Last month, both Naomi and WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, made headlines when they traveled to Super ShowDown and competed for the title. Though the match turned out to be a success, Naomi recalls that the flight going to Saudi Arabia was terrifying.
“We almost didn’t land, because we flew into an awful sand storm,” Naomi informed Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory. “They said it was the worst that they had ever had in three years.”
Naomi added that the reason she decided to braid her hair for her match wasn’t because she was told to by Saudi officials, or because of their cultural demands, it was because she didn’t want to have to worry about fixing her hair, so she could instead, focus on her upcoming match.
“So, when I landed, I had a headpiece on, and there was sand in my hair,” Naomi said. “I was so busy and didn’t want to worry about my hair. So, when we landed and got into the hotel, I was like, ‘No, I’m about to braid this up.'”
Prior to going to Saudi Arabia, Naomi had her doubts about whether or not she should do it. She said a very special WWE Superstar reassured her that going overseas was going to be a big highlight in her career.
“I was really happy that I got to talk to Natalya about going, because I had my own perceptions and reservations about going, like personal reasons,” Naomi stated. “Like, who I am as a woman and a person, especially with what I stand for and believe in – I had some reservations about it. I talked to Nattie, and after hearing about her experience, I realized that me going was a way bigger impact than me not going… I knew I needed to go, and I’m so happy that I went.”
An example of something that opened Naomi’s perception during her trip there, was how the fans reacted to her.
“Just how much it meant to women over there, to see us there,” Naomi answered. “Even for the men to be accepting, and to be so helpful, and supportive. And the kids, seeing them cry, and the women crying, just seeing how they were all so connected. Even before the matches started, they were chanting for us and having their signs. I’m thinking ‘How do they even know who I am?’ But, they do, and it’s real. It’s way bigger than just a wrestling match.”
Before their match was announced, Naomi informed Garcia that her match with Bayley at Super ShowDown was the first time they ever stepped in the ring with each other. Garcia was surprised to hear that.
“I have never worked a match with Bayley [before then], so that was scary,” Naomi announced. “Other than me throwing her out in the Royal Rumble, Bayley and I, have never touched. I prayed that the chemistry was going to be there and that we were going to have a good match. It was a big moment. You don’t want to F’ it up.”
Naomi touched on the fact that she has enjoyed her feud with Bayley as of late, as well as how each woman in the Four Horsewomen have all shined collectively as a group, and individually. She finds each one of them to be “dope.”
“Bayley to me is one of the best wrestlers,” Naomi complimented. “Being able to go against her has so far been a great experience. I think all of the Four Horsewomen are just dope. Those girls can go. I’ve never really gotten to work with any of them, in a legit storyline. I would love to dig deeper into something, like some sort of angle, to see what we can bring out of each other.”
Speaking of one of the Four Horsewomen, Sasha Banks, who also took time off from the WWE after WrestleMania 35 last April, was in contact with Naomi after they both stepped away from the WWE. Naomi noted that she was glad that they both were able to take a breather, and she hopes that more wrestlers can do the same in the future.
“We both talked and were like ‘I wish talent would do that more.’ It’s needed,” Naomi informed. “We know how to rehab ourselves, physically, you know, when we get hurt, or we’re overwhelmed, or stressed, you take time off. We got that part down. But mentally, we never talk about things in rehab. With year, after year, after year, with no break, and no time off, your mind needs a break sometimes. I hope that they allow us to do it more. It’s needed.”
You can view Naomi’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory- Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.