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Ryan Dilbert’s 10-Count: Naomi in Desperate Need of Real Rival on WWE SmackDown


1. A Champion in Neutral

Momentum leaks out of the opening in the story of Naomi‘s reign as SmackDown women’s champion.

She is a titleholder with no worthy protagonist. She has no Kevin Owens to her Sami Zayn, no Edge to her John Cena. 

After profitable the championship from Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania 33, Naomi briefly tangled with Charlotte Flair earlier than getting caught in a feud with Lana. The Ravishing Russian is as inexperienced because the winter is chilly. She’s a piece in progress requested to be a contender method too quickly.

It’s a choice that has given Naomi little to work with.

Steve Austin panned the idea on his podcast in June: “Naomi deserves better. The title deserves better. Lana wasn’t up for this task at hand at this point in her career.”

Naomi has now had 5 title matches throughout her present reign. And three of these got here towards the restricted Lana. That’s no profitable components.

The lack of compelling and formidable foil has harm Naomi. It looks like she’s spinning her wheels. Her reign has principally been forgettable consequently.

Trying to listing the most effective moments of her time as champ is hard. There merely have not been many.

As the parents on the Tights and Fights podcast identified, one thing has to vary:

On Tuesday’s SmackDown, WWE took a step nearer to discovering Naomi’s superb antagonist. The blue model’s commissioner, Shane McMahon, booked a No. 1 Contender’s Fatal 5-Way match on the Battleground pay-per-view on July 23. Flair, Becky Lynch, Lana, Tamina and Natalya will collide.

The winner will earn the best to face the champ at SummerSlam.

This is WWE’s probability to seek out the enemy that may deliver out Naomi’s greatest. There can’t be a chaotic end in that bout that results in a Triple Threat or Fatal Four-Way title match. Naomi must share the stage with a single enemy alone.

Lana should not emerge from that area, both. She’s not almost able to be a worthy archnemesis.

It can be a complete SmackDown transfer to guide a Tamina win at Battleground to shock followers, however she’s additionally not a top quality choice. Tamina is greatest suited to play the enforcer, to look imposing at ringside after which briefly step in to do some injury.

Another choice can be to have Naomi and Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella butt heads in the approaching weeks and months. The Princess of Staten Island has been on hearth recently as a heel. That’s simply what Naomi wants reverse her.

Someone who she will conflict with on the mic, somebody who can be a compelling determine reverse her and somebody who can lead her to the perfect matches of her profession will increase Naomi in an enormous means.

The two women tangling at Battleground most succesful of taking over that spot—Flair and Lynch—are babyfaces, although. Will that encourage WWE to hunt out Naomi’s rival elsewhere? Will that result in extra Lana-Naomi clashes? The solutions will emerge at Battleground.

And once they do, Naomi has to hope she finds the first-class adversary she’s been lacking.


2. Brief Tastes of The Beast Incarnate

Brock Lesnar is not any 60-minute man.

The common champ’s matches are brief, intense flurries. They are whirlwinds that rip via the ring.

We noticed that once more when he fended off Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire on Sunday.

Not counting the Royal Rumble, just one of Lesnar’s matches in 2016 and 2017 has gone over the 15-minute mark, per And three of them have been lower than 5 minutes: vs. The Wyatt Family at Roadblock (Four:00), vs. Goldberg at Survivor Series 2016 (1:25) and vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 (Four:45).

New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s IWGP world champ Kazuchika Okada, on the opposite hand, has had 4 matches go over the 30-minute mark throughout his reign.


three. Throwback Video of the Week: Chuck Norris

Breezango’s latest comedy segment spoofed Walker, Texas Ranger, mentioning reminiscences of Chuck Norris’ interactions with the WWE world.

The world-famous ass-kicker served because the particular enforcer for the Undertaker vs. Yokozuna match at Survivor Series 1994. In this clip, Norris promoted the bout like solely he can:

It could also be time to name on his providers once more contemplating how chaotic the SmackDown women’s division has been of late. Norris karate-chopping James Ellsworth in the throat to take care of order can be a wonderful sight.


Four. Incoming Rush?

Lio Rush, the fastest-rising star in professional wrestling immediately, could also be coming to WWE. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported: “The word going around backstage at CZW [Combat Zone Wrestling] is that Rush was in Orlando earlier this week at the WWE Performance Center and has been offered an NXT deal.”

It’s not clear how Rush would match in the WWE panorama at simply 5’6”, however it might be thrilling to see him attempt to make his mark on the corporate.

