At a recent WWE 2K17 event in (somehow) sunny San Francisco, not only was the game on full display, but I was fortunate enough as a fan of professional wrestling to sit down with two of the greats of modern-day WWE. The first was the one I was most excited to meet, partly because she’s incredibly talented in the ring—she once made a little girl cry mid-match, how great is that!?—and partly because I think she enjoys almost killing herself taking some nasty-looking bumps.
Ladies and gentlemen, my brief interview with the great, former (and I think soon-to-be-again) WWE Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks!
GameRevolution (Kevin Schaller): “Let’s start with… you’ve had some nagging injuries, so you took a little bit of time off. How are you feeling? Are you ready for Clash of Champions?”
Sasha Banks: “I am ready. I mean, my back is still giving me a little bit of a problem, that’s why I’m taping it up, being cautious. But I’m feeling good, I guess you could say I’m feeling better than ever because this injury just made me want to fight even harder. I was out for only two weeks with it, which I’m blessed I wasn’t out for a long time like Finn Bálor who had to get surgery (for his injured shoulder). In this industry, you always get injured, but it’s just how are you able to bounce back up. So I’m about to show Charlotte (the reigning WWE Women’s Champion) and Bayley that the champ will come back. And I will be a two-time WWE Women’s Champion. I’m ready for it.”
GR: “Because you have beef with both of them, in a certain way.”
SB: “In a certain way. Like, me and Bayley have such a history with each other. Same with me and Charlotte. But, Bayley and I are actually getting along right now, so this match… they’re kinda pushing my buttons with that. I mean, she just kinda walked in and got a title shot, when I’ve been working for so long, the whole year I’ve been here. I don’t have the last name of Flair, so I’m not gonna have everything handed to me. I worked for everything that I’ve been given. So I’m gonna show both of them why I am the ‘Boss’ of this women’s division. Why I am the best women’s wrestler in the entire world. I am legit. I’m the ‘Legit Boss’.”
GR: “You ARE the ‘Legit Boss’!”
SB: “I already know it’s true! I know I’m the greatest, so…”
GR: “You’ve had some really fantastic matches in NXT, in WWE. Is there anybody you haven’t fought yet that you really just want to get your hands on?”
SB: “That’s hard. I mean, of course there’s so many amazing, amazing women in NXT that I didn’t really get to have a match with. Of course Asuka (NXT Women’s Champion). I’d love to wrestle Peyton Royce, I think she’s gonna be an up-and-coming superstar that everyone needs to look for. She’s incredible. She reminds me a lot of myself, because her favorite wrestler is Eddie Guerrero too. So we kinda have that… that right there is pretty cool.
Billie Kay, there’s Liv Morgan, who up here… I don’t know, who have I NOT wrestled on Raw? I know there’s Nia Jax, but I’m just gonna stay away from that. She’s a big girl and I don’t wanna get squashed! I saw what she did to Alicia Fox. I’m OK. The way that she grabs her hair, my weave is TIGHT. I’m ready to go, y’know what I mean?
But yeah. I would love to have more inter-gender matches. Having that match with Enzo (Amore) against Chris Jericho and Charlotte was really cool. And being in the ring with Chris Jericho was… a dream come true. Him calling me an idiot? I was like, ‘what the… this is… this is life?’”
GR: “He’s, like, the best person you can be insulted by. Honestly!”
SB: “Yeah! I was just taking it all in. Like yeah, you can call me that, you’re awesome! I’m gonna drink it in, man! So I’m ready for a lot of things, that’s just one thing on my mind.”
GR: “One thing I noticed when 2K17 was announced, there were three names that were the FIRST three names to come up…”
SB: “I know!” (Interviewer’s Note: DAMN she smiled big at this point.)
GR: “And that was John Cena, Ultimate Warrior, and the ‘Legit Boss’ Sasha Banks. What did that mean to you?”
SB: “Gosh, umm… it didn’t really hit me until you said that. I just got goosebumps just thinking about that! Because I know last year, I was really looking forward to being in the game, and then when they said I wasn’t, my whole Twitter and Instagram was an uproar. I don’t know if it’s due to that, or just the fans like me, or who knows? But that’s just so cool, just to be in company with those names, oh my gosh. Wow.”
GR: “And the first three!”
SB: “First three! And the first WOMAN to be announced! That’s incredible. It’s legit a dream come true. It’s so crazy, today was actually the first time I got to play as myself. So I got to see my entrance, my gear, and got to see my move set, and… everything’s just so cool. I can’t even wait for NEXT year! I know we’re talking about THIS year right now, but even next year’s gonna be even better! I’m ready! Trying to think about what gear I want to have for the next video game. It’s so cool.”
GR: “I feel like because you’ve said you’re a big anime fan, and you are a gamer, and you’re a big K-pop fan-”
SB: “OH yeah.”
KS: “Is there anything you can recommend… not only that will make me look good in front of my girlfriend, who is HUGE into K-pop, but any recommendations? Are you ABLE to watch anything, or enjoy anything now?”
SB: “Right now, it’s actually really hard because of our schedule. From Raw I got to be home for about… maybe nine hours, then I flew out this morning so early, so when you try to get anime in there I’d rather get sleep. So… what am I watching right now?
Umm… I’m not really ‘watching’ any anime right now, I need more recommendations. I always go back and watch the same things, ‘cuz I just love it. Like Death Note is one of my favorites of all time. Have you seen Monster? (I hadn’t.) School Rumble? Oh my god, that one’s so good, I wish they’d do a third season… it’s hard, maybe people can give me some recommendations and I’ll start to watch some stuff.
With the K-pop, first Big Bang. Oh my god, so cool. I wish WWE would go to Korea, because I would probably never leave. That would be amazing. I also like… Xavier Woods just went to a Babymetal concert in Toronto recently, and I’m SO jealous of him! I dunno, I’m just livin’ life.”
(The one thing I wish I could’ve gotten on film for everybody was my challenge to thumb-wrestle Sasha Banks. She was totally down for it, and… she kicked my ass. Like a boss.)
SB: “Dude, I’m the best at everything!”
KS: “You are the Boss! And thank you so much for letting me interview you!”
SB: “Of course, it’s a pleasure!”