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Wrestling / Sasha Banks

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Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado (born January 26, 1992) is an American professional wrestler trained in Chaotic Wrestling who made her debut for them 2010 under the name Mercedes KV, where she teamed with Nikki Roxx and won their Women's Title belt from Alexxis in 2011. She's also worked for NWA On Fire, Beyond, NECW and Top Rope Promotions.

She won the RWC No Limit Title belt in 2012 before signing to WWE, where she competes as Sasha Banks. She is a one-time NXT Women's Champion, a four-time WWE Women's Champion, and one of the inaugural Womens Tag Team Champions together with Bayley.

As usual, you can find more information on her at The Other Wiki.


"It's trope time!":

  • Aborted Arc: Sasha's friendship with Bayley was tested in 2018 when Bayley had enough of Sasha taking advantage of her and attacked her during June. A month later, all animosity between them were resolved after Sasha told Bayley that she loved her.
  • All There in the Manual: She's a first cousin of Snoop Dogg, as William Regal has mentioned once or twice. This was more regularly brought up upon her advancement to the main roster, with the (somewhat) logical conclusion of Snoop accompanying Sasha to the ring for a WrestleMania entrance.
  • Amazonian Beauty: ranked her number 13 out of the top 25 best abs in WWE history, in a list that included both male and female Superstars.
  • Anti-Hero: Since Royal Rumble 2015.
  • Arch-Enemy: Hers seem to be arrogant blondes such as Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss. At points it was Bayley, but they're on very good terms as of this writing.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Boast: The acronym of her "BOSS" nickname (see Fun with Acronyms below) means that whenever she calls herself "The Legit Boss", she's literally saying she is "The Legitimately Built-on-Self-Success Sasha Banks". This despite being Snoop Dogg's cousin, which she didn't often bring up in her wrestling life until after she was already a WWE main roster star.
  • Bare Your Midriff: As usual among the lady wrestlers.
  • Being Evil Sucks: There's some fairly strong subtext that underneath the bling and the attitude, she wishes she could have the same happy and lovable personality that Bayley does. By summer 2016 she's let loose a bit more after a few months as a face on the main roster and even acknowledged the likes of Bayley and Enzo Amore as friends.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Notable aversion for Roadblock 2016. One of her many matches against Charlotte saw Charlotte inadvertently nail Sasha in the face with her foot during a kickout. It started with a mild but visible nosebleed and about five minutes latOH DEAR GOD. Notably, no one stepped in to stop the match, and Sasha finished the rest of her match with the entire lower half of her face covered in blood.
  • Beta Bitch: To Summer Rae, and later, to Charlotte. When the Beautiful Fierce Females split, Sasha went out on her own. She eventually evolved into an Alpha Bitch in her own right.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: She will throw just as much trash talk as she does punches.
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: A variation. She got one of Charlotte's t-shirts and altered the caption "Do It With Flair" to "Do It Like a Boss".
  • Breakup Breakout: Explictly discussed and lampshaded this when she decided to fly solo from Team BAD. Naomi and Tamina were not amused.
  • But Not Too Black: Is fairly light-skinned (on account of her being mixed race). She appears much lighter-skinned on TV than she is in real life (presumably because she doesn't tan) and she also has dark blonde hair. She was eventually presented as a black ghetto girl on adopting The Boss persona.
  • Cardboard Pal: Summer Rae on a stick (a cardboard cut-out of Summer's head).
  • Catch-Phrase: Mostly used on Twitter, but it's "Bank on it."
    • Sporadically kicks off the Backstabber that segues into the Banks Statement with the line "Nighty night!"
  • Characterization Marches On: When she first turned heel, she was a generic Beta Bitch to Summer Rae. As time went on, she adopted the familiar look of sunglasses, rhinestones and tacky outfits. After turning face on the main roster, the character became a goofier, sassier version of her real life personality.
  • Cool Shades: In NXT, she had a signature pair of shutter shades, but her taste has since evolved to a more customized pair with "LEGIT" at the top and "BOSS" printed across the lenses.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: She managed to do pretty much exactly the same thing to Becky Lynch as Summer Rae had done to her, with very similar results. Ironically on the main roster it was Becky who was able to bring about a Heel–Face Turn for her.
  • Cut Short:
    • Her run as Chaotic Wrestling's women's champion due to being signing a contract with NXT. She didn't even stick around to drop the thing, denying Ivy Fit her logical title shot for beating Mercedes.
