411's Total Divas Report 03.30.14
Posted by Ryan Byers on 03.31.2014
A bunch of women scream at each other, and, in the middle of it all, Bryan Danielson continues being awesome.
Do you like Ryan's exasperated ranting about Total Divas? If so, check out his exasperated ranting about numerous other wrestling-related topics on Twitter.
Ahhhh, recapping Total Divas. The only Sunday night task less pleasant than biting another man's throat out.
We are in Austin, Texas (allegedly), where Jon Uso meets up with his bride-to-be Naomi/Trinity and tries to make out with her behind a curtain. She rebuffs him for fear of getting fired for fornicating on the job and continues her gimmick from last season of referring to her vagina as her "cookie." She explains in a one-off line that things have been difficult lately because of Jon's remarkably high sex drive. That's probably the least embarrassing character trait that they've given to anybody on the show so far.
Summer Rae and Eva Marie are driving together because they've been kicked off the BrieBry tour bus, and Eva notes that the two of them have bonded over Summer's support of her in the fallout from photogate last week. Summer, meanwhile, explains that she has to take a lot of crap from the rest of the women's roster because she's the new girl on the block, and in particular she singles out Ms. Nattie Neidhart. Both of them rightly point out that a veteran of Nattie's stature should be supporting and nurturing to newcomers. Again, based on how the promotional material is shot and how Eva was portrayed last season, I'm pretty two that these are supposed to be the heels in this whole storyline, but they're coming off as infinitely more likeable than the girls that they're feuding with.
The Bella Twins arrive at some arena somewhere (I think we've moved on from Austin), and Brie explains that she feels bad because she talked the normally calm, reserved Bryan Danielson to book his tour bus only for the activities on the bus to be . . . well, the contents of a typical episode of Total Divas, with caterwauling, squalling, and Ariane doing the splits for no reason.
Brie has a conversation with Jon Uso, and Jon is even telling Brie how horny he is. They continue the gratuitous use of the word "cookie." So does this make Jon the Cookie Monster?
Nattie Neidhart runs in on the conversation and stays true to her form of delivering dialogue that would be more befitting of your grandmother than a thirty year old woman, telling Jon that he needs to "keep his mouse in the house." She then does a pretty racist impression of Ariane saying, "Girl bye." Ugh.
The next scene is - and I am not exaggerating - probably the SINGLE GREATEST SCENE IN TOTAL DIVAS HISTORY. Seriously, do whatever you need to do and Go. Watch. This. Scene. Get the episode on demand, DVR the next replay on E!, hunt it down on YouTube, pirate it much to Justin Watry's chagrin, do what you need to do.
Our crew is on the bus, and Ariane is complaining about there not being enough of a party atmosphere. This leads to a conversation between Ariane and BRYAN GODDAMN DANIELSON, the world's most entertaining reality television character. He first suggests, "We could talk about world events," and Ariane looks at him like he just started speaking Czechoslovakian. This somehow segues into Danielson asking whether Ariane thinks that she is a suitable role model for little girls, and he does this by quoting the lyrics of her horrible auto-tuned pop song from last season to her, asking whether children should be exposed to her message of saying "Boy bye" if said boys cannot handle the fact that she is all about the "chingle chingle." I'm not entirely sure what a "chingle" is, but it definitely does sound like something I would want to keep my daughter away from. Danielson delivers this whole thing masterfully, basically making fun of all of the excesses of Total Divas while simultaneously not breaking the fourth wall and remaining well within the storylines of Total Divas.
Unfortunately, the fun and games are short-lived, as Nattie Neidhart immediately begins screaming in pain from the bathroom, talking about something burning. We're left in suspense about what actually happened to her over the course of a commercial break, though the teaser implication is that she's somehow contracted a horrible STD from her husband who refuses to have sex with her.
We come back from the commercial, and I swear I'm going to explain what happened to Nattie exactly how it was explained on the show: She applied Icy Hot to her back and then went to the bathroom. She wiped herself after going to the bathroom, and this resulted in her getting Icy Hot into her crotch and her ass. Where do they come up with this stuff? Anyway, this is simultaneously genius and idiotic, genius in that we get some laughs out of the fact that nobody on the bus cares about Nattie's well-being and instead chastises her for pooping on the bus (a violation of one of D-Bry's rules from last episode) yet idiotic in that it serves no purpose in furthering the plot and is just another storyline apparently booked and shot for the sole purpose of embarrassing Nattie on national television, continuing the grand tradition of the pants pissing and drunk dialing storylines from last season.
John Cena and Nikki Bella are walking together at an arena. Nikki is concerned that she won't be able to walk because there are so many cracks in the pavement. I hope that she isn't also attempting to chew gum.
Also backstage, Nattie Neidhart is granting her first "Make a Wish" wish. She meets with a young teenage girl with a rare neurological disorder and gives her the ring jacket that she wore during Wrestlemania XXV. See, this presents us with a bit of a conundrum. When it comes to doing PR stuff like this and interacting with fans generally, Nattie (the actually woman and not the character on this show) is really quite good at it and seems to genuinely care for her supporters. However, by booking her like you do on this show, you turn her character into an unlikeable sow who will only have her opportunity to do PR work and interact with fans reduced. In other words, you're cutting off her opportunities to do something that she's really quite good at. It's bizarre.
Moving on, in the parking lot, one of the Bellas walks on to the tour bus . . . only to find Jon Uso with a topless Trinity.
You pretty much have to go to a commercial break on that one.
