WWE has finally devised a strategy for crowning new Women’s Tag Team Champions. Michael Cole declared on Friday night’s episode of SmackDown that a tournament for the vacant titles will begin on Monday night’s Raw. There were no matches, teams, or brackets revealed. Former champions Sasha Banks & Naomi stepped out of WWE during a show of Raw on May 16, having left their championship belts on the desk of then-Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.
During very next Friday’s SmackDown, Cole affirmed that Banks and Naomi had left the company, saying they had disappointed the fans. WWE stripped them of their titles and indefinitely suspended both women. Since Banks and Naomi’s walkout, WWE’s leadership has shifted dramatically. Within the last month, Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon announced his retirement and resigned from all roles he held in the corporation, including Head of Creative, midst investigations into hush money fees paid to former female employees to stop misconduct allegations.
Triple H, Paul Levesque had also taken over McMahon’s role as creative director for WWE. The impact of Levesque is already visible. Dakota Kai, previously known as Io Shirai, was summoned from NXT, and both made their main roster debut appearance at SummerSlam last Saturday night. Veteran NXT Champion Karrion Kross and Scarlett too are back in WWE after shockingly reappearing at the end of Friday’s SmackDown. Banks and Naomi are rumoured to be returning to WWE under the creative new regime led by Levesque.
A tweet from WWE’s official Twitter account was interpreted by some fans as a possible hint of their come back ahead of this past Monday’s Raw. Thus far, neither woman has publicly commented on the reasons for their walkout. On night two of WrestleMania 38, Banks and Naomi won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. They deposed the defending champions, Queen Zelina & Carmella, in a fatal four-way match that also featured Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan, as well as Shayna Baszler and Natalya.
Banks has been one-half of the titles’ first holders. She and Bayley were the first to raise the championships after winning a six-way Elimination Chamber match in February 2019. At WrestleMania 35, Banks & Bayley lost the titles to The IIconics, but they would reclaim them for a three-month rule in 2020.