— WWE (@WWE) September 14, 2019
Complete Transcript of WWE Chronicle: Sasha Banks ! This special is now available on-demand on the WWE Network.
Producer: What was it like to go through that? To have something that you love so much. Be the thing that, ultimately was kind of one of your downfalls?
Sasha Banks: It really broke me. Broke my spirit. And I really question my mind. And I really question who I was as a person. And it scared me. The fact that I was going so, I’m very proud of myself that I took that step to walk away from something that I loved very much. And I think coming back now after having that time off, I think i’m going to come back even better than i’ve ever been before because I know who I am and I know what I want.
The following takes place from August 12, 2019 – September 9, 2019.
At WrestleMania 35, Sasha Banks & Bayley lost the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Immediately after, Sasha disappeared from WWE TV. Speculation surrounding her absence immediately began to spread, while cryptic social media posts from Banks fueled rumors of an exit. Finally, in August, Sasha returned without warning. She has yet to tell the full story of why she left, or what happened. Until now.
“Although the butterfly and caterpillar are completely different. They are one and the same” – Kendrick Lamar.
Producer: Can you talk about how wrestling saved your life? What does that mean exactly?
Sasha Banks: I didn’t have an easy childhood. Without trying to explain too much because it’s hard to explain it all. Anytime I watched Raw or SmackDown those are the only two hours that I ever got for myself. Those two hours made me feel alive. It made me forget all my worries, all the bad stuff that was going on, everything would disappear for those two hours. Because those two hours were for me. And thinking about Raw and SmackDown throughout the week kept me going after school, I would run to the library and look up everything I could about wrestling. Wrestling kept me going in life since I was ten.
Sasha Banks: The last few months have been time for me to grow and to really rediscover myself as a person that I felt like I lost for the last seven years. I haven’t heard my name, my real name in seven years. I haven’t seen what my real hair color was for the last seven years. So for the last few months, I just took the time to rediscover myself and figure out what makes me happy. And knowing what makes me happy without wrestling even though every single day I’ve missed it so much. All i’ve had since I was a little girl was wrestling. And wrestling saved my life. And I felt like it was destroying it, so I wanted to take a step back and figure out what that problem was. I fought for so much. I’ve done so much here, and I feel so fulfilled in my heart. I feel like i’ve accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to. And I really have. I’ve done more than I’ve ever dreamt of. Everything that I wrote in my notebook as goals when I was 10, I can legit check them all off. And I just felt like I had nothing else to fight for.
Producer: Let’s talk about what lead up to you leaving?
Sasha Banks: I feel like it was so much. I felt like, please don’t make me cry. So many bad things kept happening and I didn’t know how to deal with them. And I think what really started it all, like feeling sad, was the whole Paige situation. That really sucked. Having fans destroy me and my work. I pride myself on my work so much. And I would never intentionally try to hurt somebody. And that sucked. And that made me question myself as a wrestler.
The Day of Sasha Banks Return !!
Sasha Banks: WWE sent me to Buffalo to keep it a secret, but of course there’s always something like a travel issue. My flight got delayed yesterday, missed my second flight, had to stay in Washington and catch another flight this morning. Luckily I got to go to the hotel room, shower, barely eat and get ready and that was it. I guess the plan is for me to sneak on a bus and just sit and wait until it’s time. I just want it to be done and over with. I want today to be done and over with. The last two days I’ve been constantly thinking about it, working myself up, calming myself down, getting emotional, not getting emotional. So i’m just ready for it to be done and letting the real work be done. Crazy. We’re 10 minutes away for the reaction.
Producer: Where are we going again?
Sasha Banks: We’re going to pick up Pam (Bayley), my best friend. She’s my friend and I’m so lucky that she’s here to help me calm.
– Bayley enters the service car. Bayley likes Sasha’s blue hair. WWE’s Head Of Talent Relations, Mark Carrano greets Sasha as she arrives at The Scotiabank Arena. Sasha gets slightly emotional as she enters the private bus.
Sasha Banks: At WrestleMania, I felt so ashamed to say this, but I had zero feeling going out there and that’s everybody’s dream. To be on WrestleMania like what the hell? I have no feeling? I wasn’t trying to pump myself up like I normally do. And in my heart and my head I was so far gone. I had no feeling. I walked out there and looked out to the crowd and like this is it. I’m done. I’m thankful this is it. It’s so crazy. I hate that I lost that. I am staging all the bad energy and bringing positive energy into my space because I need it. You want some? If anybody comes here, and brings the bad negativity, they go away. Now i’m good.
– Bayley and Sasha are playing around in the private bus. Sasha is getting mentally prepared for her return.
Sasha Banks: I told my husband first. And he was like, no. Then an hour later he was like yeah, if you want to leave, I’m 100% behind you because he’s seen how much I’ve changed. He’s seen how sad and depressed I was. Telling him and him saying it was ok. I was like what? Saying to Pam and her not stopping me I knew I was in a bad place. I knew I needed to go get help. I tried to help myself and no one knows myself better than she does. When I told her, and she was just like are you ok? Like I just knew it. I knew I’ve been so far gone from myself that I had to go, you know, and they say all the time if you’re not having fun you need to go. And I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t myself.
