Why Naomi is one of the most valued women backstage in WWE
Naomi made her return to WWE after nearly six months away at this year's Women's Royal Rumble. Her return to the squared circle was welcomed with an appropriate ovation from the WWE Universe and straight from the jump, she showed all the tools that she brings to the table in WWE that no other woman can.
Her athleticism is unparalleled in the women's division and she's in the top echelon of athletes whatever the gender in the company.
Her story from one-half of Brodus Clay's (yep, remember him?) Funkadactyls to world champion in WWE is an inspiring one.
The 32-year-old was the inaugural women's champion down in FCW - WWE's old developmental territory - too and she is someone who has worked on their craft and grown in front of the WWE Universe's eyes during her eight-year main roster tenure.
She made major strides when the second brand split ever went down in 2016 and she headed over to SmackDown.
Names like Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi were still finding their feet in the industry and landing on the same roster as Nikki Bella and Natalya helped the ladies blossom. They became affectionately known as the SmackDown Six, in homage to the original SmackDown six from 2002.
Carmella told me during Royal Rumble weekend how special that time was and how influential the locker room was on her career and several women have told me how Naomi's team-first nature behind the scenes has made her so valuable.
In the ring, she can do a lot of things that other women cannot. Regardless of race and demographics, Naomi is a bit like RVD was to WWE for a long time. Totally unorthodox and unique in style. There's money in that.
Countless women in WWE have told me about how supportive and positive Naomi is backstage and it's believed WWE officials consider her a vital part of the women's division.
Of course, she operates in a world where the Four Horsewomen are, for want of a better term, a priority. But, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe the reason she lost the fatal-four-way on SmackDown this week was to keep her out of the title picture for the upcoming Saudi Arabia show and Elimination Chamber.
Given WrestleMania 36 is in her home state of Florida, one might assume WWE will factor her into the title programme there, if Sasha Banks vs Bayley isn't their ultimate direction.Published 09 Feb 2020, 09:35 IST