Battleground, the latest WWE pay-per-view, is about to begin. This is a SmackDown Live branded event, so does the SmackDown Women’s Champion have a match on the card? What will Naomi be doing tonight?
Unfortunately, SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi does not currently have a match at Battleground tonight.
Instead, there will be a fatal five-way elimination match at Battleground to determine who will go on to face Naomi at SummerSlam next month. The participants are Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina, and Lana.
Naomi herself, however, has nothing to do, at least nothing that has been announced. This is something that has disappointed a lot of fans, especially because this is the second WWE pay-per-view in the last few months where the SmackDown Women’s Championship was not defended. At Backlash in May, Naomi did participate in a six-woman tag team match, teaming up against Charlotte and Becky Lynch to go up against The Welcoming Committee. However, she did not have a match with the championship on the line. Battleground is the first SmackDown Live branded pay-per-view since Naomi won the SmackDown Women’s Championship in which she has not had a match.
At Money in the Bank last month, Naomi did have a match against Lana, although a much larger emphasis was placed on the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Carmella won this match, and she then won the rematch on a subsequent episode of SmackDown Live. A lot of fans feel like Naomi lately is just sort of holding on to the title until Carmella cashes in.
“I feel like Naomi is the definition of a paper champion right now,” Reddit user alindegaard said this week. “Just someone to hold the belt until Summerslam when Carmella cashes [in].”
The SmackDown Women’s Championship is the only SmackDown-branded title that will not be defended at Battleground tonight. There will be matches over the WWE Championship, the United States Championship, and the Tag Team Championship.
Naomi’s next major title defense will be at SummerSlam on August 20th. Her opponent will be the woman who wins the fatal five-way elimination match tonight.