Friday Sports Entertainment 02.10.12: Divas Division…D.O.A.
Wes Kirk has another column? Cool.
First off, Dolph Ziggler called and he wants his catchphrase from Z True Long Island Story (later marks) back. It works for him, not so much you.
Oh jeez, you’re right. I totally didn’t realize that. The “Marks” thing is officially gone. Dead. Promise.
And I found Ziggler 10 times more interesting on ZTLIS over anything he’s done on TV. Am I alone in that?
Second off, until Bryan’s heel turn I would have agreed with you 100%. The guy had a few good moments as a face but I didn’t think he was nearly as good as the IWC proclaimed him to be.
Yeah, I know. Maybe people skimmed over the part where I explained that most of my column was an audition piece written 7 weeks ago — before the heel turn? And that I was cautiously optimistic about where Bryan was headed as a heel?
You’re column wasn’t bad except you come of like kind of a douche with all the “screwheads” and “later marks” and “that’s what I thought” and other things you seem to be trying to make into catchphrases. Tone that down a tad and I think you’ll be alright.
“Marks” is dead. Can’t be ripping off The Zig Zag Man, not even unintentionally. “Screwheads” stays, because it’s Bruce Campbell, dammit!
Thank you for the honest feedback Guest#8770. As a sign of appreciation, I will name my next child after you
From Guest #1037
So anybody have a prediction on when Sean Kelly and Wes Kirk have a blow off to this pseudo-feud?
Allow me to clarify that I meant why do I care about their [casual fans'] opinion is on who looks like a champion. I’m well aware its their money that drives the company..
Clearly you aren’t a WWE shareholder. Just imagine Joe Six-Pack flipping through the channels, stopping on WWE, and seeing a small guy holding the “Heavyweight” championship. My guess is his reaction will be “ah, it’s fake” and keep on flipping (to UFC!). I’ve seen it happen.
A publicly traded company’s mission is to grow, and that’s why they care about the casual fan’s opinion on who looks like a champion. Casual fans do, after all, drive the company with their money.
P.S. I love your cola.
wes kirk wanna be, your a dweeb
Marks Folks, and welcome to the one and only Friday Sports Entertainment! Yeah!
Lots of great conversation on the Daniel Bryan piece last week. I love a good debate. I know I’m new here, so let me explain how I operate:
I’m confident, but I have zero ego. I am open-minded enough where I can be convinced otherwise on any opinion I have. I’m not pig headed enough to cling to my beliefs in the face of a really good counter-argument. So please use the comments section to your heart’s content. As a famous mass-murderer used to say: “Prove me wrong!”
As far as sports entertainment goes, I’m more of a “Watch RAW on a 30 min DVR Delay and read SmackDown spoilers” kinda guy. I don’t watch NXT or Superstars at all. The new Tough Enough is great, and I haven’t missed an episode. I couldn’t be bothered with Impact, though. There I said it.
Anyway, what are your viewing habits? I’d imagine many of you do something similar.
This week, I’ll be discussing the sorry state of the WWE Divas division. With a few notable exceptions, the Divas division has been lacking any true Sports Entertainment talent. The running gag seems to be that the obligatory Divas match is the “piss break” match, when it’s time to go relieve yourself or grab a snack. And you know what? That’s a damn shame.
Women’s wrestling, when it’s done right, can be a very entertaining and lucrative endeavor. The key phrase there being “when it’s done right.” The WWE seems to be going through the motions with the Divas division, to the point where it’s essentially useless to even have one.
Who remembers the Trish vs. Mickie James match from WrestleMania 22? That night, I had a bunch of non-fans over to watch the big event, and that match got some of the biggest reactions of the night – especially this part:
How many memorable Divas matches have there been in the last 2-3 years? (Save Melina vs. Alicia Fox, of course).
I can’t think of any. Granted, my DVR is usually on Fast Forward during a Divas match, but these days they last all of 2-3 minutes, so it’s not like I’m missing anything substantial. Most of the time it’s a series of botched moves, and the Divas tend to run the ropes like they’re afraid the ropes will break. Pay attention next time you watch a Divas match. Chances are, they’ll do a sad little bounce off the ropes, followed by a run that looks more like Peggy Bundy walking.
