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On Sasha & Bayley’s rumored WrestleMania ‘tantrum’

As if Sasha Banks allegedly threatening to quit WWE at WrestleMania 35 wasn’t already a hot enough topic, last night Twitter added more fuel to the fire with reports from Ryan Satin and WrestleVotes that Banks & Bayley were “laying on the floor of the locker room on Sunday, and back at the hotel in front of one of their rooms, loudly making it known they were unhappy about losing the tag titles.”

Unsurprisingly, people have thoughts on this.

Many of those thoughts have to do with the validity of the reports themselves. Satin says he got the story from “from four different sources” he’d “spoken with the past day. All independent from each other and all came to me about it, not the other way around.” Votes only says they heard the same thing, without specifying when or from how many sources they heard it.

Personally, I’m dubious. Not saying either is lying - they probably did get these accounts from contacts backstage at WWE. But that those sources sought out people who could spread a story painting the talent in an unflattering light, almost a week after it allegedly happened, and only after reports of Sasha threatening to quit went wide - along with no small amount of speculation she was interested in going to All Elite? I can’t rule out that this is WWE attempting to spin things in their favor. Just like I, a person who wasn’t backstage in MetLife Stadium on April 7 or in the hotel Banks & Bayley were staying at last weekend, can’t say with any certainty the Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection were or weren’t really “laying on the floor... making it known they were unhappy about losing the tag titles.”

Now, let’s say the story is completely right, and the images its reporting conjures of two adults pouting and throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get what they wanted are pretty accurate. Votes’ tweet even editorializes (something Satin, to his credit, does not) and calls their behavior “immature”.

It’s a sentiment echoed by a lot of fans, whether they’re Banks & Bayley fans or not. And it’s one I share. I’ve worked at a lot of places where decisions were made I disagreed with, either because they were unfair to me or bad for the business. I’ve never once laid on the ground in protest. It’s behavior I’d classify as unprofessional and, yes, immature.

You know what else I’d call unprofessional and immature? Yelling at your employees in front of others, something which sounds like standard operating procedure where the former Women’s Tag champs work.

And this is “whataboutism”, an argumentative tactic I generally hate, but... this is also a company where they make documentaries about the time the current Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative defied policy by honoring his friends in the ring even though the characters they portrayed weren’t of the same alignment, and two of them were about to leave for a competitor. A two-time Hall of Famer and current coach/producer in their developmental system once turned a big money match into a slapstick comedy skit because he didn’t like the way the program was scripted. Legends have phoned it in in the ring, refused to work with one another, or even show up to work because they didn’t like their booking. The messaging from management and top stars to the rank-and-file talent is to do things to stand out, and believe passionately in what you can bring to the table rather than become complacent in your current role.

If Banks & Bayley reacted the way Satin and Votes’ sources say they did, it’s a bad look for both wrestlers. But it also stayed backstage, and doesn’t seem to have impacted the product people paid to see on Sunday night. There will undoubtedly be consequences for the choices they’ve made and will make, and they’ll have to live with those.

But anyone accepting the reports without a serious grain of salt should check their biases. And fans acting like the kind of reaction the Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection allegedly had to losing their titles is without precedent, or proof that performers now are bigger marks than the people in the audience, are holding these two wrestlers to a different standard than the one to which others throughout the history of the business have been held.

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