wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Total Divas Report 07.28.13

July 28, 2013 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to your 411mania Total Divas Report.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ryan Byers, and I’m the guy who always seems to get stuck reviewing bad wrestling shows around here. I did TNA Impact during its absolute worse days. I did the Herb Abrams UWF. I did Half-Pint Brawlers. I did the Wrestling Society X b-show. I did Wrestlicious. And now . . . now I have this. Please pray for me.

The Bella Twins open the show. They talk about how people can’t believe they are “WWE Divas” (because they can’t say “professional wrestlers”) and put over how widespread WWE’s media penetration is. They claim the company is the “Broadway of Bodyslams.” Does that make TNA the “Dinner Theatre of DDTs?”

Next we transition to the Funkadactyls, who are billed as Trinity and Ariane as opposed to their worked names that we’ve known them by for years, despite the fact that the Bellas are going by their stage names as opposed to being the Garcia Twins. One of the Dactyls explains how she hits other women with her ass, which I honestly didn’t know was a thing until just now, despite the fact that I watch Raw every week.

Now it’s Nattie Neidhart’s turn. And, yes, she’s “Nattie” on this show, not Natalya. She mentions she’s part of the Hart family but doesn’t give any real context.

After a three second “theme song,” we cut to a WWE NXT gym, where a graphic tells us it’s ten days before Wrestlemania. The Bellas do some training.

We now cut to ANOTHER gym, where the ‘Dactyls are training. We’re introduced to Trinity’s boyfriend Jon, who is Jimmy Uso. This name-switching thing is going to get really confusing really quickly. The Dactyls throw some punches and kicks at each other, but the show never makes it clear whether we’re supposed to think they’re worked or legitimate.

Now here’s yet a third gym, with Nattie in the ring, and she’s being watched over by Bill DeMott and her father, Jim Neidhart. I hope to god he got paid for this. She gets to show some badass chain wrestling against an unnamed opponent, and it’s pretty clear that DeMott & The Anvil are here to put over how great she already is, not to train her. Nattie mentions the fact that Wrestlemania is a big deal (ya think?) and that it’s difficult for the women to get on the card. Well, unless Kid Rock is performing. Then there’s a spot for them.

Nikki Bella pops up and explains she’s dating John Cena, which segues into Cena clips from a variety of mainstream talk shows. They go fishing and make out, in that order. Please stop doing that, it scares the fish. They also have a really vapid conversation about the movie The Notebook. This immediately turns into Nikki nagging Cena about getting married. Throw her into the lake, John. Throw her into the lake and run away right now. John Cena is described as “so sweet” by Nikki in a cutaway. That will make him more popular on Raw Monday, for sure.

Brie Bella and her boyfriend Bryan Danielson are shown walking their dog, which pees on something. Is there a reality show rule that every series has to feature an animal voiding on something at some point? Also, can I now officially refer to Bryan Danielson as Bryan Danielson again since his real name is being on WWE programming? Or will that still offend the comment section?

The dog walk is interrupted by Nikki (she conveniently lives next door, as all good sisters do), who pulls up in a new Range Rover, which was purchased for her by Cena. We see the Bellas’ mother, Kathy, who from looking at her apparently gave birth to the twins at age five. Guess what, readers! There’s more marriage talk!

There’s yet ANOTHER cut, and Nattie hugs Stephanie McMahon to set up Wrestlemania week. Nattie explains all of the non-Wrestlemania events that go on before Mania, though she conveniently ignores Wrestlecon. Don’t worry, Gabe Sapolsky, someday you’ll get the E! recognition you’ve always been dreaming for. I suggest a reality show entitled “Total Flippy Indy Dudes.” Nattie then gets a phone call from Jane, the “head of talent relations.” Jane tells Nattie that she’s not going to be in a match at Wrestlemania. Yes, because I’m sure that WWE has one-on-one meetings with all of its talent to tell them they’re not going to be on a particular show. Nattie’s frustrated because the women’s match at Mania that WILL (supposedly) occur involves the Bellas and the Funkadactyls, who Nattie trained to wrestle. Her supposed consultation prize is babysitting two more rookies, which Ms. Neidhart also doesn’t care for, since they’ll be taking her spot eventually as well. Hey, it’s a job.

We FINALLY get a commercial break. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take the pace of this show. We’re thirteen minutes past the top of the hour and I swear there was a camera cut every five seconds of that thirteen minute period. It’s like this show was put together for people with terminal cases of ADD. Are all E! shows like this?

