(WDVM) — The wrestling world was shocked last Monday night when the Women’s Tag Team Champions turned in their titles and walked out mid-show.

The stunt confused the audience and brought up a question of how female wrestlers are being treated.

We spoke to current and former wrestlers and got some insight from industry professionals about the stunt and what it means for the future of the sport.

“Whatever transpired, it had to be something tremendous for them to say, ‘you know what? I’m out of here.’ They packed their luggage up, they threw their title belts on the desk, and that was it,” said Andrew Zarian, the host of Mat Men Podcast and Wrestling Observer Radio.

It left fans stunned and confused, with some thinking it was part of the show, but WWE released a statement confirming that Sasha Banks and Naomi left.

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.

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.

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. Monday Night Raw is a scripted live TV show, whose characters are expected to perform the requirements of their contract.

We regret we were unable to deliver, as advertised, tonight’s main event.


Denise Salcedo, Wrestling Personality, told WDVM, “even though they’re champions, they’re seen as less than because they were essentially positioned for their opponents to be the ones looking like the bigger stars, so it’s more so, I think, where they feel they’re not respected as tag team champions.”

Current and former wrestlers said both men and women can feel this way based on their character’s storylines but believe other stressors led to the big move.

We spoke to WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam (RVD), who said, “it wasn’t a decision where they found out something was going to happen that they didn’t like, and they left. For sure, there was a build-up. They’ve definitely been there long enough to have frustration, and who knows what’ll happen.”

“It’s very challenging. It’s hard on the brain. It’s hard on the body. You have to put everything into it. It’s hard,” said Katie Forbes, professional wrestler

Regardless of the challenges, Forbes said she feels lucky to be a female wrestler and recognizes the strides that have been made for women in her sport.

“There are stressful things in wrestling, and being at the top is even more stressful, but wrestling is still, to me, the best job in the world,” said Forbes.

“Women went from being seen as a bathroom break or whatever to being in competitive matches,” Salcedo said.

“Competition with the ladies is just like men. I prefer to watch the ladies a lot of times, and it’s just as good as the men. That couldn’t be said even when I was at WWE,” RVD told us.

Wrestling insiders said Sasha Banks and Naomi are two big reasons women’s wrestling has grown — and they say this incident will lead to changes of some sort in the future.

WWE is in the DMV again on Sept. 11 from Capital One Arena.