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: Jen Engle, here we go again, as Total Divas is two episodes into its second season and it feels like they’ve cycled through three seasons worth of twists—in a good way! It’s the wildest ride on television! Anyhow, I hope this week has treated you well. I am still exhausted and doubt I will be recovered from my trip to Las Vegas before my next trip to New Orleans; these are good problems to have.
Jen: Ben, I’m starting to get jealous over here! Vegas and now New Orleans!? Where do I sign up?
So much has happened in this episode, it was almost hard to keep up!
Ben: So when we last left our fair Divas, Nikki had embarked upon the longest walk on a short pier in history where a wine and roses-carrying John Cena awaited. Would he propose? I don’t think anybody whose last name isn’t Bella thought so.
And indeed John does not pop the question, but does admit he lost his cool in their fight from the first season finale and that he needs Nikki in his life because she makes him a better person. It’s a nice speech and I do believe John truly cares about Nikki, but for some reason he chooses to pinpoint forcing her to move too fast as moving cross country as the problem and them splitting time between Florida and the west coast as the solution, side-stepping the marriage/baby issues that actually lie at the center of this couple’s conflict. Nikki takes him back, which I don’t blame her for—she wants to be with him and he is offering some kind of compromise—but also thinks this puts a possible wedding and children back on the table, whereas it still seems very much unresolved and hanging over them. If I’m not mistaken, John more or less says they’ll talk about it later, which is guy code for he bought himself some time.
Jen: I really hope that Nikki didn’t genuinely believe that John was going to propose. I knew from the moment she stepped in front of him that she’d take him back no matter what he said. He totally avoided the true issue at hand and said what he had to say to get Nikki back. If John hadn’t told Nikki that they’d talk about marriage and babies again “later,” I would have been shocked. Yup, he’s buying some time. People do change though and I hope that he’s not wasting her time.
Ben: So after one heck of an opener, where do you go from there? To Monday Night Raw, of course! Eva Marie greets Cameron backstage and notes in a cut-in interview that they’re buddies because neither of them came up through the independent wrestling ranks and thus the other girls look down on them somewhat. Pretty much every Diva on the show aside from Nattie and possibly Trinity came into WWE through modeling or something similar, but Eva and Cameron definitely spent the least time in developmental at the very least, so it makes sense. However, this bond would be sorely tested as the episode wore on.
Jen: I never noticed the two of them being overly friendly in the past, so I figured this could only be a prelude to some drama.
Ben: Oh, at some point I think we established that time has passed since the night on the pier and Nikki and John are now firmly back together. Or they just move really fast. Either or—probably both.
Anyway, Nikki takes Brie on a quick tour of John’s tour bus, which, needless to say, is friggin’ awesome. My wife and I have been house hunting and it has been agonizing, so at this point I paused the show to ask how much a bus would be and she laughed—if any of our readers know how much a decent tour bus is, please e-mail me.
The coup de grace is the giant bed with mirrors overhead which you knew Nikki would use as an opportunity to note how much sex she is having, and she does not disappoint; Brie reacts with her usual vow to become celibate due to her sister over-sharing.
Jen: We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again the timeline on this show doesn’t make any sense! Glad to see these two back together and happy though.
The tour bus is awesome. If I had to guess, I would say that it would set you back at least a million maybe two. I am not what you would call a “camping” sort of girl, but I might be persuaded if this is what I was camping in. Of course, you can’t really call that camping now can you?
I think that I would have been more shocked if there weren’t mirrors over the bed. Come on Brie, you knew that the conversation would go there with Nikki!
Ben: Brunch time! Did we have one last episode? It’s been a long week. Brie tells the assembled girls that seeing John’s bus inspired her to ask Bryan to rent one, at least for a Texas tour, as it would beat cramping in a car and getting no sleep; while initially reluctant due to gas mileage, he relents upon her promise to consolidate with friends, meaning all the other Divas will be joining up, plus TJ and Jon for good measure. The only person reluctant about this idea is Nattie, because Eva asks if Summer—not present at the meal can come—and Brie says sure. Nattie still had a mad-on for Summer, which the other Divas are blaming on their mutual blondeness, but I could have sworn Nattie had pink hair or something; it’s worth noting that I’m color blind.
Speaking of Summer, she interrupts brunch and drags Eva away for an urgent photo shoot which of course has cartoon smoke coming out of Nattie’s ears. I’m not sure what Summer did to offend Nattie, but I think it’s just a territorial thing, as she treated Eva the same way last season, though their relationship seems oddly cordial now. In their car ride to the photo shoot, Eva tells Summer everything and she snarks on Nattie like nobody’s business. Whereas Eva just seems more or less oblivious to how she makes other people feel, Summer definitely has more awareness of her cattiness, and to be fair, with the environment they’re in, I think that’s more a survival skill than anything else.
Jen: Do these brunches seem horribly staged to anyone but me? No? Just me?
I don’t know anything about wrestling, but I guess I just assumed they all took a bus or something in between cities when they toured like this. Sure, they have to take a plane often but providing a bus for a tour through Texas makes a lot of sense, WWE.