I turned into someone I hated. I couldn’t even look in the mirror because I lost all the light in my eyes. I started to lose all the love that I had for wrestling which saved my life as a kid. The only thing i’ve ever known. The only thing i’ve ever loved. I knew I had to go. I mean, I’m still in this weird place, it didn’t feel real. The week before wasn’t finalized and then just like a couple of days, before ok, we got your flight and back into the grind just like that. Oh my gosh. I just want it to be over with already. I hope I do good? Like ok, you got this. It was a long day and it’s so hard to explain, but the highlight and wait and wait and wait until the time was right and haven’t put on gear in a long time and try to fix this wig on top of another wig and try to figure everything out. It was crazy.
– Sasha exits the private bus and heads towards the Gorilla Position. Sasha hugs Vince McMahon and Triple H.
Vince McMahon: How are you doing? It’s so good to have you back.
– We see a clip of Sasha making her Raw return at the expense of Natalya and Becky Lynch.
Michael Cole: What the hell? Sasha Banks attacking Natalya. Sasha and Becky Lynch, a brawl on Monday Night Raw. A relentless attack.
Corey Graves: New hair, same true colors.
Producer: You wanted to find yourself. How did you do that?
Sasha Banks: With time, which I would love to tell people don’t ever give up on yourself. Because it takes time. How did I go about it? Therapy helped. I went to a bunch of different things to try to help me. Like meditation class. Psychics. Life is so crazy. I went to this one lady. And before I even asked a question, she talked about how there’s this storm over me. And I need this to stay in my workplace. And I didn’t ask the question. How do you know? And she kept going on and on about my work. And like no way. And you’re like yeah, you need to go fix and heal yourself. When the time is right, the time will be right. I can’t believe that happened. It was so weird. I did things that made me happy. I finally got the call like hey are you ready to come back. And I was like, I think so. I think I can come back. I felt good in my heart. I’m in a good place. So yeah, here I am.
– We meet Sasha’s dog, Ryu. Sasha talks about being part of Triple H’s entrance at WrestleMania 30. Sarath Ton is Sasha’s husband and WWE Costume Designer. Sarath gives us a look at Sasha’s new ring gear.
Sasha Banks: He’s always there. Never gave up on me. Even when I was really mean. Really bad. He did everything he could to help me. He never gave up and I appreciate him so much. He’s been with since I was nineteen. And he’s seen it all. All my struggles. All my pain and I love him so much. He’s the best.
– Sasha plays the piano.
Sasha Banks: I just can’t believe how sad I was. How this cloud was over here and just like one day it just started to fade away. Wait, are you happy again? Am I smiling? Am I loving life? Am I enjoying waking up every morning and, you know? Kind of confused. People are meeting or calling me Mercedes and not Sasha Banks. Like one of the best feelings to hear my name It felt good again. It made me feel like a person. Definitely trying to process all of this and everything goes so fast and crazy that it’s already Monday again. My heart feels a lot different this time around.
I feel really at peace. I don’t believe that I gave up on anyone because I almost gave up on myself And I was 20 years old. I’m 27. That is such a period in your life where you need to grow. But i’ve only known this since I was 18 and started training and only watched this since I was 10. Every single day. So all I know is this. And I had to rediscover new things because how much I love wrestling, this is not always going to be here. And people think I gave up on them, i’m sorry, but you know, I want to be better. I want to be better for them.
Sasha Banks: I feel like wrestling makes me feel like i’m a super hero. It makes me so complete and I don’t want to say safe, but I feel like I just belong here. Like i’m meant for this. I’m supposed to do this. And that’s why I say I’m not afraid. I was born to do this. I really do believe I was born to be here. And don’t push your dreams on other people because your dreams are your dreams. And my dreams are my dreams. So they don’t have to be your dreams. That’s what I learned. And I’m very proud of myself. Because I got to step away, and I actually got time to, you know, sit back and take everything in, even stronger than i’ve ever been before. Because my dreams are even more clear because my mind is not clouded.
– Sasha reflects on her time at FCW/WWE Performance Center with Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was the only person that believed in the boss character. Sasha calls the ring her home.
– Transition to the Raw in New Orleans.
Producer: We looked at that photo on your wall. What do you think when you look back and see that person? That version of you four years ago?
Sasha Banks: It’s crazy to think that was just four years ago. And how much life can change, all in four years. Four years doesn’t feel that long. But that felt like so long ago. Because how much i’ve grown in that time and really becoming a woman, you know. I’ve been in this wrestling world since I was 10. Dreaming about it.
Producer: Do you still feel like that person lives with you? Or have you changed too much?
