At that 2019 edition of the famed Showcase of the Immortals, Banks and Bayley lost the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships to the IIconics in a four-way bout that also featured Tamina & Nia Jax and Natalya & Beth Phoenix.
Following ‘Mania 35, the Boss would take a leave of absence before returning that August. And now, she’s explained how the intense WWE schedule and years of being Sasha Banks had taken its toll on her.
“It was from everything. From that gruelling schedule and never getting to take in those wins and understanding those victories, taking my losses really, really hard and just being a baby. I started wrestling when I was 18, got signed when I was 20, straight on the road when I was 23. [I] just had that nonstop career of being Sasha Banks when I was 20 years old, and having my hair colour change and not seeing my real hair for so long, and just losing, kind of, myself, and I lost my name. Not even my mom called me Mercedes.”
The real-life Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado continued:
“My friends didn’t call me Mercedes. They called me either the Boss or Sasha Banks. When I was at home I was really lost and confused. I looked at myself in the mirror and I just was not happy. This girl who was so obsessed with being a WWE superstar, it felt like her dream was coming to an end.”
At the time, reports claimed Banks asked for her WWE release after WrestleMania 35, which Vince McMahon refused and instead gave her some time off. Sasha would return to WWE programming four months later, soon realigning herself with Bayley as the pair embarked on a run as a great heel tandem before the inevitable break-up.