The wrestling world was left stunned when Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out of Monday Night RAW due to frustrations with their creative direction. The incident sent shockwaves across the industry and initiated intense discussion and debate among fans.
The Sasha Banks-Naomi walkout was followed by WWE addressing their actions. As things stand, there is no clarity over what will happen to the Women's Tag Team Championships, the shows the performers are advertised for, and of course the performers themselves. While there are whispers of the entire thing being a work (WWE used the much-disliked words 'belt' and 'scripted' in their statement), it's more likely this is similar to 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's infamous walkout years ago.
With everything still murky and the conflict far from resolved, we will see what happens in the coming days. Until then, here are four key things we know about Sasha Banks and Naomi's recent walkout.
#4. On our list of things out in the open about Sasha Banks and Naomi's boycott: They were upset about their booking for their match on RAW
Sasha Banks and Naomi were supposed to be two of the participants on RAW's Six-Pack Challenge main event this past Monday. However, WWE were forced to improvise after Banks and Naomi walked out.
According to a report from Fightful, Naomi was supposed to win the main event and challenge RAW Women's Champion Bianca Belair for her title at Hell in a Cell. While reports are mixed regarding who she was going to pin, Fightful reported that the triggering point was the fact that she and Banks weren't going to clash during the match.
The fact that the two women were expected to pretend they weren't facing each other didn't sit well with the tag team champions. Even though one of them was supposed to win, they maintained that they were upset about not defending the tag team championship and doing their bit for the tag division.
#3. They pitched alternatives to WWE Creative, but were rejected
Sasha Banks and Naomi tried their best to salvage the situation by giving their ideas and asking WWE Creative to consider them. They suggested that they defend their titles against newly-formed team Nikki A.S.H and Doudrop at Hell in a Cell.
WWE apparently rejected their idea, leading to Banks and Naomi demanding a meeting with Vince McMahon. They were then told by a WWE producer that their attitude was unprofessional and that they were speaking from a place of entitlement. The frustration led to the two women leaving their tag team championships with John Laurinaitis and walk out of RAW.
#2. Sasha Banks unfollowed multiple top WWE personalities on Twitter
Sasha Banks' feud with WWE seems to have become personal. The frustrations and subsequent walkout led to her unfollowing several top WWE personalities on Twitter. This raised eyebrows and led to more speculation regarding the entire incident.
Some of the names Banks unfollowed include WWE's official Twitter handle, Vince McMahon, Roman Reigns, Seth 'Freakin' Rollins, Bayley and Becky Lynch. If you look at her Twitter account at the time of writing, she only follows six accounts - Naomi, John Cena, Tamina Snuka, Snoop Dogg and two fan accounts.
#1. WWE released a statement calling both women out
In response to Sasha Banks and Naomi's boycott of RAW, WWE released a statement explaining the incident. Reading it, no one can deny that the company has gone on the offensive and left the ball in their performers' court.
"Even though they [Banks and Naomi] 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."
WWE's statement came within hours of the walkout, and it instantly sent ripples across the wrestling world. We are yet to hear a response from the two women, and we have no doubt everyone is eagerly waiting for it.
We just asked The Shockmaster about Vince McMahon's retirement here