New details on Sasha Banks & Naomi leaving Raw
It’s very interesting to note that WWE has published their statement on WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi walking out of RAW. WWE usually stays quiet on legitimate backstage issues, but they have published the statement on Banks and Naomi to the official WWE website, in the same way they would any other storyline news article.
As we’ve noted, it was reported by multiple sources that Banks was upset with WWE creative plans at Monday’s RAW, so she met with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon to vent her frustration. After Banks and McMahon reportedly refused to budge on their stances, Banks walked out of the Scope Arena, and Naomi followed. Banks was reportedly not happy with the original planned RAW main event, which was a Six-Pack Challenge to determine the WWE Hell In a Cell opponent for RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. The match was to feature Banks, Naomi, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Nikki A.S.H., and Doudrop, and the winner was reportedly scheduled to be Naomi. WWE ended up mentioning how Banks and Naomi left RAW, then shot angles to set up Lynch vs. Asuka in the main event. That match saw Asuka get the win to become the new #1 contender to Belair. While it was acknowledged on RAW that Banks and Naomi left the show during a segment to set up the Asuka vs. Lynch main event, Corey Graves also referenced the situation on commentary as he said they “unprofessionally” left.
WWE later issued a statement in response to media inquiries and claimed that Banks and Naomi approached WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis to complain about how they were treated. The statement further claims that Banks and Naomi were uncomfortable in the ring with two of their planned opponents in the Six-Pack Challenge, and that they handed over their WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles to Laurinaitis, then walked out. It was interesting that WWE said Banks and Naomi approached Laurinaitis during the RAW broadcast, while other sources have said they left before RAW hit the air or as it was going on the air.
In an update, Fightful Select reports that those who worked on the match indicated that it was to be constructed to not have Naomi interact with Banks or Doudrop coming in contact with Nikki in the match itself.
It was revealed earlier how Naomi was scheduled to win the match to become the new #1 contender. Word now is that the working plan was for Naomi to pin Nikki, not Naomi pinning Banks as speculated.
The WWE statement mentioned how Banks and Naomi “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.”
Word now is that this was a reference to Lynch and Asuka. Those close to the situation note that Naomi and Banks didn’t claim that they didn’t want to work with Lynch or Asuka, despite that being implied in WWE’s statement. Instead, word is that Banks and Naomi were angling to work with Nikki and Doudrop at Hell In a Cell. Talent at RAW had not heard that Banks and Naomi considered anyone “unsafe” until the WWE statement was released to the media. For what it’s worth, that statement was also released to talents via the internal Talent Relations app.
In regards to the pitch from Banks and Naomi, WWE officials reportedly turned down the idea of Doudrop and Nikki vs. Banks and Naomi at Hell In a Cell. However, there was a pitch to have them interfere in the potential Naomi vs. Belair title match at Hell In a Cell, but that was also turned down.
It was noted that Banks and Naomi’s issues largely were concerns about the direction of their tag team and the women’s division as a whole.
WWE stated that they regretted being unable to deliver in the advertised main event. For those who missed it, you can click here to read the report on WWE’s statement.
RAW ended with Asuka defeating Lynch to become the new #1 contender to Belair. Asuka vs. Belair was then confirmed for WWE Hell In a Cell on June 5. The title will be on the line, but this will not be a match inside the Cell.
There’s still no word on what’s next, and if this is just one big storyline, or what will happen to the WWE Tag Team Titles, but we will keep you updated.
Stay tuned for more.