In 4 days, Alexa Bliss will defend her RAW Women's Championship against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam. For both women, Sunday marks the biggest singles match or their young careers.
If that weren't enough, their competition may be the most personal bout on SummerSlam's card.
One of the juiciest rumors in WWE is the mutual disdain Bliss and Banks share for one another back stage. It's become so apparent that WWE themselves have brought it to a public forum in episodes of RAW Talk as well as interviews featuring either woman.
While it's in WWE's best interest to throw gas on their fire, it's important to remember that this still professional wrestling. To an extent, WWE will look to exploit Bliss and Banks' tension because, well, we're paying to see them fight. The more they perceivably "hate" another, the better it is for everyone.
That said, we've compiled evidence dating back to their days together in NXT that makes a compelling case that Bliss and Banks are actual enemies. Have a look:
Alexa Bliss recently joined the Cheap Heat podcast hosted by WWE's Peter Rosenberg. When Bliss was asked about the rumored backstage "heat" between her and Sasha Banks, Bliss addressed the situation head on, denying nothing:
I’ve always been the person to say ‘business is business, personal is personal. I will never let my personal feelings about somebody get in the way of business."
“I want to have a productive match, I want to have a safe match, I want to have a great match; I want to take this company to the next level with our women with this WWE women’s revolution. I’ve seen the things she (Banks) said about me. If that’s how she feels, that’s fine. But we know that we put it to the side and have a productive, professional match because that’s what it’s all about."
"I’m trusting her with my body, she’s trusting me with hers, and I will never ever… I never want to have somebody’s injury or somebody’s misstep or something happen on my watch. So I know that no matter what I’m always going to be in professional mode. It doesn’t matter how we feel about each other, the point is we have a job to do and we have to go and we have to do it well.”
However, one of these gals has been displaying some questionable professionalism...
[H/T WrestlingRumors.net for transcription]
As legend has it, these two girls started beefing way back in their NXT days. What started this is unclear, but Sasha is allegedly responsible for breaking Bliss' nose (possibly twice) in their developmental days. While this is hardly a rare occurance in professional wrestling, a look at Sasha's history with Bliss shaves down her benefit of the doubt.
For instance's here's a non-wrestling move that likely left Bliss salty:
Then there's this from last year's SummerSlam. While we can't say for certain, it sure looks like quite the stiff punch from Banks on Bliss:
Sasha and Alexa ?? Sasha look like she dead ass punch her when she came running down they were going in great segment last night pic.twitter.com/A7Vmy2aFXd— ⚡️⚡️ (@RIDEBLOODSNGUTS) November 16, 2016
And for the NXT bloody/broken nose:
Twitter is the best place to air out your problems in 2017. For WWE Superstars, it's their favorite place to insult their peers. However, for Banks and Bliss, they don't even follow one another on social media and refuse to even mention the other's name in Twitter conversation.
Sub-tweeting is the consummate exercise in the art of passive aggression. Needless to say, Bliss and Banks are black belts in this kind of communication:
See ya Sunday https://t.co/5XHq43pLzm— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) November 17, 2016
Cupcake, that was then, this is now ?? #SurvivorSeries— Alexa Bliss (@AlexaBliss_WWE) November 18, 2016
... aw yeah ... it's probably best you don't ?— Alexa Bliss (@AlexaBliss_WWE) December 28, 2016
There's one thing we must constantly remember - professional wrestling is a show. WWE is literally in the business of making you think competitors do not like one another.
However, there are moments when elements of truth can't help but seek their way into the profession.
Here's Dana Brooke painting an awfully realistic image about the frigid relationship between Banks and Bliss:
After Bliss retained her RAW Women's Championship via DQ at Great Balls of Fire, Banks was understandably upset.
On RAW talk after the show, Banks got into a "worked" interview segment with hosts Peter Rosenberg and Renee Young. However, Banks' quote began to leave the realm of professional wrestling and took a very personal tone.
"You know, she came in so cute, so humbled. She came in so fake, with her fake little stories, her fake little “I love wrestling growing up, I love Matt Hardy”. You know what? You can’t even tell the difference between Jeff and Matt. You idiot. Yeah, we call you on all your lies, sweetheart. You’re just here to be another girl. Another heel. You just want to be here for a Hollywood act. You’re on Total Divas now, you’re getting what you want and you can talk your way into everything, but you know what? You can’t run away from me."
"What work, Renee? Look, you don’t have to come from the indies to be here, but you do have to respect it. You don’t need to lie your way saying “Oh my god, I love - I love this company”. Girl, you don’t need to lie, just be yourself. And if she was herself, maybe I would like her. There are girls who don’t like this business, but they learn to respect it. And she doesn’t show any respect. And that’s what I’m gonna teach her - respect."
And for Bliss' retort:
Hey, maybe we're being worked. But with all of this evidence, that means that Banks and Bliss have been working a "secret" angle since 2014. That's quite the act to keep afloat. From our perspective, there's a real tension there, and Banks may be the instigator more often than not.
Regardless of how real or fake this is, we can't help be to be compelled. It makes Sunday's match that much more appealing.