American professional wrestler and actress
Mercedes Justine Kaestner-Varnado (born January 26, 1992) is an American professional wrestler and actress currently signed to WWE under the ring name Sasha Banks.
Stone Cold's Broken Skull sessionsEdit
- [On Boss character] “The first one I did was The Boss because my cousin is Snoop Dogg” Banks said. “I remember at 16 years old going to WrestleMania in Orlando with him and him doing rehearsals and I’m walking down the ramp with him behind him and I see all the girls. I get to see all these friggin’ women that I get to watch every single week and I’m like ‘I am going to be walking down this stage one day, and I gotta do it like Snoop Dogg.’ Everybody around him calls him The Boss, so I’m like that’s a good character, let me take that and turn it up. “I’m the baddest, I’m the greatest, I’m The Boss of NXT. I tried it in promo class, everyone sh** on it except for Dusty Rhodes. Nobody got it, no one understood it except for Dusty. He’s like ‘That’s what I wanted. Keep on coming back every single week and doing that and that’s the sassy Sasha I’ve been dreaming and seeing and wanting you to be.’ It’s so crazy.”
- Episode 13 of Stone Cold's Broken Skull sessions (21 February, 2021)
Interview with ScreenrantsEdit
- [On getting roll in Mandalorian] "I remember getting an Instagram DM from a testing director, maybe around the end of the summer - or it could have been in September, I honestly cannot remember. Instantly, I said, "Okay, let me ask WWE," but my manager said, "No, don't even ask them. Let's just talk to them." Jon Favreau called me; he Facetimed me and told me that he wanted me to be part of the show. And I was just like, "Oh my God, yes." And then everything just happened. It was so fast, and it was so crazy"
- Interview with Alex Leadbeater of Screen Rants (November 26, 2020)
Interview with FoxEdit
- [On working with Asuka during summer 2020] “All I wanted to do was have fun during the summer,” Banks said. “Being 'Two Belt Banks was probably the greatest time I’ve ever had. Working with Asuka, who is probably one of the greatest in the world, I could be in the ring with her every single week and I’d be so happy.”
- [On performing at WrestleMania 36 without crowd] "That was so hard. I was in a little shock at the moment. It was pretty scary at the same time, but at WrestleMania, we always show up, and show out, and do it for our fans. I had to bring it even more for our fans so they could feel it through the television. To have such an incredible match with such incredible women in my locker room? I was just so thankful.”
- Interview with Charlotte Wilder of Fox Sports (December 8, 2020)
Interview with Muscle and fitnessEdit
- [On 2021 Women's Royal Rumble match] "We just keep on doing the same. We’ll keep on growing. I’m just walking in as the champion, more confident than ever … and I get to sit back and watch these 30 incredible women had a fight for the spot to face me. I don’t need no extra hype for that.”
- Interview with Jeff Tomko of Muscle and Fitness
From an four horsewomen interview with ESPNEdit
- I really felt like during WrestleMania 32, when they introduced the new women's title and dropped the Divas title and dropped the name, it told us, "You're not gonna be in your own little section."
- From having the women's match cut at WrestleMania 29 just before they went out to women main eventing, the growth is just so beautiful to see. To be a part of it, I'm so blessed to be here at this time.
- Interview with Marc Raimondi of ESPN
Interview with GQEdit
- [On creation of Boss character] "I took that from him (Snoop Dogg). I took things from Kanye West. I took things from Nicki Minaj. My looks, my attitude, the hair."
- Interview with Mick Rouse of GQ (August 19, 2016)
- It’s crazy what the universe continues to give me. I get shocked every single day. I mean, I’m walking into WrestleMania 37 as the SmackDown women’s champion, about to main event the damn pay-per-view. So I guess you can say I’m doing pretty well. I feel incredible.
- [On making history with Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 37] You just have to look at the times. That we can have two African-American women potentially main-event is huge, not just for the world of wrestling but for the world all over. For young women and people of every single color to know that nobody can hold them back from their destination and their purpose in life. To make things happen and grow. Because one day we’re not going to [have to say] “first time ever” for anything. It’s just beautiful people, these beautiful human beings, living life and getting to fulfil their dreams like everybody else. Sometimes in this world, people make you hate yourself. People make you question yourself. People feel like they don’t deserve the world when they need to translate that and know that you deserve everything.
- Interview with Mick Rouse of GQ (April 6, 2021)
Interview with Digital SpyEdit
- (On her Hell in a Cell match with Bayley) "For any new fan watching, especially women, I think it’s so cool to see women do it better than the guys. For my match to be so well-received and for fans to say that I had the match of the night... it's just incredible to be a part of this Women's Evolution where just non-stop fans talk about the women and how incredible that we do."
