More information has come to light in a new report that details the creative frustrations that led to Sasha Banks and Naomi walking out of Raw.
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.
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.”
Now, a new update from Fightful Select has 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.
Fightful Select went on to note that the two women referenced in WWE’s statement were Becky Lynch and Asuka, but that backstage sources said Banks and Naomi didn’t claim not to want to work with them and there was no indication that anyone in the match was considered “unsafe” even though the statement implied that. Instead, the WWE statement seems to stem from the fact that the Women’s Tag Team Champions wanted to work with Doudrop and Nikki ASH at Hell in a Cell instead of having Naomi face Bianca Belair.
The report states that a pitch for the Women’s Tag Team Champions to face Doudrop and Nikki ASH at Hell in a Cell was turned down. The company also turned down an alternate pitch for Nikki ASH and Doudrop to interfere in the Bianca Belair vs. Naomi match at the Premium Live event.
According to Fightful Select, the creative frustrations on the part of the champions stem mostly from their concerns about their direction as a tag team and also the state of the women’s tag team division as a whole.
Meanwhile, WrestleVotes has reported that tension was evident all day leading up to the incident, and that the WWE statement provided just the baseline of information.
“Source notes the WWE statement regarding the Sasha / Naomi walkout is just the baseline of the details. The tension leading up to the walkout was palpable all day, with both superstars upset at something that transpired. More details will come out in due time on this.”
Source notes the WWE statement regarding the Sasha / Naomi walkout is just the baseline of the details. The tension leading up to the walkout was palpable all day, with both superstars upset at something that transpired. More details will come out in due time on this.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) May 17, 2022
Inside the Ropes will continue to report on this developing story.