One of WWE’s hottest feuds of 2017, on-screen and behind the curtain, has been the back-and-forth between Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss. Their matches have made for tremendous theatre and the trash talk, on Raw Talk especially, upped the ante. Banks, who had a monstrous 2016 with her numerous pairings against Charlotte Flair, has been a bubbling success in 2017. While she is still featured on television every week, her booking has not been as strong as in years previous. She has won the Raw Women’s Championship this year, only to surrender it the very next night.
The woman she surrendered it to has had a breakout 2017. Alexa Bliss has been a prominent figure on WWE television, Total Divas, and promotional material galore. Combined, her two Women’s title reigns have been longer than all four of Sasha’s.
However, America’s biggest pro wrestling entity, at least amongst some of the IWC, has been accused of shoving certain talent down the throats of its consumers. (I’m sure you can think of a couple superstars this applies to.) Is this the case with Little Miss Bliss? Is The Boss the more popular star? Let’s utilize Google data to answer this.
We will start on July 19, 2016, the night of the WWE Draft. Sasha Banks was drafted to the Raw brand, while Alexa went to SmackDown. Using data from standard Google searches, people were significantly more invested in Sasha Banks during that time. Sasha’s Google searches spiked several times in the following weeks, including July 26, 2016. This was a SmackDown Live taping, but the night before on Raw, Sasha won the Women’s title for the first time, ending Charlotte’s 114-day reign as champ. Another spike in interest for The Boss was August 22, 2016, the Raw after Summerslam. Sasha was injured at the time, but her close friend, Bayley, made her Raw debut, inquiring fan’s interest in Banks.
As the months progressed, Alexa’s popularity started to gain steam. In fact, WrestleMania 33, on April 2, 2017, was when the tides of interest changed in Bliss’ favor. Her search results slightly edged out Sasha. The same happened the next week, April 9, when Alexa was sent to Raw during the Superstar Shakeup, and her numbers spiked on April 30, at WWE Payback, when the Raw Women’s Championship graced her shoulder for the first time.
Looking at the distribution of these same numbers throughout the United States reveals another intriguing, albeit slightly misleading, story. According to the map, most of the country seems to be more invested in Alexa Bliss, right? Yes, but not as pronounced as it seems. Alexa is a mere fraction of a percentage point better than Sasha in New Mexico (NM), New York (NY) and North Carolina (NC). Meanwhile, Bliss beats Banks in Florida (FL) by one percentage point. The state that shows the largest disparity is Wyoming (WY), where Bliss-related searches more than double Sasha’s. Another factor in favor of Alexa is the state of West Virginia (WV). At the time of this writing, the Mountain State is number one for WWE-related searches, and Alexa holds a pretty hefty margin of interest over Sasha in that state.
Another conclusion to draw from the map are the regions of the two women’s popularity. Bliss appears to generate more interest in middle America. Perhaps, this is a result of being born in Columbus, Ohio and playing a farm girl gimmick early on in her wrestling career. Sasha Banks, on the other hand, generates more interest from the West Coast, large areas in the South, and in wrestling heavy pockets of the East Coast. This also could be a result of her birthplace, Fairfield, California, and wrestling in indie promotions along the eastern seaboard. Being related to California Hip-Hop icon Snoop Dogg doesn’t hurt, either.
One edge that The Boss holds over Little Miss Bliss is merchandise. By many accounts, Sasha sells a lot of merch. Google’s shopping data searches indicate this, as well. Banks-related Google shopping results paint her as a money-making machine in the women’s division. In contrast, the states of Colorado (CO), Oklahoma (OK), Nevada (NV), Louisiana (LA) and Massachusetts (MA) (where WWE says Sasha is from), Alexa Bliss generated no shopping search inquiries during the time period.
In conclusion, both women seem to be big hits among fans, even when their Google data is compared to other female competitors, some outside of WWE. Sasha generated much more traffic on Google over Charlotte Flair during much of 2016. She was even more popular on Google than Maria Sharapova, who was the second-highest paid female athlete of 2016. Alexa Bliss, on average, has been more popular on Google than US Gold Medalist Aly Raisman. Obviously, there are many other factors to judge a WWE superstar’s popularity, and WWE is privy to much more information than the general public. So this evidence is not the end-all be-all, but it appears Google has the two women neck and neck.