WWE announced via Michael Cole on last week’s Friday Night SmackDown that both Sasha Banks and Naomi had been stripped of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and suspended indefinitely following their decision to walk on during last week’s Monday Night Raw over disagreements with their booking plans. SmackDown color commentator looked noticeably confused as Cole read off the announcement, then explained on Monday’s The Pat McAfee Show that he had been kept in the dark about the situation.
“The Sasha and Naomi thing, that was my first time hearing what Cole was saying live there,” McAfee said. “I have no idea what to think there. I have no clue. This is very fascinating. …She’s [Sasha] a superstar talent. They were our champions. I honestly have no idea what to believe in this whole thing. They keep me out of the loop with everything. I have no f–ing idea. While Cole was doing his thing, I was very fascinated. What is going on right now? I wish I had more answers for people. A couple of people asked me during my Chat with Pat on Saturday, ‘what’s going on?’ F–, I feel like you know more than I do. Literally, as that was happening, I’m like, ‘Goddamn, suspended indefinitely.’ We need it [a resolution].”
On top of the suspension and title stripping, WWE has pulled the pair from the “Then, Now, Forever” opening intro at the beginning of WWE programming and pulled down all their merchandise from WWE Shop. The source of their frustration reportedly had to do with WWE planning for the pair to challenge Bianca Belair and Ronda Rousey for their respective championships at Hell in a Cell next month and lose both while reportedly ignoring their idea to defend their tag titles against Nikki ASH and Doudrop at the event in Chicago. WWE event put out a statement on the situation before Raw was even over.
“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,” the statement read. “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 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.”