Power Ranking Sasha Banks and the Best Women's Wrestlers Today

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2021

Power Ranking Sasha Banks and the Best Women's Wrestlers Today

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Women's wrestling is the best it has ever been, thanks to a renewed emphasis on it by the industry's top promotions and some of the best and most driven performers to ever lace a pair of boots.

    Big-match performers, in-ring technicians and wild brawlers make up the list of the 10 best performers in the sport, with greater emphasis paid to those who succeeded in top North American promotions.

    The ranking of each is determined based on the quality of their work and other tangible factors.

10. Jordynne Grace

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    Jordynne Grace first captured the attention of the wrestling world at large via her performance in the Over The Budget Battle Royal at All In on September 1, 2018. Since then, she has become one of the centerpieces of the Impact Wrestling Knockouts division, earning gold in both singles and tag team competition.

    A power-based performer with deceptive speed, Grace has shown an ability to work with performers of varying styles and backgrounds. Most notable was her showing in the 30-Minute Iron Man Match against Deonna Purrazzo.

    One of the many underrated workers on the Impact Wrestling roster, Grace is a performer most would be buzzing about to a greater degree if she competed in the rings of WWE or All Elite Wrestling. As it is, she is still a top 10 women's wrestler who, at only 25 years old, has yet to reach her prime.

9. Thunder Rosa

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    Those unfamiliar with Thunder Rosa's work on the independents or with the National Wrestling Alliance were awakened to the hard-hitting, strike-heavy offense of the face-painted competitor.

    Whether she battled former women's champion Riho, sparred with promising young star "Legit" Leyla Hirsch, or threw down with "The Native Beast" Nyla Rose, she earned recognition as one of the breakout stars of AEW's dynamic women's division.

    It was the Unsanctioned Lights Out match against Dr. Britt Baker DMD on St. Patrick's Day that grabbed the attention of the wrestling world and catapulted her up the ranks.

    The intensity with which she approaches her in-ring performances, and her hybrid wrestling/MMA style, helps make her one of the more intriguing wrestlers in the sport. As long as she can continue building off the genuine Match of the Year candidate she had with Baker, the sky (and the top spot on a future edition of this countdown) is the limit.

8. Hikaru Shida

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    Hikaru Shida dominated in AEW for well over a year as its champion, defeating every challenger to oppose her over that time.

    A heavy striker whose trademark running knee strike earned her a bevy of victories, she put down everyone from Nyla Rose to Britt Baker over the course of her reign. That was all while bringing a quality to the women's division in AEW that it had not consistently had before.

    She became the face of that division, the piece around which Tony Khan and Kenny Omega built, and her significance to both the now and future of women's wrestling in the promotion cannot be understated.

    She may have lost the title to Baker at Double or Nothing, but there is no denying the Japanese star's status as one of the best, and most influential, wrestlers in the world.

7. Serena Deeb

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    If the only thing you remember Serena Deeb for is her short-lived stint as the head-shaved disciple of CM Punk in The Straight Edge Society over a decade ago, you are missing out on one of the most talented and multi-skilled professional wrestlers in the sport today.

    Deeb has exploded back on to the scene, delivering show-stealer after show-stealer in both AEW and the NWA. A technically sound wrestler with a penchant for stretching opponents in submissions, she has also exhibited a cerebral ability to tee off on a particular body part to set up her opponent's torment and anguish.

    It was on full display in her Double or Nothing Buy In match with former AEW women's champion Riho and just days later at NWA's When Our Shadows Fall event against Kamille Brickhouse.

    Now that she is no longer the NWA women's champion, it will be interesting to see where she focuses her attention, whether it is with the Billy Corgan-owned promotion or in AEW, where there are a wealth of opponents who could help her further establish her reputation as a top-tier worker.

6. Bayley

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    Bayley is not only one of the best wrestlers in the world today, she's also one of the best characters on WWE television.

    An obnoxious heel whose annoying laugh is enough to get anyone to root against her, she has been instrumental in the development of Bianca Belair as SmackDown women's champion, and before that, she helped to carry the company as one of the MVPs of the pandemic era.

