Are we watching an episode of “Dark Side Of The Ring” unfold before our eyes? Maybe it’s not that sexy, but it is interesting and sad.
Monday night offered us a bit of an interesting situation on RAW. I guess that’s an understatement, considering that everyone and their Mother is either talking, vlogging, blogging, or arguing over one thing that has grabbed the pro wrestling community by the throat, and that is… Veer Mahaan defeated Mustafa Ali!
I’m only kidding; although the Mustafa Ali stuff is entertaining me because his in-ring work is always so crisp, and he believes everything he does, something else is going on that begs my attention.
The women’s tag titles have been held by Sasha Banks and Naomi for quite some time now and, in my opinion, have been put on a pedestal by the two. Taking every match seriously, constantly being creative with finishes, and cultivating the tag team division as a whole. I haven’t seen this level of top-shelf work since Bayley and Sasha held the women’s tag titles in the pandemic era (oh, what a time that was).
The main event on last week’s RAW was changed shortly after Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out of the show. The internet followed this news reported by Sean Ross Sapp and others at the time, with widespread discourse.
“Is it work?” “Sasha Banks is such a diva!”
I’m not here to comment on if the two were right to leave or not, but only to offer some commentary on how we, as wrestling fans, should be taking this all in.
Shortly after the show, WWE put out a surprising press release virtually burying their talent for something that could’ve been handled quietly backstage; Sasha Banks and Naomi have yet to release a statement on their own, although Sasha was spotted at a Steve Aoki concert living her best life a couple of nights ago (good for her) and Naomi has removed all WWE references from her social media bios.
There has been a lot reported about WWE creative’s plans for the two, leading up to them walking out. Surprisingly enough, I thought the plan was beneficial to the pair; Naomi was scheduled to win in a 6 pack challenge on RAW and lose to Bianca Belair at Hell In A Cell. That would’ve been a great match to watch, but still difficult to believe as Vince McMahon doesn’t usually do babyface vs. babyface, especially at PPVs. There have been other discussed plans and motivations for the two walking out, but where the dynamic shifts are, we only have one side of the story so far, and we shouldn’t have either.
WWE has seemed to get ahead of some news on their front by quickly and clumsily releasing a statement on Monday. They also fed lines to commentary, having Corey Graves call the two “unprofessional,” and on Friday Night Smackdown, having Michael Cole carve out a minute of TV time to address the fans and say that Sasha and Naomi, “Let us all down” “They are suspended indefinitely.”
Cole says that the pair walked into talent relations, left the championships, and walked out. He ends the segment with the news that there will be a new tournament to decide the new champions, and Pat MacAfee gives the facial expressions that everyone was feeling at the time. Confusion.
We’ll hold off on the tournament news because there may only be two other tag teams in the women’s division; instead, let’s focus on the fact that WWE has taken time to discuss Sasha and Naomi leaving. Toni Storm walked out just a few months ago and was never addressed on-air; same with Mustafa Ali, Charlotte, and Becky having their little backstage dispute.
Why give attention to something that could potentially harm your business?
The WWE is a billion-dollar corporation; they are not your local wrestling show that runs cards after bingo night at the church gym. WWE is the Disney of professional wrestling; these things shouldn’t happen with such a vast entity; you don’t hear of people at Apple, Tesla, or Microsoft walking out of a job. If you are taking care of the people working for you, you wouldn’t have to have a PR guy scramble and put out a press release because you don’t know how to compromise with your talent.
Sasha Banks and Naomi don’t need WWE. WWE needs Sasha Banks and Naomi.
Banks’ has solidified herself as a crossover star with appearances in The Mandalorian and stated, “I have so many goals and so many things that I would love to do in Hollywood, and so many things that I would love to do outside of WWE that I’m making possible” back in November of 2021.
Sasha even appeared on Kevin Hart’s “Cold as Balls” show and chopped it up with the comedian.
Naomi wouldn’t have to look far to step into Hollywood either, she has the look and charisma, and it doesn’t hurt being related to the biggest actor in the world right now, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
I don’t know where this will end. Sasha and Naomi are in a win-win situation as their talent and creativity can be a factor in their success anywhere. I don’t know much about the entertainment business as a whole, but I do know that your prior employer trying to besmirch your name by saying you “walked out” of a gig doesn’t get you far in blackballing the talent in future endeavors. I’m confident that this isn’t a part of the show, and it isn’t a work; if you came here for that, I’m sorry, you can go to the conspiracy theories. However, one thing that we all can be sure of is that people are going to explode when these two are seen back on television.