As seen in the video above, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T took to his The Hall of Fame Podcast this week to discuss the recent comments he made about Sasha Banks taking a hiatus from WWE. Booker admits that he may have looked at the situation rather harshly, and he believes that Banks should be considered like the male superstars when possibly overwhelmed by the constant demands of being a top level WWE star.
"We were talking about when Sasha Banks took some time off and we didn't know if it was personal, if it was business related, we didn't know if she was having an ego trip or what. A lot of that was being reported, and my things is, I didn't know because I hadn't talked to her, and I didn't want to say this or that. I did make certain comments though and my thing is, I totally took that the wrong way... She did take some time off, and one of the things I always say is, 'Out of sight, out of mind', ya know? There's always somebody there looking to take your spot and all of that is true. But then again, you really never know why a person takes a step back.
"You look at it from the outside looking in and you go, 'Man, they should be happy! They're making all this money, they've got this fame - do you know how many people would want to be them and be in that spot?' Those are the outside people looking in, those are the critics on social media, ya know?" Booker continued. "You can tend to get wrapped up in that and caught up, so I took a step back and I thought, man, let me rethink this thing about Sasha taking time off. Especially after she's come back because she looks great. Her body looks like she's filled out, she looks thicker like she's been in the gym training, and enjoying life a little bit and relaxing. And the impact that she's made since she's come back has been like, 'Boom!'"
Booker sees Banks' return to the WWE women's division as a great enhancement, even claiming that it "needs" Sasha's abilities to thrive. He also pointed out the impact Banks has on African American girls that are interested in the WWE product.
"Everything's brighter again in the women's division, even though it wasn't that dark anyway, but now it seems like, man, we're 'finna get this thing kicked off even hotter, and hotter, and even more heavy. I do think the women's division needs Sasha Banks," Booker went on. "I don't think the division would be the same without her. I mean, that's the kind of impact that Sasha really brings to the division.
"Also, being an African American female, there are so many that need that Sasha Banks to look up to. She's just - and I'm not taking anything away from Ember Moon, anything from Naomi, they need them too. But they need Sasha because Sasha is the one; Sasha is the one who has been in these first times hell in a cell match, first time ironwoman classic, she's the one who's had these opportunities to 'boom', get the rocket put on and go straight to the moon. She's had the [women's] title several times around her waist."
Booker took some time to consider how he felt when he was at the top of his career and the demands were high, noting how Banks should be thought of in the same light. He commends Banks for taking a step back to think about herself.
"And I'm going to tell you right now, that's why I feel like I didn't look at this the right way. I feel like I looked at Sasha, the woman, different from any one of the men that was in that same position. Because I know how hard it was for me when I was in that position," Booker said. "I was at the beginning of the show, I was at the middle of the show, I was at the end of the show, I was doing all the PR work all over the world, doing everything and I had no time to rest... I can understand what Sasha Banks was going through, and sometimes you have to take a step back if you're thinking about yourself. I just want to say that I apologize for even thinking that way."
Booker pointed out how hard Sasha works when actively a part of the WWE roster, noting how anything has the potential to tire you until you burn out if you allow it.
"All of those matches, I've seen Sasha do some stuff where she jumps off the stage and I'm like, 'Wow!' Scary stuff that scared me, so, she's putting herself in harms way each and every time she goes out there to perform, and she was doing it at a high level, as well as she was doing it on a consistent level. That right there, it could break you if you don't know how to pull back for a second for yourself. No one's going to tell you to do it. They're going to run you as hard as you're going to run because that's what the game is and that's what it's all about."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Hall Of Fame Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.