Bianca Belair Beats Sasha Banks, Wins SmackDown Women's Title at WrestleMania 37

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks on Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 on Saturday to win the SmackDown Women's Championship, marking her first singles title in WWE.

The EST of WWE was clearly emotional upon entering the ring, but she soon found her focus as she went head-to-head with The Boss.

And after a historic and hard-fought main event on the opening night of The Show of Shows, Belair used her K.O.D. finisher to seal the win and the championship.


.@BiancaBelairWWE has SHOCKED THE WORLD! #WrestleMania #ESTofWWE #SmackDown #WomensTitle https://t.co/q4GoQ3ixCm

Belair established herself as the No. 1 contender when she won the 2021 women's Royal Rumble match. Not only did she win, but she also nearly went wire-to-wire, prevailing from the No. 3 entry spot.

The EST has long been viewed as the next big thing in women's wrestling, but Banks has been one of the standard-bearers for some time, and she returned to the top of the mountain in October when she beat Bayley for the SmackDown women's title in a Hell in a Cell match.

Once Belair won the women's Rumble match, it seemed clear she and Banks were on a collision course, and The EST made it official on March 5 when she challenged The Boss to a WrestleMania contest.

Amid the build to their clash at The Show of Shows, Belair and Banks became somewhat reluctant teammates in a feud with Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax over the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

At Elimination Chamber on Feb. 21, Banks and Belair lost due in part to interference from Reginald, who attempted to hand The Boss a champagne bottle to use in the match. She got pinned by Jax, and Belair was none too pleased with the result.

On the March 12 episode of SmackDown, Belair got pinned by Tamina in a tag team loss to the duo of Tamina and Natalya, and Banks being preoccupied with Reginald was a big reason why.

Despite the miscommunications, Belair and Banks challenged Baszler and Jax for the titles again at Fastlane on March 21, and they lost again, which led to Sasha slapping Bianca in the face.

After that pay-per-view, the focus primarily shifted toward the rivalry between Belair and Banks rather than their partnership, and it helped put the spotlight on one of the most significant women's feuds and matches in WrestleMania history.

The bout was especially huge from a representation perspective, as it marked the first WrestleMania singles match ever between two Black women.

Belair prevailed on The Grandest Stage of Them All, but both performers looked like massive stars and are poised for big things in the future.


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