    • 17 days into her Ring Wars Carolina No Limitz title run, Mercedes KV was being interviewed in her Boston hotel room when Mia "The Scandinavian Sweetheart" Svensson burst in, beat KV up, forced a referee shirt around the neck of and pin fall from the interviewer and then got in a car and sped off with the belt.
  • Dark Magical Girl: There's strong subtext that a lot of Sasha's bluster and confidence is covering up for her insecurity. And the fact that she breaks character pretty readily whenever she's shown an ounce of legitimate compassion by Bayley or Renee Young seems to indicate that Sasha is lonely and scared, not truly cynical and bitter.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Initially when she debuted.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Adopted this look as she slowly started rising through the ranks.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Mercedes has made no secret that she's a HUGE Eddie Guerrero fan, and her character is inspired by his as a heel and her wrestling is definitely inspired by him and other WCW-style cruiserweights. She's even mentioned that she'd use a Frog Splash at Manianote .
    • Between the frequent use of her knees (see Extremity Extremist below), the arrogance when winning and the total cowardice when she's losing, the one-word Red Baron that screams "top dog", and the association from looking up to a Flair to looking down at everyone, the Boss almost becomes reminiscent of one of her own bosses
  • The Dog Bites Back: While still a face, she had a match against Charlotte. When the latter chopped her, Sasha suddenly got incredibly aggressive — as a possible hint that she wasn't as nice as she seemed.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: In December 2016, it was revealed that she provided the vocals for her own entrance music "Sky's The Limit".
  • Double Take: Did a magnificent one when the crowd first chanted "Ratchet!" at her (in a match against Emma). According to her, she thought they were calling her "rat shit"—and when someone else understood and explained that it was "ratchet", she was surprised again at the idea of being described by such a ghetto slur.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: She has quite the selection of bling.
  • Evil Feels Good: After she turned heel on Paige, she looked somewhat troubled by what she had done. But by the time she was backstage with Summer, she admitted that she had loved doing it.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After splitting from Charlotte and Summer and trying to make a name for herself, her formerly dark blonde hair became brown. Likewise when she first challenged Charlotte for the Women's Championship, she added red to her hair. After she split from Team BAD, her hair became pink and she wore it straight. Following WrestleMania it became a milder shade of magenta, and then purple following her final rematch against Charlotte.
  • Extremity Extremist: Sasha uses her knees A LOT. From a running double-knee into the corner, to her double-knee drop to an opponent draped over the ropes, to her double-knee backbreaker she uses to set up the Banks Statement.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After Paige beat her in a match, she offered babyface Sasha a handshake, but having gotten a pep talk from Alpha Bitch Summer Rae about making herself relevant, Sasha attacked Paige instead and thus turned heel.
  • Finishing Move: Bankrupt — a handcuff neckbreaker. Also a back stabber-crossface combination called the Bank Statement.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Sasha must really like acronyms, as she's been in three stables with acronyms in their names:
    • She, Summer Rae, and Charlotte were BFFs, the Beautiful Fierce Females.
    • She and Becky Lynch named themselves Team BAE (Best At Everything).
    • She later joined Tamina Snuka and Naomi as Team B.A.D.. This originally stood for Best At Dominating, but was changed to Beautiful Alpha Divas (at least on Naomi's Twitter the week before Sasha showed up) and then to Beautiful And Dangerous—all three names being similar to the above team names Sasha's associated with, making her connection to the group feel like Fridge Brilliance.
    • Even her nickname "The Boss" is one as well, with "BOSS" being short for Built On Self Success.
  • Gem-Encrusted: She loves her rhinestones.
  • Girl Next Door: As a face.
  • Girly Bruiser: Is stunningly gorgeous as well as a very good wrestler. Look at her Finishing Moves—very very atypical WWE woman moves that wouldn't seem out of place on a technical male wrestler. She also gave herself pink hair in 2016 and will wear some pink on her ring gear, not to mention plenty of rhinestone-studded jackets.
  • The Glomp: Gave one to Bayley after the latter defeated her to win the NXT Women's Championship.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Tends to wear some gold on all her ring outfits, as well as her accessories.
  • Good Is Dumb:
