411’s Broken Skull Sessions Report: Sasha Banks on Battling Depression, Losing Tag Titles at WrestleMania 35, Dusty Rhodes, More

411’s Steve Austin: Broken Skull Sessions Report: Sasha Banks

-Miz as WWE Champion is certainly an interesting turn on the road to WrestleMania, but perhaps he drops the title to Lashley next month and we get Drew vs Lashley or Brock vs Lashley. Either way you can’t say the build to this year’s show was predictable. Now to a new episode of Broken Skull sessions. Let’s get to it!

-Air Date: 02.21.21
-Run Time: 1:29:19

-Stone Cold Steve Austin welcomes us to the show and Sasha says his introduction of her was pretty cool. Austin puts up a graphic of Sports Illustrated naming Sasha the #1 SuperStar of the Year and he then mentions PWI had her ranked in the top 5. Sasha says she will take #1 for 2020, but that could be every year.

-Sasha says that she wrote as a kid that she wanted to be the best at something and it blows her mind that someone like Steve Austin would say she is one of his favorites. She knows she has put in the hard work to be where she is at. Austin breaks out two beers and they toast which has Sasha marking out as this is what she always wanted to do.

-Sasha talks about seeing WWE as a child and that become her dream and it never faded like other dreams she had. She has spent her whole life studying and watching wrestling. She started online schooling when she was 12 and the family lived in Minnesota. She did online school so her mom could get a job and it let Sasha stay home to watch her brother who had autism.

-WWE was her only dream and she never had a Plan B. She didn’t think she fit the mold of what she saw on WWE so she thought that Japan or Mexico was her best option as she trained. She didn’t know if she would be comfortable doing bra and panties matches. She was a fan of what the guys were getting to do and that’s what she wanted to do.

-Austin brings up Eddie Guerrero and asks what it was with him that inspired her. Sasha says the moment she saw him on TV there was an instant connection. She can’t put a finger on what exactly but as she studied him she learned she was like him. He was told he was too small and couldn’t reach the top of the business.

-Austin wants to know what Mercedes would be doing if there was no pro-wrestling. Austin mentions he was driving a fork-lift and Sasha again says she had no Plan B. She had various jobs selling shoes, and working in gyms, but she knew she had to make it in wrestling.

-She trained at Chaotic Wrestling and one of her trainers was Handsome Johnny who is Ivar in the WWE. Wow! She still has trouble with the name as she has always known him as Handsome Johnny. Brian Fury was another of the trainers and he was trained by Steve Bradley. They made her cry every week, but she had to give it her all because it was her dream. She was nervous taking that first bump as she thought she would knock herself out. She calls running the ropes a bitch and it wasn’t anything like she thought it would be. She took her first bump and calls it the shittiest bump and she was pissed at herself. She went home and put down a mattress and just did bump after bump until she was ready to go back to training.

-She wrestled on the Indy Scene for two years and the WWE was looking for extras at a show. The owner of Chaotic would choose a couple guys and Sasha was annoyed she wasn’t picked when she saw the guys he picked. She was pissed and googled who was the talent relations for WWE and within an hour she got a message back and was picked. Good on her!

-Austin brings up the WWE Training System and asks what that was like. Sasha says she was stripped down to the basics and basically they made her start over. The WWE style is camera work, promo work, and being bigger than you every thought you could be. She puts over Dusty Rhodes, Norman Smiley, and Joey Mercury for building what we see with Sasha Banks. Her and Austin discuss leading matches and Sasha says she has never had a match where she didn’t lead and Austin says he always lead because his hearing was so bad. Ha!

-Austin brings up Dusty and Sasha mentions that Dusty gave her so much confidence and belief. There are always people coming into the system and there is pressure to perform or you know someone is coming soon to take your job.

-Austin plays video of Sasha cutting her first promo in 2012 in NXT during promo school. She laughs and then hides her face watching it back. She says that wasn’t that bad and I agree that was a decent foundation to start.

-Austin wants to know who came up with the Sasha Banks name. She was told to give them a list of names and she had Sasha with another last name and Banks with a different first name. A few weeks later she was told they were going with Sasha Banks and she loved it. Her mother wanted it changed though as she felt it was a porn star name. Fantastic!

