Sasha Banks and Naomi are trending for all the wrong reasons. WWE announced on SmackDown this evening that Sasha Banks and Naomi are indefinitely suspended and stripped of the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
WWE dedicated an entire segment to the announcement where Micheal Cole noted Sasha and Naomi’s walkout on Raw as the reason for their suspension and buried them, saying they “let us all down” and “disappointed millions of fans.”
WWE even showed a graphic of the original six-pack challenge main event from Raw as Cole said, “They were suposed to take part in this. A main event, where the winner would be next in line to face Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship.“
Cole said, “We will have a future tournament to crown new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.” Pat McAfee looked uncomfortable and belted out an awkward “Alllllright” to end the segment. WWE edited that part off of their social media posts.
McAfee’s awkwardness was either his weird way of getting out of the segment, or it simply got too real for him. It’s essentially a disciplinary report being issued in front of millions of people.
More news broke earlier today as former WWE writer Kazeem Famuyide said on The Masked Man podcast that he believes Sasha and Naomi’s contracts are up in the next two months.
That might corroborate a report from the Wrestling Observer that Naomi was in the midst of contract negotiations for a new deal.
Many fans on social media were mad at Corey Graves for calling Sasha Banks and Naomi “summarily unprofessional” on commentary. It’s funny because Vince McMahon feeds the commentators most of their lines, which was the case on Monday.
Graves was simply doing his job.
Micheal Cole did the same thing tonight as an entire segment was dedicated to the announcement/burial. Even if Cole had a big ol’ smile as he read his line, no one should be surprised. He’s toed the company line since day one.
If Sasha and Naomi’s contracts are almost up, what WWE did tonight could be an attempt at lowering the duo’s value so they don’t have to give in to their demands. It could also be the company’s way of writing them off the show because they’re not returning.
There are two ways to look at this. If you’re a diehard fan who follows all of the news online, WWE put Sasha and Naomi on blast. If you’re a fan who only knows what occurs on your television screen, Micheal Cole’s somber tone says Sasha and Naomi screwed up, and many are disappointed with them.
Imagine if tonight’s segment is the last we hear of them in WWE? That would be crazy, especially in the case of Sasha Banks. She’s one of the best female wrestlers in the world, has a rabid fan base, and saved Baby Yoda from a sea creature.
WWE even pulled all Sasha Banks and Naomi merchandise from their website. That’s odd, considering you can still buy Cesaro and Johnny Gargano merchandise, and they no longer work for the company. This means someone made a conscious decision to leave money on the table.
At least Naomi’s patrons receive a lovely message from the fine residents of Parts Unknown. Banks’ error message looks like she been disappeared.
As for the Women’s Tag Team Titles? My crystal ball of reckless speculation says we’ve seen the last of those belts. The division was an afterthought, at best. WWE didn’t care enough about the championship to make them relevant for one of their biggest stars.
Besides, WWE isn’t going to say outright they’re ditching the belts. A tournament that is TBA is a painless way to shutter a championship many will forget about by the end of the week.
Through all of the rumors and innuendo, one thing is obvious. Vince McMahon is royally peeved at Sasha Banks and Naomi for walking out Monday night. It’s Friday, and he used valuable television time to dilute two investments.
It’s a shame the segment aired right before the main event. It took some attention away from The Usos unifying the tag team titles. However, it was designed to appear in front of as many viewers as possible.
In the end, cooler heads may prevail, but the damage may already be done.
PS: Please stop comparing Naomi and Sasha Banks’ walkout to Steve Austin’s walkout in 2002. They are not the same.