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! We’re back! As you never write or call or text or send me mail if we’re not talking about a reality show on E! I have no idea how your life is!
Since last we typed, I’ve been on a whirlwind tour of vacations, work and weddings that took me to faraway Europe, not so faraway Detroit, in between levels of far Las Vegas and also to New York Comic-Con.
Jen: Ben! Welcome back Total Divas fans! I haven’t had as exciting a break as you have, Ben. I caught up on some other television and caught up on some reading. Surprisingly, no vacations but I am hoping to change that very soon.
Ben: My wife, Megan, demonstrated yet another reason I love her when, right before we left to go to France, she noted, “I’m glad Total Divas is on hiatus so we don’t miss a new episode while we’re away.” She’s a keeper. Also, I was watched WWE’s 25 Greatest Rivalries of All-Time DVD when she came home from work on Sunday and she went into a giggling fit because Total Divas Reunion host Renee Young was on screen and she remembered Total Divas was back that night.
Jen: I’ve never met her (or you, for that matter) but Megan sounds like a keeper to me!
Ben: I think I will keep her! Also, Renee Young has changed her Twitter avatar to a screenshot from that reunion special where one of her eyelash extensions fell out and it’s tremendous.
Jen: Anyone that changes their Twitter handle to a picture like that is alright in my book. Anyone that wears eyelash extensions is also alright in my book. Eyelash extensions seem so complicated to me. And that’s coming from a girl that wears three mascaras every day.
Ben: Ok, enough about our lives since we don’t brunch together and talk about our Maxim photo shoots (although maybe we should). Total Divas is back!
And speaking of everything I was just speaking of—it’s called a segue—we join our Divas in the midst of one of those now classic brunches with Eva Marie breaking to Nattie, Brie, JoJo and Trinity that she’s getting a four page spread in Maxim rather than the one page she thought she was getting, and she has photos to show off. I think Eva Marie used the hiatus to unlearn any emotions she may have accidentally picked up during the first run, because she’s more robotic than ever here, and call me the eternal Total Divas optimist, but I think it only enhances her character.
Jen: Ugh, Eva Marie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone love themselves as much as Eva Marie loves herself. It’s great that she got a four page spread, but I think she’s telling the wrong people about it. These girls have been there, done that and they just find you annoying Eva Marie. Tweet about it and let your fans fawn over you, or tell your friends from back home.
Ben: Brie, usually the tamer Bella, gets a nice snipe in by saying she and Nikki were on the cover of Maxim Espanol, and when Eva notes that’s not the English version, she counters with “Well, the main difference is the one we were on is sold in more countries.” Loved it, great transition to the opening as you should always transition off a ridiculous story or dis, preferably told by a Bella. Two of my friends went to the wedding of WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes a few weeks ago and said Brie and Bryan were there and were delightful.
Jen: Fantastic dig by Brie, perfectly timed and Eva Marie really deserved it. I don’t know that Nikki could have delivered it better.
Ben: Oh, and hope you JoJo fans enjoyed the three seconds of her reacting to Eva Marie’s news, but that’s going to have to tide you over until at least next week.
Jen: I blinked and almost missed JoJo! Poor girl. I hope she’s getting paid similarly to at least Eva Marie for this series. She has to put up with her as a partner and she clearly gets the shaft by the producers.
Ben: From there, we hit the road with the Funkadactyls and Jon Uso, who are driving to the night’s taping of Raw. Ariane is now wearing a t-shirt that says “Girl Bye” on it, desperately trying to get that catchphrase over. This disappoints me on multiple levels, not just because “Girl Bye” sounds silly, but because she has an infinitely better catchphrase in “The Bomb Dot Com” and has left it by the wayside!
Jen: Ariane should have gone into advertising, with a side of anger management. Girl Bye is worse than bomb dot com.
Ben: The car in front of the Funk-mobile lingers a bit too long at a red light, so Ariane starts honking like a madwoman and yelling while Trinity and Jon observe in abject horror. When the hapless driver ahead makes the mistake of stopping again, Ariane gets out of the car, starts screaming at him, and throws her iced coffee all over his car after he calls her a nasty name. Jon has to physically restrain and place her back into the car. Remember when Ariane was our least favorite Divas (or mine at least)? Those days are long gone. She’s like a rabid bull set loose in the world’s smallest china shop and it is delightful.