    • She only won about two matches as a face and both were treated as upsets—with fancy pins. She didn't gain a finisher or start winning regularly until she turned heel.
    • She's also very fond of using this as a tactic on faces. At Takeover: Respect, Bayley offered her a handshake...and got smashed into the mat for it.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After losing a match to Paige, she was visibly annoyed at it. Paige went to shake her hand, acknowledging her as a Worthy Opponent. Sasha rebuffed this and attacked Paige instead.
  • I Have the High Ground: Used to use a top rope dropkick.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: She doesn't get 'ratchet' chanted at her for no reason.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sasha Banks may be a ruthless, near-heartless competitor, but Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado is not. Examples of her nicer side coming out include:
    • Her tearful hug with Bayley after their match at Takeover: Brooklyn.
    • At Takeover: Respect, when the entire roster, including Stephanie McMahon and Triple H came out to hand her flowers and congratulate her on her performance, she literally collapsed in tears.
    • Also from Respect: did she make Bayley's mega-fan Izzy cry with pitch-perfect heeling? Absolutely. However, when the cameras turned off...she gave her massive bouquet of flowers to Izzy as an apology.
  • Kayfabe: When not getting emotional during milestone and watershed moments, she is known for never breaking character. There are only three recorded instances of it, one of which was written into the story:
    • Her backstage interview with Renee Young after winning the title where Renee specifically addressed questions to Mercedes the performer instead of Sasha the character.
    • The curtain call with the rest of the Four Horsewomen after dropping the title to Bayley at Takeover: Brooklyn.
    • The promo several weeks later, in which she explained the above away as Bayley having earned her respect "for that night only," opened with her voice audibly shaking as she talked about the overwhelmingly positive reception to the first title match.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Audrey Marie cruelly sent letters from a secret admirer to her. Then attacked her from behind and claimed it was in retaliation for Sasha upstaging her. This angle was run on the main roster in mid-2013, but with AJ Lee and Kaitlyn as Audrey and Sasha, respectively.
    • After Bayley lost to Charlotte at the live special, Sasha came out just to talk trash and rub Bayley's loss in her face.
    • During the Iron (Wo)Man match at NXT Takeover: Respect, after damaging Bayley heavily by tossing her into the video screen, she proceeds to scream at Izzy, a noted fan of Bayley, making the girl cry. It was quite extreme for even her, as the announcers (including Corey Graves, who had previously defended Sasha's ruthless strategy earlier) were quick to point out.
    • Speaking of the first example with Bayley, karma eventually bit Sasha back — albeit post-Heel–Face Turn — when she tried to be a Graceful Loser after ultimately losing her own feud with Charlotte. Instead, Nia Jax attacked Sasha — thus worsening her post-Hell in a Cell 2016 injuries — just For the Evulz.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, she repeatedly slammed Bayley's arm onto the steel steps in an attempt to incapacitate her and successfully defend her title. Not only did it not work, but at the following special NXT Takeover: Respect, Bayley decided to return the favor and slam Sasha's arm on the steps during their iron-man rematch. For Bayley, however, it worked successfully and allowed her to escape the Bank Statement and retain the title by forcing a submission at the last second.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Despite being a Heel, she's loved by many fans both for her sass and for being genuinely Badass Adorable. The original meanings for the Team BAD acronym, Beautiful Alpha Divas, almost lampshades this—though ironically this was the version Naomi came up with before Sasha joined the gang. In-universe she's also shown that she is capable of showing a softer side — notably her tearful interview after winning the title or her sincere hugging of Charlotte after a hard-fought match. Now a proper one after her face turn.
  • Mood Whiplash: In an interview after winning the title, she was initially in-character, boasting that the belt only proved that she was the best, as she had been saying all along. When Renee Young discretely asked for Mercedes-the-person's reaction (essentially phrasing it as "Okay, so if that's how Sasha Banks feels, how do you feel?"), she quickly burst into Tears of Joy and talked about how it's a dream come true.
  • Nerd Glasses: Outside the ring.
