WWE officials had to make sudden changes to the main event of Monday Night Raw after the women’s tag team champions Sasha Banks and Naomi reportedly walked out of the arena as the show aired.
PWInsider first reported the news on Monday night, and later WWE confirmed the incident. The original plan by WWE was for the main event of Monday Night Raw at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia to be a “Six Pack Challenge” to determine the challenger for WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair at the Hell in A Cell pay-per-view event on June 5. Banks and Naomi were reportedly set to be in the match, until they left the arena.
“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,” WWE said in a statement. “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.”
According to PWInsider on Tuesday, the plan was for Naomi to win Monday’s main event to face Belair, but lose the match at Hell in a Cell. Banks was also set to eventually lose to Ronda Rousey at the same pay-per-view for WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Both superstars had issues with the direction their storylines were going and were uncomfortable with who their opponents would be. Banks reportedly took her concerns to WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who decided to stick to what WWE had already decided, prompting the stars to leave the arena.
“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,” WWE said.
After Banks and Naomi left, WWE changed the main event into a match between Becky Lynch and Asuka to determine Belair’s challenger, with Asuka picking up the victory.
Although WWE has had many off-screen scripted segments, it is unknown if it is actually part of WWE’s plan. WWE commentator Corey Graves mentioned Banks and Naomi’s departure several times during the broadcast. The two stars have not made any statements or comments since the show.
“Monday Night Raw is a scripted live TV show, whose characters are expected to perform the requirements of their contract,” WWE said. “We regret we were unable to deliver, as advertised, tonight’s main event.”
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