After Surviving Midcard Hell, Sasha Banks Is Set for Breakout Year on WWE Raw

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2019

Sasha Banks is ready to redeem herself as a championship contender in 2019.
Sasha Banks is ready to redeem herself as a championship contender in 2019.Credit: WWE.com

To say Sasha Banks' main roster run has been less than stellar up to now would be a massive understatement, but at long last, it appears she may finally be on the verge of super stardom in WWE.

It can be argued that Banks is already a star based off the reactions she receives from fans and the amount of merchandise she has available on WWE Shop. However, she hasn't exactly been treated like a top talent for the better part of the past two years.

Despite having four Raw Women's Championship reigns to her credit, Banks has been criminally underutilized since her feud with Charlotte Flair culminated in late 2016. In that time, she has been teaming on and off with Bayley and largely hasn't done much of note.

Credit: WWE.com

The Boss has competed in almost every history-making match WWE has had with the women in recent years, yet she hasn't won any of them. Whether it was the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, Hell in a Cell or Elimination Chamber, Banks lost whenever it has mattered most.

Eventually, Banks was bumped back down the card, only wrestling at a handful of pay-per-views in 2018. It was easily the worst year of her WWE career to date, but thankfully, she is on the ascent after becoming the new number one contender for the Raw Women's Championship.

Current champion Ronda Rousey specifically namedropped Banks as someone she wanted to face during the debut installment of Moment of Bliss last week, leading to Banks beating Nia Jax to earn the opportunity.

They continued to tease tension this past week on Raw when they defeated the duo of Nia Jax and Tamina in tag team action and engaged in a war of words afterward. Banks showed more fire on the mic during that one promo than she has in a long time, so it's clear she's motivated by this rivalry with Rousey.

Giving her fresh opponents to work with certainly helps, especially coming off her pointless program with The Riott Squad. Although she and Bayley have been spinning their wheels for a while, at least they could always be counted on for a quality performance between the ropes.

Considering Rousey has delivered against everyone she has faced so far in WWE, it's virtually guaranteed that she and Banks will have an outstanding outing at the Royal Rumble and potentially steal the show.

Credit: WWE.com

Of course, Banks has almost no chance of beating Rousey for the title next Sunday, but a strong showing would be more than enough to remind fans and officials alike how talented she truly is.

From there, Banks should play a key role in the road to WrestleMania for the women. It has already been announced that the first-ever WWE Women's Tag Team champions will be determined at Elimination Chamber with three teams from Raw and three teams from SmackDown Live doing battle inside the demonic structure.

There are plenty of tandems WWE could award the belts to between the two brands, but Banks and Bayley taking the twin titles at Elimination Chamber would make the most sense. Plus, it would be the perfect payoff to their near year-long angle that has seen them overcome every obstacle in front of them.

Trish Stratus and Lita last appeared on WWE programming the night after Evolution, successfully teaming up with Bayley, Banks and Natalya. That might have been designed to plant the seeds for a future bout between Stratus, Lita, Banks and Bayley at WrestleMania with the newly-created tag titles on the line.

Either way, WWE's booking of Banks needs to remain consistent through the remainder of the year. She should be vying for (and holding) the Raw Women's Championship again eventually, but in the meantime, a stint in the tag team scene would only further bolster her stock.

Banks has proved time and time again that she deserves to be recognized as one of WWE's most prominent players, and after suffering long enough in midcard hell, she is due for a breakout year in 2019.

    

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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