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Natalya Defeats Naomi to Win SmackDown Women's Title at WWE SummerSlam 2017

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

Natalya continued her recent roll Sunday at SummerSlam by defeating Naomi to become SmackDown women's champion for the first time.

WWE @WWE

Another Hart family memory at #SummerSlam as @NatbyNature forces @NaomiWWE to TAP OUT, becoming the NEW #SDLive #WomensChampion! https://t.co/eChDQM0gcA

Opinions were mixed on the result:

Dave Schilling @dave_schilling

If this gets us to Charlotte/Natalya, I'm ok with it. #SummerSlam

Donald Wood @Donald_Wood

Natalya is a stellar in-ring worker and she has paid her dues. The story isn't great, but she deserves a run with the title. #SummerSlam

Will! @itswilltime

Natalya and Naomi killed it. Natalya's best performance since her Takeover match against Charlotte a couple years back.

Naomi would later congratulate the new champion on Twitter, while Natalya celebrated her big win:

Trinity Fatu @NaomiWWE

Congrats @NatbyNature but just know you can never stop my GLOW https://t.co/dH9hi0Jvrd

Nattie @NatbyNature

It's about time this championship found its way into the rightful hands. #QueenOfBlackHarts #GlowStopper #AndNew #SummerSlam 🖤🐈 https://t.co/SVVaN4GXb0

Nattie emerged as an unlikely contender at Battleground by defeating Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Lana and Tamina in a Fatal 5-Way elimination match to become Naomi's new challenger.

While Natalya has long been among WWE's best female workers, she has often been lost in the shuffle on SmackDown Live and used in a supporting role rather than truly being elevated into title contention.

Her legitimacy has never been questioned as the only female graduate of the Hart Dungeon, though, and she gained even more credibility by last eliminating Charlotte to win that match.

Nattie quickly took aim at Naomi, criticized her light-up title and suggested that she was making a mockery out of being champion.

She even took to Twitter to bad-mouth Naomi and announce her intentions for SummerSlam:

Nattie @NatbyNature

The Women's Championship isn't your personal toy to SELFISHLY do what you please with. At #SummerSlam, I'll steal your glow & the title...✌️ https://t.co/nUHLC9bxBr

Naomi has been considered one of WWE's most underrated performers for years, and it wasn't until recently that she was given an opportunity to reside at the top of the women's division.

She memorably won the SmackDown Women's Championship in her hometown of Orlando, Florida, at WrestleMania, but her booking has been highly inconsistent ever since.

Aside from a match against Charlotte for the title on SmackDown that was interrupted by The Welcoming Committee, Naomi didn't have much to hang her hat on in terms of significant matches until Sunday.

Naomi's biggest feud prior to Nattie was a three-match series against Lana that included a bout at Money in the Bank.

All three contests were fairly short and weren't especially competitive, as Naomi prevailed against her far less experienced opponent.

Sunday's match offered a far greater challenge, however, since Nattie is one of the most veteran women on the entire roster.

Natalya used that experience to her advantage, and by virtue of scoring the massive win, she and Naomi seem likely to engage in a long-term rivalry.

                 

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