On the May 16 episode of Monday Night Raw, something happened before the show that caused Sasha Banks and Naomi to walk out. Not only are both women multi-time champions, but they are also the current Women’s Tag Team Champions. During the show a rumor circulated that Sasha and Naomi pulled out due to creative issues, shortly after this was confirmed by Sean Ross Sapp from Fightful on Twitter.
Prior to the main event, WWE released its own statement expose what they said happened. “When Sasha Banks and Naomi arrived at the arena this afternoon, they were told they were going to be in tonight’s Monday Night Raw main event,” he said. “During the show, they walked into WWE Talent Relations Manager John Laurinaitis’ office with their suitcases in hand, placed their Tag Team Championship belts on his desk, and walked out.”
The statement went on to say that the women “claimed they weren’t respected enough as tag team champions” as well.
“Even though they had eight hours to rehearse and build their match, they claimed they were not comfortable in the ring with two of their opponents, even though they had matches with these individuals in past inconsequential. Monday Night Raw is a scripted, live-action television show, whose characters are expected to perform the demands of their contracts. We regret that we were unable to deliver tonight’s main event as advertised. .
Originally, a six-pack challenge was scheduled for the main event with Banks, Naomi, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Doudrop, and Nikki ASH to determine the number one contender for Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship. This changed to a singles match between Lynch and Asuka, with Asuka leading.
It gets interesting here because it was reported by Fighter that Naomi was supposed to win the match, but also that Banks had a meeting with Vince McMahon on the direction with the creation and he did not back down.
It’s far from the first time stars have taken issue with the creativity of their character work, including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin losing to Brock Lesnar in 2002 for a King of the Ring qualifier.
Austin believed he wasn’t being treated right – as someone who had done so much to build the company – and he didn’t want to have a match without hype or a big time feeling, so he left for almost a year. McMahon went on TV and walked past the story saying Austin “took his ball and went home,” without really going into detail at the time.