In an interview with Just Women’s Sports podcast, WWE star Sasha Banks talked about how she got the name Sasha Banks. She also revealed her mother’s horrified reaction to the name, even though she has come around to it years later.
“The name came really just randomly ,” Banks said. “They asked me to put a long list of names, and I always remember putting Sasha with a different last name and Banks with a different first name. And I remember just debuting at a house show for WWE and I needed a name. I was kind of just Mercedes KV. Finally Sara Del Rey came into the room and said ‘we got you a name.’ I go ‘oh what is it?’ She goes ‘it’s Sasha Banks.’ I’m like ‘oh! I love it. That sounds really really good!’
“I texted my mom. I said ‘hey mom, I got a WWE name. It’s Sasha Banks.’ She ended up calling me and goes ‘that’s a porn star name! Tell them to change it!’ I go ‘mom I can’t tell WWE to change the name.’ That’s how my mom is. She’s come around to the name. She’s like Mama Banks now.”
Banks also discussed her first major storylines after joining NXT. With each early rivalry, her and her opponent generally had the same on and offscreen goal of showing WWE that the women’s division was just as worthy as headlining as the guys.
“The first storyline came together was with Charlotte Flair,” Banks said. “She’s the daughter of Ric Flair, who is one of the most legendary Hall of Famers of all time. Everybody knows who Ric Flair is and this is his daughter. I was like ‘wow!’ I’m just already so shocked and amazed because of the name alone and I just know the legacy and bloodline she just had to have. But that made for competition. I’m like ‘okay, you’ve got a last name honey. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to make one for myself.’
“So that’s where the real life competition came in just wanting to really have the same goal of putting the real life competition to come to play. To show the audience and the guys in the back and the company that ‘hey, women can make noise just like the guys. We want to be on PPV just like the guys. Actually we want to headline just like the guys.’ I’m just so thankful for women like Bayley and Charlotte and Becky and all the women I got to train with. We all had the same initial goal of wanting to make this division the best division that we possibly could. Where we didn’t have to make anything different from who was a superstar, who was going to main event.”
Banks also recalled wrestling Bayley almost every night early in her career, something that prepared both of them when they eventually feuded on NXT TV. Their match at TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015, where Bayley defeated Banks to win the NXT Women’s Championship, remains a career highlight for Banks, who considers the match the greatest women’s match of all time.
“That’s my number one match that I get asked about,” Banks said. “It’s the most talked about match in the history of women’s wrestling. I’m so thankful for that match because that really changed the game of everything in the business, I really feel, for women. I remember that match so clearly because I, I don’t know if it was two months after I’d been called up to the main roster? So I had finally made it to Monday Night RAW, my dream since I was a ten year old kid. And I’m the NXT Women’s Champion.
“So here we are, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, the first time ever out of Florida. The first time that NXT is in front of a large scale audience, just like the WWE. We sold out the Barclays Center, just like Monday Night (RAW) did, just like Smackdown did. So we were so equal to the WWE brand, just this little, little organization, just this little talent. Because of Sasha Banks, because of Bayley, because of Sami Zayn, because of Finn Balor. So I just remember wanting to just leave a lasting impression of wanting my name and legacy to be, and in NXT before I got called up fully and dropped the title. And I just really wanted to show them that, first of all, we should’ve been the main event. And second of all, I want to make sure you guys remember this match for the rest of your lives. Because I wanted that match to be the greatest women’s match of all time. And it happened to be the greatest women’s match of all time.”