Sasha Banks: I think deep down it’s never going to leave me. That little girl. But it’s almost like that little girl moved on in a sense, that I don’t wan’t to say there’s nothing more to accomplish. She’s everything she’s ever dreamt of. And now it’s more like what does this 27 year old girl have to accomplish? So it’s there. It’s always going to be there. I met my best friend. I had amazing matches that I never thought would ever happen. You know, i’m part of something like this. I have a camera crew following me around and sometimes that doesn’t feel so new to me. It makes me feel like i’m really doing it. Because it reminds me of watching those documentaries of my heroes. So it’s weird, but I feel like a chapter of that 10 year old girl has kind of come to an end. But, you know, there’s more dreams to accomplish. As an older person. I don’t feel like that you ever have to not have a dream or have a goal. I think at any age you can accomplish anything that you ever dreamt of and want in your life. What else do you want? You got it all. A 27 year old wanted a dog, so I got that. That’s a good dream.
– Following a quick photoshoot, we see a clip of Sasha’s match with Natalya.
Sasha Banks: I don’t think it ever comes easy, but yeah. It felt good to be back out there. I wish the match lasted a little longer, but that goes with the story and everything is for the story and the bigger picture. It’s cool. It’s a good feeling. Putting on new gear and my new jacket and just feeling like the Beyonce of wrestling like I am, you know? I liked it. I can’t believe I haven’t had a match in four months. It felt good. Being able to come out and have people cheer and boo me. It felt so freaking good. It’s crazy you want people to hate you, but it makes you feel like you’re doing your job right.
Producer: Let’s talk about the rumors.
Sasha Banks: Yeah. At first it really bothered me. Because the same feeling how I felt when that Paige stuff happened. Just like man, you guys don’t know the full story. You don’t know the full thing. And then just just like how the hell do they make this stuff up? Like I saw so much stuff. Like crying on the floor of the locker room. No. I got undressed. Put my clothes on and walked out and stand with the fans with Pam watching the main event because I was so happy for those girls. There were rumors about me crying at the hotel floor.
Please show me those pictures. Send me the footage. You can’t let those things destroy you. You can’t take anything personal because they don’t know me. They don’t know Mercedes who played Sasha Banks. They don’t know what we go through day to day at live events, tv or what we do at home. You can let think whatever they want because they’re not going to change and I don’t have to change for them. I have to change what makes me feel good for myself. I think that’s the best part, good or bad, talk about me.
– We see a clip of the Bayley heel turn. Sasha takes a trip to Greg Yuna Custom Jewelry in New York, City. Sasha is gleeful heading into Madison Square Garden.
Sasha Banks: I feel like the crowd is really going to love the four horsewoman in the ring together. It was five years ago that me and Charlotte got told that we would be having our first live event match with Nikki Bella and Natalya. That was my first live event performing on the main roster, but I was still in NXT. Sasha makes a funny Maury reference. It was crazy and I can’t believe I’m here. Kind of a marquee match. I’m really excited and I hope it comes out good tonight. I have goosebumps. Really bad goosebumps. I don’t believe it. When they told me like no way. We have come such a long way. I’ve seen everyone grown so much. And I think that’s probably my favorite part about it. We’ve grown together, we’ve grown apart and grown in so many different directions, but to see us all grow into what we always wanted to accomplish and that’s making this division important. To make the crowd care as much as they do for the guys matches.
It’s crazy that we’re here MSG and I can feel the crowd already. I can hear their reactions. Which I haven’t felt that in such a long time. Like I can hear how they’re going to respond. I feel like going into this Sunday, i’m not proving anybody anything. I’m just doing it for myself. Im going out there and wrestling for myself and my happiness. I’m performing because it makes me happy putting on a show for the fans. I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it because I love to do it. I love seeing outcome of my hard work. I feel like my hard work will finally pay off here. Like I say many times, you have to be so good, they can’t ignore you. And even if they do, do it for yourself. Make sure that you’re happy and you’re having fun out there. Tonight I got beat the hell up, but I had fun and happy that I did it for myself. Timing just works out. Everything is written in the stars. What a wild ride. Been enjoying every minute of it. For me, it’s really weird how everything in life works. I didn’t have the game plan when I decided to make my leave. To come back with a whole new outlook on life and on being a different person. It’s been quite incredible how these least few weeks have felt. So freeing and completely different then what the past the five years been. I forgot how to have fun while doing this. It’s crazy.
The last couple of weeks i’ve been having legit some of the best times that I ever had within this company. Totally different. I’m at peace with myself I feel like this is the most clear my mind has ever been, my love is back. I like that I’ve found Mercedes and feel like I don’t have to put up a wall or a character to try to hide who I was. Because I feel like a lot of times we get judge for who you truly are, but I’m not embarrassed or afraid to laugh at myself. The most important thing is that I found self love, I never had that before. The hair protected me. It covered my identity like eyelashes, the makeup, the clothes the jewelry, the whole persona of Sasha Banks. I felt like it protected Mercedes and like hid her deep within. Now she wanted to break through. Hey I am here too. This little girl who fell in love with wrestling, don’t forget about me. Who the hell are you? It’s so hard to explain. You can name things, but I feel it. I just feel at peace. I feel whole. And I don’t feel angry. I don’t have a cloud over my head anymore. I can smile again without faking it. I think that’s the most important thing, I found my smile again just like Shawn Michaels. Although the butterfly and the caterpillar are completely different, they’re one and the same.
Check Out Episode 172 of The Hoots Podcast