Odds are by now you’ve seen or heard the comments from Booker T on the continuing issue with Sasha Banks. On his radio show, Booker gave a long explanation for why he believes Banks should have just gone along with WWE’s plans without complaint, as he did many times.
There is a lot I could pick apart in Booker’s logic, but there’s one thing in particular that bugs me. That is Booker saying that Sasha has no right to complain considering what WWE has given her compared to other women. Booker specifically named Ember Moon as someone who he feels has the right to complain.
You know what? Ember Moon does have a right to complain. She went from being an indie sensation to a champion and a regular headliner in NXT to being an afterthought on Raw, spending a year on the main roster and at no point being a serious contender for a title, let alone allowed a reign.
Ruby Riott has a right to complain. The former Heidi Lovelace, the first woman ever to win the Young Lion’s Cup, has had one singles title shot. It turned out to be an embarrassingly bad squash in order to put over Ronda Rousey and her Sonya Blade cosplay.
Sarah Logan has a right to complain, as the former indie darling “Crazy” Mary Dobson has been the single member of the Riott Squad who hasn’t been utilized regularly in singles competition.
Bayley has a right to complain. One of the most beloved and over stars in NXT, the main roster immediately squandered her potential with bad booking and illogical storylines. Her Raw Women’s Title reign was mixed with turning her character into a shirking virgin who had never kissed a boy and suffered constant humiliation at the hands of Alexa Bliss. When WWE remembers to book her she’s put in most storylines that focus on “women are just so passive-aggressive with each other, right?”
Naomi has a right to complain. While she’s a two time former Smackdown Women’s Champion, she’s seen at least two Wrestlemania opportunities cancelled and put into a ridiculously sexist feud with Mandy Rose with the two fighting over Naomi’s husband of all things.
Asuka has a right to complain. After a legendary undefeated streak and title reign in NXT, she came to the main roster and was mishandled almost immediately. While she won the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, following her loss to Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania that same year her booking has been either lazy or non-existent.
And yes, Sasha Banks has a right to complain. The former NXT Women’s Champion, one of the first women to headline an NXT Takeover, one of the first women to headline a WWE PPV, one of the first women to compete in Hell in a Cell, a woman who fought for WWE to even introduce Women’s Tag Titles, a five time Raw Women’s Champion who has never been allowed to successfully defend a singles title on the main roster. She has a right to be frustrated with her treatment at the hands of WWE, to be upset with continuing to put in the work day after day and night after night and continue to see diminishing returns for it.
The whole argument is eerily familiar to me, actually. It’s close to one of my favorite responses to talking about gender discrimination in America: “Women in other countries have it worse.” Using the situations of women in other countries, which I am SURE you do not understand or care about, to shut me up because I argued things aren’t as good as they could be here.
Every single woman in the WWE has a right to complain. They’re still treated like a joke or an afterthought far too often, there’s still a very particular type of woman that gets featured and pushed often at the expense of others who don’t fit the preferred mold, there’s still a lack of body diversity across the board, and even as they are headlining Wrestlemania they’re still seeing a fraction of the pay given to their similarly-billed male counterparts.
But if reports are true, then Sasha’s argument about losing the tag titles at Wrestlemania was part of this bigger fight. She was worried that without establishing them seriously from the beginning they’d end up becoming meaningless. That was apparently what was promised to her and Bayley when they were introduced and it was changed with very little prior notice. Which, hey, let’s talk about how WWE’s habit of doing things like that has to be more than a little frustrating. See also: Naomi voicing her issues with the company cancelling a planned Smackdown Women’s Title match at this year’s Wrestlemania.
The point is, and it should be clear by now, that I’m on Sasha’s side here. The same way plenty of people were on the sides of CM Punk and Neville when they wanted out of their contracts. The same way I’ve been seeing people supporting Luke Harper and The Revival right now.
And as for Booker? I think one of the issues here is the difference in how you and Sasha view wrestling. For you it was a job, you yourself admit it was about paying the bills and feeding your family. Along the way you did a lot of things that were groundbreaking, but that was never your goal. And that’s perfectly fine. But Sasha Banks has from the beginning made it clear she is in this for something different: she wants to change the game, change how people view women’s wrestling and leave an indelible mark on the industry.
Like a Boss.