Sasha Banks and Naomi’s sudden departure from this week’s Monday Night Raw caused a flurry of reports to drop late Monday night. The pair were originally booked to be in a six-way match in the show’s main event alongside Becky Lynch, Asuka, Nikki ASH and Doudrop with Naomi reportedly booked to win and challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell next month. Banks reportedly had a meeting with Vince McMahon over frustrations with the booking, but neither side backed down. WWE then released a statement before Raw ended that addressed the situation.
“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,” it 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.”
Sean Ross Sapp dropped an updated report on Fightful Select late Monday night that shed some more light on the situation. Apparently, the plan was for Naomi to pin ASH, but Banks and Naomi were angling for a pay-per-view match against ASH and Doudrop where the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships would be on the line instead. The pair’s frustrations apparently came from how that division is being booked. Prior to the duo winning the titles at WrestleMania 38, the championships had not been defended on pay-per-view since WrestleMania 37 in April 2021.
The report also pushed back against the idea that Banks and Naomi felt anyone involved in the six-way was “unsafe” to work with — “Those close to the situation said that Naomi and Sasha Banks didn’t claim that they didn’t want to work with Becky Lynch or Asuka, though that was implied in WWE’s statement, and those were the two women referenced. Instead, we’re told that Sasha Banks and Naomi were angling to work with Nikki ASH and Doudrop at the PPV. The talent themselves hadn’t heard that Sasha and Naomi considered anyone ‘unsafe’ until the statement was released. WWE talent also got the statement in their internal talent relations app. In regards to the pitch, the Nikki & Doudrop vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi PPV match was turned down, and there was a pitch to have them instead interfere in the Naomi vs. Bianca Belair match on PPV, which was also turned down.”