In 2020, a movement hit the wrestling world that revealed a dark underbelly to the industry.
The “Speaking Out” movement saw a variety of female wrestlers revealing various forms of sexual assault they had suffered at the hands of fellow wrestlers or promotions.
AEW was hit hard by this, with Jimmy Havoc being outed and sacked by the company, after a stint in rehab.
Ring of Honor booker Marty Scurll was also canned, with the former Elite member expected to have worked with AEW if he had not been outed for his crimes.
During this uncovering during “speaking out”, some comments made by Sammy Guevara in 2016, aimed toward former WWE Superstar Sasha Banks came to light, which also put an end to his career in AEW for good.
Sammy Guevara’s Comments About Sasha Banks
In 2016, 3 years before signing with AEW, Sammy Guevara appeared on an episode of the Whole F’N Show Podcast on January 25, 2016.
At the time, he was a tiny name in the Texas wrestling scene, and most people took little note of his appearance on the podcast.
However, as speaking out blew up and he became a big name in AEW, fans revisited the podcast, and found some horrific comments made by The Spanish God.
On the podcast, Guevara claimed that he was “at the WWE” and saw former WOmen’s Champion Sasha Banks.
Enamoured with how attractive he found her, he claimed that he “wants to just go f****** rape that woman”, in a horrendous turn of phrase.
“Bro, Sasha Banks; oh my God. When I was at the WWE the other week I wanted to just go f****** rape that woman.”
These comments blew up on social media, turning fans against Guevara immediately. Many were calling for Tony Khan to fire him for the comments, although he kept his job in AEW following a number of instance.
On the 22nd June 2020, AEW made the bold move of suspending Sammy Guevara, without pay, from their promotion.
This was a huge action from Tony Khan. Guevara had been a key part of the Inner Circle, who were in the midst of some big storylines in that summer.
Jericho was locked in a feud with Orange Cassidy, and they would soon join up with MJF and Wardlow for a massive inter-faction war.
AEW released a statement in response to Guevara’s comment and to announce his suspension.
“AEW insists on doing our part to create a world of understanding and respect for humankind. We therefore strongly condemn the extremely offensive and hurtful words of Sammy Guevara. Sammy has agreed to undergo extensive sensitivity training and, upon completion, his future status within the company will be evaluated.”
As the statement said, Guevera also underwent sensativity training, before being allowed back to work at the company.
During his suspension, Guevara’s salary was donated to the Women’s Center of Jacksonville.
After the 2016 comments came out, Sammy Guevara took some time to himself, before addressing the controversy.
He posted a video to his YouTube channel, which usually houses his fun vlog, telling backstage stories from the world of AEW.
In the video, Guevara apologised to everybody, and especially Sasha Banks, for his comments. He also noted that he would not be posting videos for a while, and was taking a break from social media to think about what he did.
In the video, simply titled “I’m Sorry“, Sammy Guevara said;
“I want to apologize to anyone I let down, to Sasha, to anybody I hurt with my words,” Guevara said. “It just sucks because 2016 me is not me today. 2020 me would never say those kind of hurtful things that I said in 2016. I used to think it was funny to do some kind of shock humor to ‘pop’ the room I’m in.
I thought it would be funny to do this shock humor, and it’s not. I learned along the way. A lot has happened in four years of my life. I know a lot of people think four years is not that much time, but if you look at how much has happened to me in my life.
From wrestling in the middle of nowhere in Texas to wrestling all around the world, to wrestling in different countries, to wrestling on TV for AEW. So much has happened to me in four years.
One of the things that’s happened is me growing, as a person. I understand now the words I say can impact people more than I’ll ever understand. They can hurt people more than I’ll ever realize.
That’s why you will not catch me saying these kind of hurtful things now in 2020. 2016 me is a very different me ? and that’s not an excuse. I still said those things and I’ll still pay for those things, but that’s not me. I think along these four years ? more than anything ? I feel like I’ve grown as a person and I’ve become better.
Just know whenever I do come back, I will be better. I’m going to do sensitivity training and be a better version of myself. Again, sorry for anybody I let down, to Sasha, to anybody I hurt. I will be back, until then, take it easy, and I’ll see you when I see you.”
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.