WWE Tag Team Champions Naomi and Sasha Banks were originally scheduled to appear in Monday Night Raw’s main event last night, but the originally planned six pack match never happened. That’s because Sasha Banks and Naomi apparently walked out of the arena after a disagreement over creative. They allegedly handed in their tag team titles and left, leaving WWE to change plans and release a statement explaining what happened.
The statement in question was published on the WWE website and is surprisingly direct. It says the women walked into Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis’ office, dropped off their belts and left with their suitcases during the taping. According to WWE, they said they were uncomfortable with two of their opponents. You can read a portion of the statement below…
Of course there’s apparently a lot more to this story than that statement lets on. We don’t know the full extent of what happened, but many credible WWE reporters have started sharing more backstory and theories as to what may have happened. Fightful Select is reporting that the walkout followed a meeting Banks had with Vince McMahon about the scheduled six pack match. They claim Naomi was actually scheduled to win the match, which would have produced a Raw Women’s Title shot at Hell In A Cell with Bianca Belair.
Many are speculating that Naomi and Sasha Banks were upset with the larger direction of the women’s tag team division, as their alleged original pitch to face Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. at Hell in the Cell for the tag titles was supposedly shot down. There was also apparently a pitch for interference to happen in that Hell In A Cell title match, which could have set up a tag match down the road with Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H., but that was allegedly shot down too.
Ultimately, we have no idea what actually went on backstage. I think the basics of this meeting with McMahon and the walkout probably happened, but there are plenty of additional details to learn. Regardless, this is a really upsetting situation for fans, for the WWE itself and for the women involved.
If this is really about a lack of creative direction with the tag division, the women involved are not wrong. Sasha Banks is, in my opinion, one of the best handful of women working in the business today, and Naomi is also a top tier performer right on that next level. There are so many talented women in the WWE right now that the tag team division should be rolling. Between Bianca, Becky, Asuka, Ronda, Charlotte, Alexa Bliss, Rhea Ripley, Shayna, Natalya, Raquel Rodriguez and more, there should be a steady stream of opponents working good extended matches every show. I have no idea why more screen time isn’t being given to the division, and, like many fans, my initial excitement after the women were paired together has cooled a little based on creative.
That being said, a walkout is obviously a very serious response. WWE can’t set a precedent that people can just walk out whenever they’re unhappy with results or creative. And if Naomi was really scheduled to win this six pack match and fight Bianca at Hell in The Cell, that's a vote of confidence for her. Yes, I'm sure she would have lost, but losing to Bianca is hardly the same thing as losing to some jobber. True, that match would be at the expense of the tag team division, as the belts wouldn't be defended at the premium live event, but in the grand scheme of possible stories to tell, WWE has gone to way worse places. And I'm sure Naomi and Sasha would have been back together again for a match at SummerSlam.
Assumedly will be some kind of response here, but what McMahon and company choose to do will have big consequences. Naomi is married to Smackdown Tag Champion Jimmy Uso and is obviously family with Jey Uso and Roman Reigns. In addition, both women are very over with fans, who would like to see them continue performing. All of the other performers will likely be looking to this situation to see what the consequences are if they were to refuse to participate in creative down the road. This type of thing has obviously happened plenty of times before. The history of the wrestling business is filled with people saying no, but there hasn't been a consistent response from management when this kind of thing has happened in the past.
Like everyone who loves wrestling, we’ll be monitoring this situation closely as more details develop. I certainly hope everyone involved can work it out, but at this point, there’s no telling what might happen.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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