August 4, 2016

Original Plans on Sasha Banks’ WWE Women’s Championship Win

As you probably know by now, Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte to win the WWE Women’s Championship last week on Monday Night Raw. What you may not know is that WWE originally had plans to do the title switch way back in April at WrestleMania, which would have made “The Boss” the very first champion in the title’s current lineage.

According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, plans were changed when fellow “Four Horsewomen” star Becky Lynch began getting over with the fans. Ultimately they opted to go with a triple threat match at WrestleMania, and changed the plans from Banks beating Charlotte to win the strap, to the champion retaining. In order to give her win the most impact possible, the decision was made to hold off on Sasha, and Charlotte instead worked against Natalya and Becky Lynch for the next three pay-per-views.

Originally Banks was supposed to win the title at SummerSlam, but with the draft dividing the rosters and WWE looking to beef up their ratings for the USA Network, the decision was made to have the title change go down on the first episode of Monday Night Raw after the brand split, after a successful pay-per-view, and then have the big rematch take place at SummerSlam instead.

What’s potentially significant here is that in the past, WWE never would have considered a women’s or a Diva’s program to be a key consideration for a big show like last week’s Raw was. Not even in the era of Trish Stratus or Lita, who have always talked about the fact that they’re the only women to main event Raw, would they have built a big part of an important show around the women. Here you had a post-PPV episode, a third of the roster including John Cena, AJ Styles and the WWE Champion now completely gone, and not only was the women’s title one of the major focuses of the show, in a lengthy multi-segment match, but Sasha was given a post-match victory promo, and kicked off the next week’s episode of Raw with the opening monologue.

Now, this is WWE and things can always change, and all it takes is a series of bad TV ratings in the wrong spots, and Vince McMahon could do a complete 180 on the entire direction. But putting the Sasha Banks win in perspective does give an interesting look at something that, at least right now, seems like a different way of thinking for the higher ups in WWE.

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