Sasha Banks’ name is off the list of performers for all WWE shows between now and a house show in Moline, Il. September 23rd. Wrestling Inc, which was the first to report the news, says she was “removed” from them. As further corroboration, Banks is not listed on WWE’s site for shows September 9th and 16th in Manila and Louisville. She was originally listed in the announcement for the Manila event. Though she is still included in the main photo of the Barclays Center’s page touting tomorrow night’s Raw, she is not listed as appearing there on WWE’s website right now.
There are a few plausible explanations other than the first idea that entered our minds. She reportedly just got married. While she was already off-air for a relatively long stretch after WrestleMania, maybe she is getting time off for a honeymoon? Also, she appeared to be hurt at the end of her match versus Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam this evening. When she was off-air earlier this year, there were persistent injury rumors, and the idea she needs to recuperate is something that is out there this evening. The always-important disclosure that we have no idea of the whole truth when it comes to these stories in professional wrestling obviously applies.
[UPDATE: Pro Wrestling Sheet is reporting that Banks is scheduled for a medical evaluation for a possible lower back injury. Also, wrestling reporter Wade Keller tweeted that he “does not expect … an announcement that Sasha Banks has a Wellness Policy violation.”]
However, the timing invites natural speculation. The show in Moline is just outside the 30-day range that would accompany a suspension for a first violation of WWE’s Wellness Policy, which encompasses not just steroids but also party drugs, drugs of abuse, and even Adderall. (Marijuana is punishable by fine, but not suspension.)
WWE has had a rash of recent suspensions, including Roman Reigns, Alberto Del Rio, Paige, and Eva Marie. The suspensions do not necessarily take place immediately following a failed test. For example, when Reigns was suspended, it came two days after he dropped the WWE title and was positioned in a way that he was able to return for a previously scheduled triple threat match against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in the next PPV. (Brock Lesnar, who failed two UFC drug tests, is nonetheless appearing at SummerSlam this evening; WWE’s on-record explanation was that rules don’t apply to him because he’s a part-time performer.)
Banks had just won the WWE Women’s championship from Charlotte in late July, but dropped the title in the rematch this evening. Wrestling Inc. noted that the gambling odds for the match shifted dramatically in the last few days; in an August 17th email, Bovada listed Banks as a -1200 favorite.
Again, we do not presently know the reason why she is no longer booked for events in the next month, and will update this post if there is further clarity.