Following on from last night’s episode of Raw, that saw WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Naomi walk out before their scheduled main event, we now have a new update on this developing story.
Prior to the change of plans, Banks and Naomi were set to compete in a Six Pack Challenge in the main event of the show to determine the next challenger for Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair.
PWInsider have now corroborated this report, with the planned Raw Women’s Championship defence at the upcoming Hell in a Cell PPV pitting Belair against Naomi, rather than Asuka.
“The original plan for Raw would have seen Banks and Naomi featured in two or three segments building up the idea that they would be facing off in the Six Pack Challenge. Raw would have gone off the air with the pair celebrating that Naomi was going to face Belair at the Hell in the Cell PPV.”-PWInsider
PWInsider then added that the belief by some backstage is that this Friday’s edition of Smackdown would have seen plans put in place for Sasha Banks to lose to Smackdown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at the Hell in a Cell PPV, thus seeing both Women’s Tag Team Champions defeated in singles competition at the event.
The Six Pack Challenge seemingly wasn’t the only pitch proposed to the duo in the build-up to the show, as PWInsider also noted that a potential tag-team bout, followed by a post-match beatdown was another idea raised by creative.
“We are told that at some point during the day, likely after the initial concerns about creative were raised, there was an alternative idea that would have been Banks and Naomi have a short tag team match instead and be beat down after to set up a different program. One source cited their opponents would have been Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop but we have not 100% confirmed that to be the case.”-PWInsider
Ultimately, creative opted for the Six Pack Challenge, with Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop reportedly also set to compete in the match rather than continuing to develop their storyline as a tag-team. PWInsider state that WWE Producer Molly Holly informed the Women’s Tag Team Champions of the creative decision shortly before Raw, leading to the pair walking out of the show, leaving their titles with John Laurinaitis.
PWInsider further elaborated on this story, sharing backstage details regarding the timing of Vince McMahon discovering the pair had left the building, as well as touching upon Becky Lynch’s impromptu backstage segment.
“PWInsider.com is told Vince McMahon, sitting at the gorilla position, was told about the talents leaving just as or right after Raw went on the air. The Becky Lynch-Adam Pearce segment was pitched on the spot (one source credited Lynch with the idea) and McMahon ordered it to be shot and then placed into the show to start explaining the change to the by-now announced Raw main event.”-PWInsider
Whilst many initially believed that the pair’s issues with the creative plan stemmed from Naomi pinning Banks in the main event, PWInsider have now shared a new report citing the duo’s frustrations as stemming from the seemingly directionless nature of the women’s tag-team division.
“The belief among some is that the creative issue was not with Banks losing to Naomi but how the duo would have been portrayed over the next several weeks, especially after they had put so much time into building their team once Vince McMahon issued an edict that they would be teaming and winning the Women’s Tag Team titles at Wrestlemania 38 – and that after diving into building that team, they were going to wrestle each other and go off to put over other talents, leaving them, exactly where no one knows, which apparently was the crux of the issue. The WWE plan looks to have been that the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship would have been downplayed until their next program after Hell In A Cell concluded.”-PWInsider
Earlier today WWE issued an official statement on the issue, even going as far as to share the statement across their social media platforms. As of right now the story is still a developing one, and thus it is difficult to make a judgement on which side is telling the truth.
As always, we will aim to make any updates regarding this story available as soon as possible, with various sources sharing and adding to the available information as the day rolls on.