-Next they discuss the character of Sasha Banks. She says in 2013 she thought she was going to get released as she was a generic babyface that was happy to be there. She knew it was wrong and she was determined not to get fired from her dream job. She credits Tyler Breeze and Xavier Woods for helping her with the character. She had 5 different characters and the first was The Boss with the idea of it being based of her cousin, Snoop Dog. The Boss is the name that everyone apparently calls Snoop and she remembered the way all the Divas at Mania 24 were acting with Snoop and the swagger he had. She debuted the character at promo class and everyone hated it expect Dusty Rhodes. Sasha starts to break down telling the story as Dusty told her that is what he wanted. That was the sassy Sasha he had been dreaming of and wanted to see from her. Great story!

-She talks about renting every wrestling DVD from Blockbuster (look it up kids) to learn as much as she could about the business. Once she had the character, promos weren’t as hard because she knew who she was and what points she needed to make no matter the situation. Austin says he didn’t get his solid base until he became Stone Cold and that Sasha was lucky to find that base so early.

-The 4 Horsewomen: Austin asks about the atmosphere between the four of them. Sasha says the real competitive issues were with her and Charlotte. They were great friends, but everyone knew the last name Flair and she needed to step up her game. They locked up for the first time and it just seemed perfect and she knew that was her magic partner. What’s also crazy is that she was backstage at Mania 24 because Snoop was there and Charlotte was in the front row because it was Ric’s last match. That is pretty sweet!

-When Bayley arrived it changed everything for Sasha. She starts to cry as she mentions that Bayley changed the energy in the group. The energy she had about the way she talked about wrestling was something Sasha needed. They were talking like the lifelong fans that each were.

-Video of NXT Takeover Rival: It’s Sasha vs. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Lynch. They show a spot where Sasha gets her nose broken by Bayley. They show another spot in the corner that Sasha says Goldust helped her with. Sasha is embarrassed as she says she can’t watch her stuff back and Austin says he can’t do it either. Sasha gets the pin on Charlotte to win her first Title in the WWE as she is crowned NXT Women’s Champion. She remembers bawling her eyes out when she got to the back as it was that real to her. She put in all that work to get there and to have that match with those three only made it mean more.

-They talk working heel vs face and Sasha says working face was easier at first, but as she tapped into The Boss character she had much more fun working heel. Austin asks where the swagger comes from and Sasha says she is this confident by nature. She learned to not be afraid of wanting to be the best and she doesn’t know why people are afraid to say they are the best and work to get to that goal.

-The Banks Statement: She went to the head coach and asked if she could do a backstabber. The coach told her to do the move and then flip over with a crossface. She isn’t sure where the name came from, but she loved the move the instant she first tried it.

-Austin asks what it meant to her to be one of the Horsewomen. She talks about the incredible women in the WWE but they weren’t always represented that way on the main roster. In NXT they were getting 8-10 minute matches at first and then getting PPV with longer matches. Sasha brings up Diva vs Superstar. Sasha says she never loved the Butterfly Title and no guy would ever wear a title like that and she felt the women shouldn’t have been treated differently. With that said she knows she would not be here without those women that laid the road for the current roster.

-Austin asks about the chemistry with her and Bayley. Sasha says Bayley is everything she has ever wanted in a friend. She mentions Eddie had his friends and partners as did Steve and Bayley was hers.

-NXT Brooklyn: No video as Austin mentions they showed this with Bayley last month. Sasha says she went into the match wanting it to be the greatest match of all time. She was leaving NXT and was in the ring with her best friend. She says that everything that happened in the match she dreamed the night before and as she made her entrance and heard the crowd she knew it was going to be easy. She puts over the importance of the match as she has heard stories of fathers letting their daughters watch this match to get into pro-wrestling. Austin brings up that Bayley mentioned Sasha broke her hand in the match and talks about the reaction from the crowd.

-We move to the next show where Bayley and Sasha had the first Iron Woman Match in WWE history. She did so much cardio to prepare and her goal was to do something to keep the fans in the seats instead of going out to get popcorn. Sasha gives a shout-out to super fan Izzy in the front row that always drove her crazy. Bayley wins the match and the entire roster comes out on stage to give a standing ovation to both women and present them with flowers. This was her last NXT match as she thought was going to be Brooklyn, but HHH and Regal told her there was one more.

-Sasha was called up to RAW and she had to tell herself that this wasn’t NXT and she may have to settle for 3-5 minute matches at first, but she still had the idea of wanting to change the game. Sasha puts over Naomi and Tamina for being there for her as she made the move to RAW. She was working a year in dark matches and had to do Santa’s helpers matches and she knew that’s not what she wanted. Through hard work a year later they were asked if they wanted to wear the outfits and they were able to say no and that they would wear their regular gear. She thanks Naomi and Tamina for watching her back and taking care of her.

