Former WWE writer Kevin Eck wrote a column for his blog about how WWE has wasted an opportunity by not putting the title onto Naomi. You can read it here:
Everything seemed to finally be coming together for WWE Diva Naomi this past April. After being the last woman eliminated in a No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal on Raw, Naomi viciously attacked the winner, Paige, thus becoming a heel for the first time since making her WWE debut three years ago.
Naomi quickly became the most compelling character in the Divas division, as she showed that she can cut a good heel promo in addition to being arguably the best female athlete in WWE.
Naomi was given the ball and was on her way to scoring a touchdown. It seemed like a no-brainer that Naomi (possibly with the help of her enforcer, Tamina) would win the Divas Title from Nikki Bella and then begin a program with Paige, the rightful No. 1 contender who lost her title shot after being injured by Naomi.
But before Naomi could cross the goal line, WWE fumbled the ball. Naomi had three matches for the Divas Championship – at Extreme Rules, on Raw, and this past Sunday at Elimination Chamber – and she lost all of them. It now appears that she’s out of the title picture.
Unless there are issues with Naomi behind the scenes that I’m unaware of, WWE has really blown it with her, and I’m not just talking about the decision to keep the Divas Title on the stale, wishy-washy Nikki Bella character (is she a babyface or a heel this week?).
In Naomi, WWE had an opportunity to crown just the second African American Divas Champion in the title’s seven-year history and the first since Alicia Fox held the title for a couple months in 2010.
Before I go any further, let me be perfectly clear: I am not accusing WWE of racism. I’m also not suggesting that Naomi should be given the Divas Championship because of her skin color. I’m saying that Naomi is a talented performer who is worthy of being Divas Champion, and the fact that she also happens to be black is a win-win.
A phrase that I heard frequently when I worked for WWE was “perception is reality.” While I truly believe that Naomi not winning the Divas Title is an example of failed booking and not racism, there’s no denying that there is a perception among some in the pro wrestling community that a race problem exists in WWE.
Having an African American woman as the face of the Divas division (in addition to having African American Tag Team Champions in New Day) would have helped quell that perception and put WWE in a positive light.
Let me reiterate that I’m not advocating tokenism, as I believe both Naomi and New Day are deserving of being on top in their respective divisions.
I first saw potential in Naomi five years ago when she was a participant on the third season of NXT. In a competition that included AJ Lee, I thought Naomi was the standout among the six women and should have won (she placed second to Kaitlyn based on voting by fans and WWE “pros”).
Naomi not only impressed me with her athleticism, but I also thought she showed more personality than any of her peers.
When I was on the WWE creative team, I pitched a heel turn for Naomi that played off her experience on NXT. The story was that Naomi was bitter about having to be one of Brodus Clay’s dancers and never being given an opportunity to wrestle, while Kaitlyn – who, in Naomi’s mind, never should have beaten her on NXT – was now the Divas Champion.
The idea was ultimately rejected because the powers that be thought it was too early to break up The Funkadactyls. I saw that point, but I also felt strongly that Naomi should be more than a dancer and reality TV star. She was Divas Championship material.
As a firm believer that talent eventually wins out, I had no doubt that it was just a matter of time until it was Naomi’s time.
That time is now. Or at least it should be. Hopefully, WWE will realize at some point what they have in Naomi.