When Place to Be Nation sought out a correspondent to watch and write about the new WWE/E! reality show Total Divas each week, they initially wanted a “female voice.” Unfortunately for them, lifelong wrestling fan Ben Morse also happens to count Melrose Place among his all-time favorite shows and already has every other E! show on in the background via his lovely wife Megan, so he whined until they let him do it.
Jen Engle doesn’t watch wrestling or E!, but the Powers that PTB roped her into this anyway.
Find out what happens when one overly enthusiastic dude and a lady who has no idea what’s going on talk about a weekly “reality” show focusing on the female side of WWE.
Ben: After months of Eva Marie’s drama, the Funkadactyls’ career ups and downs, Summer Rae’s rough initiation into being a Diva and Nattie being Nattie, Total Divas brought it back to the Bellas for the two-part season finale, focusing on Brie’s wedding and Nikki’s secret marriage—with a sizable side helping of WrestleMania.
We’ve kept you waiting long enough—more on that later—so here’s our extra-sized recap of this extra-sized extravaganza.
Ben: Part one focused a lot on Brie and Bryan doing the last minute-planning of their WrestleMania weekend wedding—and because they’re on the road all the time, most of the stuff the average couple would do months earlier ended up being “last minute” in this case, for all you prospective soon-to-be-newlyweds looking to Total Divas for guidance—and as somebody who went through this himself only a few years ago, I enjoyed seeing my favorite WWE couple work through it.
Before they head out, though, Brie insists Bryan trim his trademark beard for their big days, trying to use some kooky cream to pull bits off and giving him the opportunity for those classic one-liners that the last few episodes have sorely lacked, though nothing better than the deadpan “This is good hummus” he counters her initial flurry of wedding queries with.
Also, Bryan and Josie the dog get uncomfortably intimate during this segment.
Jen: As a two-time MOH (and soon to be third!) I have to wonder how these two planned their destination wedding in Arizona in what seemed like only days before the wedding! That’s reality TV I guess. Future brides and grooms be warned, the camera trimmed a lot of planning from the episode.
Part of me was hoping we’d see Bryan actually shave the beard! It would have been a nice Total Divas Surprise! But then again, this was filmed a while ago and I’m pretty sure the cat would have been let out of the bag long before this aired…
Ben: Nikki speaks with Nattie to reiterate that she doesn’t want people to know about her secret marriage. Nattie vows she has not said anything and this whole exercise seems like an unnecessary vote of no confidence by Nikki, but…foreshadowing.
Since she promised Brie she would get it done before the wedding, Nikki pulls John out of a meeting with one of WWE’s merchandise people to drop the bombshell on him. However, she loses her cool and pretends she just wants to know what’s in his new line of clothing, which he says will be the same stuff that’s in all his lines of clothing and she walks off; Cena’s no dummy and suspects something’s up.
Jen: I totally understand why Nikki is nervous to tell John about her marriage, but she dug herself into this mess. She should have told him early on! They’ve been together too long for him not to know. I had a feeling that she would back out at the last minute, and her attempt to change the subject failed miserably.
Ben: At Brie’s final dress fitting with her sister and Mama Bella, Nikki lets fly that she has not told John yet, and we quickly see hell hath no fury like a Bella scorned. To make matters worse, a WWE rep calls Nikki and says they need the twins for a pre-WrestleMania video shoot that conflicts with Brie scoping out her venue, but Nikki ignores her sister’s pleas and says they’ll be there. A quick non-shouting match—the Bellas don’t shout, they just eye roll with ferocity—about the important of career vs. marriage ends with Brie calling Nikki “a selfish bitch.” They showed Brie saying that and Nikki reacting a bunch in previews, and my wife was sure it was classic Total Divas editing where Brie was really talking about somebody else, but nope, that happened.
Jen: If the wedding was as close as they portrayed it to be, I would have flipped out if I were Brie! Nikki has a point about it being her career too, but I can’t imagine how much that stressed Brie out. I’m really not surprised that she actually called Nikki a bitch!