-WrestleMania 32: Snoop sang Sasha out for her match and that leads to a discussion about the D O double G. They are first cousins and while she didn’t grow up around him all the time she would see him when he did shows in the area and then she had her mom call her birth father to see if there was a way for Snoop to get her tickets to Mania 21 in LA.

-Back to Mania 32 as Sasha makes her entrance with Snoop performing her theme. Austin says he loved watching Triple Threat Matches but didn’t like working in them. Sasha loves 3 Ways and 4 Ways as it gives her mind a new challenge as she wanted to do something different from what other multi person matches have done. Austin loves that attitude as he says he was a stick in the mud and set in his ways as a singles. Austin tells Sasha that sometimes her bumps scare the shit out of him and she laughs saying that’s what she wants. Flair gets taken out by Becky and we get the crazy spot of Charlotte hitting the moonsault to the floor. Sasha says that she hated taking chops and Austin laughs because he hated them as well. Charlotte gets the win and Sasha asks Steve if he remembers her coming to the back and seeing him while crying. Austin tells her he has footage and we see the moment between the two. Austin is great as she tells a crying Sasha that she is badass and money. Sasha says she would cry after every match because she always though the worst. She watched the match back with Renee Young and realized it was actually pretty good.

-Next they discuss her winning the WWE Women’s Title for the first time and that moment ranks with winning the NXT and Tag Titles. Austin moves to how much pride the women take in the way their matches have evolved. Sasha gets emotional again as she is proud of the current roster plus the ones that came before them. She feels the SD roster is the best it has ever been and then she sees what is happening in NXT and she is amazed at where this division is going.

-Austin jumps to the first Hell in a Cell Match and says he has never been in one. I could have sworn he was in throw away one on RAW that was a tag match. Wait, he was also in the 6 Man one at Armageddon for Angle’s WWE Title. That match was great and now I want to watch it again. Sasha mentions she has been in three of them now. She was nervous about that match and the night before Charlotte told her they were going to be the Main Event. She had doubts if what she had planned was good enough and she had to focus on Regal always telling her that she was in control and was good enough. She admits the matches are tough and she doesn’t want to do a 4th one. The one nagging injury she has is a hip injury that she got in the HIAC match with Becky Lynch.

-The first Women’s Rumble as Austin mentions he won three of them and also screwed up in his first one. Sasha was blown away when they got the word they were doing a Woman’s Rumble. Then she heard they were bringing Legends back and she couldn’t help but mark out. She prayed the night before that she would be the first entrant and it happened.

-Austin asks her how she took the match and Sasha says that first one was her only Rumble match and if she gets another one she wants to be 29th as it was hard work. She never thought she would be in a match and get to take a moonsault from Lita and then she got to have a face-off with Trish and eliminate her. Austin puts them over as bad asses even if they were in the Divas division.

-Ronda Rousey and Sasha puts her over for being humble and working hard within the division. She was viewed as an outsider, but also as someone that put in the work. She was an MMA fighter and they could tell, but she was cool. Sasha and Ronda had their match at Rumble 2019 and Sasha wanted to show the office to stop forgetting about her. Her goal was to give Ronda her best match, but it was different as Ronda isn’t a wrestler. She is an MMA fighter, so Sasha had to watch what Ronda did and play to her strengths. She says her shoulder was separated in the match but it was fine and she loved the match.

-For Sasha wrestling is being able to take the fans on a ride and she was able to do that with Ronda. She didn’t get tapped out like everyone expected. Austin asks about the shoulder and we see it happened at the close of the match. Sasha immediately wondered how hurt she was and if she was going to miss the Tag Elimination Chamber and Mania. She was afraid to have it checked as she had no clue how bad it was as she never had that feeling. She had a Make A Wish the next morning and needed Bayley to help her. She tried to hide it, but had to get an MRI and it was separated, but she didn’t take time off as she wanted the Tag Titles with Bayley.

-They discuss tag wrestling and Sasha says she was doing random tag matches for years and there was no storyline with them. She and Bayley pitched for Tag Titles every week and when it was finally approved they were shocked. Austin also hated just working random tag matches as there is a difference when you are in a tag team and have chemistry.

-Elimination Chamber: Sasha says the Chamber hurt as you would expect and the black mats they added have no give at all. I’m sure it sucks, but it has to be much better than the grate the guys were killing themselves on previously. The end sees Sasha getting the win with a modified Banks Statement as she had to use her foot due to her separated shoulder. She has a massive smile watching herself and Bayley hug as they are given the Tag Titles.

