After four months off WWE programming, Sasha Banks made her return Monday night on Raw.
Natalya was giving an emotional speech to the crowd—mentioning her father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart—following her loss to Becky Lynch at SummerSlam on Sunday. Banks appeared and spoiled the moment, attacking Natalya.
Becky Lynch ran to the ring to aid her SummerSlam opponent, and Banks laid her out as well.
She referenced her arrival on Twitter:
Banks' return ended speculation that she was set to leave WWE because of creative differences.
Rumors of The Boss wanting to leave the company came to light after WrestleMania 35. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc.), she attempted to quit WWE during 'Mania weekend.
Meltzer noted Banks felt "blindsided" when she was told she and Bayley would be dropping the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships to The IIconics. She had reportedly been under the impression the company was going to allow her and Bayley to have a "strong run" with the titles.
Banks and Bayley became the first WWE women's tag team champions when they won the belts at Elimination Chamber on February 17, but they lost them just 49 days later in their second title defense.
WWE reportedly gave The Boss some time to think about her decision since officials believed she made a "rash" choice in the heat of the moment.
More hints regarding her unhappiness were dropped in the days following The Show of Shows. On April 8, she tweeted a cryptic message on Twitter:
One day later, Banks tweeted that she was pulling out of a scheduled appearance on The Wendy Williams Show because of "personal reasons."
The 27-year-old is one of the most accomplished women's wrestlers in WWE history, and she is credited—along with Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Bayley—as one of the driving forces behind the company's Women's Evolution.
The quartet were known as The Four Horsewomen, and they came up through NXT together at the same time. During their tenure, they raised the bar for in-ring work in the women's division, and that eventually translated to the main roster.
Banks was a one-time NXT women's champion, and she famously had one of the greatest women's matches of all time at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015 against Bayley. Success has been harder to come by on the main roster, though.
While Banks has won the Raw Women's Championship four times and the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships once in addition to participating in the first women's Hell in a Cell match against Charlotte, she has been the victim of start-and-stop pushes.
Her Raw women's title reigns totaled just 80 days, and she never held it for more than 27 days consecutively. Her 49 days with the women's tag team titles marked her longest championship run on the main roster.
Now that Banks is back, she may be in line for the mega push she has never truly gotten on the main roster, which could then lead to a sustained title reign. Her beatdown of Lynch would indicate a Raw Women's Championship match could be in store.
Banks has long proved that she is among the best women's wrestlers in the world from an in-ring perspective, and she was the total package in NXT as a heel thanks to her character and mic work.
If Sasha gets the opportunity to show what she can do as a heel on the main roster, it could go a long way toward ensuring her long-term happiness in WWE.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).