- Interview with STEPHANIE CHASE of Digital Spy (November 12, 2020)
Quotes on Sasha BanksEdit
- “The amazing thing about Sasha is that she elevates anybody that she comes in contact with. So she definitely elevated me last night and I am forever grateful to her for that.”
- Interview with Rick Ucchino of SportsKeeda (April 12, 2021)
- (Flair was asked who she considers to be the GOAT of the women’s division) "I don’t know. Who is my GOAT for the women’s division? Well I would say each year, can they have a new GOAT? Right now, Sasha [Banks] has been the GOAT currently right now. From appearance to character work to matches, she’s absolutely killing it."
- ToppsDigiCast's Winter Con Q&A (March 2021)
- “Mercedes, or she’s known as Sasha Banks in her wrestling career, clearly her persona had a lot of flair. I thought it’s really good for this show to have somebody playing a Mandalodian who had all of that fierceness and energy, and also physicality. Because when you’re breaking a new character in that doesn’t have any roots or history in any of the other Star Wars media, you really want to make a strong impression."
- At Making of Season 2 (The Mandalorian) documentary released on December 25, 2020
- “Mercedes is such a beautiful blend of so many qualities that are phenomenal. She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met in my entire life. She is grateful and humble. She’s incredibly talented and fierce. She is open to learn. She’s gonna be a superstar and is absolutely amazing. She is so physically capable and makes it look easy. There are certain things I’ve been trained to do as a fighter and actor, but when they do it as a living and as an athlete and they are flying around, it’s very different than me pretending to do it in a foam pit with a bunch of five-year-olds. I really really want to fight with Sasha. I want Katee Sackhoff to show up and be her tag team partner for a WWE match.”
- Interview with Schmoedown Entertainment Network (January 19, 2021)
- (Nash was asked which current female wrestler he would have wanted as part of NWO) "That would be Sasha [Banks]. I thought her match at SummerSlam that she lost, I thought the psychology was amazing at the end. Yeah, I mean, there was some thought, but there were several times that she had [Asuka] in ? ‘Is she going to tap? No, she’s not going to tap.’ They worked it back and forth, and I thought… I’m not seeing that anywhere else,” admitted Nash. “I mean, I’m seeing it here. I’m seeing it in her match and she’s very attractive. I mean, that goes without saying, but she has that swag. She’s the total package."
- Interview with That Hashtag Show(October 5, 2020)
- "I just think that at that time we were just all at a point in our careers with Sasha and Tamina where we just wanted more and wanted to grow and get better, and there's so much change that's happening in the division and just knowing what such a superstar Sasha was and what she was going to be without a doubt, it was always a pleasure to work with her, to have insight from her, for me, Sasha is like the best we have, in my opinion."
- "During the pandemic, we didn't have live events. We found a way to get a ring and we got a warehouse. There is so much passion in that building. Sasha Banks would drive two hours to come train with me on Monday nights. We would set a timer -- when I speak about passion, Sasha has to be recognized. For no reason, even when she didn't have a match at WrestleMania, this is way before that, once TJ and I got our ring, she would drive a couple hours, get in the ring, and our goal was to wrestle for one hour straight. We'd turn the timer on and built up from 45-minutes. Imagine a 45-minute women's match, we did it non-stop, no break. She has so much passion, but without a ring, it's hard to find resources. It is by invite only because I want to be with people who share the same passion as me. I want to train and learn from them. Tamina has been coming in there. Everyone has seen the changes in Lana, she'll come in, fly in from LA, and just train."
- Interview with Ryan Satin on Out of Character podcast. (April 26, 2021)
- "I’ve always called it about Sasha Banks. Since the day she debuted, even right before she debuted. She has it all, what you look at in a WWE superstar. She’s an incredible wrestler and an entertaining superstar. The minute she hits the ramp and comes through the curtain, you’re just locked in on her."
- Interview with Ashley Graham from Pretty Big Deal podcast (January, 2021)
- "I give Sasha Banks all the credit in the world," (explaining why he considers the Banks to be among the all-time greats). "She’s a working fool. I mean, she is. She is that good."
- Interview with Ryan Satin of Fox Sports (February 16, 2021)
- Sasha is one of our biggest stars with some of the best charisma and potential. And on top of her athleticism and her storytelling abilities, she just shines. When she walks out, you pay attention. I love her attitude and just everything about her.
- Interview with Jeremy Fustur of TheWrap (March 21, 2021)