WWE Superstar Naomi had to relinquish her Smackdown Women’s Championship on Tuesday, just over a week after winning it at the Elimination Chamber. New champ Alexa Bliss is totally fine with that, of course, but the reason that onscreen general manager gave for stripping Naomi of the title was a knee injury that will keep her out of action past the mandatory 30-day period for defending a title (one of my all-time favorite pro wrestling rules).
So just how serious is Naomi’s injury, and how long will she be out? She was wearing a knee brace and noticeably limping on Tuesday, and according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the injury is worse than WWE initially suspected. It was originally anticipated that she would be able to wrestle again this week, which is why they initially made a match between her and Bliss for the title last Tuesday.
Naomi injured her knee delivering a moonsault while winning the title at Elimination Chamber, and the knee injury is believed to be “similar to” the one that currently has Seth Rollins on the shelf (which is itself believed to be a ligament tear). Naomi posted a rehab video to her Instagram account and said she “nearly” blew out her MCL, and that it could have been much worse.
Naomi’s recovery isn’t expected to be a lengthy one, but it will be at least a few more weeks. Her status for WrestleMania 33 is still up in the air at the moment, but there’s a possibility she could return in time to be on the card in her hometown of Orlando.