Jen: That whole incident was pure “cray-cray” and I think it’s time she gets a talking to. Trinity is right, she can’t act that way and not expect it to be career suicide for both her and Trinity.
Ben: We pick things up with Nikki Bella, off her crutches and ready to return to TV alongside her sister following that shin injury (in reality, I’m pretty sure if I remember correctly, Nikki remained on television complete with crutches accompanying Brie to the ring while injured, but I’m cool with Total Divas taking place in a separate reality from WWE proper, as it’s the only way to maintain my sanity). Evil Marie (see what I did there?) confronts the sassier Bella with a rumor she read on Twitter or something that she’s going to get paired with Nikki’s boyfriend John Cena on camera, which Nikki reacts to for about 10 seconds longer than necessary (a full 20 seconds) before dismissing the newbie.
Jen: Evil Marie (I see what you did there) is no match for Nikki and she is totally egging her on for the cameras. The sad part is I don’t think that the producers put all of this in her head. I think deep down, she thinks that her being in the ring with John will make Nikki jealous. If this were the 90’s, Nikki would totally say “talk to the hand” to all of this nonsense. Props to Nikki for appearing concerned for 20 seconds though!
Ben: Things move to the ring where Nattie and Trinity face off in yet another match taped for one of WWE’s online shows that seemed to make no sense at the time but now totally does. Trinity nails her opponent with a “booty bump” to the gut, which Mrs. Neidhart-Wilson-Kidd sells like she just got shot, and after she wins the match with the Sharpshooter, we learn that the classiest storyline of the night has kicked off, because Nattie peed herself.
Jen: Poor Nattie. How embarrassing to pee yourself at work. I am sure it was awful to Nattie and to be made fun of for something like that by your peers had to have been frustrating. I mean I would have been so pissed off too (sorry, I had to).
Ben: Trinity heads to the back where Nattie freaks out on her for nailing her in the bladder—I’m wondering how much water she drank before she knew she had a match, but I’m hyper paranoid about stuff like this and don’t eat anything for full days before 30 minute car rides, so what do I know—then takes a shower while the E! cameras demonstrate their dignified dedication to storytelling on the highest level by going close in on a shot of the blurred discarded underwear with a hint of yellow.
Jen: As upset as Nattie is…this has HAD to have happened to other wrestlers. And football players! There’s no way that hasn’t happened in a football game. I’m completely paranoid about it too Ben. Unfortunately, no matter what I do I can’t make it through an hour car ride without needing to stop to pee.
Ben: The news of Nattie’s accident spreads like wildfire across the locker room, as Nikki shares the story with John Cena, who makes his first appearance of the new season by pointing out his water bottle cracked and saying “my water broke” because Total Divas John Cena is amazing. He also tells Nikki a story about when he had an accident of his own in the ring due to food poisoning, making him endearing both because he wasn’t afraid to share and because he kinda stood up for Nattie while simultaneously disgusting his girlfriend in the process.
Jen: Nikki’s expression when Cena tells her that he pooped his pants was priceless. Even better when she accidentally called Bryan “shart” later. This episode was filled with toilet humor and I’ve got the sense of humor of a teenager so it was all funny to me! I’m impressed John Cena was able to wrestle with food poisoning. I don’t wish that on anyone, ever. It feels like death and I can’t even imagine standing feeling that way. Never mind wrestling!
Ben: Nikki changes the subject by asking John about how his arm has been bothering him, which he demonstrates by showing a pretty gnarly growth the size of a golf ball on his elbow and cracking jokes that it could be an evil twin. Credit to Nikki who doesn’t let her dude get away with the “We’ve got a big show in a couple of days, I don’t have time to get checked out” rap since he called her out on doing the same with her shin, helpfully shown in the “Previously On” segment. John promises to get it looked at.
Talent Relations Jane and her creepy sidekick inform Nattie she’s going to have a singles match at SummerSlam against Brie, with the Funkadactyls in her corner and Nikki and Eva Marie in the opposite corner. JoJo is also still on the show.
