‘Total Divas’ Recap: Episode 1 – ‘Welcome to the WWE!’

(NOTE: This is a column that my girlfriend and I produce for our blog as well as Scott’s Blog of Doom. As this is entertainment television – and no worse than, say, “The Bachelor” – we thought it would find a nice home here. Each piece is written by Danielle Stolman, who assisted me in the writing of the Fifty Shades of Grey recap. I interject with my own personal opinion every now and then. We hope you enjoy it.)

Last week, I wrote that The Total Divas belonged on the WWE Network and, less than a week later, after Vince obviously read my piece, it was announced that the reruns of the first two seasons would, in fact, be shown on the network. So, having been a major force in changing the WWE program lineup, instead of using my newly-discovered super powers for pure evil…well, I’m still gonna take over the world and you will all do my bidding. But, first, I’m pleased to be able to review the first Total Divas seasons, starting with Episode 1, which originally aired on July 28, 2013.

Matt will be chiming in with his thoughts. It’s the least I can let him do for making him watch this show.

Yep, I can already hear the groaning: “Total Divas? Fuck this. I’m going to Scherer’s place.” Trust me: that site sucks. You don’t wanna go there.

Let’s start!

The show gets started by introducing Brie and Nikki Bella. They’re twins, they’re hot, they dress alike, but they’re different., and don’t forget it. Brie says Nikki is more loud, Nikki says Brie is more passive, (MATT: Kinky.) foreshadowing fights to come, I’m sure. and they’re shown in various outfits and winning matches.They state that they left the WWE for 11 months and that the other girls are jealous of them.

Trinity and Ariane (AKA Naomi and Cameron) talk about how they formed the Funkadactlyls and how they became the fan favorites when the Bellas left, though they do admit that in the pyramid of the divas (those at the top/face of the company – scenes of Bellas), midcard and veterans, they are still mid-card. Ariane spends an inordinate amount of time talking about Trinity’s “donk” which is so big, she uses it as a weapon in the ring.

Nattie (Natalya) is shown to be a veteran, she is WWE Royalty as she the niece of Bret “The Hitman” Hart and her dad is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. She’s trained for almost 13 years. It’s her turn to shine.

The Divas proclaim themselves, “cheerleaders” and that it’s fun being a Diva.

Tampa, Florida

10 days before Wrestlemania

Nikki states she was mentally and physically exhausted when they took time off for 11 months, she missed wrestling, and now she can’t get enough.

Trinity and Ariane are in a gym, they’re gonna wrestle for the first time, but they are working more on their dancing moves than fighting. Jon (AKA Jimmy Uso) is Trinity’s fiance and he’s there to coach the girls on their dancing (MATT: With a shit-eating grin that says, “Fuck, I love my job.”) and apparently watch while they first play-fight then actually take some decent shots.

Nattie is in the ring being coached and fighting hard. Trainer Bill DeMott and her Dad, Jim, is there to give advice also. Nattie points out there is only one Diva’s match at Wrestlemania (29, at time of  and that how she wants to be in it. She says she’s had doors slammed in her face, despite her family name and that she had much more success in other countries and wants to be big in the US.

Meanwhile, John Cena shows up to take Nikki on a date, she describes him as the most amazing man to step foot on this earth. He takes her fishing, they don’t seem to catch anything. They kiss in the rain and she compares their relationship to The Notebook. She convinces him to try to recreate it despite not seeming to know a word of the dialog of the rain kiss which she describes as a favorite scene.

(MATT: This was both sweet and amusing. You can tell that Nikki is the real “Diva” of the two sisters and would rather be shopping and getting her nails done than pretending to fish with Cena who, at one point, compliments her skimpy “fishing outfit”. Because Cena knows that Nikki will cut him off from sex, she makes John Cena re-enact the scene from The Notebook — the Caffeine Free Diet Coke of romantic epics. Nikki says it’s hot to kiss in the rain and the producers, who believe we can’t understand spoken English, feel compelled to give us arbitrary subtitles to go with the moment like it’s a Tony Scott movie.)

Brie lives with Bryan Danielson (AKA Daniel Bryan) and they’ve been together 2 1/2 years. Brie walks her dog with Daniel Bryan and realizes she may need her mom to watch the dog. She mentions she buys all her food from the farmer’s market and is her twin’s opposite. They arrive at Brie’s place (they only live a mile apart) only to discover that John bought Nikki a Range Rover because rich bastard.

Brie is jealous of Nikki’s gift, stroking the leather interior like it’s Cena’s chest and Bryan and the Bellas sit in the kitchen, talking about Nikki’s new gift, peppering every sentence with the words, “Range Rover” like it’s a meta-search keyword.

