After she took a loss to Lacey Evans on the Fri., July 17 episode of SmackDown, Naomi’s fans took to Twitter. They got #NaomiDeservesBetter trending, and attracted some high-profile support from inside and outside WWE, and even the wrestling business.
In addition to Keke Palmer and Charlotte Flair, it caught the attention of WWE Hall of Famer Booker T.
During the Extreme Rules after-show edition of his Hall of Fame podcast with Brad Gilmore (transcription courtesy Fightful), Booker revealed what he thinks about things like the Twitter “uprising” that happened last Saturday, and Naomi’s overall potential.
“‘Naomi deserves a chance.’ They can go to hell with all these hashtags I’m tired of hearing about them. Don’t nobody ‘deserve’ a chance. You have to earn a chance and your spot on the roster, this is not some kind of movement just to pull somebody up just because. I hate to say this because I like Naomi, but as far as the business goes, you get it on your merit alone. There is no buddy system. ‘Well, such and such has a buddy and that’s why they’re doing it.’ That might be true, but life is not fair. Sometimes, you have to make your own breaks and rise to the occasion when no one else thought you could. It may not happen overnight. No one expected me to become a six-time champ, but my persistence of going out there and performing better than all of those suckas in the locker room, and they knew it, and the fans saw something different.
“That’s why I say #NaomiDeservesBetter, I don’t think it serves her any purpose, people advocating for her in that way. The way that needs to be put out there is her advocating for herself and performing at a high level. When you do that, you cannot be denied. No one will ever say you were given anything. If it happened tomorrow, someone blessed Naomi with the World Championship, trust me, it would not feel like she did it on her own. I never would have wanted the World Title if it was given to me that way. Naomi is perhaps more athletic than every female in that locker room, but psychology and working are two different things. If I had my hands on her for one month, Naomi would look at this business a totally different way.”
Personally, I’m mostly with him on the first point. I’ve always been of the William Munny/Snoop from The Wire school of thought on folks “deserving” things.
Since I’m not a trainer, I can’t speak at the same level as Book on Naomi’s professional skillset. But as a viewer, I have enjoyed her work when she’s actually had a chance to play a character and tell a story in the ring, and that’s where I’d disagree with him. She hasn’t had as many opportunities to do that as some others. The fact she has fans passionate enough to point that out is testament to her skill at at least one key element of a pro wrestler’s job - connecting with the audience.
But that’s just some thoughts from a blogger. What does Naomi think about Booker’s take?
Will do @BookerT5x pic.twitter.com/7XXC4uJk9w— Trinity Fatu (@NaomiWWE) July 22, 2020
Naomi’s former faction-mate, and someone who’s had other issues with Booker T’s critical assessments of late, chimed in, too. Quote-tweeting the Yes Man GIF, Sasha Banks said:
“Don’t feed into useless opinions, no matter who they come from. Keep glowing and shining like you always do. You ain’t got nothing to prove to anyone #teambad”
Knowing Booker T, he’ll probably comment on this, so stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, give us your thoughts in the comments below on Naomi’s potential, the concept of wrestlers “deserving” opportunities, Jim Carrey’s career, or anything else touched upon in this latest adventure across the wrestling web.