Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks made history at WrestleMania 37 as the first African-American women to face each other in a singles match on wrestling’s Grandest Stage. This match was golden the moment Belair chose Banks as her WrestleMania opponent.
The end of night one of WM 37 couldn’t have been better with The Boss vs The EST of WWE. From the moment these two made it to the ring to battle it out for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, I knew it was going to be good. The build up for Banks vs Belair has not been the best, but they closed out the show with grace. As I watched these two stand across from each other, the live audience roared in cheers of these two women who were about to shut it down.
As I replay their match over and over, it still feels unreal to know that I’ve been watching wrestling since the age of 2, and now I can say that Black girl magic was alive tonight. While Belair and Banks were trying to stay in character, I gauged over the tears running down their faces. I couldn’t help, but to feel chills down my spine. It’s finally happening and they deserved this stage. The lines of reality and character felt blurred. Belair was amazed that this was real. Banks’ steel with vindication because she would’ve accepted nothing less. I can’t get over how utterly fantastic their performance was tonight. There were so many inventive spots, great story telling, perfect dynamic and no one to interfere with their moment.
I went into this match without a clue as to who would win. I do not believe no one knew who was going to take home the gold. Honestly, I don’t think anyone even cared. We were just so thankful and blessed to witness greatness between two alpha females like Belair and Banks. Questions swirled around in regards to giving the belt to Belair too early or could Banks overcome being too experienced for “the rookie”?
Belair quickly impressed us with her physical strength throughout the match, catching Banks’ body outside and carrying her up the steps before throwing her back into the ring. While the champion retaliated by breeding her veteran astute, neither opponents demanded an upper hand for a minute. Banks’ first mistake was trying to use Belair’s long braid against her, by colliding face-first into the steel post outside the ring. However, the Boston native later countered Belair’s 450 splash with double knees to her midsection.
Banks showcased her mean streak by viciously wrapping Belair’s braid around her wrist before putting her into a artful rendering of the Banks Statement. Belair’s second attempted to execute the 450 splash and at a near fall, goading shocked on the challenger’s face. As Banks continued to utilize Belair’s braid once again, the champion came up short when the EST whipped her across her abdomen with an earsplitting clobber. The sound of the whip echoed all around Raymond James Stadium and left a disgusting lash on Banks.
While both ladies took chance countering the K.O.D. and the Backstabber before Belair dazed the veteran, flatting Banks with the K.O.D. With the count of three, Belair became the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. This is the first time she has held a championship and has secured her place in the annual-sports entertainment history in her WrestleMania debut.
We have to reminisce on those who came before Belair and Banks. This match would’ve never happened if we were never introduced to Ethel Johnson, Babs Wingo, Kathleen Wimbley, and Marva Scott, the first black women’s professional wrestlers. We have to thank Sapphire, Jacqueline, Jazz, Kharma, Midnight, Alicia Fox, Naomi, and many others who have paved the way for black women wrestlers. The lack of representation for black women wrestlers over decades of hard work and constantly not receiving opportunities like others has to come to an end.
Most of all we have to thank The Boss, Sasha Banks. She has exemplified what a champion is supposed to be and she’ll go down in history as the “Goat” without a doubt. The amount of times she has put over the next stars to come out of WWE, we can not forget what Banks has contributed to the women’s division. Whether she won or lost, Banks has proven herself to be Hall of Fame worthy when its her time to retired and hang up her boots.
Prior to her match, I spoke with Belair about the importance of her match with the Boston native. “Representation is not a request, its a requirement”, said the 32-year-old. And representation mattered tonight and I’m excited to see how Belair will defend her title against some fierce opponents. In the meantime, let’s enjoyed this moment that is history in the making.