WWE Crown Jewel 2021: Sasha Banks ready to build on 'This is Hope' match in Middle East

Sport360 staff 15:16 19/10/2021
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  • Sasha Banks made history by wrestling in Abu Dhabi
    WWE returns to Saudi Arabia this week, and one superstar ready to entertain, thrill, and inspire fans is Sasha Banks.
    The Boss will be part of a Triple Threat match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship when she takes on Bianca Belair and current title holder Becky Lynch in Riyadh this coming Thursday (October 21) – and given the restrictions of the last 18 months she is more than ready to be back on the road.
    “I am super excited to come over,” she said. “I haven’t got to travel out of the States for the past year, so just to get out and experience something so completely different and new, and also wrestle Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair we are just going to throw it down and have the greatest women’s match of all time.”
    This will be Banks’ first trip to Saudi Arabia, but she is far from a stranger to the Middle East – and the impact her matches can have on the people and culture of the region.
    In 2016 she made history alongside Alexa Bliss as the first two female competitors to take to the ring in Abu Dhabi, a match that will forever be remembered for the ‘this is hope’ chants from ringside.
    Now a few years later, we have seen women’s matches on cards in Saudi Arabia but the narratives of female empowerment and inspiration are still as important as ever.
    “It is so crazy to think about – that match was five years ago now,” says Banks of her match in the UAE “Thinking back to the feeling that gave me, I was in legit tears when I got to go out there and see kids’ and womens’ faces who were so empowered that they got to see two strong women go out there and perform like we did.
    “I know when we go to Saudi we will be continuing this legacy and continuing to push forward that women can do absolutely anything and everything. We are here to show people all over the world that women can absolutely do anything if they put their minds to it.
    “I know when the crowd sees our match they are just going to light up and know that change is happening – and they are here for the ride with us.”
    But it is not just Saudi Arabia, or the Middle East for that matter, where The Boss wants to inspire – this is a global movement, and one she is determined to be at the front of –  whether this be performing in The Kingdom – or simply fighting for more TV time in the US – or even main-eventing WrestleMania as she did this year alongside Bianca Belair.
    “I have been flipping the narrative ever since I started with the WWE,” she said. “Being part of the women’s evolution I have seen all of the changes take place – from women not being used much on television to women main-eventing Wrestlemania – I get to grow with this movement every single year, we just keep on growing and getting bigger and all I can keep doing is knock down those locked doors that are put in front of me.”
    And speaking of WrestleMania, Banks says the card at Crown Jewel has the big pay-per-view feel – and she is ready to entertain and take back what is rightfully hers.
    “I feel like this is my second Mania match of the year – this is something so big, and so incredible – I am here to make history and win back that Smackdown Women’s Championship in Riyadh” she said.
    “Bianca Belair is so inspiring, and is the strongest person I have been in the ring with, then we have Becky Lynch who is returning as a mother and has this fiery drive – I just think this is going to be the match on the card that nobody can turn their eyes away from.”
    Becky Lynch will take on Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Crown Jewel at the Mohammed Abdu Arena in Riyadh on Thursday October 21. Tickets are available from ticketmx.com starting at SAR 50.