“The Boss” is finally back in true form. Sasha Banks is on a hot streak and along the way she reintroduced some notable aspects of her popular character. On Monday, she brought back the stamp she infamously used during her run with NXT. At The Great American Bash, Banks’ entrance was similar to her arrival at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
It has been a long road back but “The Boss” has returned to take center stage.
Banks and Bayley‘s current storyline is easily WWE’s best example of long-form storytelling right now. So much so, it’s hard to tell how much of it is planned or improvised. Regardless, it has been so rewarding to watch “The Boss” return to her roots recently
Banks enjoyed a brief winning streak before she lost to Io Shirai on Wednesday. She’s also in the midst of possibly her best title reign since she left NXT. She scored the winning pinfall to regain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship on June 5 episode of SmackDown. In addition, she was responsible for all three of the team’s successful title defenses and she pinned the Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka, this week.
This is Banks’ first sustained run since she returned to WWE last fall. It’s long overdue and she has grown more and more confident with every win. That is critical to the story she and Bayley are telling.
While she has put on a straight face, Sasha Banks hasn’t been the same since she lost to Becky Lynch at Hell in a Cell. It was clear after the match. The two put on the best match of the heavily-maligned event, but Banks was unable to win the title.
As she walked up the ramp and Lynch celebrated, she looked uncharacteristically sheepish. Banks didn’t appear as audacious and indomitable as she did after she lost to Ronda Rousey at Royal Rumble 2019 for example. She looked dejected like she realized she gave “The Man” might’ve been right about her.
In the following months, Banks fell into a sidekick role of sorts and she has lost every big match she has been a part of. As captain of Team SmackDown, she fell to Team NXT at Survivor Series.
She didn’t even compete in this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble or Money in the Bank Ladder Match. In fact, she surprisingly lost her qualifying match for a spot in the latter. After such an impactful return in August, it was confounding and often times difficult to watch.
Nevertheless, those struggles have made her current resurgence more satisfying. It has also added an interesting layer to her shaky partnership with her longtime friend and rival, Bayley.
Banks has been coveting the SmackDown Women’s Championship since April. She and Bayley have played up the tension over it exceptionally well. “The Boss” can be seen staring at the title or holding it just a second longer every time she gets a chance. When she helped Bayley retain the title at WrestleMania 36, it wasn’t clear if she did it to save her friend or because she wanted to be the one to eventually dethrone her.
Afterward, Sasha watched as her partner celebrated outside the ring but something was different. She looked fiery and determined again. The story that has been unfolding since has been entertaining and full of thoughtful callbacks to Banks and Bayley’s storied rivalry.
At Extreme Rules, Sasha Bank will challenge Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship. It will be her first singles title match since Hell in a Cell. Banks has so much momentum but deep down we all know this is another step towards an inevitable showdown with Bayley.
In the meantime, the rebirth of “The Boss” has been arguably the highlight of WWE’s last month of programming. Banks has participated in the main event on all three brands and she has delivered every time. By the time her alliance with Bayley implodes, she will be ready to take her place as the top star of SmackDown’s women’s division.