In a world full of Becky Lynchs and Charlotte Flairs, one woman has stood the test of time and has shown herself to be a true chameleon of women’s wrestling over the past decade.
However, unlike the previously mentioned Superstars, this woman has not been afforded the same accolades and adulation and, as a result, it has sparked a social media uprising among fans who are all wanting one thing: better opportunities for Smackdown’s Naomi.
As one of the longest reigning women on the current WWE roster, you would think that Naomi would have many championships to her name and would be revered by all (fans AND her peers) as one of the greatest women to ever set foot in WWE. Unfortunately, as of this article, Naomi has had a grand total of two reigns as Smackdown Women’s Champion and won the first ever Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 34.
Scarily, her reigns happened three years ago, with the first ending quickly due to an injury, but she quickly regained the title she never lost at Wrestlemania 33. Since then, she has not had many opportunities to be in the championship race despite being one of the most athletically gifted women to ever grace a WWE ring.
While I understand that times change and the flavour of the month changes more often than Big Show’s character, Naomi has shown on countless occasions why she should be at the top of the women’s divisions.
Let us go back to 2012, where Naomi earned her first ever championship match against Eve Torres at TLC. Even though she was known best for being a Funkadactyl, Naomi showed the viewing audience that she had untapped potential.
While she was able to showcase her wrestling abilities in Florida Championship Wrestling, this was the moment where people said Naomi would be the woman everyone would be talking about and celebrating for years to come.
Why are we STILL saying this eight years later? It would be a cold day in hell if Naomi put on a bad match, but every time she comes out to the ring, she gives it her all and fans respond to that. There is paying your dues, and then there is this case, where dues are ignored because someone “new” comes along.
The frustration amongst Naomi fans is justified in this instance because Naomi has paid her “dues” for the past 11 years and has found a gimmick that works. Is it Naomi’s fault that when she is given a mic, she has to sing American Dream instead of cutting a promo helping her to further enhance her character?
No. It is not.
Now I’m going to address the elephant in the room- Booker T. This week, he came out with comments addressing the hashtag Naomi’s fans created to express their frustration at the way Naomi is being treated in WWE which makes it sound like Naomi is wrong for expressing her feelings.
It has also come out that Booker thinks Naomi is being disrespectful for not taking on his “advice”. This is the same five-time World Champion who championed Becky Lynch when fans rallied behind her. This is the same WWE Hall of Famer who supported the fans when Daniel Bryan broke out into the megastar he is.
Why is it different for Naomi?
Some say it is the systemic racism that runs through WWE, but I think it is hypocritical of Booker T to only like it when fans rally behind particular people but then shoot down fans when they support others he may not “approve of”. This is 2020 and, in this era of wrestling, fan voice is critical for success and if you choose to ignore it, you are never going to progress forward.
Without the fans, the women’s revolution would not have happened in WWE (though Stephanie McMahon will try to make you think otherwise). If a male wrestler can speak out on his frustrations and be supported by his peers, why can’t a woman?
Unfortunately, Naomi seems to be falling into the same category as other African American women who have been sorely underappreciated for their contributions to women’s wrestling in WWE. This includes the likes of Sapphire, Jacqueline, Jazz, Alicia Fox, Ember Moon and Bianca Belair, all of whom have had to fight harder than their Caucasian counterparts to even be given a slither of time.
Do you know how many championships the names I mentioned (combined with Naomi) have held in their careers? Eleven. That is the same amount of championships Charlotte Flair has won since joining WWE in 2013. Now I am not saying that Naomi should be given more chances because of her race, but what message is WWE to young girls with this statistic? I can tell you it is not a good one.
So why does Naomi deserve better? Let me count the ways. Naomi deserves better because she has grafted for the past 11 years to become the best wrestler she can be AND she is always looking for ways to innovate. Naomi deserves better because she has connected with the WWE audience with her Feel The Glow way of life and through her honesty on Total Divas (did you HEAR that pop when Naomi returned at this year’s Royal Rumble?).
There is a generation of girls wanting to see someone succeed in WWE that reflects who they are as a person. Naomi deserves better because she constantly changes.
As I said in the beginning of this article, Naomi is a chameleon who has navigated through many gimmicks and changes in the wrestling scene and it should not even be a question as to why Naomi deserves better. She has earned it and we all should see how lucky we are to be feeling Naomi’s glow.
Naomi knows her worth, the fans know her worth, so it is about time that WWE see her worth and give her the opportunities she really should have been given years ago.