WWE issued a statement after Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out ahead of Monday Night 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.
The situation became even stranger when it was reported by Fightful Select and PWInsider that Naomi was originally scheduled to win the six-pack challenge and face Bianca Belair at Hell in a Cell, but she still made the decision to leave alongside her tag team partner.
Corey Graves noted on Raw that Banks and Naomi had “unprofessionally” left the building, and in a rare move, WWE also issued a public statement about the Women’s Tag Team Champions choosing to leave the building instead of participate in the main event. In a statement shared by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, WWE stated:
“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.”
WWE's statement on Sasha Banks and Naomi pic.twitter.com/DrNS84QfxX
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) May 17, 2022
WWE has also put the statement on their official website and on social media.
Official WWE statement on Sasha Banks & Naomi https://t.co/TbehKPdAfD
— WWE (@WWE) May 17, 2022
In the main event of the show, Asuka defeated Becky Lynch and will face Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell. Full results from the May 16th episode of Raw can be found here.