WWE Releases Statement About Sasha Banks and Naomi’s Walkout

On the May 16 episode of Monday Night Raw, something happened before the show that caused both Sasha Banks and Naomi to leave. Not only are both women multiple champions, but also current Women’s Tag Team Champions. During the show, a rumor circulated that Sasha and Naomi had run away due to creative issues, which was confirmed shortly after by Sean Ross Sapp from Fightful on Twitter.

Ahead of the main event, WWE released their own statement outlining what they believe happened. “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,” it reads. “During the broadcast, they walked into the office of WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis with their bags in hand, put their tag team championship belts on his desk and walked out.”

The statement went on to say that the women “claimed that they were not respected enough as tag team champions”.

“Even though they had eight hours to rehearse and build their match, they claimed they felt 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 where the characters are expected to meet the requirements of their contract. We regret that we were unable to deliver tonight’s main event as advertised.”

Originally, a six-pack challenge was planned for the main event with Banks, Naomi, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Doudrop and Nikki ASH to determine a number one contender for Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship. That turned into a singles match between Lynch and Asuka, with Asuka coming out on top.

It gets interesting here because Fightful reported that Naomi would win the match, but also that Banks met with Vince McMahon about direction with creative and he didn’t back down.

This is far from the first time stars have run away for disagreeing creatively about their character work, most notably “Stone Cold” Steve Austin losing to Brock Lesnar in 2002 for a King of the Ring qualifier.

Austin felt he wasn’t treated well – as someone who’d done so much to build the company – and he didn’t want to have a match without some hype or a big feeling, so he left for almost a year. McMahon went to TV and came for the story, saying that Austin “got his ball and went home,” without really going into the details at the time.

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