After the break, we’re introduced to Eva Marie and JoJo, the two aforementioned rookies. We focus on the fact that JoJo is only 19 years old. Cue the angry Paige fans.

We then go back to Nattie’s meeting with Talent Relations Jane, and Nikki Bella walks up. Nattie is fake happy for the Bellas getting on the Wrestlemania card, and they talk about the new girls. Nikki explains that “newbies aren’t divas yet.” In other words, turn back Eva and JoJo! There is still time! Run before you’re the subject of 1,000 creepy fanfics!

Head of Talent Relations Jane tells Eva to dye her hair blonde and then tells both new girls to follow Nattie around all weekend. I can’t wait for the eventual Talent Relations Jane spin-off series.

We talk more about Eva Marie’s hair, which apparently has to be blonde because the Bellas are brunettes, but Nattie mentions that she’s got blonde hair, so Eva is stealing her look now. These people realize that there are only five or so natural hair colors on the planet earth, right?

Ariane’s boyfriend Vincent shows up at her hotel room. No, it’s not Vince McMahon. It’s some schlub you’ve never heard of before who has a Tough Enough Maven-level eyebrow grooming problem. Their reunion is shortlived, as Ariane has to go to “dress rehearsals for Wrestlemania.” Well, that kills some of the mystique of the pay per view.

Ariane and Trinity claim the dress rehearsal for their planned mixed tag with the Bellas, the Rhodes Scholars, and Tons of Funk went poorly. Apparently Brodus very loudly told Ariane that she sucks, which sends Vincent off the deep end. He’s ready to call out Brodus Clay. I think he even wraps a chain around his fist at one point. First of all, I would have LOVED to have seen the footage of Brodus chewing out a Funkadactyl. Second, why don’t we get to hear Brodus’ wacky real name? Third, where does BRODUS CLAY get the right to call anybody out for being a shitty wrestler, even if her favorite match was Melina vs. Alicia Fox? Fourth, I would have LOVED to see the Brodus-Vincent fistfight. Please tell me that’s something that is being booked for down the road on this show.

On a drive with Jimmy Uso, Trinity reveals that she’s pissed at Ariane for Vincent’s actions, since the heat could be transferred to her. Okay, based on everything I’ve read about wrestling, that part of the story is actually believable.

There’s another commercial break. Twenty-six minutes in and they seriously need to slow the pace of this show. I’ve seen crack addicts who are more mellow than the editors of this program.

We’re back, and the Bellas decide they want to meet the new girls. Nikki’s upset because one of them supposedly looks like her. How is it that she looks like one of the Bellas without looking like the other? She’s afraid the similar-looking Eva will be “competition.” What does Nikki think the company is going to do? Fire her and then team Eva up with Brie as the New Bella Twins? (Or, worse yet, The Bella Twins 2000?)

Trinity and Ariane have a totally legitimate, not staged breakfast to discuss the heat between Vincent and Brodus Clay. I have no idea what they agree to in order to resolve the situation, and I don’t think they do, either.

We’re now two days from Wrestlemania and Eva Marie is at a salon to get her hair dyed, but, right as we head into the commercial break, she decides she is going to defy Talent Relations Jane and NOT GO BLONDE. Gasp. The drama.

Aaaaand we’re back again. Eva tells the stylist that she’s dying her hair red as opposed to blonde, and JoJo points out that this could cost her a job. Thanks to the magic of television, the job is done in a split-second, and her hair looks godawful afterwards, though I have to say it probably would have looked even worse blonde.

Talent Relations Jane checks in with the new girls to see the hair. SHOCKINGLY, Jane has no problem with it but warns her that, in the future, you don’t cross the boss. As an aside, I would rather slit my wrists than work for an employer who could micromanage me to the point of controlling my hair color. Eva Marie states that she will “rock the shit” out of her hair. There probably shouldn’t have been shit in there to begin with.

Now we’re at the Wrestlemania kickoff party, where Nattie is playing the red carpet interviewer for WWE. She complains about this, because apparently her role on this show is to complain about every goddamn thing that ever happens in her life, even though she’s working for the largest wrestling company in the world after that was supposedly her dream for years.

The Bellas talk to the owner of the New York Giants about how much they dislike the attitudes of the new girls. I’m sure Steve Tisch is thrilled to be attached to this project.

