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: What it is, Jen. Welcome back to Total Divas Watching Total Divas, the only Total Divas recap on the Internet with real flava. Right? I’ll admit, I didn’t spend much time on this opening line.
Jen: Considering how much time you spent on the rest of this post, we’ll let it slide, Ben…this time. You also forgot something very, very important Ben. MR. BELDING MADE A CAMEO!!!! Granted, it was only for a couple of seconds, but Mr. Belding was backstage with the Bellas!
Ben: I’m the worst. Saved by the Bell: The College Years ruined me.
Last week we welcomed the ladies—and fellas—of Total Divas back to the E! air waves, and this episode they wasted no time making up for all those lost weeks. Seriously, they packed a lot into 60 minutes this time, and I really dug it; perhaps one of my favorite episodes to date, right up there with when Eva Marie tried to become Fandango’s dance partner and the amazing Bella/Cena/Bella/Bryan vacation…which may have all been one episode.
The show opened as it always should, with a great Bellas segment, in this case Brie booking wardrobe for the girls’ upcoming appearance on the USA show “Psych” on the phone and making Nikki say her measurements out loud to be a jerk; this somehow segues into the sisters commenting on each others’ orgasm faces.
Jen: This show really should just focus on the Bellas, Bryan and John Cena all the time. One of us had to say it.
Ben: You beat me to it.
Picking up from where last season ended, Nikki Bella moves into stately Cena Manor down in Florida, meaning that San Diego, one of my favorite cities in the country, has now lost all its Bellas. No time to mourn, though, as Nikki has brought along upwards of 20 boxes filled with her stuff. John acts a bit aghast at the amount of things being moved into his home, but I have to figure that’s more to act like a man’s man, because there’s no way he can seriously be concerned that even three Nikkis could ever hope to overcrowd his giant, empty mansion and its 85 closets with their respective wardrobes. Nikki notes she’ll put her shoes and whatnot in his dressing room, the gargantuan walk-in closet that terrified Bryan when he visited, immediately shattering that whole “man’s man” thing I mentioned, but fortunately when she asks him if he’d prefer she not move her stuff in and just walk around naked, he recovers with “obviously,” since Total Divas Cena rules.
Jen: I need a closet like this. I don’t have as many pairs of shoes as Nikki, but I’ll be honest I’m not that far behind.
Ben: At the post-SummerSlam Raw—I had a bit of trouble lining up the chronology of when they must have shot stuff, since I can’t imagine John and Nikki flew from SummerSlam to his house and then back to Raw, given that the first and third events took place in California and he lives in Florida…I’m over-thinking this—Eva Marie gets the news that she will be doing some ring announcing the next week, which comes off as a rehash of pretty much every other “Eva Marie gets a big break and then we wait for her to screw it up” storyline we’ve seen, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. She immediately fails to impress by going slack-jawed when asked to faux intro Nattie. This should be fun.
Jen: I don’t even know when SummerSlam actually happened, and even I was trying to figure this out. Pretty sure that they just cut and pasted stuff together out of order to confuse us, Ben. They are keeping us on our toes! Those crazy Total Divas producers. I would like to see the producers throw more at Eva Marie just to show that she doesn’t have it. Yeah she’s gorgeous, but I don’t think she’s got what it takes. She also makes me feel bad for all the other would-be Divas out there that don’t get any chances because Evil Marie is taking all the spots.
Ben: They segue to showing the in-ring segment from Raw where John Cena announced he’d have to get surgery and take time off and then he also put over Daniel Bryan as the guy who beat him and who should be the man (again, WWE fans who didn’t like how Daniel Bryan got treated over the past few months, come on over to Total Divas, where Randy Orton only exists as a guy who Eva Marie thinks hails from Los Angeles; Jen, disregard this).
Ben: I do have to say that watching stoic “in character” Cena moments after seeing his more laid back alter ego from this show makes me see why a lot of WWE fans find his character stale; he’s so much more likable out of character, they should just let him cut loose more often.
The aftermath of John’s announcement has the talent relations folks telling Bryan he’ll have to pick up the ball and do a lot more personal appearances, which he and Brie both seem excited for, but the real highlights have to be her getting lipstick on his beard, his reactive growls, and him carrying her out of the room after executing a wrist lock of some sort; they continue to be the most adorable couple on the show. My wife says she would be devastated if they split.
Jen: They are adorable, and I too would be devastated if they split. I love John Cena and Nikki, but I’m way more invested in these two. Obviously Ariane and Crazy Vincent don’t even come close in comparison.
Ben: I would be bummed if Nikki and Cena split, but I also wouldn’t be shocked, y’know? I’ll be surprised if Ariane and Vinny make it to the end of this season.
