Sasha Banks was reportedly not in Las Vegas for WWE SummerSlam Weekend, and never returned to the road after she and Bianca Belair missed the live events in North and South Carolina during the weekend of August 14.
As noted, Banks missed Saturday’s WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view and was initially replaced by Carmella in the match against Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Title. Becky Lynch then made her surprise return, took out Carmella, and went on to defeat Belair for the title in just seconds. It was reported earlier in the week that there was internal concern over Banks vs. Belair not happening after the two missed the Carolina live events due to “unforeseen circumstances.” It was then reported later in the week that the two were “cleared” for the pay-per-view and that the match would happen, but Banks missed Friday’s go-home SmackDown and the match was up in the air again. It was reported right as SummerSlam began that Banks would not be working the show.
In an update, the situation with Banks being out of action is not an injury issue, according to PWInsider. As we got closer to Saturday night’s pay-per-view, word going around WWE was that Belair had been cleared for the show, while Banks would likely not be appearing. Word now is that Banks is still not cleared to compete.
Belair returned to the road for Friday’s SmackDown in Phoenix, the final show before SummerSlam, and Banks was scheduled to be there at one point but she was not there. WWE creative had booked segments for SmackDown that had to be re-written due to Banks not being cleared to appear. There had been some reports that said Banks was never scheduled to be on Friday’s go-home SmackDown, but PWInsider reports that those stories are absolutely incorrect.
WWE kept promoting Banks vs. Belair into Saturday night, right up until Belair came out for the match. It was noted that while WWE knew the match was not going to happen, they decided to keep promoting it because it would make the Lynch return feel like a “bigger” moment, with the feeling that Lynch returning was a suitable substitution for Banks, one that would catch the fans by surprise.
Banks vs. Belair is currently advertised for Friday’s SmackDown in North Little Rock, Arkansas, but likely because the Simmons Bank Arena has not updated their listing for the show. All signs point to Banks missing this week’s SmackDown but that has not been confirmed.
As noted before, WWE officials are hopeful that Banks will be back soon.
Stay tuned for more on Banks’ WWE status and return.