The Bellas steal some random men from the new girls. The new girls don’t like it. I am longing for the Herb Abrams UWF at this point.

The next day, the Bellas go out for dinner. Nikki wants to get married and worries that John Cena will never want to do the deed because of his prior marriage. Can’t blame him there.

Commercial break. We have twenty minutes of the show left. You can’t do this, Ryan. You can make it.

We are now one day way from Wrestlemania. The Funkadactyls are yelling at each other because Ariane still hasn’t talked to Vincent about the Brodus situation. What does it matter? It’s been almost a week. Is Vincent still running around steaming mad, ready to punch Brodus Clay the second he gets a view of his red XXXXXL track suit? Rational people would have calmed down by this point. The girls also use the phrase “all up in my Kool Aid” during this spat and, if you ever wanted irrefutable proof that this show is a work, use of that phrase should hold up as your evidence in any court in the land.

Nikki Bella goes out to dinner with John Cena. Nikki asks if “we can be serious for five minutes,” totally botching Lance Storm’s catchphrase. John Cena rationally explains why he is in no hurry to get married. He makes complete and total sense, and Nikki decides she’ll be patient. Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.

It’s Wrestelmania time. Fans are shown being fans. Brie Bella is shown watching her boyfriend Bryan Danielson’s match. “That’s good,” she says. You don’t fucking say.

The Bellas say “hi” to Talent Relations Jane on their way to the ring. The Funkadactyls hang out with the WWE seamstresses, who are supposedly still putting together their gear less than thirty minutes prior to the match. Okay, forget Talent Relations Jane. I want a WWE Seamstresses reality show spin-off.

Back from another commercial, and it’s still Wrestlemania, and the Funkadactyls still don’t have their britches. We’re shown the Undertaker/CM Punk finish, because this show just has to taunt me with something that was great in the midst of this reality TV clusterfuck.

Then, all of a sudden, John Cena’s music plays and he hits the ring. Everybody acts shocked, because apparently, even though WWE Talent Relations will schedule a one-on-one meeting with Nattie Neidhart (and presumably everybody else on the roster) a week before Wrestlemania to tell her she’s not booked (they should hire Dennis Stamp for that job), they don’t have the common courtesy to tell anybody that their match is cut until literally the absolute last split-second before it otherwise would have gone on, especially when, going into the show, even the markiest of mark marks knew it was the match most likely to get bumped for timing issues.


After more commercials, the Bellas and Dactyls tell Nattie and the rookies that timing issues kept the match from going on, specifically blaming it on the prior match. We, the professional wrestling fans who make up the core audience for this Total Divas show, are apparently supposed to feel bad for the women because their match got cut so that we could see more of CM Punk vs. The Undertaker instead of Naomi’s “Rear View” or whatever would have been featured in the mixed tag. I don’t see them getting that reaction, unless suddenly the WWE fanbase has shrunk to the three people who write for diva-dirt.com and have to pretend that they care about this sort of tripe.

Then, fifteen seconds later, we cut away from the disappointment about the match to have a Funkadactyl make an off-the-cuff remark about how the Vincent issue is still outstanding. Then there are some fireworks. Then the show’s over.

WHAT?! The series finale of The Sopranos wrapped up loose ends better than this show.

Overall: If this first episode is any indication of what the entire series will be, I strongly suggest never watching this show. Ever. Seriously. Every single character was unlikable. You couldn’t get behind the Funkadactyls because they were incredibly catty with each other despite supposedly being best friends. You couldn’t get behind the Bellas because they were booked as the heels. You couldn’t get behind Nattie because, even though she’s supposed to be the overlooked underdog, the editing instead made her look like a bitter old woman. You couldn’t get behind Eva Marie and JoJo because, as of this moment, they have no defined character traits, unless you count being young and having a bad dye job as character traits. The grating characters were combined by obnoxious, breakneck pace editing. I literally felt insulted that somebody would think that my attention span was so short that I have to be fed entertainment in nuggets so bite sized as the ones that make up this show. (And I mean that in the Owen Hart sense of the word “nugget,” if you get my drift.) Finally, even though I went into this knowing that most reality shows in 2013 are complete and utter works, this show was so transparent about it as to be frustrating. It’s as though it’s actively telling you it is fake while trying to put on only the thinnest air that it may be real. When Monday Night freaking Raw puts on more believable storylines than you do, it’s time to check out.

I’ll see you next week. Maybe. It all depends on how many sins from a past life that the gods have decided I must atone for.

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