It has officially been five years since Sasha Banks became the first black NXT Women’s Champion at TakeOver: Rival on Feb. 11, 2015. The once developmental brand’s women’s division helped to ignite the “Women’s Revolution” on the main roster and Banks was at the forefront of that change.
One could make a strong argument that “The Boss” was one of—in not—the most influential women’s wrestlers of the last decade. Her acclaimed NXT Women’s Championship Match with Bayley at TakeOver: Respect changed the landscape of the division for years to come.
It was the first women’s 30-minute Iron man match in WWE history. In addition, they were the first women to compete in the main event of an NXT event. Banks would go on to take part in the first Raw Women’s Championship Match at WrestleMania 32.
She lost to Charlotte Flair on the pre-show of the event. However, she eventually became a four-time Raw Women’s Champion and their feud became one of the cornerstones of this era of women’s wrestling.
In 2016, she and Flair faced off in the first women’s Hell in a Cell match. As a matter of fact, Banks is the only woman on the roster who has competed in two Hell in a Cell matches. She also competed in the first women’s match in Abu Dhabi and she is the first Iron Woman in a Royal Rumble match.
Her list of accomplishments and monumental moments goes on and on. Last year, Banks and Bayley were instrumental in the introduction of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. They were also the inaugural champions and the Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection.
All those “first-ever” moments will define her career, but her legacy is that she helped to legitimize women’s wresting at WWE again. To put this in perspective, Ethel Johnson came along during the golden age before Moolah reduced it to “catfighting.” As a result, women’s wrestling reemerged in Japan thanks to Mildred Burke, where Sandy Parker thrived.
It’s an interesting twist of fate, that Sasha Banks, who was notably inspired by AJW, would help to herald in this new age of women’s wrestling here in America. It’s almost as if Burke and Billy Wolfe’s work came full circle.
What do you think? Drop a comment below and let us know your favorite black women in wrestling.