Sasha Banks’ rocky history with WWE took an ugly turn this past Monday when the women’s tag team champion walked out during WWE Raw alongside Naomi. According to a WWE statement, Banks And Naomi placed the tag team titles on WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis’ desk before walking out, citing they weren’t being respected enough as women’s tag team champions.
WWE previously advertised a Six-Pack Challenge to determine the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Instead, the match was changed as WWE official Adam Pearce noted Sasha Banks and Naomi had walked out during the show. Corey Graves reiterated Banks and Naomi had “summarily and unprofessionally left the arena” on commentary. Though this seemed to be in storyline—given Graves’ long-running criticisms of Banks as part of his character—the walkout was reportedly legitimate.
Per PWInsider (h/t Wrestling Inc), Banks reportedly took issue with WWE creative ahead of Monday’s WWE Raw from Norfolk, Va. Banks requested a meeting with Vince McMahon, which she was granted, and when he wouldn’t budge on his creative decisions, Banks left the arena. Naomi walked out alongside her tag team partner despite reportedly being slated to win the match and become the new No. 1 Contender.
This developing story furthers a volatile history of tensions between Sasha Banks and WWE. Banks’s previous rift with WWE in 2019 resulted in the top star skipping a taping for the Wendy Williams Show before taking a leave of absence from the company. During a recent interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin on Broken Skull Sessions, (h/t ewrestling.com), Banks admitted she asked Vince McMaMahon for her release but he wouldn’t let her leave. Banks’ absence lasted for five months before she returned as a heel.
Since returning, Banks has shined as one of the top stars and M.V.P.’s of the pandemic, the first Black woman to headline WrestleMania, alongside Bianca Belair, and current WWE Women’s Tag Team champion. Unfortunately, the two sides find themselves at odds yet again. Banks opened up about battling depression during her absence while being featured on WWE Chronicle.
““[Wrestling] really broke me,” Banks admitted.
“It broke my spirit and made me question my mind. It made me question who I was as a person, and the path that I was going scared me so I’m very proud in myself that I took that step to walk away from something that I love very much.”
WWE has issued a statement regarding Banks and Naomi’s walkout:
“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.”
This isn’t even the first story of women wrestlers and creative differences with WWE in the last 30 days. Prior to Alexa Bliss’ return, Bliss reportedly expressed frustration with her creative plans.
With so many moving parts and range of outcomes to this story—especially with Tony Khan just one tweet away—the Naomi and Sasha Banks saga is far from over.