Sasha Banks decided at a pretty early age that she wanted to be a professional wrestler, as she explained during a podcast interview.
Appearing on the latest episode of the Steve Austin Show, Banks discussed how wrestling was an important part of her time growing up, a tumultuous period that saw her family move back and forth across the country several times before eventually settling in Boston. She went to school online from sixth grade on, and spent much of her time helping her mother care for her brother, who has autism. She started watching wrestling when she was 10 years old and instantly became hooked.
"To me, I feel like I've been training to be a wrestler since I was 10, in a weird way," she told Austin. "I did everything I could to study it. I would watch everything, from New Japan to every type of wrestling I could find."
Banks started emailing wrestling schools across North America when she was 12 years old. Then, when she was 16, she started training in MMA because she watched a Rob Van Dam DVD that showed he also did MMA training.
"I would rent DVDs on how to be a pro wrestler, I would take bumps on my mattress, all these little things," she recalled.
When Banks turned 18, she started training in pro wrestling and said she dealt with some significant opposition from some of her fellow trainees and even the owner of the school.
"Back then they were still doing bra and panty matches [in WWE] so, going to class, the guys would be like, 'Oh, did you see the Playboy match? You're going to do that? That's what you're gonna do on Raw when you get signed,' " she recalled.
Banks said she aspired to wrestle in Japan moreso than WWE until she got an email for a Tough Enough casting call. When she shared the news with one of her trainers, he blasted her.
"He was like, 'How did you get that? I'd rather watch my next-door neighbor than watch you.' ... That instantly changed me back to wanting to be in the WWE."
Banks said she got her first shot as an extra on Raw when WWE came to Boston by contacting the company herself.
"The guy who owned the wrestling school was kind of the guy who chose who was going to be an extra in Boston," Banks said. "I asked him if I could [be an extra] and he was like, you're not ready."
Instead, Banks emailed WWE personally and got a response 10 minutes later saying she was in as an extra.
"If someone's saying you can't do it, you've got to do it on your own and see," she said.
After a standout stint in NXT, Banks has been part of the past two WrestleManias and has held the Raw Women's Title on four separate occasions -- while hoping WWE adds women's tag titles soon.
"I love wrestling," she said. "I love telling a story and creating magic. Captivating fans. That's what I love so much You can make them hate you or love you, and just be so glued to the television going 'What's next?' I love wrestling so much. I feel I was put on this earth to do it."