Wrestling & MMA

PRO WRESTLING: Proud women’s champ Sasha Banks brings beauty, bling, boss to WWE NXT

The Boss Sasha Banks shows off her bling which includes rings, necklaces, autograph stampers and especially her NXT women’s championship belt during a meet-n-greet with fans before a WWE NXT show at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce. NXT returns to the Havert L. Fenn Center on June 5. Also pictured is Bull Dempsey.
The Boss Sasha Banks shows off her bling which includes rings, necklaces, autograph stampers and especially her NXT women’s championship belt during a meet-n-greet with fans before a WWE NXT show at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce. NXT returns to the Havert L. Fenn Center on June 5. Also pictured is Bull Dempsey. Photo By Jim Varsallone

Mom knows best, but good thing Sasha Banks didn’t listen to hers.

Growing up, her mother, Judith, frowned upon her interest in pro wrestling.

Really. What mom wants their daughter to dream of making a career flipping, kicking, punching, bodyslamming, and badmouthing other women?

But what mom wouldn’t want their daughter to be happy and successful?

Banks is very happy these days and very successful. She is WWE’s NXT women’s champ, and her mom couldn’t be prouder.

Banks watched pro wrestling as a youngster... sometimes. If mom caught her watching, off it went. She literally took Banks’ TV. Her conservative mom didn’t want her watching ‘that.’ Banks loved it, though.

Born in Fairfield, California, she lived there until she was 8. She then went from the city to the farm with her aunt in Iowa. She lived in Iowa four years, before moving to Oregon for five months and then returned to California for three months, before venturing to Minnesota for four years. After that, she settled in Boston.

As Banks evolved into an athletic young lady, she decided to test the pro wrestling waters where her once reluctant mother eventually became her biggest fan.

“From my mom telling me ‘no’ to now telling everyone I’m the champion, and she’s so proud of me,” an emotional Banks said, “and to prove to a lot of people -- who didn’t believe in me, who didn’t think I was going to be here -- that I’m here, and I did it. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions; it’s amazing.”

Chaotic start

Boston is the birthplace of her pro wrestling career.

She said: “I call Boston home because it’s where I started coming into my own.”

Debuting in 2010 with Chaotic Wrestling in Boston, Banks learned from trainers Brian Fury, Brian Milonas and Todd Smith.

Milonas, a wrestler and company officer with Chaotic Wrestling, served as head trainer when Banks began her pro wrestling journey.

“She stood out immediately,” Milonas recalled via email. “Her first day was during a one day camp for first timers. She earned a three-month scholarship based on the potential we saw. She was athletic but not overly aggressive.”

Since men far out-numbered women enrolled at a pro wrestling school, any pro wrestling school, Banks trained with guys. That actually helped her aggressiveness.

“She trained right with guys who were twice her size, in my case three times her size,” he said. “I never questioned her toughness for a minute. She hung with and surpassed many of the guys she trained with.”

Banks, a true student of the game, too.

“She picked things up very quickly,” Milonas said. “She was always at class, always asking questions, always looking to get better. She was someone you wanted to help because you could see how much she loved wrestling.”

Away from the ring, “Quiet, shy but very respectful,” he said. “I always appreciated how [Sasha] carried herself at such a young age. Mature beyond her years.”

Banks wrestled as Mercedes KV.

“I remember talking to her about [her wrestling name], and we all thought Mercedes was a great name,” Milonas said. “KV was the first letters of her hyphenated last name.”

The Chaotic Wrestling family is following the career of Banks.

Milonas said, “There’s no doubt in my mind she will be a major Superstar with WWE. Her attitude, passion and athleticism are second to none. I’m extremely proud of her, and I’m excited to see what’s next for her.”

@BrianMilonas

Facebook.com/kingpinmilonas

@chaoticwrestlin

WWE beginning

In 2012, she landed a developmental deal with WWE, after a successful WWE tryout camp. She began with WWE’s FCW and did a good job learning. Then WWE took developmental to the next level, and since working with WWE coach/trainer Sara Amato (Sara Del Rey) at the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Banks really elevated her game.

With a catchy name -- The BO$$ Sasha Banks -- and finishers dubbed the Bank Statement and Bankrupt, a star was developing.

