Facts on Naomi, injuries, Divas and women in WWE

Did you see the pictures of Naomi’s broken eye socket?

If you did, it’s likely you didn’t see it on her Twitter account. She posted it, and then deleted it.

Why?

There are various theories flying around. As you might know, I’m currently working on a piece of research about the current state of the WWE Divas division and how they’re presented on television, and largely I’m of the opinion that WWE don’t like the idea of “women fighting” on their TV shows. They can claw and scratch and pull hair and accuse each other of jealousy, but as a general rule they should be making a point of looking as beautiful as they possibly can – and that means not getting beaten up.

Think of the number of times we’ve seen the male WWE stars with bruises and black eyes or ridiculous disgusting swollen-up elbows. They’re still allowed on TV – those wounds are a mark of masculinity. Naomi’s fractured eye socket isn’t very ladylike – thus seeing it shouldn’t be part of official WWE narrative.

Of course, another theory is that they’re saving all the gruesomeness and fall-out for an episode of Total Divas, the WWE’s preferred medium for its female roster. If so, that makes sense as well – injuries incurred through wrestling can’t be used to advance storylines for the Divas, but it can maybe be part of a desperate bid for mainstream media attention.

I’m not saying that the injury should necessarily be used to build a feud between Naomi and Aksana, who dropped that awful knee on her face; apart from anything else, Aksana really shouldn’t be on television more than is necessary. But certainly Naomi could crush Aksana in revenge, and use her rage at missing out on her Divas’ title challenge at WrestleMania to propel a decent narrative ready for Summerslam.

I fear, however, that the incident will be wiped from WWE history.

On a similar note, I was bewildered by Smackdown this week, as Emma battered Summer Rae and all the announce team could think of to say was that Summer Rae didn’t like Emma because she beat her in a dance contest.

NXT is WWE canon now. They’ve been tweaking NXT commentary after filming and before it airs in order to get a consistent timeline (for example, episodes that were filmed at the start of January are airing now, and have commentary referring to Alexander Rusev’s Royal Rumble appearance). Heck, JBL is purportedly general manager of NXT.

There was nothing stopping them from referring to Emma and Summer Rae having a rivalry at Full Sail. But then there’s nothing stopping them from allowing Summer Rae to show her character as well as her in-ring ability, and instead they’d rather waste her time fawning over Fandango.

It’s becoming a cliche to point out that the women under the tutelage of Sara Del Rey are developing into possibly the best-ever generation of Divas. And yet I still have a feeling of foreboding that while they’ll let Summer Rae snarl, and Emma do her pointy dance, and Paige wear her black eyeliner, and Sasha Banks wear her vast amounts of bling, and Charlotte smile prettily while the commentators talk about her dad – they’ll still never let any of them wrestle for longer than three minutes.

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