(NEXSTAR) – WWE superstars Sasha Banks and Naomi have been “suspended indefinitely” after they reportedly walked out ahead of a scheduled appearance on “Monday Night Raw” earlier this week.
WWE announcer Michael Cole broke the news Friday night during a broadcast of “WWE SmackDown,” claiming that the duo — and women’s tag-team champions — had “let us all down.”
“Their actions disappointed millions of WWE fans and their fellow superstars,” Cole said. “So because of what Sasha and Noami did this past Monday night, they have been suspended indefinitely, and we will have a future tournament to crown the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.”
Cole also echoed an earlier statement released by WWE, in which the company claimed that Sasha Banks and Naomi had walked into the office of the WWE’s head of talent on Monday and relinquished their championship belts before walking out of the arena. The two were scheduled to appear in a six-pack challenge match later that evening; the main event was replaced with a match between Becky Lynch and Asuka.
In Monday’s statement, WWE claimed Sasha Banks and Naomi said they felt 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’s statement continued. “‘Monday Night Raw’ is a scripted live TV show, whose characters are expected to perform the requirements of their contract.”
Sasha Banks and Naomi — aka Mercedes Varnado and Trinity Fatu — have yet to publicly comment on the events of Monday night or their suspension. Many fans on Twitter, however, appear to be siding with the duo. Some took issue with the WWE’s statement, as well WWE announcer Corey Graves, who called the two unprofessional during the “Monday Night Raw” broadcast.
Some also pointed to other off-script moments between WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar and CEO Vince McMahon, or superstars Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, neither of which earned a public statement from the WWE.
“Becky & Charlotte can embarrass the company on national TV but Naomi & Sasha gotta get a statement put out saying how they’re unprofessional and dragged on tv by Corey graves…?” one fan wrote.
“Brock threw a title at Vince, Becky and Char threw titles at each other, WHERE is the statement for those?” another asked, tagging the WWE. “Y’all really showed ur true colors.”
After Monday’s broadcast, pro wrestling reporter Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com suggested that Sasha Banks, who had previously taken a hiatus in 2019 to deal with depression, had earlier voiced her displeasure with the creative direction of the producers’ plans prior to Monday’s show. Sapp also said Sasha Banks walked out — along with Naomi — before the start of Monday’s broadcast, and not during it as WWE suggested, citing information from inside sources.
In addition to WWE confirming its suspension of Sasha Banks and Naomi on Friday, fans also noticed the official WWE shop appeared to have removed merchandise associated with either wrestler.
“Even when they fire people, they still sell their merch … So either they REALLY pissed off some people or this is a well-crafted work,” one fan wrote.
A representative for the WWE was not immediately available to provide additional comment on the suspension.