There were some rumors floating around in the last few hours about Sasha Banks being backstage at WWE SummerSlam.
PWInsider is reporting that she was not in Las Vegas and she never returned back to the road after missing live events last weekend in Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC. Belair also missed those live events but she was eventually cleared.
WWE knew 8 days ago that Banks was not going to be available for SummerSlam but they continued to advertise her all the way up until the day of the show. PWInsider reported that there were segments planned for Banks on SmackDown but they were re-written.
Lynch had already planned to be backstage to visit at SummerSlam but due to Banks not being cleared, she was inserted into the match and it was decided to have her win the SmackDown Women's Title. PWInsider noted that she was hidden all day backstage in advance of her surprise return. Lynch was originally set to return to action a few weeks from now.
PWI added that the decision to put the title on Lynch in the way they did was 100 percent Vince McMahon's call and it was done to pop the fans and to make her return more spectacular. Also, while some fans and people in the company expressed concern about the way Belair was being booked, it was said that McMahon wanted the moment to be more about Lynch and this was not an indication that Belair was losing her push. It was said that the way she was booked was simply a reaction to the Sasha Banks situation and they wanted to have something big to make up for Banks' absence. McMahon's motto has always been to give fans something equal or bigger on a big show whenever an advertised name is not able to appear.
The reason why they kept promoting Banks vs. Belair is that they wanted to make Lynch's return a "bigger" moment since the feeling was that Lynch would be seen as a suitable substitution that would catch fans by surprise.
As previously noted, there was concern shown by some about the way Belair was booked but all indications are that her push is not going to be stalled. As a post-SummerSlam media event, Nikki Bella expressed disappointment with the way Belair was booked. Click here to hear what she said about the match and SummerSlam in general.