More information surrounding Sasha Banks and Naomi’s Raw walkout has come to light, with a new report claiming that it could have to do with the contract situation of both stars.
Earlier tonight, 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.
Dave Meltzer speaking on Wrestling Observer Live has attempted to shed more light on the situation and says it could be less to do with what happened at Raw and more to do with contracts:
“As far as the reasons go, a lot probably will be getting out tomorrow. I’m not really clear about all of it. Naomi was gonna win the match and challenge Bianca Belair for the championship at the pay-per-view. So it wasn’t about them getting buried in the match or anything like that but there was something that happened and it may have to do with the contract situation with one or both of them.”
“But it was both of them. I think some of it was like Sasha was the one and Naomi left with her but from what I was told it was both of them. It wasn’t like one followed the leader or anything like that. And there’s gonna be heat in a sense that they walked out as the show was going on.”
“I mean the show opened, they announced the main event, and then whatever it was, 45 minutes into the show they went ‘oh Naomi and Sasha Banks left’ and there’s no explanation, no even attempt at an explanation why the other two women Nikki and Doudrop were taken out other than I would guess the idea is with that late of a notice, they knew Asuka and Becky Lynch had been working matches, not a lot but they’ve worked at the house shows already. So they were ready to have a match ready.”
“Some issues with the contract and I think that more will probably be coming out to the why, what they were unhappy about. It wasn’t something that just happened tonight. It was something – some of it was building up and things like that.”
Meltzer noted the connection between Naomi and Roman Reigns through Reigns’ cousin Jimmy Uso who is Naomi’s husband. A lot could rest on what The Tribal Chief does or doesn’t say about the situation:
“They did not announce any suspensions or anything like that. Obviously, we don’t have any idea what’s going to happen with the tag team championship. But another key to this is that Naomi is obviously the wife of Jimmy Uso and Jimmy Uso is the cousin of Roman Reigns and Roman Reigns wields an incredible amount of power.”
“So if Roman Reigns is going to back them, we don’t know if he will, or think they were somehow mistreated, it becomes a bigger issue. If he doesn’t then it doesn’t become a bigger issue and at that point, they probably could suspend them. But I don’t know if they’d really want to do that because of the depth issue right now when they’re focussing on so few people, I don’t think they want to suspend people right now, but sometimes you may have to.”
Returning to his theory on Sasha Banks’ and Naomi’s contract, Meltzer says the pair could have seen what others have recently signed on for and feel they’re worth more, especially in their role as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions:
“So this is an ongoing story and we’re gonna have to wait and see what the reasons are that this happened. The story of not feeling respected as champions could be that they’ve got a contract coming up and maybe they were offered less money than they were expecting.”
“When you have the whole thing where the women as a general rule make less than the men but more and more and more the women have been positioned – I don’t wanna say equal to the men but not as far behind the men as they have in the past and perhaps they see what some other people who have signed recent contracts that they feel they are as important as or more important than are getting.”
While there is surely more information to come, Dave Meltzer does say worse things than this have been smoothed over before so there could well be a future for both Naomi and Sasha Banks in WWE following their walkout:
“[…] A lot of this is just speculative right now. They left. It’s not a work. As far as what happens next? [WWE] sent out a release and they didn’t say anything. Didn’t indicate what was going on other than clearly management was upset.”
“There was a situation and I do know that whatever it was they went to Vince and Vince did not back down which they did not put in the release. Or Vince did not agree to what they were asking and that led to them walking out during the show which is kind of a no-no. […] I’ve seen a lot worse get smoothed over so kinda have to wait and see.”
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