According to a new report, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi are not in attendance at tonight’s episode of SmackDown in Grand Rapids, Michigan after walking out of WWE Raw earlier in the week.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider has reported that neither Sasha Banks or Naomi are in attendance for tonight’s show, adding that Banks was potentially sighted flying from Minneapolis from Orlando late last night.
The Women’s Tag Team Champions made headlines on Monday May 16th after WWE announced that the duo had walked out of Raw following a major disagreement backstage.
It was reported by PWInsider that the main event of Monday Night Raw had to be changed when Sasha Banks and Naomi left the arena ahead of the show due to Banks’ frustration over creative plans. The match in question was meant to be a six-pack challenge to determine the next contender for Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship and was set to feature Sasha Banks, Naomi, Becky Lynch, Nikki ASH, Doudrop, and the recently-returned Asuka.
According to the report, Banks met with Vince McMahon to express her creative concerns, but the WWE Chairman refused to change plans and she made the decision to walk out instead of participating in the match. Her tag team partner Naomi went with her, leading to a segment on the show where Becky Lynch confronted Adam Pearce and the main event was changed to Becky Lynch vs. Asuka, which Asuka eventually won.
Later in the broadcast, Corey Graves said that the pair had “summarily and unprofessionally left the building,” and WWE issued a statement on the situation that also highlighted unprofessionalism on the part of Banks and Naomi. The statement read as follows:
“When Sasha Banks and Naomi arrived at the arena this afternoon, they were informed of their participation in the main event of tonight’s Monday Night Raw.
“During the broadcast, they walked into WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis’ office with their suitcases in hand, placed their tag team championship belts on his desk and walked out.
“They claimed they weren’t respected enough as tag team champions. And even though they had eight hours to rehearse and construct their match, they claimed they were uncomfortable in the ring with two of their opponents – even though they’d had matches with those individuals in the past with no consequence.
“Monday Night Raw is a scripted live TV show, whose characters are expected to perform the requirements of their contract.
“We regret we were unable to deliver, as advertised, tonight’s main event.”
Following the show an update from Fightful Select provided more information on the situation, noting that Naomi was meant to win the six-pack challenge match and go on to face Bianca Belair at Hell in a Cell.
The report also states that, despite some online speculation that she was supposed to pin her tag team partner to win the match, Naomi was actually meant to pin Nikki ASH. The match was being constructed so that Sasha and Naomi wouldn’t have contact with each other, and neither would Doudrop and Nikki ASH, who have been in a budding alliance in recent weeks on Raw.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez would also note that contrary to the expectation from many fans, Banks’ colleagues have little sympathy with the star. Alvarez explained that The Boss has been referred to as a “Diva” among other things, and has “zero support” and “zero sympathy” from co-workers.
“I have heard zero support for Sasha Banks in this situation. So, quite frankly if you want you can get mad at me if you want…I’ve been a lot nicer on this show than anything I’ve heard from people in WWE over the last 24 hours. Hey, if you want to come after me then go for it…Zero support, I’m talking zero. It’s funny [because] I haven’t heard anyone say anything about Naomi and she walked out too. It’s all about Sasha. I’ve heard it all – Mark, Diva, the list goes on and on.
There is zero support for Sasha Banks walking out of WWE over all of this. People are furious. They think it’s ridiculous. They think that she’s whatever. So, that’s the story. Where this goes, I don’t know but literally, every single bit of support that I’ve seen for Sasha Banks coming out of this has either been from people in another company that weren’t there last night and that’s it…or fans.
Her actual co-workers have zero sympathy for what happened here. I think that should probably tell you something.”
Although neither Banks or Naomi are in attendance for tonight’s episode of SmackDown, one half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions and Naomi’s husband, Jimmy Uso is set to appear on the show despite his apparent message of support for the duo earlier in the week.
H/t to WrestlingNews.Co for the transcriptions.