En route to Pensacola for John’s surgery, he and Nikki get some alone—with camera crew—time on the plane. John asks how Bryan’s doing and seems genuinely pleased at his excitement as he talks pretty seriously about how he’s getting older and racking up injuries, so obviously his legacy has to be on his mind. Nikki notes how she doesn’t think Brie will ultimately do well with all the extra time apart as, “she’s the boss in that relationship,” which, though they do seem pretty understanding with each other, make sense. Finally, John attempts to explain his surgery to Nikki in vain and then proclaims the failings of her public school education. I generally feel pretty dumb when my wife tries to recap her work day at the hospital to me, but now I don’t as much, because if Nikki Bella doesn’t get it, I don’t need to either.
John’s surgery spreads across a commercial break with some pretty graphic stuff making it on TV, including his elbow rupturing and blood spraying everywhere. They close the curtain to the room where Nikki and John’s best friend have been watching momentarily, which makes me realize that holy crap, Nikki and John’s best friend have been watching this whole fairly intense surgery! Wow.
Jen: I had to turn away from the screen when they showed the surgery. I don’t know how Nikki and John’s friend watched the entire surgery. Especially after the blood splattered everywhere! Ugh. I can’t even think about it. That’s commitment right there.
Ben: Anyhow, John recovers and Nikki hops a plane up to Canada where she and Brie will be shooting “Psych.” They’re playing some sort of zombie/vampire/Bella twin amalgamations, as Brie explains, and it’s worth noting that Nikki seems especially raunchy this episode, noting she “has a thing for vampires,” plus what’s still to come.
Down at the WWE Performance Center, Eva Marie runs into Alicia Fox and expresses her nervousness about the ring announcing gig, as she apparently can’t remember lines, much like she couldn’t dance or wrestle. Alicia mostly laughs at and makes fun of her, giving her a pop quiz on Mark Henry’s home town that she fails. If they’re making Alicia a semi-regular on this show—she’s had more screen time than JoJo thus far this season—I’m not upset, as her role as the Greek chorus chuckling at the absurdity of our Divas’ dilemmas has already won me over.
Jen: I didn’t know who Alicia Fox was until last episode, but the way she laughed at Nattie made her okay in my book. I’d like to see more of her, she seems funny and pretty genuine…so I guess we won’t see her become a regular because we still have Eva Marie. Eva Marie has had a week to remember facts about her coworkers, I don’t think that this a lot to ask of her and I really don’t see that there’s any excuse to not know this stuff by now.
Ben: There’s a great scene shoved in with no real context or follow-up with Jon Uso driving with the Funkadactyls and farting a lot. I’m generally not a fan of toilet humor, but this cracked me up simply because of Jon Uso’s glee at grossing out the girls and their over-the-top disgust at it all. We didn’t see much Ariane this week, but she definitely made her time count. Also, Jon made fun of their dancing, which I enjoyed.
Jen: I like that we get to see a little bit more of Jon Uso this season. He’s pretty entertaining. I’m not saying he’s going to oust John Cena or Daniel Bryan as my favorite Diva boyfriends, but he’s miles ahead of Vincent and he’s got quite a few yards in front of TJ.
Ben: John Cena, mere hours removed from major elbow surgery, picks Nikki up at the airport. She does not offer to drive, which really bothered my wife.
Jen: That bothered me too!!! I guess at least he didn’t put her luggage in the car? I would have taken a cab! Okay, maybe not. I would have insisted upon driving us home though.
Ben: Also, Nikki notes that the doctors said John can’t sweat for the next 10 days, then immediately climbs on top of him while in voiceover she complains she’s not excited about going over a week without sex. See? Told you. She offers to let him watch her shower; Cena, to his credit, keeps his eyes on the road.
Jon Uso makes a run at line of the night, seeing Trinity in one of her typical crazy technicolor outfits and saying, “Look at you, all looking like a bag of Skittles.” He kicks back on the couch, at which point Trinity notices he has been bleeding through his sock, which he takes off to reveal all sorts of nastiness involving his toe nail and some gross fungus. Trinity freaks out because her dad never goes to the doctor and has health issues, and Jon demonstrates a similar reluctance. My wife, a labor and delivery nurse who has a job where she sees some pretty raw stuff on a daily basis, could not watch Trinity trying to disinfect Jon’s nasty toe.
Jen: I had to turn away from this one too. I have a severe aversion to feet, and this really grossed me out. Glad Trinity was brave enough to help him out, personally I wouldn’t have touched it with a 10 foot pole.
Ben: Bryan and Brie discuss his upcoming travel schedule as they get set to do Crossfit. I did Crossfit for two weeks a couple of years ago and every muscle in my body ached for about a month. I do DDP Yoga now.
Jen: I like how they were nonchalantly discussing whether or not they were going to do two sessions of Crossfit that day or not. Like, who does that? I go to spinning, which is tough enough for me. I wouldn’t even entertain doing a second hour after I just burned 900 calories. Also, this weekend I went to Fenway Park to WATCH my friend’s husband compete in the Spartan Race (I even got a free beer at Fenway. That NEVER happens). So yeah, two sessions of Crossfit sound like a nightmare to me.
