Mayor Walsh congratulates WWE women’s tag team champs, including Boston-area wrestler
Boston politics can be rough and tumble.
So perhaps it’s fitting that Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Tuesday paid tribute to Sasha Banks, a former Greater Boston resident who won the WWE women’s tag team championship with her ring partner Sunday.
Banks and her comrade-in-arms, Bayley, captured the title as part of the WWE Elimination Chamber 2019 extravaganza. Pro wrestling matches are scripted, featuring acrobatic moves, flamboyant costumes, and splashy rhetoric from grapplers to the delight of a rabid fan base.
A number of fans responding to Walsh’s tweet called for a duck boat parade for Banks, similar to the pomp afforded to the Sox, Pats, Celtics, and Bruins when they win it all.
Banks, 27, also took to Twitter after capturing the title. “Still feel like I’m in a dream,” she wrote Monday.
And in a phone interview with the Globe, she said she was thrilled to get a shout-out from Walsh.
“I’m so giddy over it,” she said, adding that the Boston area is “where I really found myself.”
Banks, a former Cambridge resident who trained at the New England Pro Wrestling Academy in North Andover as a teenager, said she knew even as a child that she wanted to pursue a career in the ring.
“The overall performance of it — it’s larger than life,” Banks said. “It’s acting, it’s athleticism, it’s just pretty much being a superhero. I think that’s what I love about wrestling. I put on a costume, and I get to be someone else. I get to be larger than life.”
Banks, the first woman to ever headline a WWE pay-per-view broadcast, said she hopes her climb up the ranks with Bayley can inspire the next generation of female wrestlers.
“We’re here to change the game, and we’re here to change the world,” she said. “I just hope little girls get to see that anything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it.”
An official bio on the WWE website details Banks’s journey from obscurity to squared-circle stardom.
“An independent wrestler out of Boston, Banks worked her way through various promotions before finally getting a foot in the door in WWE NXT. Eventually, the quiet but talented young woman found her voice, and The Boss was born,” the bio says. “Since then, Banks hasn’t looked back for a second, though she turned plenty of heads throughout her astounding rise to dominance as one of Full Sail’s ‘Four Horsewomen.’ ”
According to the bio, Banks “helped usher in a new era of competition on the Raw roster during the Women’s Evolution of 2015. Since then, the ultra-confident Banks has made history at every turn, competing in the first-ever Women’s WWE Iron Man, Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and Elimination Chamber Matches, all while becoming a multiple-time Raw Women’s Champion and the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion alongside Bayley.”
Asked Wednesday if Banks would come to Boston for a duck boat-style celebration of her title, she said, “Oh, absolutely. It gives me an excuse to see my family too.”
Though the WWE is billing Banks and Bayley (known out of the ring as Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado and Pamela Rose Martinez, respectively, according to published reports) as the first-ever women’s tag team champs, a Forbes article noted that women previously held the title in the 1980s, during the WWE’s prior incarnation as the WWF.
The Globe reported in 2017 that Banks was among a group of wrestlers who hit the Kowloon on Route 1 for food after a WWE slobberknocker at TD Garden. That night, she was in the company of wrestling stars Roman Reigns, R-Truth, Samoa Joe, Braun Stroman, The Miz, Mickie James, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Titus O’Neil, Akira Tozawa, Apollo Crews, Dana Brooke, Emma, Dash Wilder, and Alisha Fox.
The Globe noted at the time that WWE standard-bearer Brock Lesnar, who’s also fought on the unscripted UFC stage, did not accompany his colleagues to the Kowloon. Instead, he dined at Boston Chops and polished off a 32-ounce wagyu ribeye.