating Asuka without Bayley’s help would be a huge turning point in her character arc.

SummerSlam will do one of two things. Sasha will see that she can succeed without Bayley. Or she’ll lose all of her gold within a matter of weeks, which will drive her to the point of seeking Bayley’s title once and for all. The only way she can evolve is to eventually beat her adversary she calls “friend.”

Next. WWE Payback 2020: 3 Challengers for Bayley and Sasha Banks. dark

Bayley used Sasha, and then Sasha used Bayley. So will SummerSlam expose a huge crack in their partnership? Will Asuka beat one of them or both of them? Everything is on the line, and I will continue to enjoy this journey no matter where it goes.

What do you think is next for Sasha Banks? Sound off below!