WWE has to let Naomi be great in 2020
Naomi is back and everyone is feeling the glow. The two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion made her return this weekend at Royal Rumble, becoming the topic of discussion online. WWE has to find a way to capitalize on this.
Many fans expected Naomi to return for the third women’s Royal Rumble match and she didn’t disappoint. She entered Minute Maid Park as entrant no. 18 to one of the biggest reactions of the night and didn’t miss a beat.
It’s no exaggeration to say the energy in the match completely change when she joined Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair in the ring. The visual of Naomi jumping over the ropes with her big beautiful afro bouncing around was breath-taking.
She didn’t win the match like Flair and she wasn’t as dominant as Belair, who racked up record-setting eight eliminations. However, she was easily one of the highlights of the show.
Naomi has a loyal following. Of course, they loved every minute of her Royal Rumble appearance but something unexpected happened. The clip of her return went viral. In the last few days, she received an exceptional amount of praise from non-wrestling fans. So much so, The Wendy Williams Show even picked it up.
The Orlando-native has been with WWE for ten years, so it’s great to see her get her flowers. She is one of the few superstars who made it out of the highly-criticized Divas Era and managed to maintain just as much legitimacy as women from the current generation.
Everyone throws around the term underrated these days but it actually doesn’t seem like WWE understands what they have with Naomi.
She earned a WrestleMania moment in her hometown in 2019, which kicked off her most well-known title reign. Afterward, the former Orlando Magic cheerleader went on to enjoy the second-longest individual tenure as SmackDown Women’s Champion. But it just feels like she’s capable of so much more.
There is no one else on the women’s roster who looks or moves like Naomi. She is incredibly athletic and she has such a unique moveset. Moreover, she appeals to so many black fans because she always appears so authentic and down to Earth.
Representation matters and the response to her this week is more proof that black women see her as more than just another wrestler. Naomi is a star. That’s enough of a reason for WWE to “strap the rocket to her back.” On top of that, they have the chance to reach an audience that is often neglected.
Black women make up a much larger percentage of wrestling fans than most people would think. There are many great black women’s wrestlers but Naomi even stands out among them. Considering the number of new fans who just discovered her this weekend, it should go without saying that she could bring new eyes to the company if given the chance.
There is no excuse. WWE has to let Naomi be great. Give her a new storyline or a title shot soon. It would be a huge mistake to let this moment pass them by. Naomi deserves it. More importantly, millions of fans around the world deserve the chance to see themselves in her.