-That leads to Mania where she and Bayley lose the tag titles to The IIconics. “Win some and lose some,” –Stone Cold! He asks her if it was a bitter pill to swallow and if it was the right call. She says you never know if it is the right call unless you follow it up and they didn’t follow it up. She says that night was hard as she was going through a lot and had a chip on her shoulder. She was losing herself at the time as all she knew was WWE as her plan A. She admits depression was taking over and the moment and place were getting bigger than herself. She was no longer called Mercedes and she didn’t know what her real hair looked like anymore. She let everything get to her and that explained the 5 months she was away from the WWE. She couldn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore and this job was no longer what she wanted it to be. It was hard to take time away and she asked Vince if she could leave and he told her no. “Mother—always says no,” –Stone Cold! He told her to take 30 days to think about it and she took more than 30 days. Austin says he took 8 months due to the Brock issue and he admits he didn’t handle it the right way.

-In the time away Sasha went to Japan and worked in a dojo. Her goal was to do everything that made her happy. She spent a week in Japan and would have stayed longer, but had to come back to do a commercial for WWE. The trip helped reignite her love for wrestling and it made her realize it never left, but wasn’t shining as bright.

-She came back to the WWE with a different mindset and again, this just shows that a little down time is good for these men and women. Austin brings up again that he handled business the wrong way and asks how everyone received Sasha when she came back. She says she was good with everyone and they were happy to have her back.

-Austin brings up 2020 and calls it a shit storm. No kidding! The talk about working in an empty building. Sasha mentions she found out on twitter that Mania was going to have 0 fans and that pisser her off. She didn’t know how they were going to do a Mania show with no fans. She then got into the mode that she needed to adapt and that people out there still wanted a show to entertain them. She talks about how hard it was to bump and feed with no noise and says it does make a huge difference just having the piped in noise.

-Austin mentions that Sasha and Bayley got to work all 3 brands during the summer as Tag Champions. Sasha loved the run and it is what they envisioned with their first run that never happened.

-Sept 2020: Bayley turns on Sasha and we see a photo of Bayley pillmanizing her neck. Austin points out he did that to Pillman’s ankle. Austin was waiting for that turn and Sasha says the Bayley we see now shows how great she can be. She calls the Hello Ding Dong stupid but it’s great has she has been able to get it over.

-Hell in a Cell 2020: Austin loved this match and loved seeing the aggressive babyface from Sasha. They both mention that kendo stick shots hurt and Sasha questions why they even use them. Austin says with the kendo stick you can’t lay back and have to lay them in. We see Sasha wearing Bayley out with one and Sasha says she feels bad just watching this. Austin loves the selling from Sasha and the patienc of Bayley as she is in no rush. Sasha gets the win to end Bayley’s epic reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion. Sasha was nervous going into the match because there was no crowd and it was inside the Cell which hurts.

-Austin asks if she likes being Champion or chasing. Sasha says she likes being Champion right now because she never had a reign where she got to defend. She loves the new opponents she gets to face on SmackDown.

-Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Sasha still isn’t sure how this happened. She got a call for it as John Favreau really liked her and wanted to write a role for her in The Madalorian. She told him that his schedule was crazy with WWE and he said he would do whatever he could to work around a schedule for her. That is awesome and I can see why she is still in awe of getting a role like that seemingly out of nowhere.

-Sasha says the phone is still ringing and she has big dreams. She is worried about putting them out there because she wants to make sure she can do all of them. Austin says that she will be in the Hall of Fame one day and asks about the future. Sasha wants to be a top player and wants to be a shareholder in the WWE. She will always be around and wants to help not only the women, but even men who come into the WWE. She came into the WWE as a super fan, but now is a business woman. She is on a different level as she is eating steak with vegetables like Vince McMahon.

-She would tell Mercedes that she is so proud of her. If she had never given herself a chance she would not be here. Every step got her stronger, braver and she knows where she is at. She would tell the guys and girls coming into The PC that it is all up to them and they have to go for it. Watch what they people are doing that are at the level they want to be and make it work for yourself. Austin says you can take that advice and use it for anything in life and not just the wrestling business.

-Austin wraps things as they have one last toast and drink.

-Good stuff here as this one was more interesting than I thought it would be coming into it. Previous episodes have always worked better with Legends that have been around decades, but this was good. It was as long as it needed and covered the main points you would expect. Sasha came of great and was very confident in what she was trying to get across and had some fun stories. She also offered some good insight into her character, her issues with depression and her thoughts on what she wants for the future. Definitely check this one out for the Dusty stories and to get some background on what Sasha was going through during her time away from the WWE. Thanks for reading!

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