  • Never My Fault: After Elimination Chamber 2018, Sasha acted surprise after Bayley started to abandon her during tag team matches and called her out for this, completely forgetting that she betrayed Bayley first during the first two pay-per-views of the year.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the summer of 2014, she had a very well-received match with Alexa Bliss that got rave reviews.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: On July 16, 2018, her and Bayley — while enemies — were paired in a tag-team match against Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke. When Fox began targeting Bayley, Sasha attacked both team members to save her. In a subsequent backstage segment, once confronted by Bayley she admitted that she saw herself as this for her.
    "It's one thing for me to beat you up, but I'll be damned if anybody else does."
  • Phrase-Catcher: In her NXT days, "Sasha's ratchet!" ("No, she's not!")
    • Michael Cole has an affinity for saying "It's boss time!" whenever her music hits.
  • Power Trio:
  • Red Baron: "The (Legit) Boss."
  • The Rival:
    • Was developing sort of friendly rivalries with Nikki Roxx and Ivy Fit, not so friendly Mistress Belmont in her short US independent stint.
    • Bayley. They've probably got the record for most singles matches between two women in NXT. The Undertaker praised one of them as his favourite wrestling bout in ages. Also, their rivalry extends beyond the squared circle whether it's trying to be a fellow wrestlers BFF or in videogames on Up Up Down Down.
  • Something Completely Different: In a division that's usually made up of a Tomboy and Girly Girl situation - where the women are a Ms. Fanservice or model-turned wrestlers (most of the Total Divas cast) or else fall into the Real Women Don't Wear Dresses trap (AJ Lee, Paige) - what makes Sasha stand out is the fact that she's a character that isn't gauged by her amount of femininity (or lack thereof). She's a tough in-ring competitor but has no problem wearing pink or having plenty of accessories, and her femininity is neither presented as a strength nor weakness. It's just incidental, which is probably part of the reason she and the likes of Bayley and Becky Lynch (who have similar appeal) have reached such a wide fanbase.
  • Southies: Seemingly Mercedes KV's gimmick even though she's from California. But she did feud with Lexxus...
  • Tag Team:
  • Tears of Joy: As noted above, her first interview as NXT Women's Champion.
  • The So-Called Coward: While her first instinct at the start of nearly every match she's in seems to be to make a hasty retreat from her opponent, Sasha has proved that when push comes to shove, and shove comes to shove-through-the-wall, she will stand firm against her opponent. Case in point; standing up to Dana Brooke and Emma and being willing to fight both of them by herself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Originally just Summer Rae's lackey, Sasha's performance against former BFF Charlotte cemented her as one of the top Women's wrestlers in the industry.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: It was a slow turn but she eventually showed a softer side, starting with her NXT Women's Championship win. She began to acknowledge her fellow women as Worthy Opponents and had some grudging respect to show for Becky Lynch.
  • Town Girls: Team BAD fitted this. Tamina as the butch - presented as something of a Brawn Hilda of the group and is also the muscle of the team. Sasha herself as the femme - with her love of rhinestones and accessories. Naomi meanwhile as the neither.
  • Ur-Example: She competed in the first woman's Iron Man match, Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble (being the first entry) and Elimination Chamber matches.
  • Waif-Fu: Averted. She's one of the smaller women, but is able to work over her opponent and wrestle a strong ground game.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Charlotte and formerly Bayley, and technically Summer Rae, though there was never a feud between them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Attempted this on Summer Rae — and got a "The Reason You Suck" Speech in response. This led to Sasha's Face–Heel Turn.
  • Wild Card: As of 2016, Sasha split from Team BAD and formed an Enemy Mine situation with Becky. While not explicitly a Face, she's notably a little nicer and braver.
  • With Friends Like These...: In 2018, Sasha betrayed Bayley during the Royal Rumble by eliminating her after a brief team up. She did it again a month later at Elimination Chamber by pushing Bayley off a pod while smiling smudgy at her. This led to Bayley to have doubts regarding their friendship.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted after she won the Women's Championship. She took Charlotte's offer of a handshake...but then immediately rubbed it in her face that she had won the title. It was eventually played straight after Charlotte earned another title match, which Sasha won. The two women hugged sincerely afterwards. And definitely played straight with Bayley, after she won the Women's Championship from her. Without hesitation, Sasha burst into tears and hugged Bayley. As of 2016 she came to regard Becky as such. As opposed to her usual mocking of opponents, she showed a sort of grudging respect towards her.

Alternative Title(s): Mercedes KV


Example of: