WWE announced the indefinite suspension of Sasha Banks and Naomi Friday night on WWE SmackDown after the top stars walked out during a broadcast of WWE Raw. For more details, please read below.
WWE SmackDown advertised Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn, Xavier Woods vs. Butch and an alleged winner-take-all tag team unification match pitting Raw tag team champions RK-Bro against SmackDown tag team champions The Usos.
Last week’s broadcast of SmackDown remained flat with 1.893 million viewers.
WWE Announces Suspensions for Naomi and Sasha Banks
Prior to the main event of WWE SmackDown, lead announcer Michael Cole announced Sasha Banks and Naomi would be suspended indefinitely. Cole made the announcement after a monologue where he reiterated the talking points of WWE’s press release and claimed that the top stars “let us all down” with their actions and “disappointed” millions of fans. WWE stripped Banks and Naomi of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and announced a women’s tag team tournament for the vacated titles.
This is the latest development in what has become an ugly and heated back-and-forth between Banks, Naomi and WWE. The news also comes amid reports that both Banks and Naomi’s contracts are coming due in a matter of months. WWE appears intent on controlling the narrative that Sasha Banks and Naomi are malcontents who let their fans down, while Banks and Naomi are standing their ground against what they perceived as bad creative. With both Banks and Naomi’s contracts set to expire and both palpably unhappy in WWE, they’ll have more leverage to possibly fall into AEW’s lap in what seemed like an unfathomable development as recently as Sunday.
In the draconian, authoritative world of WWE, where Chairman Vince McMahon has all the power and wrestlers have been rendered replaceable by design, Banks and Naomi are taking cues from modern-day athletes in major sports. The best athletes have mastered the art of using their talents as leverage to force the hand of management.
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Ratings—Last Five Weeks
- May 13, 2022—1.893 million
- May 6, 2022—1.998 million
- April 29, 2022—1.953 million
- April 22, 2022—1.952 million
- April 15, 2022—2.142 million
WWE SmackDown Ticket Sales
- WWE SmackDown Van Andel Arena (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
- Tickets Distributed: 7,013
- Available Tickets: 589
Sasha Banks and Naomi Walk Out (Pro Wrestling Bits)
WWE SmackDown Total YouTube Viewership Last Friday: 6,559,083
- Most-Viewed: Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez (1,678,157 views)
- Least-Viewed: Aliyah and Shotzi Blackheart Demand a Title Shot (149,243 views)
- Median Viewership: 358,236 views
WWE SmackDown Results | Friday, May 20, 2022
Roman Reigns and The Usos Kick Off SmackDown
These fans seemed legitimately excited to see a historical tag team title unification, and Paul Heyman even played this up by calling tonight’s main event the most important tag team match in WWE history. Let’s hope these poor fans aren’t trolled by a non-finish, which is more than likely.
This segment missed a golden opportunity for a Roman Reigns-Rock tease as Paul Heyman mentioned a list of legends, including The Rock, who was only casually referenced with no tease of anything.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn continues to appear in segments right after the Bloodline, and as an “honorary” Bloodline member, this is far from a coincidence.
Fans chanted “Rusty” as the RK-Bro-inspired chant remains over.
The finish of this match saw Sami Zayn narrowly avoid a countout, only to immediately eat a Kinshasa. It was awesome.
Happy Talk with Happy Corbin
The “Big Bald Wolf” didn’t get over with this crowd the way Happy Corbin wanted it to.
Madcap Moss’ injury had to happen, therefore he can come back with a completely different gimmick and hopefully realize his potential.
Happy Corbin destroyed Madcap Moss’ Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy, and this announce team reacted like he was burning the American flag.
Gunther def. Drew Gulak
Drew Gulak’s seems to be taking to his new job, as a jobber, fantastically.
Gunther’s first real feud will be against Ricochet. Well, that Intercontinental title reign was fun while it lasted.
Raquel Rodriguez def. Shotzi
Shotzi continued to be miscast as a heel during a highly scripted backstage segment with Raquel Rodriguez.
There were noticeable “ooh’s” and “aah’s” for Raquel Rodriguez’s strength as she rag-dolled Shotzi. Most of these people weren’t even familiar with her work in NXT
Xavier Woods def. Butch
The sole purpose of this entire feud is to get over the Backwoods small package.
Xavier Woods said he’s going to add a third man to even the odds against Sheamus, Butch and Ridge Holland. This could also serve as a temporary member for New Day until Big E gets back. I wouldn’t mind Apollo Crews.
The Usos def. RK-Bro—Winner Take All Tag Team Title Unification Match
Roman Reigns cost RK-Bro the Unified Tag Team Championships, which will likely lead to Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton.
Not only did this crowd get a great main event, they got a clean finish and even a post-match angle where Jey Uso dove onto Riddle through a table.
I hope this is the beginning of a tag team title chase for RK-Bro, not the beginning of the end.