Right now, there are only three divas that stand out to me. Those Divas are Kharma, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya. These three ladies are great in the ring, they look good, and they have great gimmicks that resonate with fans. (Well, not so much lately with Natalya, but we’ll get to that later.) They bring both the Sports and the Entertainment to the product. I have nothing but praise for them, and I hope history will look upon them as some of the all-time great female wrestlers – they certainly have the skills necessary to have long, successful careers.
Also, to be fair, I haven’t seen much of Tamina, Kaitlyn, AJ and Aksana. They’re involved in a lot of backstage or ringside stuff, but it’s hard to judge their performances since they are relatively new to the Diva scene. So let’s exclude them from the scope of this column, shall we? (For now). Readers, if you can share your take on these four ladies, I’d be happy to hear it.
Now, onto the bile spewing.
Here’s the number of good matches I’ve had!
NO RELATION, I SWEAR
Personally, I feel that the worst offender of all the Divas is Kelly Kelly, the John Cena of the Divas division. This smiling blonde is the feel-good wholesome chick of the WWE, pulling out crazy wins with her nigh unstoppable Rollup of Doom. She’s always so happy and upbeat! Too bad she can’t wrestle worth a damn. And her gimmick, much like John Cena’s, is cheesy even by WWE standards. But while it works for Cena to some degree, it doesn’t work so much for Kelly Kelly. She’s eye candy at best, a shining example of what’s wrong with the Divas division at worst. No Sports + No Entertainment = No Thanks.
This woman has no talent: not in the ring, not on the mic, not even when she was pretending to be a stripper back in ECW. She’s one of those dime-a-dozen blondes that traipses through the WWE, but she’s somehow managed to overstay her welcome. It’s like people cheer for her because they’re told to. What is it about Kelly Kelly that’s worth cheering for? Anybody? Please, enlighten me.
In a perfect world, Team WWE UniverseNationArmy would respond to her in the same way they respond to Cena. I’d love nothing more to see her booed out of an arena, especially from a “smart” crowd like New York or Chicago. I’d be elated to see the “yay/boo” cheers take place when Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly trade punches. After all, why should Kelly Kelly be spared the ire of the fans when she’s a much worse offender than Cena? At least Cena has a charisma about him and can wrestle well when he needs to. Kelly comes across as a vapid empty vessel, both in the ring and on the mic. I don’t know if it’s political correctness or what, but people who don’t like the untalented Divas tend to just stay quiet or applaud politely. Or maybe it’s hard to voice your opinion as part of the audience while you’re taking a leak.
Speaking of which, did you see the crowd reaction after the Divas match this past RAW? The faces won a decisive victory after Tamina hit her father’s signature “Superfly” splash. And this is how the crowd reacted:
And the crowd goes wild!
You’d think they were at a funeral. I particularly enjoy the body language of the lady on the right, desperately trying to stay awake. Remember this pic took place RIGHT AFTER THE FACES WON BY EXECUTING ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE MOVES IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT!
HARD WORK ISN’T ENOUGH
The most common defense of the Divas, to paraphrase, is “leave them alone! They work hard!” So freaking what? Lots of people try hard and still suck, that doesn’t mean they deserve a push to the moon. With hard work should come improvement, but if you’re still shitty after nearly six years, you’re not likely going to get much better. Trying hard isn’t enough. You have to be able to GET BETTER.
With Kelly, I’m thinking that the WWE was hoping for another Trish Stratus. Trish came in as a fitness model – a pretty face with no in-ring experience. But the difference with Trish is that you actually saw improvement year over year. She got a lot more comfortable in the ring, on the mic, and as a champion. With Kelly, I can’t say I’ve seen a significant improvement over the years. A little maybe, but not much.
