Sasha Banks Wins Big At Hell In A Cell, Hopefully WWE Keeps Her Winning

At WWE’s Hell in a Cell PPV, Sasha Banks won the Smackdown Women’s Championship for the first time. With five prior Raw Women’s Championship title reigns, that now makes Banks a six-time world champion. But despite letting her run with the belt so many times, WWE has an equal tendency to snatch it back just as quickly. Let’s hope that WWE finally gives Banks a title reign that benefits her performance.

It doesn’t always sit right when professional wrestlers brag about their number of title reigns. In 1996, the Intercontinental Champion was Razor Ramon, and the announcers would gush over him during the broadcasts: “The Bad Guy is the first four-time Intercontinental Champion!” It sounded impressive on its face. But think about it for a second. For someone to be the reigning 4-time champion, didn’t they need to lose the title three times? This type of boast didn’t hold up to scrutiny, especially if the reigns all happen in a short time frame.

What these abbreviated runs communicate to a smart audience is that the wrestler is objectively talented or charismatic enough to be a top star. But for some reason, the company cannot fully commit to or trust the individual. It could be that the wrestler has personal issues or x factors that compromise reliability. It could be an established reputation as “difficult to work with.”

Whatever the case, Banks’ record cannot be chalked up to impersonal policy–that WWE simply moves the belt around a lot to give everyone a chance. Time and again, she has been underutilized, always in service of furthering other women’s careers. Banks’ first Raw Women’s title reign was 26 days. Her second was 27 days. Her third was 19 days. Her fourth was 8 days. And her fifth reign was 26 days. Put another way, her average title reign is 21.4 days long. She has never held the title for more than a month, and she has never successfully defended her title in a televised match.

Compare this record to the other three Horsewomen who are considered her contemporaries: Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Bayley. Lynch held the Smackdown Women’s title for 398 days, only dropping it when she became pregnant. Charlotte Flair held the world title 10 times, and although she had some short title reigns, she also had two reigns that were each over 100 days; both reigns were longer in duration than the combined days of Banks’ reigns. Bayley, who just lost the Smackdown Women’s title to Banks, held it for 380 days.

What could be the cause of this? The gossip in 2016 was that Vince McMahon considered her “injury-prone,” and there were additional rumors in 2018 which pointed to a bad attitude backstage. Neither concern, however, has come up as of late, and her alliance and subsequent feud with Bayley has been a highlight over the past tumultuous year; their recent segment, where Bayley turned on Banks after losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, did better–as far as the number of viewers goes–than any other feud in months.

Banks currently has a dearth of worthy challengers, which may lengthen her current run. Aside from Bayley, the Smackdown women’s roster features Natalya, Carmella, Bianca Belair, Zelina Vega, and Tamina. It’s a combination of seasoned veterans who don’t need a title reign and younger wrestlers who aren’t ready for the top spot.

That leaves Bayley as Sasha’s biggest threat. Will WWE give Banks her first successful main roster title defense? Whenever the rematch happens, it’ll show how much the company values Banks and to what extent they trust her. And if Banks wins the rematch, WWE needs to let her have a real run–one that lasts over three months–to finally show what she’s capable of.

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