Before the Night One main event of WrestleMania 37 got underway on Saturday night, you could see the significance of the moment pouring out of both competitors. Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks were both visibly overcome with emotion as they were set to compete for the SmackDown Women's Championship.
This was the first time that two black women would compete against one another in the main event of WrestleMania, and the 25,000 plus fans at Raymond James Stadium showed their love for both competitors from the get-go.
The bell rang, but neither Sasha Banks nor Bianca Belair moved. Both stood there, taking in the roar of the Tampa crowd.
Bianca Belair spoke to Sportskeeda Wrestling on Sunday afternoon, and the new SmackDown Women's Champion described what was going through her mind at the time.
"I was just overcome with all types of emotion. Just the fact that we were at WrestleMania. It was the main event. We were at the main event of WrestleMania and we were creating history. When I looked across at Sasha Banks, I couldn't help but smile. I know that we were both fighting for a title, but it was... This moment, it was more than just about me. It was more than just about Sasha. It was more than just about us," Bianca Belair said.
This was a moment more than a year in the making. From the start of the COVID era, to Bianca's RAW debut, to being drafted to SmackDown, to winning the Royal Rumble, to being in the centre of the ring in front of the first live audience in 13 months - everything made an already special moment even more incredible.
"We got to the stadium around one o'clock. So then we were there for hours. Anticipation was building and building and we just couldn't wait to get in that moment. So to finally be in that moment and just stand in that moment and be able to hear the fans. We haven't had fans for over a year. To be able to finally hear the fans and hear them chanting EST and Boss. It was just an amazing feeling. I was overcome with emotion. It was just overwhelming," Bianca Belair said.
The two superstars then rewarded the crowd for its incredible outpour of support by putting on a classic. It was a true back-and-forth contest that saw incredible high spots, multiple near falls, and a thunderous hair whip that could be heard on the concourse outside of Raymond James Stadium.
In the end, Bianca Belair countered the Backstabber into the KOD and got the 1-2-3 to capture the first singles title of her WWE career.
The EST of WWE has nothing but respect for The Boss. She recalled being in NXT and watching the work that Sasha and her fellow Four Horsewomen did on the main roster. Bianca said if she ever had the opportunity to have a major match with Sasha Banks, that's when she knew she had made it.
"The amazing thing about Sasha is that she elevates anybody that she comes in contact with. So she definitely elevated me last night and I am forever grateful to her for that. But we're still going to be fighting it out because I have something that she wants now," Belair said.
Bianca's win at WrestleMania was the culmination of a five-year journey to finally capturing gold in WWE. She had numerous opportunities to capture the NXT Women's Championship, but was never able to get over the hump.
Now, she can finally call herself a Champion and says all her past failures only helped make Saturday's victory even sweeter.
"It definitely helps amplify the moment. You know, in the process of it all, I was going after the NXT Title. I'm trying to get it, and I'm trying to get it and I was never able to get it. And of course it gets frustrating, but it's just an amazing feeling when all the pieces finally fall into place. And when I got the Title last night, I remember looking at it and saying, 'Now everything makes sense,'" Belair said.
As great as winning the SmackDown Women's Championship alone was for Bianca Belair, there was something that made it even better - family.
Family is everything to Bianca Belair
In the main event that saw so many incredible moments, none meant more to the new SmackDown Women's Champion than celebrating her victory with her family. Bianca Belair told Sportskeeda Wrestling it wouldn't have been the same without them.
"That's what this is all about. Winning the title is amazing, but when you have an amazing support system like I have with my husband and my family... My mom and my dad, my brother was there, my neices and nephews, my step kids were there. My mother-in-law... Having them being apart of that moment is what this is all about. This is already a very special WrestleMania and it just feels like a huge victory lap because they are usually at every single big moment I have, and they haven't been able to be there in over a year," Belair said.
Bianca's father looked like he wanted to jump the barricade to celebrate with his daughter. He restrained himself, but Belair's husband, Montez Ford, did not. He bolted from the back down to the ring.
"I heard the crowd going crazy and I turned around and my husband was sliding into the ring. So to be able to share that moment with him, in the ring, and also he didn't get to have his WrestleMania match this year... So I was so happy that he got to be in the ring at some point in time, but also being in the ring with me. And then being able to jump in the audience with my family. That was like one of my favorite parts of the whole entire match," Belair said.
When Ford hit the ring, he gave his wife a huge hug and then hoisted her on his shoulders and carried her around the ring. Once again, a moment that no one inside Raymond James Stadium that night is likely to forget any time soon.
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