SmackDown Superstar Naomi recently appeared on the Women's Wrestling Weekly podcast and revealed that she asked to be sent to work some on the WWE NXT brand when she wasn't being used about a year or so ago.
As noted in late September 2019, Naomi tweeted to tell fans that she had been away from the ring because she lost a close family member, and was dealing with health issues of her own. She returned at the 2020 Royal Rumble last month, and is currently in a feud with Carmella and SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley. Naomi told WWW that the family member she lost was her cousin, who was like a sister, while she was giving birth. She talked more about her health issues, and what she found out after she visited a doctor back home.
"2019 kicked my ass, pretty much," Naomi said. "I lost my cousin, who was like a sister-cousin. Same age. She passed tragically giving birth so that was — I had never experienced [having to] deal with anything like that, and there was just no way I could focus and work going through that. So I took time off for that. Also, before that happened, I was just extremely exhausted, extremely tired, maybe for the like the past year and, we all work so hard and we never wanna say, 'I need time off' or 'I need a break.' Only time in ten years I've ever taken time off, legitimately, was due to injuries and even that isn't time off because you're so stressed out about missing out, your spot being taken and trying to rehab. That's probably one of the most stressful things so, I finally just had to get myself together, mentally, emotionally, physically. I was just breaking down so when I asked for that time off to bury my cousin and to go back home and be there with my family, and her kids that are left here, I end up going to the doctor just to see what was wrong with me because it was very hard for me to get through matches. I was extremely fatigued all the time.
"I was literally chugging energy drinks just to get through the days of travel and matches. I didn't know what was wrong. I found out I was severely anemic. I never knew that. So bad to the point where the doctors told me had I came in later, whatever count was at a 9.4, if it would've got under a nine, then I probably would've [needed] a blood transfusion which that blew my mind, because I always thought I'm fine, I'm healthy, I'm working out everyday, I'm eating good. But it was that, and I found out I had a stomach ulcer. I found out I was completely Vitamin D deficient, so I was just… I don't even know how I was going through everything and life and my schedule that way, and so finding that out really woke me up and helped me to realize that I really need to take better care of myself instead of being so focused on everyone and everything else. And just taking a mental break. That's what it was more than anything, and I didn't expect to be off that long but, that's just how it ended up happening and how storylines went and I needed it. That was a hard time, a scary time because obviously I miss work, and you never wanna take off for those kind of things and yeah. I was really able to reconnect with my family, my loved ones, my friends who I haven't seen in years just because I've been on the road and traveling and so focused on work and the schedules never work."
Naomi revealed that she asked to be sent to NXT around a year ago when she wasn't being used on main roster TV. She hoped to go to NXT to work with or work against Bianca Belair.
"I asked about a year ago to go down to NXT to work," Naomi revealed. (H/T to POST Wrestling for the quote) "I just think NXT is awesome. I love NXT and also, the time I wasn't being used much on the main roster so, I was like, 'Dang, can I go down there and just see what I can get into, what could happen, and the talent down there is just so good.' Just so good, and this was at the time where… I love Bianca, and her personality and her spirit is even more beautiful so, that was one idea I had.
"I either wanted to go work against her or to be with her or to do this story but it wasn't the right time and also, B is a star all on her own and I think they want her to be that and come into her own but, it's just a dream of mine because we've never officially had two African-American tag team champions. That's never happened, and I think, it might've been me and Cameron — we were the first legit, two black tag team females."
Naomi will face Carmella on this Friday's SmackDown with the winner going on to challenge SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley at WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on February 27. Naomi vs. Bayley is also rumored for WrestleMania 36 in April.