The WWE Divas’ division is filled with an incredible amount of talent. Not just in NXT, but on the main roster too (as backwards as that sounds). In the endless discussion of who’s the best female competitor in the company, fans praise the in-ring ability of Charlotte, the character development of Becky Lynch, and the charisma of Sasha Banks. However, one star seems to always be left out of the discussion. That would be Naomi. The fact that she’s not seen as one of the best is a shame. Ever since the original NXT season 3, Naomi has been one of the best Divas on WWE’s roster. But since her debut in 2010, she’s taken a backseat while others have cruised ahead of her to become superstars. So, why isn’t Naomi seen as one of the top stars in her division? I’ll try my best to figure that out.
Naomi was a favorite to win NXT season 3 (a game show disguised as a reality series) alongside AJ Lee. After losing, she wouldn’t appear on WWE’s main roster until she debuted as a dancer for the infamous Funkasaurus. Joining she and the dancing dinosaur was Cameron. Cameron’s infamous for… a lot of things. But Cameron wasn’t very good in the ring and it didn’t seem like she truly had the passion for the industry which she claimed to have. Somewhere down the road, people began to think the same thing applied to Naomi. Plus, the comedy of this group (later called “Tons of Funk” with the addition of “Tensai”) didn’t help fans take her seriously. Then the Divas’ division’s biggest blessing and curse happened: Total Divas. In the eyes of many hardcore fans, if you were on the reality show Total Divas, you were automatically a Diva who couldn’t wrestle or didn’t care about wrestling. That’s untrue, (with the exception of Cameron and maybe Eva Marie) because Naomi was on the show (and so was Natlaya). Regardless, Naomi got clumped into the Total Divas group, which gave many hardcore fans the perception that she wasn’t a “real” female wrestler, unlike the beloved AJ Lee. This hurt Naomi’s credibility early on and she really didn’t deserve the stigma that came with being on the E! reality show. (Not to mention, she didn’t fit in with most of the cast because she was shown to be kind-hearted and didn’t stir up much drama.)
Naomi competed in a few matches for the Divas’ title, but the division was the AJ Lee show featuring the Bellas. She got lost in the shuffle and wasn’t given any spotlight until AJ left WWE. Then some NXT call ups came and pushed it all out the way. Those are all factors which play into why Naomi is overlooked. So now, what makes her one of the best? That’s a bit easier to answer.
Looking at the main roster, Naomi is top four in the ring. Sasha, Charlotte, and Becky are the only three I’d put above her. If you include NXT’s roster, Naomi obviously goes down the list, but she’d still be top ten in my estimation. Naomi’s a good wrestler. Nikki Bella has been given more credit for not being incompetent in the ring than Naomi has for being pretty darn decent. She’s definitely sloppy at times, but overall she’s great. Compare her to John Cena, one of WWE’s biggest stars, who put on some fantastic matches during his 2015 US championship reign. Naomi and Cena aren’t bad wrestlers and aren’t always exceptional either, but they can put on good matches.
What could be better: The “rear view”. I think it’s a fun move that’s unique to Naomi, so she shouldn’t get rid of it, but it can’t be her blasted finisher. It should be treated like a clothesline, or a set up for another move or something.
Who she’s better in the ring than: Former Divas’ champion Paige. She wasn’t always better than Paige. Wasn’t.
Naomi has personality. It’s apparent from the way that she walks to the way that she talks to the way that she taunts to the way that she flaunts. When she’s a face, you want to root for her. When she’s a heel, her pure arrogance makes you want her to be shown up and defeated. Look at her smile when she’s a face, she looks so happy and kind, you just want her to succeed. Look at her smile when she’s a heel, it makes you want to roll your eyes, doesn’t it? It’s the same smile. But even with the nuances to what she does, her character work goes unnoticed because she’s not currently in the spotlight. WWE tells us she’s athletic when it’s convenient, but there’s a lot more to Naomi than being able to do a jumping split. But, her move-set is another element of her assets because she’s flashy in the ring (and I’m not just talking about her shoes). She plays her character well and shows her personality in the ring. And just a quick tangent: has Naomi’s character ever been in the wrong whether heel or face? She seems to make some pretty reasoned decisions. (Note: in real life reasoned does not always mean right, but in wrestling a reason for something is always welcomed.)
What Could be better: Letting her personality come out more when speaking. When Naomi’s in the ring, she’s energetic and animated. When she’s on the microphone, you don’t always get that energy or animation and she needs to be more consistent with bringing that.
Who she has a better personality than: Former Divas champions, The Bella Twins. They can look but definitely can’t touch Naomi in that department.
Naomi’s above average on the microphone. With the low standards that have been set for the speaking abilities of Divas’ in the past decade, being average on the microphone is practically being above average. Naomi’s no Roddy Piper, but at least she can formulate a sentence using the English language. The Bella Twins probably don’t even know what a sentence is. But, that’s the thing, you don’t even necessarily need good speaking skills to be Divas’ Champion, but Naomi has those as an added bonus.
What could be better: As stated, she could inject more personality and speak with more passion and intensity. She’s done that before and it’s great, but sometimes she’s just going through the motions during her promos and it’s uninteresting to listen to. (For example: Seth Rollins and the Rock can both speak well, but no one wants to listen to Rollins’ long boring rambling promos; people want to be electrified.)
Who she’s better on the microphone than: Divas champion Charlotte. I guess you can’t have all of Ric Flair’s genes.
Naomi is underrated by hardcore wrestling fans. I understand that some people get overlooked. I understand that everyone can’t be champion. I understand that Naomi’s not as good as Sasha Banks. But, one thing that I never understood was when the “Divas’ revolution” occurred, why team BAD was seen as bad for Sasha. Many fans’ perception of the three big teams was that Team PCB was three good female wrestlers, Team Bella was three poor wrestling Divas, and Team BAD was Sasha Banks and two other Divas. First, we can say the latter about the entire division, it is virtually Sasha Banks and a bunch of other Divas, because home girl’s on a different level. Secondly, Paige fell from grace ever since leaving NXT (plus Team Bella’s Alicia Fox can wrestle). But, what’s telling is how nobody cared about Naomi. Naomi was the hottest thing going on the main roster Divas’ division before the call ups. Yet, she wasn’t an important part of the storyline. People wondered when a PCB member would defeat then Champion Nikki Bella or when Sasha would secede from Team BAD. Yet, the most entertaining team was Team BAD. You can attribute it to Sasha, but to me, Sasha and Naomi complimented each other’s personality and made BAD great for those few months. Then there’s Tamina, who’s four fourths of a joke, but her role was to be “the heavy” of the group, she wasn’t meant to shine. But, Naomi’s on par with Becky, Paige, Charlotte, and Sasha. But fans don’t treat her like she is.
Naomi is a top female competitor and so is Brie Bella. Hardcore fans don’t treat Brie like one of the best and she isn’t. Many hardcore fans also don’t treat Naomi like one of the best, but she is. Of course there are those better than she is, but she’s a lot better than she’s given credit for. I hope Naomi gains the recognition that she deserves, mainly from fans, because management has been fair in giving her opportunities to shine. However, she shouldn’t retire without being able to say that she was a champion. So, here’s hoping for the best for one of the best, Naomi.