And it’s not just Kelly Kelly. Eve, the Bellas, and Alicia Fox all have the same problems. Who here doesn’t cringe when watching Eve “act” with Zack Ryder or Kane? And I get genuinely concerned for the welfare of anyone who steps into the ring with Alicia Fox. All these women are bland, interchangeable T&A. That’s it. Maybe the WWE needed some eye candy back in the day, but this is 2012. I can watch RAW and look for better eye candy on the internet if I want to. Just please, give me some talented eye candy!
Double the sexy, half the talent!
DEVIL’S DIVA’S ADVOCATE
Lack of talent is only part of the equation, though. Sometimes I’m convinced that the Powers-That-Be in the WWE feel the same way I do. There’s a reason why the Divas are only given a single 2-3 minute match every week. If the WWE had any faith in them, the Divas would get more air time to show off their skills and display a little personality. If the Divas aren’t being booked with any sense of faith, how are they supposed to entertain anyone? How are these ladies supposed to improve when they’re rarely given any compelling storylines? Why should we care when it’s implied that the company doesn’t? So it’s not like the fault lies entirely on the shoulders of the ladies.
OFFERING SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS
One thing that drives me crazy is when some nitwit at work drops bombs on everyone – telling folks what they’re doing wrong while having no idea on how to do it better. After all, it’s super easy to armchair quarterback. Well, I have a few notions on how to improve the Divas division. Here’s how I would fix things if I were in charge of the Divas:
END THE FIFTH GRADE DANCE
The current WWE product is a lot like a fifth grade dance. There’s a bunch of boys standing on the left side of the gym, a bunch of girls standing on the right, and an empty dance floor in between. There are dozens of muscle-bound guys touring all over the country with over a dozen attractive women, and we’re supposed to believe that there’s nothing going on between them?
90% of songs on the radio are about love in some way, shape or form. There’s a massive amounts of romance novels sold every year. People like Jennifer Aniston and Meg Ryan have had lucrative careers starring in romantic comedies. So where’s the romance in World Wrestling Entertainment? At one time, Spike freaking Dudley was main eventing RAW with the crowd firmly behind him, because he was the dweeb that got the girl (Molly Holly). At that time, Spike Dudley was one of the most over guys on the roster because people wanted to see him succeed with the ladies. Why aren’t they doing that today? Programs like that elevate the boy, elevate the girl, and elevate the villain that tries to come between them.
Recent romantic angles, like Zack Ryder and Eve, seem forced and have no logic to them. Eve gave Zack a pity date, but he was attacked by Kane, and Eve reacts (overacts) like she just lost her soulmate. Come on. That’s not how you do romance, WWE. I’m not talking about a half-assed romance angle, but something like an unspoken, heartstring-pulling crush like the Jim & Pam saga from the Office. Or the smoldering sexual tension between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting. Something subtle and long term that has a big payoff. Just imagine if a Diva dated and then unceremoniously dumped John Cena on camera. What kind of impact do you think that would have on her career?
Similar to my criticism of Babyface Daniel Bryan, I have the same problem with most of the Diva roster. I have no idea what these ladies are about. The faces smile, the heels sneer, and they put on a crappy match. Why should I care again?
We all get what Vickie Guerrero is about – she’s the cougar trying to build a power-base in the WWE. She’s the most over female on the roster, but isn’t included as a Diva on WWE.com’s Divas section. She has more of an interesting backstory than the rest of the Divas combined, and it shows. What are the major differences between Alicia, Eve, and Kelly Kelly? I sure can’t think of any. Can you?
The ladies need better characterization. Where’s the prude? Where’s the hot country bumpkin who’s new to the big city? Where’s the classy, Miss Elizabeth type? Where’s the man-stealer? Where’s the gossipy “Mean Girl?” I just thought of these off of the top of my head. Surely WWE’s Creative department can come up with something interesting for the ladies.
The best Divas gimmicks going today are Pinup Strong and Kharma killing bitches. Of course, the WWE had to go ahead and kill whatever momentum Pinup Strong had by making Natalya into the Diva-Who-Farts. This just boggles the mind. Why take someone who has a perfectly good thing going and undermine it by sticking her with a stupid flatulence problem? Yes, it made me laugh, but why not make it Rosa Mendes who farts? Then at least she’d have something distinctive about her. Poor Nattie. For what it’s worth, she’s doing a good job selling the thing. (Maybe too good of a job.)
