WWE Rumors on Sasha Banks, Naomi, Ronda Rousey; Talent Worried About Triple H Booking

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Banks, Naomi Reportedly Reach Deal to Return to WWE

Multiple reports suggest that Sasha Banks and Naomi are set to return to WWE in the near future.

Angel Aramboles of WrestlingNews.co reported Monday that Banks and Naomi had reached an agreement to return to the company. It was noted that the expectation was that they would either appear on Monday's Raw or at some point not long after.

Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t WrestlingInc's Olivia Quinlan) stopped short of 100 percent confirming the report, but noted that a source told him it was true.

Banks and Naomi did not appear on Monday night's episode of Raw, but they were primarily SmackDown Superstars before their hiatus, so it may not be outside the realm of possibility that they show up Friday night.

Neither Banks nor Naomi have appeared on WWE programming since May, which is when they were both suspended by the company and stripped of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

It was reported that Banks and Naomi walked out prior to the May 16 episode of Raw due to their unhappiness with how they were being utilized.

They were reportedly scheduled to compete in a six-pack challenge to determine the No. 1 contender for Bianca Belair's Raw Women's Championship, but expressed concern over what that meant for them as a tag team.

Following their decision to walk out, WWE released a statement chastising Banks and Naomi, claiming that they tossed their titles on the desk of then-head of talent relations John Laurinaitis and acted unprofessionally.

On the following episode of SmackDown, WWE announced the suspension of Banks and Naomi, and stripped them of their championships.

It was subsequently reported by WrestlingInc's Raj Giri that WWE granted Banks her release from the company, but WWE has never confirmed that, nor has it commented on Naomi's status.

If Banks and Naomi are indeed back in the fold, it likely has everything to do with the change in leadership that recently occurred in WWE.

Laurinaitis is no longer head of talent relations, and Vince McMahon retired from his role as CEO, chairman and head of creative amid allegations that he paid former female WWE employees in exchange for their silence about sexual relationships or encounters they had with him.

McMahon's daughter, Stephanie McMahon, has been elevated to co-CEO and chairwoman, while Nick Khan was also moved into the co-CEO role. Meanwhile, Triple H is now vice president of talent relations and head of creative.

Triple H is known to have a strong relationship with Banks since he was responsible for signing her and pushing her in NXT before she made the move to the main roster.

The shift in power likely increased the chances of Banks and Naomi returning significantly, and now that it has been reported that they are back, it becomes a waiting game to see when or if they will resurface on television.

WWE Reportedly Still Lists Rousey as Babyface Internally

Despite her actions at SummerSlam, WWE reportedly still considers Ronda Rousey to be a babyface.

According to PWInsider.com (h/t Quinlan), WWE's internal roster lists Rousey as a face, although that may be set to change soon.

Entering SummerSlam, both Rousey and Liv Morgan were fan favorites, but when Morgan pinned Rousey while trapped in an armbar, the former UFC champ snapped by attacking the SmackDown women's champion.

At Money in the Bank, Rousey retained the SmackDown women's title against Natalya, but Morgan took advantage after winning the women's Money in the Bank ladder match earlier in the night and successfully cashed in to become a champion for the first time.

Rousey shook her hand afterward, but her frustration boiled over at SummerSlam, leading to an outburst.

It is difficult to envision Rousey remaining a babyface after attacking one of the most popular and beloved female Superstars in WWE, meaning WWE may complete her heel turn in the near future.

That may not happen on Friday's episode of SmackDown, though, since WWE announced that Rousey had been fined and suspended for attacking an official during her tirade at SummerSlam.

Whenever Rousey does return, WWE would be best served deploying her as a heel since she has done her best work in that role.

It could also be a forward-looking move since Becky Lynch turned face at SummerSlam, and there is reason to believe that a Rousey vs. Lynch singles match could be in the works for WrestleMania next year.

Some WWE Talent Reportedly Worried About Losing Spot Under HHH

While reactions to Triple H taking over as WWE's head of creative have seemingly been positive for the most part, there are reportedly some who aren't quite as excited.

Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio (beginning at the 6:24 mark of the following video), F4WOnline's Dave Meltzer said he has heard from some WWE talent that they are worried about losing their spot on the card with Triple H now in charge:

One can only assume that those who are reportedly concerned didn't come up through NXT when Triple H was in charge of the brand.

Several former NXT stars were showcased in a major way on Monday night's episode of Raw, including Ciampa, who won a Triple Threat match against Dolph Ziggler and Chad Gable before beating AJ Styles later in the night to earn a United States Championship match against Bobby Lashley last week.

Lashley is among those who never worked in NXT and has been pushed to the moon by Vince McMahon in recent years, winning the WWE Championship twice.

Because he wasn't signed and developed by Triple H, Lashley could conceivably be the type of wrestler who would have concerns about the change in leadership, although he wasn't specifically mentioned as someone who is worried.

Regardless of Triple H's bigger picture and plans moving forward, there is no question that Monday's Raw felt different and far more palatable.

There was a ton of in-ring action and added emphasis on the United States Championship, plus plenty of time for the women's division and a Tag Team Championship main event.

Triple H proved in NXT that he has a penchant for booking and putting together entertaining shows, so if anyone is going to find a way to effectively utilize as many performers as possible, it is likely him.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.