Mercedes Justine Kaestner-Varnado was born on January 26, 1992 and is an American professional wrestler. She is currently employed by WWE as a member of the SmackDown roster under the name Sasha Banks.
Banks spent most of her early career on the independent circuit, though she signed with WWE in 2012 and was assigned to the NXT brand.
She was promoted to WWE’s main roster in 2015. Her match against Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect in October 2015 was the first women’s match to ever headline a NXT TakeOver, the first iron woman match in WWE history, and the longest women’s match in WWE history at the time with a length of 30 minutes.
Their match was voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) as Match of the Year, with Banks also being voted as Woman of the Year.”
Trinity Fatu is an American professional wrestler and dancer. She is currently signed to WWE where she performs as Naomi on the SmackDown brand.
Naomi signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2009, and in August 2010 she competed on the first season of NXT, made up of all-female contestants. In early 2012, Naomi made her main roster debut alongside Cameron at a televised event. Since July 2013 Naomi has appeared as one of the main cast members of The Total Divas reality television series.
In February 2017, Naomi won the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at the Elimination Chamber event. She was the first African-American woman to capture the title and she became a winner of the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34 and a WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion with Sasha Banks at WrestleMania .
In the biggest news in wrestling this week, Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out of WWE Raw on Monday night.
There is still so much to process given the nature of their exit, such as WWE’s unprecedented response and questions surrounding their status with the company. However, nothing reflects how much power one has or how solid a point someone can make quite like being able to say “no.”
A lot of people were interested in the WWE women’s tag team champions for a month, before this controversial story was released. This is an indication that these days it’s easier to get media attention than the dominant wrestling star, Ronda Rousey.
Banks has been making appearances outside of the company for weeks since their historic WrestleMania 38 win. She attended the latest guest on Cold as Balls with Kevin Hart and the episode aired just before she threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park to close out a Boston Red Sox game.
Naomi recently appeared on Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg. The Boss has also been a guest on Snacked and Good Mythical Morning as well as visiting KIPP AMP Middle School in Brooklyn.
The two women were in high demand, and they are certainly the first women’s tag team to represent the titles on mainstream platforms.
That goes a long way to demonstrate just how much star power they have and probably accounts for a good deal of the support they’ve received throughout the week as well as WWE’s attempts to paint them as “unprofessional.” Without both sides of the story, this comes off as an attempt to counteract the media blitz that Tessa and John went on as champions by diminishing their positive buzz.
But Banks and Naomi are two of the most marketable wrestlers in recent WWE, so now it’s baffling that they aren’t involved in the upcoming pay-per-view event. Even if we ignore all the controversy swirling around them at the moment, WWE scrapped their last plans to have them defend their belts on their upcoming show, Hell in a Cell which should be coming up soon.
The company is leaving a lot of money on the table by not recognizing the duo’s popularity. Unfortunately, that has been the case since 2016. The future of their product is in the hands of Black women, and WWE needs to recognize that.
With greater representation on screen and in marketing, new models must be utilized to satisfy the changing tastes of consumers. The biggest companies need to comply with these changing tastes, as well as fully deliver on Black wrestling and its representation.
Bianca Belair is the best babyface WWE has on its roster, and she’s been delivering smash-hit performances at every WrestleMania for two straight years.
Her monumental main event appearance with Banks will live on as a watershed moment for the company, fans, and aspiring wrestlers. As proof is in pudding, her achievement garnered an ESPY award for The Best WWE Moment of 2021. And this year she maintained her presence on The Grandest Stage of Them All when she toppled another household name in Becky Lynch.
Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano has a weigh-in on the morning of April 30, and Belair and Gabrielle Belair attend to talk about some business.
So, it’s not hard to see she is the key to reaching a broader audience. Amid rumors surrounding Roman Reigns’ move to work a part-time schedule, Belair, Banks and Naomi should’ve been believable options to highlight in his absence.
Jade Cargill has been a phenomenal force in the Women’s Evolution in All Elite Wrestling. She’s fresh and exciting with new fans in all of wrestling. Fans are more excited, while more people are noticing.
Tasha Steelz is also the current Impact Knockouts champion. We could go on listing upcoming independent wrestlers you should keep an eye on, including Trish Adora and Willow Nightingale, who both recently worked with Ring of Honor.
Black women are leading the industry, which is why companies like to invest in them. It’s become more beneficial than ever for companies to invest in these wrestlers as more people have started to support them and their talents.
One could argue that their support for Banks and Naomi isn’t sustainable or against WWE. In fact, both have a passionate online fanbase and proved this when they also performed well at live shows.
This is the natural progression of the demand for these two women and many more. WWE understands that there is something special with its women tag team champions, who have both been employed by the company with no releases.
The WWE could get a huge game changer with their “Boss” character if they have the financial resources to make it happen. Therefore, Vince McMahon is keeping her on the sideline during her time off until more time and capital can be allotted to take her in.
It would be naive to believe that Naomi, who has shown support for her and Banks, will change WWE’s practices. It appears that they are here to stay despite the company not seeing the flaw in their current approach.
It would be foolish to ignore that Belair, Banks, Naomi and other Black women are beacons for a microcosm of fans that went underserved for too long. More importantly, the industry has to acknowledge its audience is changing and nurture that growth.