Sasha Banks And Naomi Reportedly Removed From WWE Roster, Banks Believed To Be Released

WWE has yet to make an official announcement, but Sasha Banks and Naomi are likely gone from the company.

According to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson (h/t Wrestling Inc), “Banks and Naomi are no longer listed on WWE’s internal roster,” while Fightful Select adds that Banks and Naomi were removed from WWE’s roster “weeks ago.” The belief within many top stars within WWE is that Banks has already been released by the company, though “talent relations has not sent out an internal email notifying talent of the releases.”

It was originally reported by Wrestling Inc’s Raj Giri last month that Banks had been let go in what would have marked one of the most surprising releases in company history. WWE has been tight-lipped about Banks’ status, however, and it was reported last month that while Banks’ lawyers were working on her release, nothing had been made official.

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WWE has already begun erasing Banks and Naomi from its history books, though. Back in May, they were removed from WWE’s TV intro, and just this week, WWE edited out Banks from a video focusing on Paige’s 2017 in-ring return. In other words, the writing appears to be on the wall.

PWInsider (h/t Wrestling INc) adds, “PWI has ‘heard rumblings’ of Banks may be engaging in ‘some signings outside of WWE’ as early as this fall,” which suggests that her WWE exit is indeed happening. The contracts of both Banks and Naomi were reportedly both set to expire this summer anyway, and Banks, in particular, has had a tumultuous relationship with WWE over the past several years, even confirming that she asked to be released back in 2019 thanks in part to her unhappiness regarding the peculiar creative decisions in the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship scene.

Perhaps not coincidentally, it was WWE’s questionable of those very same tag team titles that have led to Banks and Naomi being at a standstill with WWE this time around. They reportedly walked out on the company shorting after winning the titles earlier this year because they were going to be “fed” to the Raw and SmackDown’s Women’s Champions—Bianca Belair and Ronda Rousey, respectively—and thought that it would be nonsensical booking for the tag champs to be used simply to put over the singles champs.

WWE publicly buried Naomi and Banks following their walkout, stripped them of their titles and announced a tournament to crown new tag team champs, which quickly became “dead in the water.” The women’s tag titles have disappeared since then in a move that essentially justifies why Banks and Naomi walked out in the first place. Those belts have changed hands like hot potatoes and meant nothing in a tag team division that barely exists, and Banks, in particular, had put her heart and soul into establishing those titles as a matter of importance.

But with so many creative issues between Banks and WWE since 2019 and with the creative team never capitalizing on Naomi’s incredible popularity, it became just a matter of time before both stars reached an impasse with the company. WWE has focused so heavily on Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey and Bianca Belair in the singles scene that Banks had descended down to the midcard, despite being arguably WWE’s biggest and best all-around star in the women’s division, while it was painfully obvious that WWE would never push Naomi to the level that fan reaction indicates she should be at.

So, here we are: As WWE’s women’s division continues to be plagued by short-sighted and fruitless booking, it is on the cusp of seeing two of its brightest stars go elsewhere. WWE may not miss a beat without them because the machine just keeps chugging along no matter how many stars the company parts way with, but Banks and Naomi are two tremendous stars who will be hot commodities elsewhere.

Banks has already crossed over into the mainstream with a role on The Mandalorian that proved she can be a major pop culture star without WWE’s backing while Banks has that potential as well.

Even though WWE officials likely won’t lose sleep over losing either star, their disappearances from the women’s division are already starting to make the cracks in its women’s division even more noticeable.