Photo credit: WWE.com
It has been a pretty eventful week in professional wrestling, but one massive story brewing is the report that WWE has released Sasha Banks.
You would have to be living under a rock to avoid the scuttlebutt surrounding the Boston native and Naomi.
The former WWE women’s tag team champions walked out on the May 16 episode of Raw. Ever since, their status with the company has remained in question as they’ve kept their own counsel.
Now, though, rumor has it that The Legit Boss could stand to become the hottest free agent in the industry.
On Wednesday night, Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc reported that his sources told him Banks had been released. This came on the heels of the news that Vince McMahon was under investigation for an alleged $3 million settlement with a former employee, and McMahon has now stepped down as CEO and chairman.
So far, no one has been able to confirm Banks’ release, but it sounds like her legal team is working on it. Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast (h/t Josh Nason of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter) said, “I cannot confirm she’s been released. But, I did hear late last week that her attorneys were working on getting this done.”
Sean Ross Sapp corroborated this claim in an update for Fightful Select, but he was unable to verify it. However, he also reported WWE sent out an “urgent” email this week to remove Banks from an advertisement for an upcoming live event. That could be just a result of her suspension, but it’s a bit telling that no one internally has denied the initial report yet.
While we wait for confirmation, let’s take a look at what her career post-WWE could look like. The Blueprint certainly has several options that have already sparked speculation online.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Nickelodeon
Continue The Move to Hollywood
It’s easy to assume Banks will leave the squared circle behind to start a full-time acting career after her debut as Koska Reeves in The Mandalorian.
Although the 30-year-old has confirmed she won’t return for Season 3, the six-time women’s champion has become a recognizable name outside of pro wrestling.
Banks has made guest appearances on Cold as Balls with Kevin Hart, Snacked, Good Mythical Morning and other mainstream shows. She also traveled to Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch on May 8 ahead of a Boston Red Sox game.
As The Boss continues to broaden her presence in the entertainment industry, it isn’t hard to imagine she could take on more roles similar to foray as a member of the Nite Owls. She would be great in action and science-fiction movies or even another television show. However, it would also be nice to see her step out of her comfort zone and do a romantic comedy or drama.
It may be too soon to expect her to become a successful leading lady in Hollywood, but she has the personality and drive to grow from a supporting character.
For now, we’re just excited to see where she lands next.
A Long-Awaited Trek to Japan
While Banks was on hiatus from WWE in 2019, she surprised fans with a trip to Japan to train with legendary Joshi wrestler, Meiko Satomura.
This sparked interest in a move to The Land of the Rising Sun to compete against a Who’s Who list of top stars.
The longtime fan of Japanese wrestling later spoke about her brief excursion during her appearance on Steve Austin: The Broken Skull Sessions:
“Before WWE, my biggest dream was to be in Japan, but WWE called me first,. So when I took my little break, I was like, ‘I am gonna do everything that makes me happy,’ and I missed wrestling so much. I was like, ‘I’m gonna go to Japan.’ I sent a little DM to [Meiko] Satomura, I’m like ‘Can I train with you?’ and she goes ‘Yeah, when?,’ I go ‘Maybe next week,’ ‘Yeah Sure.’ I go ‘OK!’ I’m like I just gotta go just for my own soul and just be brave ’cause I wasn’t even sure what WWE was gonna say about it. But I was just like, it was for me, I had to do it for me.”
Banks has had an illustrious career with WWE. If this is the end of her time with the company, she has accomplished more than enough to step away and pursue her dream of wrestling in Japan.
It would be a treat to see her face the likes of Veny, Mayu Iwatani, Giulia, Utami Hayashishita, Syuri, Shoko Nakajima or Miyu Yamashita. Honestly, that’s just scratching the surface.
There are so many potential dream matches for her if she decides to work with a Joshi promotion like TJPW or Stardom.
Become All Elite
Banks’ move to Hollywood seems imminent, but if she wants to continue to wrestle, All Elite Wrestling is the best option.
The third WWE women’s grand slam champion is too big of a star to return to the indie scene or the smaller crowds of Impact Wrestling. If she decides to stay in pro wrestling, AEW gives her a chance to remain on cable television and take part in some fresh matchups.
Going to Japan is basically a vanity project at this point; it doesn’t seem like a long-term move for The Boss.
She’s one of the most recognizable women in wrestling right now. If she wants to continue to build her brand, she needs to be able to reach a large audience.
AEW would allow her to work a shorter schedule and pursue avenues like acting in her free time. This could also give her the freedom to work dates in Japan similar to Jon Moxley, who essentially laid the groundwork for what a post-WWE career can look like.
The Boss would be a game-changer for the AEW women’s division. She would add the star power and experience it has been sorely missing for the past three years.
It’s unclear what the future holds for one of pro wrestling’s top stars. If Banks does become a free agent, it’s going to be an interesting summer. Seeing her compete for WWE’s rival would be surreal, but anything is possible.