(MATT: Ok…hold the phone. Like Bryan couldn’t march over to the dealership right now and buy Brie TWO of those?

ME: That’s not the point, it’s romantic.

MATT: No, it isn’t. It’s the CVS Pharmacy teddy-bear-and-flowers for rich people. She probably found him banging a room of groupies and that was his make-up gift.

ME: Yeah…you’re probably right. He probably got it for free, too.)

Brie says Nikki has wanted one before they could drive, it will make her happy and she deserves it. Brie asks if this means that Nikki and John are taking their relationship to the next level. Nikki says she doesn’t know and says (to the camera) that after all he just got divorced from someone he loves. Daniel laughs that John bought her a car before an engagement ring, (though, it should be noted that, at this point, he hasn’t bought Brie one, either). Nikki admits he may have done it in part to hold off having to get a ring for a while.

New York

Day One of Wrestlemania

Nattie is happy it’s the first day of Wrestlemania Week and compares it to the Super Bowl. Nattie is met by Senior VP of WWE Talent Relations & Development Jane Geddes and Mark Carrano, also of WWE Talent Relations. They to talk to her and tell her she’s not on the card for Wrestlemania. Nattie is near tears. They acknowledge she has family coming in to see her. They tell her there is a mixed tag match and she’s not in. Instead, the Bellas and Funkadactyls are scheduled. She complains to the camera that the Bellas take off for a year and walk right in. It’s even more upsetting because she taught them to wrestle.

Nattie probably thinks it can’t get worse, but it’s about to. Jane and Mark, instead, ask her to show the two new girls from the L.A. camp around and chaperone them because she’s good enough to teach but not to wrestle. “Teach them everything you know, teach them your secrets, make them amazing, so they can take your spot,” she laments.

The new girls, Eva Marie and Jojo fly in from Newark and are introduced to the other Divas. Eva Marie is from the Bay Area (so I’ll have to start rooting for her more). Both girls have started training a month ago and Jojo even says she is scared being away from home for the first time. Jojo is so young and green, I’m surprised she didn’t bring her teddy bear and sippy cup.

(MATT: It’s sad, really. Eva Marie makes Jojo look like leftover steak that you let a pit bull get a hold of.)

Nattie pretends to be happy for Brie and says she’s excited to have new girls. Eva shows up with red highlights from the day before and Jane, being the wonderful feminist she is, orders Marie to color her hair blonde. Jane tells her that Nattie will show them around, Nattie tries to fake that she wants to help, and then looks even more crestfallen when Jane reveals that Eva Marie is probably going blonde. Nattie keeps saying she is the blonde, they have a blonde, and she’s clearly threatened, giving a fake smile that should win her an Academy Award.

(MATT: The whole thing is really telling. Scott Keith once stated that Divas were, basically, “models that wrestle”. Watching this was uncomfortable and corroborates that theory.)

Five Days till Wrestlemania

Ariane’s boyfriend, Vincent, flies in. She’s nervous as he’s never seen her wrestle. She has to practice, he’s going to sightsee, despite just coming in from a long trip on a plane with a seat that couldn’t recline.

(MATT: Vincent is pretty Felonius Gru from Despicable Me, only a lot sweeter. We get a great bit where Ariane says that Vincent “balances” her and then we get a flashback from EARLIER TODAY where Vincent is struggling to carry 5 of her 152 pieces of luggage while Ariane gazes longingly at her servant.)

The dress rehearsal is not going good for anyone. Nattie is bummed she has to show the newbies the ropes and Vincent who, for some reason can’t sightsee by himself, is backstage. Ariane is mad that her tag team partner Brodus Clay said they sucked so Vincent comforts her as she cries. Ariane says he’s the sweetest guy ever, unless someone hurts her. Vincent loses his shit and wants Brodus to step out so he can beat the shit out of him. Trinity is worried that if Vincent does so, he will hurt her (Trinity’s career) as they are sold as a duo act. Nattie runs damage control and calms him down. Jimmy (who was also backstage but didn’t speak up) sides with Vincent’s actions and Trinity says work is less fun because of things like this.

The Bella twins want to see the newbies especially since they heard one of them looks kinda like them. Nikki is insulted and calls them out of their hotel rooms. Eva says she has to change her hair to blonde. Nikki says she is happy Eva Marie will be blonde since people are saying they look like her. Eva Marie says they will have to follow the twins’ leads as they are more experienced.

Meanwhile, Trinity goes to Ariane and takes her to lunch. She grills her about what happened with Brodus and Vincent. Trinity admits Brodus was wrong, but says Vincent shouldn’t have wanted to start a fight. Ariane said he would have been a punk had he let her be disrespected, but that she is over it.