Ben: Bryan also tells Brie her guillotine choke sucks and grapples her into the spot on the carpet where their dog Josie peed; adorable.
It’s time for Eva Marie’s latest big break, and she’s freaking out. She asked the talent relations guy if she could cheat and he looked like a child had just asked where babies come from. She asks ring announcer Justin Roberts for advice and I badly wanted him to freak out on her for being unable to do one fraction of the job he has to do every week of the year, but instead he just tells her more or less to leave him alone. Smartly, they once again relegated Eva to one of the Internet-only shows as opposed to Raw, but she still butchers the job, shrieking most of what she has to say, demonstrating extreme difficulty in the art of speaking like a human, and then forgetting Jinder Mahal’s name and freezing up then smiling like a mall mannequin.
Jen: She did so terribly. Watching the episode, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t on live TV, and I’m glad that it wasn’t. What an embarrassment. She knows that this is a pretty big deal, why would she ever ask if she could cheat?! And I’m glad that Justin Roberts blew her off. She’s been around all of this for a while now. You’d think she’d pay attention.
Ben: Backstage, the other Divas watch Eva’s epic botch with Seamstress Sandra, who is making her first appearance of the season. Nattie has been on point this episode, expressing frustration and annoyance with Eva, even if she has been spinning analogies involving cats and other animals that sound like she played Mad Libs with a farmer’s almanac.
Jen: Haha. I don’t really have anything to say to that other than that made me laugh and I have to agree. None of them could even stand to watch Eva Marie, her voice was like nails on a chalkboard if you ask me.
Ben: After once again ruining yet another “big break,” Eva Marie notes that she “can’t catch a break,” as JoJo probably destroys a hotel room somewhere. She attempts to apologize to 3MB, but in the process calls Jinder Mahal “Ginger Mahal” and makes it all worse. Heath Slater steals the scene, first trying not to crack up while Jinder gets pissed, then reassuring Eva that they all make mistakes; I met these guys at WrestleMania this year, and they came off as genuinely nice and funny dudes, so I enjoyed them popping up here. Eva Marie yells after 3MB, “At least I didn’t cheat!” which has been her mantra this episode, as she seems to view playing fairly and failing as a step up from her previous lying and failing; not Eva Marie’s finest hour.
Jen: It is never okay to have your finest moment of your job be “At least I didn’t cheat!” This is not something to brag about. Messing up and missing one of their names and then calling him the wrong name is pretty awful too. I really think that Eva Marie doesn’t take her job seriously. It seems as though she is pretty sure that no matter what, she’s going to scrape by. I hope she doesn’t. Definitely not her finest hour, and I really can’t see how she can redeem herself after that.
Ben: In between Eva Marie glitching and rebooting, Jon messed his toe and foot up further during the match, leading to Trinity and a gaggle of wrestlers surrounding him when he gets backstage, including R-Truth doing his best impression of an EMT which I found very funny for some reason. Trinity has had enough, and forces her man to go to a foot specialist, where the doctor confirms he has some sort of fungus growing under his toenail and cuts in to remove it while Jon, who has had a great episode, tells him not to be shy with the anesthetic. The doctor also says this particular fungus can spread, giving way to a tremendous reaction from Trinity, who he examines and confirms she has it as well. The happy couple gets his and her topical ointments for their toes.
Jen: (Sounds of Jen gagging)
Ben: We wrap up back at Castle Cena, where a couple scenes earlier Nikki played naughty nurse, but now things get real with a moment that has been teased throughout the episode, where John asks his girlfriend to sign a cohabitation agreement. She understandably gets a bit upset and storms out, and then we get a big ol’ “To Be Continued” at the end. I felt for them both, as Nikki has been so happy about the whole move that this clearly blindsided her, but I’m getting the sense that John’s marital struggles have left him even more scarred than he lets on, so obviously he has some lingering trust issues. Wild up and down episode for these two, who went through surgery, sexual deprivation and now this, all in under an hour our time.
Jen: I would have been pretty shocked myself. I wouldn’t have seen this coming either. I can understand that he’s trying to protect himself in the long run. I don’t know what happened between him and his ex-wife, but I think he should have brought this up before Nikki even moved in. This is a pretty big red flag, don’t you think? Pretty crazy episode for these two for sure. I am sure it was filmed all out of order and the producers just packed it all in at once for the drama.
Ben: Like I said, I loved this episode. The show is at its best to me when the Bellas get the main focus, which they did here, but the ancillary players break up the plot with fun storylines that straddle work and their personal lives, which Eva Marie’s announcing follies and Trinity’s toe trouble balanced perfectly; a textbook example of the perfect Total Divas installment.
Jen: Agreed, good episode. See you next week, Divas!