On Friday Night SmackDown, WWE went to an old reliable to determine a new number one contender for the Women’s Championship. Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Tamina & Lacey Evans fought for a title opportunity. Cross won, in what will be her fourth one-on-one shot at Bayley’s title. There was one option who was notable by their absence: Naomi.
During the summer, WWE fans began to show outrage with the lack of opportunities afforded to Naomi. While some wrestling personalities didn’t agree with #GiveNaomiAChance, it sure felt like WWE had dropped the ball with one of their best. Naomi had returned at the Royal Rumble in January to a huge ovation. She put in a great 20+ minute performance and fans were ready to see her ascension. And then she just… didn’t.
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As one of the most talented in-ring performers on the roster, Naomi has had scant title shots. Her most recent one-on-one shot was in Saudi Arabia in February. Naomi’s last title run was in early summer 2017. Fans were displeased with how such a talented wrestler was being used, and made their displeasure known.
Returning to the present, WWE seemed to listen to fans last month. Naomi was back in a prominent position, and scored a pinfall win over champion Bayley.
That was on August 21st. It’s now approaching the middle of September, and Naomi hasn’t had a shot at the champion. The story was right in front of them, and is a staple of wrestling history: beat the champ, get a title shot. Instead, Nikki Cross gets another opportunity. This is not a knock on Cross (a talented wrestler and performer) but instead a knock on WWE.
Fans cried out for more opportunities for Naomi. The booking lent itself to her getting a shot. Yet for some reason, WWE went another way. Fans aren’t even asking for Naomi to get a title run. The Bayley-Banks story has been enthralling and has carried the product during the pandemic era. All fans want is for Naomi to have a chance.