Ben: Brief aside to the recovered-from-injury Trinity who has flown in to be background fodder in a workout DVD being made by WWE owner Stephanie McMahon; I had not heard of this project, but her husband, Triple H, recently did one, and both are in, y’know, really good shape, so it makes total sense. Trin uses the opportunity to help out the boss as a double opportunity to let Steph know she’s back and ready to go for WrestleMania; Stephanie in turn gives her a big hug and says she’s glad to have her back without really committing one way or another to her spot at the big event.
Jen: I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more WWE personalities with their own workout videos. They are all in phenomenal shape and it seems like a good way to market yourself to a new audience.
Ben: The Bellas have made their way to New Orleans, which looks every bit as dirty and grey as it did when I went there for WrestleMania myself (sorry New Orleans readers and Andrew Riche) complete with a sad clown walking down the street. This proves to be enough for another classic Bella exchange as they use the clown as a focal point for their conflict on whether Brie’s wedding should have taken precedence over the girls’ career with Nikki talking about how he probably has mouths to feed and needs to be a clown while Brie says being a clown means nothing if he can’t have those special moments with his loved ones—simply tremendous.
Mama Bella has paid a visit to Brie’s prospective venue in her stead and lets her know on speaker phone that there are no bathrooms as well as a lot of emus relieving themselves; Brie doesn’t seem bothered by the lack of places for her guests to relieve themselves (“It’s not a long ceremony”) but the prospect of porta-potties turns Nikki’s stomach. Personally, I’m terrified of the emus; giant birds scare me like nothing else. Brie ends the phone call more frustrated than ever, and then the twins head to Bourbon street to participate in a faux Mardi Gras with Big Show and Sheamus.
Jen: Again, I’m not really sure how they are just checking out their possible venues this late in the game? Emus scare me too, I just feel like you can’t trust them. I wouldn’t want to be walking down the aisle and stepping in any of their feces either. The setting may be beautiful, but Brie has about 27 minutes now until she gets married and setting up the farm from scratch is going to take a lot of work. And funds.
Ben: Jumping at least a day or two ahead, Nikki and Nattie are working out and Nikki has flipped from not wanting to talk at all about Brie’s wedding to becoming her sister’s stalwart defender, specifically on the matter of Brie being too nice and wanting to invite Summer despite her being terrible to all of them. One could blame this on reality show pacing, but honestly, to me, it rings true of just how siblings are in terms of being at odds one moment and watching each other’s backs the next. When Brie joins the convo, Nattie reminds the Bellas of the drama of her own wedding—which seems forever ago—involving the not-mentioned-since Jaret—talk about a callback! I miss that guy…
Brie has some thinking to do…
Jen: It never really seemed like any of them were close to Summer to begin with, so I struggle to understand why she would have even been invited to begin with. My guess is that E! had something to do with this and she got an invite reluctantly to begin with. I haven’t had my own wedding yet, but I can’t see ruining my Big Day by inviting someone I can’t tolerate. I’m all for uninviting her, although I never would have invited her to begin with.
Ben: From there we go to a Divas talent relations meeting headed by Mark, still looking like the guy who gets shot before James Bond fights the real bad guy. He first announces that Summer Rae will be the first Diva to appear in a WWE Films project, to the delight of nobody around here—but good for her! We here at Place to Be Nation congratulate her…or at least I do, Jen probably still doesn’t like her.
The second announcement: the Divas title match at WrestleMania will involve every girl challenging AJ, meaning the season-long storyline of Trinity trying to get her shot and even battling back from injury gets somewhat invalidated, but she’s happy just to be on the show, so who am I to complain.
Jen: You are correct Ben, I still don’t like her! I don’t believe her when she’s just talking to the camera/producers now, I am sure I won’t believe her acting. But yeah, good for her…I was waiting for a snarky comment from Nikki questioning whether it was a porn or something…
Trinity took the news about Wrestlemania like a champ! On the inside she had to be seriously disappointed. Her big chance at the title, and now she has to compete against all of these girls that she’s close with (and Eva Marie).
Ben: Back to Brie and Bryan and wedding stuff as they’re headed to scope out the venues. Bryan essentially throws in the towel as far as having any say in the decisions as all grooms do eventually—except my brother-in-law, who held steady through to the end—but makes sure to chide his fiancée on unrealistic expectations for the day of caused by Disney. As an employee of the Walt Disney Company, I will make no official statement for my employers but on my own say how dare you, Bryan and Brie! I trusted you!