This is just speculation on my part, but I’m convinced that the WWE mainly recruits their Divas from modeling agencies. A few, like Tamina and Nattie, are the offspring of former Sports Entertainers, but most of the others seem to be hired for their looks first, and talent second.
If they’re going to go that route, why not hit up some acting majors instead? Get some recent graduates who were drama majors that have some acting talent and good looks. I’m sure many of them would jump at the chance to get a steady gig right out of college. Send them to developmental for 2-3 years and have them debut when they’re 23 or 24 years old. This would give the company a steady stream of good looking ladies with acting chops that have learned the basics. I’m sure that the results would be much better than what we’re seeing today.
That, or just raid the Knockouts Division.
YOUR TURN, SCREWHEADS
What do you think, Team 411 UniverseNationArmy? Does Kelly Kelly suck as much as I think she does? How would you improve the Divas division? Does writing an article like this make me a misogynist? Let me know in the comments section below, or drop me a line.
SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT #FOLLOWFRIDAY OF THE WEEK
This week’s Twitter #FollowFriday is the often funny @WWE_Creative account. Not sure who runs it, but they live-tweet during RAW and PPVs with witty, insider-y remarks. Recent tweets from @WWE_Creative include:
The @WWERAWGM dental floss: because your mouth should be clear of food when you keep your job by the skin of your teeth #Merch
Essentially giving away our Elimination Chamber main event on free TV probably won’t have any ramifications. #RAWTonight
Yes, we’re a little package heavy tonight. And no, that’s not a euphemism. #RAWTonight
@WWE_Creative, everybody. Give them a follow today!
And of course, follow all the 411 stuff on Twitter! #spon
NON-SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT THING OF THE WEEK
This week’s non-sports entertainment thing of the week is brought to you by The Smoking Gun.
I’m a sucker for a good celebrity mug shot. So why not check out the Smoking Gun’s collection of celebrity mug shots today?
Here’s a few of your favorite sports entertainers mugging it up for the camera:
Wrestler Chris Jericho (real name: Christopher Irvine) was arrested by Kentucky cops in January 2010 and charged with public drunkenness. The WWE performer, 39, was picked up by Erlanger police at a Shell gas station, booked into the Kenton County Detention Center, and released after posting $120 bond.
WWE wrestler Booker T. (real name: Booker Tio Huffman) was arrested in 1987 after committing several armed robberies of Wendy’s restaurants in Houston (at the time, Booker flipped burgers for the chain). Booker subsequently pleaded guilty and served 19 months in prison.
Yeah, it’s The Big Show. Paul Wight, the 500-pound wrestling star, was arrested in December 1998 by Memphis cops for allegedly exposing himself to a female motel employee. The criminal case, though, was subsequently dropped due to insufficient evidence.
OK, so the non-Sports Entertainment thing had Sports Entertainers in it, but still…mug shots! Check out The Smoking Gun to see other mug shots, including Steve Austin’s and Ric Flair’s!
SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT ART CONTEST
Very underwhelming response to last week’s art contest, wherein I asked for a swank banner for the column. A grand total of ZERO responses to that. Guess no one wants to make a banner for a douche columnist they never heard of. Fair enough. How about something different this week. Something…funky!
For this week, I’d like you to imagine you’ve been given the assignment to design Brodus Clay’s new T-Shirt. Extra points to those submissions that depict what a funkasaurus looks like. Best submission gets their work displayed and a link to their Twitter/Facebook/Website. Get exposure on a top pop culture website!
Funk is on a roll, people! So get rolling!
PLUGS! WE GOT PLUGS HERE!
Thanks for making Friday Sports Entertainment the destination for your reading pleasure. Make sure you comment on the Diva piece, follow @WWE_Creative and the 411 stuff, and send me your Brodus Clay T-Shirt designs!
This is Sean