Just like last season, Nattie has to host a red carpet event for WWE.com while the other Divas get to walk it, and just like last season she’s not happy about it.
Jen: I’m so happy for Nattie that she gets her own match during SummerSlam! Even though I don’t watch wrestling, I know that this is a big deal. It was kind of a bummer that she had to work the red carpet, but at least she’s not babysitting Evil Marie and what’shername…I mean JoJo.
Ben: At said red carpet, Nikki and John are working the runway like pros when Cena receives a text and makes an abrupt exit with no explanation whatsoever to his girlfriend about what’s up or where he’s going, which seemed…odd.
Jen: I don’t buy that Nikki and John didn’t talk about all of this before they had the talk on camera. Their relationship seems pretty open and I can’t picture her letting that go for literally days before dragging it out of him. The only way I could see that happening, is if John Cena completely avoided Nikki for the whole time. And well, based on what we know about Nikki, there is NO WAY that would have happened without her getting angry.
Ben: However I immediately got distracted as my good buddy Joe Villa, WWE PR man extraordinaire and one of the gents who hooks me up with DVDs and interviews, made his Total Divas debut telling Nikki he didn’t know where John went. Joe demonstrated the kind of natural charisma and leading man charm that demands an immediate spin-off.
Elsewhere, Alicia Fox, one of the WWE Divas who is not a regular on this show, gives Nattie a hard time about the pee incident, leading our heroine to remark she’s “pissed off” without thinking, sending her tormentor into a giggling fit. I’ll admit it: I chuckled.
Jen: I did not know who Alicia Fox was until this moment, but I liked her dress. I couldn’t help but laugh when she giggled at Nattie’s use of the word pissed. Come on Nattie! Have a sense of humor.
Ben: Even further elsewhere, Ariane’s wild and crazy boyfriend Vincent is back and vamping on the red carpet! I still can’t get over how much he looks like the lead character from Despicable Me. As sure as the sky is blue, Vincent gets hammered, calls Ariane “babe” a few dozen times, she freaks out, and they get into a huge fight, with her mother there no less.
Jen: Gru!!! Vincent looks like Gru! (Despicable Me is a great movie) and I really don’t understand how these two are even still together. He clearly gets on Ariane’s nerves when he’s just being himself. He’s a strange dude, I think she knows this by now. Any segment with the two of them makes me feel uncomfortable.
Ben: Brie and Bryan are shown in the background looking uncomfortable, as they generally are during Ariane/Vincent public meltdowns.
Speaking of Brie and Bryan, they’re hanging out with Nikki later, watching a tape of Raw where he did a fake corporate makeover and tied his hair back in a ponytail. Nikki tries to tell him he looked sharp, but instead says he looked “shart.” Rather than allow her to correct herself, Bryan goes on a pretty great tangent of trying to explain to Brie that “shart” is the new hip lingo the kids are using these days. Again, I would not be opposed to a Bryan/Cena spin-off show. Speaking of which, Bryan and John are wrestling at SummerSlam in what Nikki describes as the “first ever Bella boyfriend vs. Bella boyfriend match.”
Jen: Ben, I think we need to start a petition for this Bryan/Cena spin-off. Cena would dish out words of wisdom and Bryan would mutter his one liners and we’d all be better people after watching it. Let’s make this happen, E!
It’s scenes like this that make me wish this show was the show that it was intended to be and focused on the Bellas.
Ben: In a genuinely emotional scene—well, as genuinely emotional as you get on a show where every genuinely emotional moment is recorded for posterity—Ariane goes to talk to her mother about her anger management issues, and says she feels a lot of it goes back to her childhood where her mom and stepdad fought all the time and she held her emotions in. Mrs. Ariane’s Mom helps her daughter see that she needs to make amends, so the Funkadactyl invites Vincent, Trinity and Jon to the rooftop of their hotel where she has set up champagne and toasts to the hope of being better moving forward…which I kinda hope she isn’t. I also was a little worried she was going to throw Vincent off that roof.
Jen: I hope that she is getting some help for her anger issues, but I think she’s got a good outlet for that anger…she wrestles for a living! Vincent should probably not stand close to the ledge or go up in high places with Ariane, just to be safe though.