As for her look, unique from head to toe with money sign medallions, thick decorative chains, cool blinder shades, dark armbands, blue painted nails, purple red hair, more specially designed jewelry, and lots of The Boss -- Boss T-shirt (Legit Boss front, Banks On It back), multi-finger-wide Boss ring, Boss necklace, and even a gold banded Boss stamper to sign autographs The Boss way.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out,” she said, “so my gear is very elaborate, very blingy, very loud, because I want people to notice me, want to look like me. The Boss necklace, the ring. I want everything big.”

Mikaze, a talented indie wrestler who designs gear, is the finisher behind Sasha’s big wardrobe inspirations.

@IamMikaze

“Most recently I haven’t been able to pick out what colors I wanted or scheme,” Banks said. “I just had him do it, because now he knows what I want. He envisions it. I just tell him, ‘I want to look the best, the greatest. Just do your thing,’ and he always makes me look amazing.”

At NXT shows from Full Sail Live in Winter Park on WWE Network or on the road like at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce or via social media, fans embrace The Boss look.

“It’s really cool to see how many people try to imitate me or wear my stuff,” she said. “I get a lot of Instagram videos of people doing my entrance. I think that’s so cool. To see the variety of people, little girls, guys, doing it. I never really thought that would happen. It’s amazing.”

NXT present

Banks, 23, is The Boss of NXT, literally and figuratively, as she won the NXT women’s title in February in a fatal four-way over standouts Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch during the NXT TakeOver: Rival live special on WWE Network from Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando.

“Just to be a part of that, it’s really indescribable,” Banks said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, but I never really saw it happening. So to be in the moment and see it happening was just crazy.”

She continued: “I’ve never had so many tweets in my life. Afterward, people were tweeting ‘That match was Match of the Night.’ ‘You women are [going above and beyond].’”

Women’s wrestling is thriving in NXT, and that is helping build a brand.

What started as development is still developmental, but it has also progressed into a brand.

NXT is white hot, and Banks is a big reason why.

“To see how far NXT has grown and to be able to be a part of that is truly humbling,” Banks said, “because years later, we’re going to look back, and I’m going to be part of history.

“To have a show in Columbus and have it sell out [snaps her fingers] like that, which made us have a show in San Jose, and we sold out [snaps her fingers] just like that, it’s amazing.”

Banks is amazing, determined, focused and improving.

Taking the NXT women’s title from her will be a very difficult task.

Who will try?

Well, you’ve heard the expression, and it’s apropos in this case.

“Don’t cross The Boss.”

So opponents ... good luck.

Twitter @SashaBanksWWE

Snoop Banks

Banks is cousins with recording artist, actor and WWE fan Snoop Dogg. He appeared at WrestleMania 24 in 2008 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Banks appeared at WrestleMania 30 in 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“I hope one day he can make my entrance music,” Banks said. “All my family on that side are big WWE fans, huge.”

Banks, a fan of all music, just started listening to country music.

NXT on tour

Visit NXTTouring

NXT live on WWE Network

The NXT Takeover live special on the WWE Network is 8 p.m. EST Wednesday, May 20 from Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando.

The NXT women’s title is on the line as The Boss Sasha Banks defends the gold against Becky Lynch.

The main event is a rematch of the prior NXT Takeover live special with NXT champ Kevin Owens against Sami Zayn.

NXT tag team champs Blake and Murphy defend the titles against Enzo Amore and Big Cass Colin Cassidy.

Also, Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin and more.

NXT on WWE Network

Catch NXT on WWE Network 8 p.m. EST Wednesdays and on-demand.

NXT on NXT

Visit http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwenxt for everything NXT and tour dates.

NXT in Fort Pierce

NXT returns to Fort Pierce at the Havert L. Fenn Center on June 5.

Tickets $10, $20. There will be a meet-n-greet before the show, which is included in the ticket price. First come, first served.

Socially acceptable

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@WWENXT

#NXT

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Pro Wrestling On the Web

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Who’s Thee Boss?

The BO$$ Sasha Banks validated her nickname by winning the WWE NXT women’s title in February during the NXT TakeOver: Rival live special on WWE Network from Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando.

That inspired this list of Top 10 Bosses.

10. Al Capone

9. Mike Bossy

8. Hugo Boss

7. Tony Danza

6. George Steinbrenner

5. Big Bossman

4. Boss Hogg

3. Donald Trump

2. Bruce Springsteen

1. Sasha Banks

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