    Able to excel as both a babyface and heel, she is an adaptable worker who can fight from underneath or control the pace of any match she appears in. Her strikes are strong, her ability to work a mat-based style is underrated, and the quality of her performances is undeniable.

    The only thing keeping her from the top five of this list? One of the greatest crops of women's wrestlers in the history of the sport.

5. Asuka

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    Asuka is and has been one of the standard-bearers for women's wrestling since she first set foot in an NXT ring way back in 2015.

    An intense worker whose willingness to throw her body around the ring and at her opponent is a hallmark of her performances, The Empress of Tomorrow is also known for her ability to stun opponents with a wicked back fist or tap them out with her cross face chicken wing submission known appropriately enough as the Asuka Lock.

    Her matches over the last year with Sasha Banks, Bayley Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley have helped carry WWE through the uncertainty of the pandemic era and further established herself as one of the elite workers in the company.

    She may have lost the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania, but she remains a pillar of that brand's efforts with its women's division.

4. Deonna Purrazzo

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    WWE had Deonna Purrazzo on its roster and somehow had no idea what to do with her. Upon her release from the company in 2020, she made her way to Impact Wrestling, where she wasted exactly no time establishing herself as one of the premier wrestlers in the industry.

    The Virtuosa quickly captured the Knockouts Championship from Jordynne Grace and successfully defended it against the likes of Su Yung, Rosemary, Havok and Tenille Dashwood. Each match presented her with a wrestler of a different style, and each one was among the best on any show thanks to Purrazzo's ability to adapt her style to match her opponent.

    A mat-based worker who prefers submissions, she manipulates joints, targets limbs and stretches opponents until they have no choice but to tap out. 

    Still the reigning and defending Knockouts champion, she figures to reign at or near the top of this list for the foreseeable future.

3. Charlotte Flair

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    For all of the claims of nepotism and overexposure, there is no denying that Charlotte Flair is one of the best professional wrestlers in the industry today.

    Like her father, the legendary "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Charlotte has a knack for the dramatic. She can sell with the best of them, pander to the crowd when necessary, stun her opponents with knife-edge chops or ground them in hopes of applying the devastating Figure Four leg lock.

    Unlike her father, she is a super athlete willing and able to throw her body through the air in a top-rope moonsault, wiping opponents out on the floor or inside the squared circle.

    She has captured championship gold 14 times already in her relatively young career and is on track to obliterate records. A truly great wrestler oftentimes at the center of controversy because of her last name and fans' perceptions about her spot at the top of the women's division, Flair has more than earned their respect based on her in-ring performances.

2. Sasha Banks

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    Sasha Banks is the best big-match performer of any woman on this list.

    Is she as skilled technically as Deonna Purrazzo? No. Does she have the striking abilities of Asuka or the pedigree of Charlotte Flair? Also, no. What she does have is an understanding of the moment. WWE is so built on the idea of moments today that to truly understand them and know what part of your game to emphasize and when in order to get that desired reaction is a gift.

    Look no further than her historic WrestleMania 37 main event against Bianca Belair. The look on her face from that opening bell was that of someone who recognized the enormity of it and was hell-bent on delivering the absolute best match, and, more importantly, an unforgettable moment.

    It's almost instinctual and something that cannot be taught in a Performance Center, no matter how state-of-the-art it is.

    Banks has "it." In spades.

1. Io Shirai

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    Io Shirai has spent the last year establishing herself as the best wrestler in the industry's greatest women's division. As the NXT women's champion, she battled the likes of Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Toni Storm, Mercedes Martinez, Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae.

    She demonstrated her skills at the highest level and wowed audiences with the effortlessness with which she flew through the air. Nicknamed The Genius of the Sky for a reason, she downed any and all opposition that dared challenge her reign as women's champion.

    Even though Raquel Gonzalez ultimately succeeded in dethroning her, there was never any real question as to who the best women's wrestler in NXT was.

    There will be some that argue that Shirai has yet to showcase her skills on the grand stage of WWE's main roster, like Banks and Flair, but she has consistently proved her excellence. Besides, is there really any question that she would excel on the WrestleMania stage if and when she has the opportunity?

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