Mercedes Varnado

Known For







1992-01-26 (32 years)

Place of Birth

Fairfield, California, USA





Mercedes Justine Kaestner-Varnado (born January 26, 1992) is an American professional wrestler and actress. She is currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) under the ring name Mercedes Moné. Varnado also appears in NJPW's sister promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom. She is best known for her time in WWE from 2012 to 2022, where she performed under the ring name Sasha Banks.

Varnado began her wrestling career in 2010 on the independent circuit, most notably for Chaotic Wrestling, where she won the Chaotic Wrestling Women's Championship. She signed with WWE in 2012 under the ring name Sasha Banks and was assigned to the developmental territory NXT. She would later win the NXT Women's Championship. Her match against Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect in October 2015 was the first women's match to ever headline an NXT TakeOver, the first iron woman match in WWE history, and the longest women's match in WWE history at the time with a length of 30 minutes.[5] Their match was voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) as Match of the Year, with Varnado also being voted as Woman of the Year.

In 2015, Varnado was promoted to WWE's main roster, where she went on to hold the Raw Women's Championship five times. In 2016, she and Charlotte Flair became the first women to headline a WWE pay-per-view event, the first women to compete in a Hell in a Cell match, and the first women to win the PWI award for Feud of the Year.[6] In 2019, she won the inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Championship with tag team partner, Bayley, at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. In 2020, she won the SmackDown Women's Championship at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, thus becoming the third-ever WWE Women's Grand Slam Champion and the fourth WWE Women's Triple Crown Champion. That year, she was named Wrestler of the Year by Sports Illustrated.[7] At WrestleMania 37, Varnado and opponent Bianca Belair became the first black women to jointly headline a WrestleMania, WWE's flagship event.[8][9] She was the third most tweeted about female athlete in 2021.[10] After creative issues in 2022, Varnado walked out of WWE and was unable to negotiate a new contract. She then made her debut for NJPW/Stardom at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in January 2023 under the ring name Mercedes Moné.

Outside of wrestling, Varnado began an acting career in 2020. Her debut role was the character Koska Reeves in the second season of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian.