A new episode of WWE Chronicle debuted last night (Sat., Sept. 14) on WWE Network. This edition is focused on Sasha Banks and her 2019 hiatus from and return to the company.
As with most things Sasha, I’m not sure it’s going to change many minds.
It’s a WWE production for one thing. That’s obvious, and means both that it’s extremely well done and that it’s very difficult to determine how orchestrated some of its revelations are. The footage we get is real, certainly, and messages we get from Banks in interview footage are heartfelt. But as with any of WWE’s versions of history, you know there are some things not being discussed.
Sasha admits as much. The special relies on the same butterfly metaphor she’s been using on social media throughout the year, and she says it’s impossible to explain how she’s changed. She’s learned to love herself, and reconnect with Mercedes - “the little girl who fell in love with wrestling”. Sasha is no longer angry, the time since her return on the Raw after SummerSlam has been the most fun she’s had in the company in years, and she’s found her smile (“hi Shawn Michaels”).
Banks does address leaving after WrestleMania 35, and two elements of her story which have been discussed, debated, and dissected online.
One has to do with why she left. It’s pretty much that she lost her love of wrestling, and questioned her place in it. And that’s something that started with fan reaction to a match from December of 2017. It ended up being Paige’s last match, as the Brit was unable to continue after a spot where Sasha kicked her while she was down. Paige was recovering from neck surgery, and no one in the company ever blamed Banks, but many fans did.
Discussing that did make her cry, and eventually led to a discussion of the rumors about how she was acting after WrestleMania 35.Producer: Lets talk about what led up to you leaving...
Banks: I feel like it was so much, um, don’t make me cry - so many bad things just kept happening, and I didn’t know how to deal with them. I think what really started it all, feeling sad was the whole Paige situation. That really sucked. And having fans, like, destroy me and destroy my work. I pride myself on my work so much and I would never intentionally try to hurt somebody. And, um, that sucked. And that made me question myself as a wrestler.
The 45 minute special (the trailer WWE released for it is embedded above) is worth a watch. As I said at the start, I doubt it will change your mind. And Sasha says she’s okay with that.Producer: The rumors...
Banks: Yeah [laughs] - at first it really bothered me, It really bothered me because it was the same feeling how I felt when that Paige stuff happened. I was just, like, man, you guys don’t know the full story. You don’t know the full thing. And then, I was just like how the hell do they make this stuff up, too? I saw so much stuff like ‘crying on the floor of the locker room.’
No, I got undressed, put my clothes on and walked out and stand with the fans with Pam [Bayley] watching the main event, because I was so happy for those girls.
Then, there’s rumors that I was crying on the hotel floor. Just - please show me those pictures, please show me the footage.
You can’t let those things destroy you. Because I really learned with therapy - you can’t take anything personal, because they don’t know me. They don’t know Mercedes, and they don’t know Mercedes who plays Sasha Banks, and they don’t know what we go through day-to-day at TV, at live events, or what we do at home. And, um, you can let them think whatever they want, because they’re not going to change. And I don’t have to change for them. I just have to change what makes me feel good for myself, and I think that’s the best part.
Talk about me - good, bad, it doesn’t matter. Talk about me.
It will definitely be talked about. And that’s something WWE and Banks will definitely be okay with, regardless of whether what you’re saying about it is good or bad.