World Wrestling Entertainment has delved into reality TV in the past with Tough Enough, a show that pitted WWE hopefuls into competition for a contract. Now, WWE is bringing us into the lives of current wrestlers with Total Divas. The Divas featured include: Brie, Nikki, Nattie, Trinity, Ariane, Eva Marie and JoJo. In addition to them, various other Divas, Superstars and other WWE employees make appearances throughout the show.
Though there are seven Divas on the show, the main focus appears to be on the Bella Twins, a duo who are as catty as they are hot. Brie and Nikki left the WWE for 11 months, returned, and promptly got their own reality show. Nikki and Brie also happen to date fellow WWE wrestlers John Cena and Bryan Danielson (known in WWE as Daniel Bryan), two of the biggest superstars in the company. Funny how that works…
Moving on, Nikki and John recreate a scene from The Notebook while they’re out fishing. Meanwhile, Brie and Bryan are walking the dog when Nikki pulls up in a brand spanking new Range Rover that John bought her. The twins get to talking about marriage, and it seems as though Brie is a lot closer to making it to the altar than Nikki.
Also on the show is Nattie (Natalya Neidhart), who has a rich family history in the wrestling business. Her uncle is Bret “Hitman” Hart, widely known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Early in his career, he teamed with Nattie’s father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, as part of the Hart Foundation. The Anvil makes a cameo in this episode watching Nattie train down in Tampa.
Trinity (Naomi) and Ariane (Cameron) team together in WWE as The Funkadactyls (Funkettes for short), the female companions to the tag team Tons of Funk. Trinity is engaged to Jon (Jimmy Uso). Ariane is dating Vincent, who just happens to NOT be a WWE superstar. Jon is shown early in the episode helping the girls workout. The Funkettes are determined to make it to Wrestlemania, the biggest show of the year.
During Wrestlemania Week, there are tons of fan events, charity drives and red carpet events. At one point, Nattie meets up with with a couple WWE executives, including Jane, the Vice President of Talent Relations. Jane sits Nattie down and gives the bad news that she won’t be in a match at Mania. Even worse, The Bellas and The Funkettes are scheduled to wrestle on the show. Nattie is upset, especially at the Bellas getting to parachute in after a hiatus and jump to the front of the line. Jane tells Nattie that her role for Mania is to show the ropes to newcomers Eva Marie and JoJo.
At this point we get introduced to the Divas-in-training. Eva Marie is a 28-year-old from the Bay Area. JoJo is 19 and definitely looks that young. They meet up with Jane to get some instructions. Jane feels that Eva Marie’s brunette look makes her appear too similar to the Bellas, so she ask that she dyes her hair blonde. Eva Marie resists the idea because she feels it doesn’t fit in with her fiery Latina personality. When she goes to the salon, she opts to go full-on red with her hair. Jane admits to liking the hair, but warns Eva Marie not to disobey a request again.
Things get intense backstage when the Funkettes get into a dispute with their partner Brodus Clay about their upcoming Mania match. Brodus isn’t seen onscreen, but Ariane is upset about insulting comments he made towards her. Vincent is there and gets pissed off to the point that he wants to fight Brodus. Eventually he gets calmed down and leaves. Trinity expresses concern because her career is tied to Ariane’s and doesn’t want an incident that could get them fired. The Funkettes later argue about Vincent flying off the handle.
The Bellas get to meet with the newbies. They are complimentary at first, but can tell that they’ll be serious competition. At a red carpet event, the Bellas haze the new girls a little by photobombing them, asking them to grab drinks, and making them wait for the Bellas to finish conversing and taking pictures. JoJo is more diplomatic about it, but Eva Marie vows to not take anymore flack from the Bellas. Also at the event is Nattie who is on reporter duty. She notes her own jealously at the other Divas getting their moments on the red carpet while she’s saddled with other responsibilities.
Nikki has dinner with John at a nice restaurant. She hints at marriage, citing Brie and Bryan going ring shopping. John reminds her that he recently got divorced and that marriage is a tough thing to handle. He does reassure Nikki that he’s deeply in love with her, successfully skirting around the issue.
Finally, Wrestlemania arrives and everyone is beyond excited. The Bellas watch Bryan’s match backstage which went extremely well. Elsewhere, the Funkettes are dealing with some technical issues with their wardrobe. The seamstresses are having difficulties putting the costumes together and the clock is ticking for the Divas match. Ultimately, they get the outfits done in time.
Unfortunately, the Bellas and Funkettes get hit with the proverbial low blow. The match before them ran long, so their match is now cut from the show. Everyone is devastated, particularly Trinity because she doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be in WWE. This was a chance at performing at Wrestlemania that went down the drain.
I wasn’t expecting much from this show, but it surprisingly held my attention. Sure, some parts of it were contrived, but that’s reality TV for you, especially on the E! network (for Pete’s sake, the Kardashians are on before Total Divas). Viewers get a little taste of the inner workings of professional wrestling, but not too much stuff that would be considered “insider”. It’s certainly quite different seeing your favorite WWE Superstars outside the ring with actual lives. They’re on the road constantly so it’s hard to imagine. Overall, this is something I could stick with awhile longer, particularly as we learn more about the new Divas.
Nattie and Brie even got to have a match on RAW the night after the Total Divas premiere. After a backstage segment where the Bellas called Nattie an ugly duckling, Nattie goes after Brie hard during the match and takes the upper hand. Soon, Nikki comes out to the stage blowing a duck whistle and making quack-quack noises. Nattie gets distracted, allowing Brie to roll her up and take the win. Just like Total Divas, the Bella Twins are on top while Nattie gets the short end of the stick.