WWE Superstar Sasha Banks made history in Abu Dhabi on Thursday when she took part in the first WWE women's match in the UAE against Raw Women's champion Alexa Bliss.
Prior to the match, which she would lose to Bliss, Banks spoke to The National about her pride at being part of the match, the increasing spotlight of women in the WWE, her hopes for a women's Royal Rumble in the future as well as her goals for 2018.
On her history-making match in Abu Dhabi
"It is a huge honour. It is crazy, it is mind boggling. It is a beautiful moment and I think it is really cool to have an opportunity to do this. Especially for women right now. This is going to be in the history books and little girls are going to see this in newspapers and other media outlets and go 'wow, women are wrestling, just like the guys' and it is so cool.
On the hectic travel schedule demands of being a WWE Superstar
"You kind of get used to it and not having sleep and it is go, go, go. That is what a WWE Superstar does. But we still do it as we really are the best athletes in the world. We really are superwomen and superheroes."
On how the brand split in 2016 has helped put women more in the spotlight in WWE
"As you can see we now have two championships. We have a SmackDown Women's Championship and a Raw Women's Championship. Having that and having a brand split has given us more opportunities. We now have multiple storylines. Before when you had all of us there we were just fighting for TV time. It is really cool having more than one storyline on each brand, and the fact we now have three new girls on each brand it is creating a lot more stories to be told. It is exciting to not just have to fight for championships now. I want my revenge on Absolution and SmackDown want their revenge on Riott squad so it is cool and different."
On career highlights so far
"Tonight is definitely one of them. I have goosebumps just thinking about it and it will be very special. But for me, my match against Bayley at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn and of course my first WrestleMania."
On her pride at her first WrestleMania match being with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
"It was so crazy. We were not even on the main roster for a year yet but to know we came up together. All we were missing was Bayley so we are still hoping to have that four-way match at WrestleMania. But to have that opportunity and getting time and showing the fans that we could do itwas great. I did come back crying as I hated the match. I am so hard on myself, but I now look back and think we really did that."
On her mixed feelings about main eventing Hell in a Cell
"I only found out the night before that we were going to be the main event and I was like bawling my eyes out because it was my home town of Boston. Unfortunately I lost. During my entrance the crowd were going crazy and to go from that to unfortunately losing and hearing dead silence with a feeling of what just happened, with all your friends and family there, was probably one of the worst moments in my career so far. But it was honestly the best as it was history making again and it was also definitely one of the hardest matches I have ever had."
On a potential women's Royal Rumble and what she would like from it
"I would definitely welcome it. I say bring it. It will be so huge. I also hope they bring in people from NXT and the past women from the WWE. So hopefully it does happen and the rumours are right."
On the chance to on occasions pay tribute to Eddie Guerrero in the ring
"It was so cool. Any time I get to emulate my hero it is the best feeling in the world."
On her goals for 2018 and going forward
"For me it is just reclaiming my time. I just want to reclaim everything I did not succeed to do in 2017 and that is really to hold the championship for longer than two weeks. That is a big one. But also to main event WrestleMania and to keep making history and breaking down doors for future women in WWE. I just want to keep spotlighting it and to be like Roman Reigns and being the face of the show and closing out shows on Monday Night Raw."