Also, he doesn’t think they should invite Summer because their wedding should be about them, not pleasing people they work with; tell her, Bryan!
Also also, the price at the first prospective venue nearly makes Bryan’s beard fall off, but Brie keeps hammering the “special day, once in a lifetime” nail as hard as she can.
Jen: I fully agree with Bryan on Summer’s invitation. It should be about them, and she seems to have such a negative effect on not only Brie, but many of their close friends…why should she be there?
I’m all about a big special day, but if the price of a wedding makes my fiancé’s beard fall off, then maybe it’s too expensive.
Ben: In Florida at Castle Cena, Nikki gives telling John about her secret marriage a second go before leaping back in terror because there’s a little toad or frog on his patio furniture (I’m being generous calling whatever that is “a patio”). Cena saves the amphibian from Nikki’s wrath and asks what she wanted to talk about. Nikki thinks about telling the truth…then instead throws Brie under the bus about being obsessed with her wedding to the detriment of their careers. Wow. John says he’ll talk to Brie if Nikki wants him to, but she shrugs it off and we’re still unresolved.
Ben: Back to Brie and Bryan, the first location seems to be pretty much perfect, and aside from a quick aside on whether or not they need both a band and orchestra—or something—they seem pretty on the same page.
Then they go to location number two, the one Mama Bella visited, which has a pretty bitching view of the mountains, but, as discussed, no bathrooms anywhere near where the ceremony would take place and those awful, awful emus roaming around like beaked killers. Brie likes the emus as claims they’d be a great part of the day. The kicker: this place, which seems like a ghetto compared to the other one, costs more! Bryan and logic ultimately win out, with Brie agreeing to use the nicer and less expensive venue. Bryan attempts to press his luck further by saying they should just elope then and there on the side of the road, but presumably none of the camera guys is an ordained minister; better luck next time, Mr. Danielson.
Jen: Of course it costs more Ben! It’s the experience that costs more! Who wouldn’t want an evil emu running after them on their wedding day?
Ben: Now in New Orleans for WrestleMania, Eva Marie reflects on how far she’s come in her first year with the company, while somewhere in Florida, JoJo gently weeps.
Jen: Poor JoJo. What is she up to these days, anyway? Maybe she opened an Etsy shop? Or maybe she’s trying out a new career as a weather girl? She still wrestles? Really? You wouldn’t know it, based on this show. And well, good for Evil Marie. Summer has taken the top spot in most hated Diva in my book, but I mean I guess she deserves this? (okay, probably not).
Ben: The whole Bella family, including little brother JJ, wanders the French Quarter, which Nikki compares to Mexico, but fortunately for her that gaffe gets immediately overshadowed by mispronouncing “beignets” as “Ben-Gays.” Also, Nikki and JJ bury the hatchet over the secret marriage, and then she totally lies to her family about having told John the truth, providing tremendous albeit 100% false relief for the bride to be.
Jen: Nikki totally set up her own demise here. You could actually see it happening.
Ben: Speaking of things Brie needs to get taken care of before the wedding, she finds Summer and tells her she’s not invited. I would have thought this might have ended with another slap to the face, but Summer gets it, telling Brie it’s her day and also expressing regret for how she’s behaved recently, presumably foreshadowing her following in Eva’s footsteps next season as far as redeeming herself since we’re getting another new Diva in Rosa Mendes. Summer is pretty open about being insecure since she’s the same age as the rest of the girls but much less experienced, and Brie is very encouraging that she thinks she will be fine…but still doesn’t want her at her wedding. I’ll be honest, I was expecting a last minute reversal there; oh well, at least there’s hope for Summer Rae.
Jen: Good for you Brie! (I’m cheering, but I can’t say that I’d ever have the guts to uninvite someone to my wedding).
Ben: We end part one with Eva Marie and Nattie headed out for a signing at Axxess; Eva is incredibly nervous and Nattie more or less gives her an anti-pep talk about what a big deal this is and how if she screws up it will ruin her career forever. Weird way to end!