It appears that Friday Night SmackDown superstar Naomi might be headed for bigger things on the blue brand's roster, according to a new report.
In an article recapping parts of this week's episode of SmackDown, Mike Johnson of PWInsider wrote late Friday night that there are plans to book Naomi in a "stronger manner" going forward. He added that this is apparently because of the "social media outrage" from fans who believed the former women's champion wasn't being booked properly.
As recalled by Wrestling Inc., many fans were upset earlier this summer when Naomi lost against the likes of Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans after she returned from an extended hiatus to take care of her injured husband, fellow SmackDown star Jimmy Uso. Aside from the losses, she also appeared in a "Karaoke Showdown" segment in July that received mostly negative reactions from viewers. As a result, she briefly trended on Twitter, with several users including the hashtag "#NaomiDeservesBetter" in their posts.
In recent weeks, Naomi has had mixed success, picking up a win against Evans and later on emerging victorious over Sasha Banks in a "Beat the Clock Challenge" match on the August 21 episode of SmackDown. During that same show, however, she lost a second match of the same kind against SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley.
In addition, a number of Naomi's fans made their unhappiness known on Twitter when she lost a Tri-Branded Battle Royal on the August 14 episode of SmackDown. As noted by Forbes, this match was held to determine Bayley's opponent for her title defense at SummerSlam, and some of Naomi's supporters felt that Raw Women's Champion Asuka shouldn't have won the battle royal, given how strongly she is being booked on the red brand.
Commenting on Naomi's apparent status as a lovable underdog who might be due for a major championship win, Forbes' Alfred Konuwa opined that this has become a "habit" for WWE's creative team, adding that such booking "does no favors to the babyface in question."
"WWE is likely to capitalize on the obvious connection Naomi has developed with its audience, but it will likely do so in a way designed to taunt, alienate and antagonize its own audience before finally delivering a satisfying payoff months down the road when its audience has sunk to even smaller record-low viewership numbers."Naomi isn't the only SmackDown superstar who could be enjoying an improved push in the weeks to come. As reported earlier this month by The Inquisitr, Shorty G is apparently one of the people WWE chairman Vince McMahon wants to build up as a bigger star, as evidenced by his heel turn and eventual alliance with his onetime rival, Baron Corbin.