Two Days Until Wrestlemania

Eva Marie is in the salon, clearly not happy about going blonde. The colorist begins stripping Eva’s hair of the color and she says blonde doesn’t work for her (MATT: I laughed when Marie said, “I look like Mufasa…this is bad.”) and tells Jojo she refuses to go blonde. She tells the colorist that she is going fire engine-red and the colorist starts putting it on. Jojo watches with admiration and respect because this could possibly be Era Marie’s career. Eva Marie says the hair color screams her and there will be no mixup now with her and The Bellas. (MATT: Uh…I’ll allow it. She looks stunning.) Jane calls Eva saying she wants to see her hair. Jane is stunned and asks what happens to blonde. (Jane’s hair is blonde.) Jane says she hates to say it…but she likes it, but in the future, when they say do something do it.

The Divas attend the pre-Wrestlemania party.

The Bellas are confused about Eva’s hair and Nattie’s upset that the noobs are stealing the spotlight.

The ladies are all dressed up and Nikki says the newbies look too comfortable and that they need to get their intimidation on as veterans. They steal all the photo moments from the newbies but Eva Marie says she will take it as a one-time initiation but then that’s it.

One Day Till Wrestlemania

The twins are “starving”, and (MATT: Pretend…) to eat breakfast together. Brie says she is going ring shopping. Brie hints that John may not want to marry Nikki as he’s been married before and Nikki says it bothers her that this perfect man may not want to marry her. This really upsets me. I want to yell at the screen for Nikki to realize that Cena is far, FAR from “the perfect man” and to grow a spine and at least have that talk with Jon. Brie says Nikki being sad over this makes her sad. I like these ladies as wrestlers and even characters, I really do, but right now it seems like they’re sharing one personality.

Trinity wants Ariane to talk to Vincent, Ariane hasn’t and now they snap at each other. They mock each other and keep fighting. Trinity says Ariane has some deep-rooted issues and everyone else sees it.

(MATT: Thankfully, this is about as “Kardashian” as the show gets. It actually ends on a mature note.)

John and Nikki go to a romantic dinner. (MATT: Which looks, suspiciously, like a Black Angus.) Nikki needs to know if there is a possibility that marriage is something he could want. Nikki says she needs marriage and doesn’t want to walk away. John says he tried marriage already and while Nikki has changed him he doesn’t know if he wants those things. Jon says he enjoys things with her that he can’t with anyone else opening his home, his life and that he liked their random Thursday dinner and fishing trip. John says it’s the “little things” that make him happy. Nikki admits that Brie ring-shopping is motivating a lot of what she’s feeling. Of course it is. She needs to have a parallel life after all they are sharing one brain.

Day of Wrestlemania 29

Each and every Diva is excited about Wrestlemania and, apparently, every one of them is required to randomly say “80,000 people” are there. The twins are both impressed with Daniel Bryan and Kane for winning their match. The girls have ridiculously-silly red outfits with sequin-ridden canes and top hats. Putting on the Ritz anyone?

At least they have their costumes ready. The seamstresses are still sewing The Funkadactyls costumes. Where is the magical fairy from Cinderella to fix things when you need her? The Bellas walk by, fully-clothed, and get bitchy, saying they hope Ariane and Trinity don’t walk out naked. Ariane tells them to step off because they don’t want to go there right now.

The match is up next and, still, the seamstress needs more time. She gives them the costumes, barely in time, and they race to put them on and get ready to go on stage.

The Bellas are ready to go on…but John Cena’s music hits instead and the main event between him and The Rock is on. Nattie and the newbies are watching from the WWE luxury box. Nattie is incredibly disgusted as she worked HARD to get these girls in. She goes to the dressing room where she finds out that the girls were cut from their match. This was the twins first Wrestlemania to wrestle in, so they’re really sad. Trinity says there’s nothing worse that could happen. Not even a career-threatening eye injury, Trinity? Well, that’s later down the road for her so, for now, this is the worst thing. They hug it out and decide to try again next year.

(MATT: This segment is disgustingly inaccurate. The editing practically makes you believe that The Undertaker’s match went too long when, in fact, it was Triple H and Brock Lesnar that went too long…but showing that wouldn’t be what’s “Best for Business”, would it?)

The show ends with fireworks over Met Life Stadium in New York.

Not bad for the first show, but they really shafted Jojo who we didn’t get to know much about.

Diva I most wanted to punch this episode – Nikki. Wow, is she way too clingy and needy.
Diva I most wanted to hug this episode – Eva Marie. Great job sticking up for yourself choosing a hair color that is the real you even if it’s from a bottle.

Ok…this show was good. I really don’t wanna be that cynical asshole and say it’s gonna get worse…but I know it will. Not a bad start.

Matt Perri
Matt Perrihttp://mattperri.wordpress.com
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, Matt's Entertainment.

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