Elite status: Sasha Banks on her milestone win and being a role model for young women
Sasha Banks' NXT Women's Championship victory at NXT TakeOver: Rival turned heads for more reasons than one. Some observers called The Boss' defeat of Charlotte an upset, while others believed her title win was long overdue. Nonetheless, Banks has now reached elite status in NXT’s women’s division.
Following a successful title defense against the former champion Charlotte, Banks may have solidified the certainty of a long-term title reign. She talks to WWE.com about her milestone win, thoughts on past champions and her identity as a role model to young women and much more. As expected, The Boss pulls no punches, and you can most certainly “bank” on that.
WWE.COM: You did what many observers never expected to happen and that's become NXT Women's Champion. How do you feel about your accomplishment?
SASHA BANKS: I feel like it's been a long time coming. Ever since I was 10 years old, I've had this vision of me standing in the ring with a championship title held high above my head. Today, it's not just a vision, it's a reality. And no matter what happens in the future, that moment will live on forever in history and on WWE Network.
WWE.COM: You've come a long way from the shy, humble girl that started on NXT a couple years ago. Can you speak about how your attitude has changed from the day you started to now?
BANKS: I remember walking into NXT that first day. I was nervous and I was scared. All I wanted to do was win over every single fan that paid their hard-earned money to see me perform. I realize now that no matter how great you are or try to be, there will always be people who look down upon you. Whether its jealousy, envy, whatever. And that's OK. I know where I'm headed, and they're not going to drag me down.
WWE.COM: Some have described you as overly cocky and self-absorbed. How do you respond to those descriptions?
BANKS: People can think what they want of me. It's all dust off my shoulder. At the end of the day, to succeed in this business, you have to believe that you're the best to ever do it. You have to know in your heart that no one can outshine you. If you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
BANKS: That girl walks around with a chip on her shoulder. She thinks she deserves her accolades when she's really been piggybacking off of her last name. Charlotte forgot everything I taught her while we were on the same team as the BFFs. In her warped mind, all you need is genetics to be successful. So when I shoved Charlotte, that shove represented a moment for all the true hard workers of the world, which obviously doesn't include her.
WWE.COM: Seems like you lost your humility a bit …
BANKS: Hold on, people act as if I've had this attitude my whole time here at NXT. But they forget that during my first year, I was a humble dreamer. Where did that get me? Exactly!
WWE.COM: What separates you from the previous NXT Women's Champions like Paige and, of course, Charlotte?
BANKS: Anyone can hang a title across their shoulder and call themselves a champion. Me? I’m a star. When I walk onto that stage, all eyes are on me because I shine brighter than they ever could. I've got the Superstar looks and the skills in the ring to back it up. That's the difference.
WWE.COM: How would you describe the era of Sasha Banks as champion?
BANKS: If you look at it in historical terms, Paige was the first champion so her era was like an introduction into this higher level of female empowerment. Charlotte's era was similar to what Brock Lesnar is now. Just a dominant, “It's gonna take the world to take me down”-type of competitor. My era is bigger than that. I'm going to transcend boundaries. I'm aiming for an era that's on par with The Rock. Sasha Banks will be a name that's on everyone's tongues, and not just fans of NXT. Bank on it.
WWE.COM: Do you see yourself as a role model to young girls at this stage?
BANKS: I believe I am. Bayley, for all her hugs and lovingness, can be a bit naive. I think that type of inspirational figure can leave girls a bit vulnerable in the real world. I'm showing young girls that to be a big deal in life, you have to be a big deal inside. You have to believe that nothing in this world is too farfetched, and if you want something bad enough, you can't let anyone tell you you're not good enough to achieve it. In order to be a star, you have to walk, talk and act like a star.
WWE.COM: What have your past relationships with Charlotte, Summer Rae and Becky Lynch taught you?
BANKS: They showed me probably the most valuable lesson in the world. You can put your trust in people and rely on them to have your back, but at the end of the day, it's you that is going to have to put in the time, the work and the sacrifice in order to succeed. After helping them all, each and every one of them stabbed me in the back. And look where that's gotten them. I'm the NXT Women's Champion, not them.
WWE.COM: Speaking of your title, what does your future hold as Champion?
BANKS: I've got the NXT Women's Championship around my waist. That was the easy part. Now, it’s time to broaden the horizon. It's time to show the world how big the NXT Universe is and how Sasha Banks is the brightest star in it. Then and only then will I set my sights on much bigger fish. Hey, WWE Divas, I hope you're ready.