Rush is a younger, hungry expertise with superhuman quickness. He has dazzled in the ring with males like Ricochet and Marty Scurll. He is an outstanding athlete clearly intent on perfecting his craft.

Should he proceed that course of at NXT, will probably be greatest to not take one’s eyes off him.


5. The Unseen Finish

Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater fought at Great Balls of Fire in a match that did not actually really feel prefer it occurred. The cameras minimize to emergency personnel prying Braun Strowman free from the crashed car.

The bulk of Hawkins vs. Slater did not present up onscreen. Unless you have been in the constructing, you did not even see how Slater completed off his opponent.

Luckily, Hawkins crammed us in:

Having enjoyable with the second, Hawkins drew up an ending for the ages. This has been the previous tag champ’s M.O. of late, creating an improved, alternate actuality for himself on-line.

It hasn’t mattered whether or not he is requested to lose in mere seconds or hold round in catering for the entire present, Hawkins appears to be having a very good quantity of enjoyable in his newest WWE run. 


6. Demon-Taming

As nice because the WWE manufacturing staff has been, it ought to sit and research the promo for Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones at UFC 214.

The stirring video package deal units up this battle as a life-changing second for Jones. It tells a narrative of a person looking for redemption and of the bruiser standing in his means.

The music, the emotion, the depth of all of it is one thing WWE ought to attempt to match in its personal promos for marquee bouts.  


7. History at The Garden 

Championship gold altering palms outdoors of the TV and PPV realms is uncommon. 

AJ Styles is not any stranger to doings others have not, although. The Phenomenal One gained the United States Championship at a non-televised occasion at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

We have not seen that occur with a singles title on the primary roster in over a decade. 

Christian dethroned Booker T at a stay occasion in 2003 to say the Intercontinental Championship. Lance Storm won the U.S. Championship in 2000 at a home present through the title’s WCW days. And one has to go all the best way again to 1994 to seek out an occasion when somebody gained the WWE Championship at a home present when Diesel knocked off Bob Backlund in New York.

Perhaps the subsequent bit of historical past Styles makes is turning into the primary U.S. champ to carry the title for a full yr since Rick Rude in 1991-1992.


eight. Early Kurt Angle Classics

Fans obtained to see Kurt Angle on the highest and lowest factors of his profession in the brand new WWE 24 particular. It was a revealing and riveting take a look at the Hall of Famer.

And it made it exhausting to not get nostalgic about when Angle tore it up in the ring on a daily foundation.

The following bouts are some of his greatest from the primary few years of his profession. They are must-see for followers who solely know Angle because the Raw common supervisor.  

Angle, like Styles in the present day, might flourish in the ring with nearly anyone. The Rock had some of his greatest work reverse the Olympian, as did many others. 


9. When A Loss Isn’t a Loss

In the document books, Lesnar defeated Joe at Great Balls of Fire.

The Destroyer, nevertheless, got here away the actual winner. He raised his inventory and made it clear that he belonged in there with The Beast Incarnate. He made the prospect of him difficult Lesnar once more an exciting one.

And Joe seemed like a monster for almost all of the match.

Samoa Joe looks to finish off Brock Lesnar.

Samoa Joe seems to be to complete off Brock Lesnar.Credit:

He had Lesnar reeling, red-faced with wobbly legs. Joe was the snake choking the life out of a gorilla. The champ was wounded and weak, the titan instantly mortal. 

As Joe put it the subsequent night time on Raw, Lesnar did not beat him as a lot as he escaped him.

A mixture of sensible reserving and a clutch efficiency from The Samoan Submission Machine turned a defeat right into a career-boosting second. Even after an F-5 floored him, Joe continued his climb to the WWE mountaintop.


10. Bayley On Her Character, Career 

When issues started to develop stagnant for a wrestler, it is time to rethink one’s strategy. That’s precisely what Bayley has been doing as she’s hit a droop.

The former women’s champion talked to Stone Cold on The Steve Austin Show (h/t Wrestling Inc for the transcription) about the place she is now in her profession.

“I guess it’s time to evolve because I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for the last four years, but you always need to evolve. And I plan on doing this for a really long time, so I know it needs to go just like different directions, maybe a different attitude,” she stated.

A heel flip is not needed. Neither is an entire reimagining of who Bayley is. Tweaks in her presentation, although, have to occur, and she or he talked about some concepts on that entrance in the interview. 

She does not have to scrap her act; it simply wants a coat of paint.

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