Ben: Nattie is still freaking out about everything, including the match she has upcoming with Brie, so new husband TJ literally wrestles her down to the ground (well, bed) and talks some sense into her, reminding her she was born to do this and to not let a stupid thing like pissing her pants to get her down. It was a sweet scene, but I think somebody got to Nattie during the break and let her know to stop saying TJ’s name so much, which I will kind of miss; also, TJ seemed about 65% more Canadian in this episode for whatever reason.
Jen: Even though Nattie peed her pants and freaks out about everything, I still rank her among my favorites on the show. I’m glad she’s got TJ (is that his name? TJ? I feel like she’s never said his name on camera before….) to talk some sense into her. I would say he’s a sort of Canadian version of the wise John Cena, but we all know that no one comes close to that title on this show so I’ll just say he’s the more logical one in this relationship. 65% more Canadian is a good estimate. Had he thrown in an “aboot” I would have say 67%.
Ben: We’re at SummerSlam now, and Nikki gives John the business about ditching her on the red carpet. He apologizes and lets her know that he went to the doctor like she wanted and got a text that freaked him out so he bolted. The diagnosis is that he’s torn the ligament out of his triceps muscle and that growth is fluid build-up, so he needs surgery and six months off (spoiler alert: he came back in two months). He lets her know she’s one of the first people to know—along with the camera guys, I guess—and he’s keeping it quiet. Hopefully he told Bryan, because they’re about to beat the crap out of each other.
Jen: John genuinely looks scared and upset during this conversation, so now I’m thinking that maybe this IS the first time these two had this conversation. I don’t know. I feel like Nikki would never let him get away with not talking to her for that long.
Ben: The Divas have their big moment, as Brie and Nattie face off in the ring and Eva Marie gets excited because she sees a sign for her in the crowd. Nattie wins with the Sharpshooter, but all the girls are excited they got to have the spotlight for a bit. JoJo sang the national anthem, but they don’t show that.
Jen: Go Nattie for winning the match! That’s great, now maybe the producers will stop treating her like the mother hen and give her some of the spotlight…maybe?
JoJo sang the National Anthem? Isn’t that kind of a big deal? It’s not an easy song. I’m wondering how she actually did because it’s so difficult to sing. I’d never even attempt to sing it in public. No one deserves that punishment.
Ben: At least it got shown on national television. Oh wait…
Backstage, the Bellas put on the t-shirts of their respective boyfriends and get set for the main event with their mom, when Eva Marie stops by to be a jerk because she had one sign in the crowd and tells them they’re “gonna fall.” I would have stood up and applauded if Mama Bella had slapped her in the face, but instead she basically just tells her girls they’re better than that.
Jen: Mama Bella is a wise lady. They are better than that. And you know what, they are right. Yes, Evil Marie (I can’t help it now, it’s just typing out itself) is doing whatever she can to get to the top. The Bellas worked hard to get to where they are. So, she’s got ONE sign. Brie is right, doesn’t mean she’ll be here in a year.
Ben: Bryan pounds on John’s elbow during their match, as Nikki gasps at every move—so maybe they didn’t have that conversation.
Ultimately, Bryan gets the big win and is WWE Champion. Brie is ecstatic, and with John on the shelf, it looks like a huge change for WWE and for Total Divas. Of course, regular WWE fans know that more happened after the match, but here in the Total Divas Universe, SummerSlam ends with WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. I have a feeling a lot of fans might not mind the producers of this show writing Raw and SmackDown…
Jen: So I guess it was pretty significant that Bryan won the match? I have no clue what happened after the match, but I’m guessing John Cena was the favorite to win that one. I’m glad to hear his injury healed quicker than expected…but I’m scared to see what happens between him and Nikki later this season based on those previews…
Ben: A great return for Total Divas and the preview of the season to come looks even better, with teases of Vincent trying to become a wrestler, both Bellas taking their relationships to even higher levels, Nattie drunk dialing Stephanie McMahon and Eva Marie continuing to be a monster. Possibly JoJo will do something too.
Jen: See you next week, Divas!!
Ben: See you next week!