Based on where Brie and Bryan registered last episode, I was actually kind of surprised that Brie recommended renting the bus based on the gas mileage. But at the same time, if they all rented cars and drove around separately, I guess they’d probably waste more gas.
I don’t get where the Nattie cattiness towards Summer comes from either, but it sure is playing well for the cameras. Whatever the reason is, Nattie does not want Summer on that bus. There are enough people cramped on that bus to give each of them some space.
Ben: Later at the next show, Eva and Cameron are taking pics of each other for Instagram or another social media service that I don’t understand but should because the people at work yell at me. Eva waits until Nattie gets there to announce she will be going to Afghanistan, which in the real world would be horrible news, but in WWE, is kind of cool, as it means she’s been selected to visit the troops by Vince McMahon himself. The other girls seems happy for her at first until she really starts hammering home how awesome it is in that way that she does, noting she gets to fly on a private jet and trying to make “All red everything” happen as a catch phrase. Her buddy Cameron is not amused, noting in her cut away that she’s sick of Eva always bragging about her opportunities. So that’s what happened to JoJo’s subplot…
Jen: Yup, that explains it all. Sorry, JoJo! We miss you!
It seems as though if Eva Marie isn’t lying about something, she’s bragging about herself. I totally hear ya Cameron, it’s getting old, and fast. I guess that this is pretty big news, but the way she delivers it, I don’t know. It irks me too.
Ben: We head to the ring, where Nattie and the Bellas are taking on Divas champ AJ, the Amazonian Tamina and the ever-recurring Alicia Fox, who I was really hoping would be added to this season. Nikki has AJ up for a move and gets brutally kicked in the face by Tamina, and they show it enough times to demonstrate she pretty clearly connected hard. Everybody backstage gasps, AJ knees Nikki in the face again to set up the pin, and things clearly are not all well in Bella-ville.
Backstage and via Nikki we learn she lost a tooth, which I didn’t 100% buy initially because they didn’t show it, then they did and I wished they hadn’t. Nikki’s first concern is that John will find her hideous now because she “looks like a hobo,” which, obviously, she does not. My wife notes Nikki is using some new highlights on her hair and can’t decide if she likes them or not. Wanting to avoid John—and because the show would be less interesting if she didn’t make this decision—Nikki opts to spend the evening on Bryan and Brie’s bus.
Jen: I have an irrational fear of the dentist, so losing a tooth is pretty much my worst nightmare. I feel so bad for Nikki at this point, I can’t even believe she is still standing (because I would curled up in the fetal position and crying). I don’t really understand why she is so afraid to tell John about this, though. I think it’s safe to say that the two of them are past the stage of trying to impress each other, and this kind of stuff can happen in their job at any time. Remember John before his surgery last season? Come on! That looked way worse than her missing tooth.
Ben: After Bryan lays out the ground rules for his bus—no going number two, no sex, and I think something else but I can’t remember—the gang plays an immediately awkward game of Truth or Dare that kicks off with Summer asking TJ if he’s ever had better sex than Nattie, him saying he’s never had sex with anybody else, and the two “blondes” staring daggers at each other. Summer gets a shot in at Nattie being jealous of Eva last season when she “wrestled” TJ before Nattie fires back asking if the newest Divas has ever slept with anybody at work, a claim she denies but that everybody, even Bryan, claims to have heard as a rumor. Summer doesn’t seem to care that any of the girls—or TJ or Jon—think she’s making her way around the roster, but since Bryan is a “top guy,” that unnerves her.
Jen: Is there a class people can take on how to be the stereotypical catty reality star? Because I’m pretty sure that Summer Rae took it. I’m not saying she aced the class, but she’s off to a good start. A pretty sure fire way to piss off your intended nemesis is to ask her husband about his sex life. I really don’t believe Summer’s denial at all, but then again that is probably why she is so unnerved. She knows it’s true.
Ben: Cameron announces that she’ll be appearing in the pages of “Rolling Out” magazine, which I’ve never heard of, but good for her. I feel bad when nobody else has heard of it either and they don’t do a remotely convincing job of pretending otherwise. Eva fairly insensitively one-ups the news by choosing now to let everybody know she’s going to be in the Maxim Top 100. I really want to try and give Eva the benefit of the doubt this season, but it’s hard to believe she’s really that tone deaf as far as reading people rather than just playing up innocence and then pouncing at any opportunity to put herself over.
Jen: Errr…I’ve never heard of the magazine either. But I would have done my best to tell her how happy I was for her! This is SO not the time to bring up Maxim, Eva Marie! I can’t give her the benefit of the doubt Ben, she clearly needs to be the center of attention and can’t be happy for anyone else unless she’s one step ahead.
Ben: Once Eva, Summer and a couple others go to bed, Cameron shares with the girls still up some racy photos she found online that Eva did when she was younger. A lot of the WWE Divas have this particular skeleton in their closet, so it’s not that shocking; a bit childish on Cameron’s part, but she was venting. However, I definitely think she crosses a line where the next day at the show she circulates the pictures all over the locker room, to the point where Seamstress Sandra and even Fandango have seen them! Not cool. Summer learns what has happened and goes to tell Eva the score.
Jen: I’m sure if you really wanted to find these pictures you could, but it doesn’t mean that it is okay for Cameron to pass the photos around at work. I don’t care what their job is, it’s their workplace and the pictures should be kept out of it. I was actually mad at Cameron for Eva when I watched this go down, and that says a lot.
Ben: On SmackDown, Nikki gets revenge on Tamina while AJ does commentary and gets a great line in about how when you watch the replay of the kick “you can see the exact moment where Nikki forgot math.” I loathe disparaging remarks about the Bellas, but it’s hard not to chuckle at that one.
Following the match, Brie gets on her sister’s case about avoiding John, and then plays the trump card of reminding her they can’t have sex unless they see each other. Ingenious! Just to be safe, Brie then takes Nikki down with a head scissors until she promises to go sort things out, after which Nikki claims that her vagina has been injured.
Nikki ends up getting on John’s bus—after a kind of weird segue where he can tell something’s up and asks her to “report to the principal’s office”—and shows off her missing tooth, which he barely reacts to. They have a nice wrap-up where he promises not to make any jokes then says “and that’s the tooth” which was just corny enough to crack me up.
Jen: I’m proud of the way Brie pretty much told Nikki she was being an idiot and got her to ‘fess up to John about the tooth. How he wouldn’t have known about it by now, I don’t know but it was about time Nikki told him. If someone lost a tooth at my office, I imagine it would be around the building in no time. I’m sure it’s the same at the WWE.
Great work on the tooth pun, John! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Even if that whole talk was staged because John probably heard about her missing tooth from Fandango or someone.
Ben: Back on the other bus, Eva confronts Cameron about her shady behavior, putting the Funkadactyl on the defense. Cameron contends that Eva’s ego has been out of control and she had this coming, Eva argues that those pictures were from a part of her life she wanted to stay buried; I started this episode ready to take Cameron’s side, especially after the Afghanistan and Maxim stuff, but it’s pretty hard not to see what she did as a totally unnecessary escalation as well as completely unprofessional given that she brought it to the workplace, and her lack of a sincere apology here doesn’t help matters. Typically I’m a big Cameron fan and roll my eyes at Eva, but the roles were for sure reversed here.
Jen: As much as I hate to admit it, the roles were definitely reversed here for me too. I still find Cameron pretty annoying, but I thought she was slightly less annoying last week (and Eva Marie as evil as ever of course). Cameron’s action and terrible apology definitely made me lose a lot of respect for her. I still can’t believe she showed those photos of Eva around the workplace. Is she still in high school? I can’t imagine a job where something like this would ever be an acceptable behavior
Ben: Eva decides to hop off the bus and get a hotel room with Summer, but before she exits, Trinity, who has been mostly silent this episode, pursues her. Eva breaks down about how she was very young and abusing alcohol when she had those pictures taken—which finally solves the mystery from season one’s Vegas episode about why she wasn’t drinking!—and they bring up painful memories. She breaks down and Trinity, who has possibly pulled ahead of Brie as most likable Diva, gives her a comforting hug.
Jen: As much as I dislike Eva, she’s apparently come a long way and doesn’t deserve to have this painful time in her past passed around her workplace. Props to Trinity for reaching out to Eva Marie, it seems like no one else did, even though everyone saw the photos.
Ben: After we see Eva and Summer in their hotel room explaining the situation to Jonathan, it’s back to Raw where Trinity confronts Cameron and calls her out on her behavior. Trinity notes that Cameron had mug shots of a DUI she was falsely accused of circulated not that long ago, which sucked, and demands she apologizes to Eva. You go, Trin!
Jen: That’s right, go Trinity! Cameron deserved it, and Eva deserves an actual apology.
Ben: Meanwhile, Fandango lives up to his reputation on the show by revealing to Eva in a manner as creepy as humanly possible that yes, he’s seen the pictures. Summer lets Nattie know that she’s opening the show via odd dancing, which Nattie then mocks to Trinity; not sure what to make of that.
Jen: I still maintain that Fandango is one of the creepiest men on TV today.
Ben: This episode wraps with Cameron—who I’ve been calling Cameron instead of Ariane this whole time because her name card now reads “Cameron/Ariane” and I forgot and don’t feel like going back to change—apologizing to Eva…and Eva refusing to accept! Whoa! I was genuinely surprised because this show tends to end all of these episode-long arguments with a neat resolution, but heck…I’m on Eva’s side! Cameron’s actions were out of line and Eva has no reason to forgive her at this point.
Jen: Yup, I’m on Eva’s side on this one too. Cameron doesn’t deserve forgiveness, especially with her stupid fake apology.
Ben: Kind of a crazy episode, with Eva Marie coming off as the good guy and the cliffhanger being more than a little unorthodox. Very interested to see where it gets taken next week.
Jen: See you next week!!!