After that, Trinity reads Jon the riot act for not locking the frickin' door. She's got a point. Brie immediately reports this back to Bryan Danielson, who for a split second looked like he was wearing his Wyatt Family coveralls . . . though on a second viewing I guess that's just what he dresses like. D-Bry is not happy that all of his bus rules have been broken.
After the show, the bus is back in motion, and the cast has a conversation about birds shitting on them. Yup. In confessionals, everybody talks about how they can't stand each other anymore after this four day road trip. Then, in front of the entire group, Brie outs the future Fatus for fornicating on Bryan's couch. Jon immediately and happily owns up to it while Trinity attempts to deny it, which is pretty much the reaction you would expect from 90% of male/female couples. Bryan is extremely annoyed and walks . . . five feet away, because that's pretty much all the further that he can go.
TJ Wilson says, "Well, I didn't break any of the rules!" pretty much cementing his role on the show as the biggest dweeb in professional wrestling. Go teach your wife how to wipe herself without inducing third degree chemical burns.
The next day in catering, the Bellas and Bryan discuss the failure of the bus some more. Then they start complaining about an odd fishy smell that fills the room when Nikki walks in. Not making that up. This leads in to gossip about Summer Rae, who recently had a conversation with D-Bry about his comment on last week's episode that he had heard rumors regarding her having, ahem, "relations" with another member of the roster. So they're gossiping about gossip that was about some other gossip. Careful, you'll catch yourself in a recursive loop.
They show the Summer/Danielson conversation, and it was essentially Summer asking if he really had heard the rumors or whether he was kidding. I don't know how or why, but this makes Brie Bella ANGRY, because apparently Summer isn't supposed to be having any conversations with her fiancée or something like that. There's a line in there about how Summer has a reputation for talking "dirty" to the male wrestlers, but there is no indication that she did anything like that whatsoever in her talk with Bryan, and remember that they showed video of the conversation and there's really nothing inappropriate about it. If she was trying to flirt with Bryan, she's really, really bad at it.
After a commercial break, Brie hunts Summer Rae down backstage and gets up in her face. Summer explains that it was an innocent conversation, and . . . once again, I have to say that it really was. Brie won't hear it, though, and just continues to yell at her. Summer says, "It's not my fault you're insecure in your relationship," which pretty much sums up this entire scene. Brie tells her to close her legs and storms off.
The tag team of Summer's Eva has a conversation about what just happened, with Summer asking what the hell just happened. I am completely behind her on that one.
The Bella Twins also talk about the conversation, and Brie notes that Summer can be two different people at times. Gee, what are you talking about, Brie? You mean like one minute she's innocently talking to her fiancée in catering about their wedding plans and then the next minute she's flying into a rage like a demon harpy from hell and biting the head off of a co-worker who has done nothing wrong? You mean THAT kind of acting like two different people?
Later on, the women are all gathered around to watch the Bray Wyatt & Daniel Bryan vs. Uso Twins cage match from a couple of months ago, when Summer sidles up to Brie Bella and asks her if she has a minute to talk. Brie says, "We're coworkers, not friends," to which Summer responds, "I know; I just want to be professional and talk things out." Brie blows her off anyway. HOW IN THE WORLD IS SUMMER RAE SUPPOSED TO BE THE BAD GUY HERE?!
Summer realizes this is going nowhere and walks off, leaving the remainder of the crew to watch the match. They comment that it is, in fact, a good match. We've got a group of regular Dave Meltzers, right here. Heading into a commercial break, Brie Bella notes that something looks wrong with Bryan coming off the end of the match. The irony is that something actually was wrong with him, as he suffered a concussion, but I defy anybody to find any actual evidence of that in the video tape of the show, as he carried on for several minutes after the match proper to do the awesome physical angle where he turned on the Wyatt Family, never once letting on that he had been injured.
Of course, showing that angle would hurt the story for the reality show, so they leave it out. Instead, after the ads, we get footage of a WWE doctor telling Bryan to take it easy for a few days. In a confessional, Brie explains, "We know how to protect ourselves, but accidents do happen." Trainers, EMTs, referees down. Please, whatever you do, don't try this at home.
Nikki, in a rare moment of clarity for her character, tells Brie that, in light of Bryan's health issues, maybe there are some things more important in life than being catty with Summer Rae.
We cut to another live event in Cincinnati, where Eva gets to look at her first official action figure. She is impressed with the sculpting of the boobs. Nattie is also there, and she gets into a catty conversation with Summer Rae in which Summer says he first line of the entire series that can in any way, shape, or form be construed as bitchy, as she says the photoshop team who did the packaging for Nattie's action figure did a great job of making her look younger. Well, I guess you can only be pushed for so long before you start to push back.
Elsewhere backstage, the Bella Twins talk about Bryan's health and the aftermath of the bus. They decide to call a special diva meeting, clearing the air about all of the negative crap (and I don't mean Nattie's) that has recently occurred on the road. Summer Rae, despite not being in the wrong at all, decides to be the bigger person and apologizes to Brie Bella. Brie accepts, though she should've said there was no apology necessary since Summer did nothing wrong. Nikki moves to agenda item number two, i.e. the Ariane/Eva feud. Ariane also apologizes (AAA), and Eva explains her perspective as well. Then, completely out of left field, Nattie busts in and starts talking about herself. Seriously, you were not part of that conversation. She starts telling Summer that they have "issues," but Summer says she doesn't know what the issues are. Aside from that action figure conversation the other day, NEITHER DO I! Seriously, this entire season has been Nattie complaining about how she doesn't like Summer or anything she does, but she's never once done anything inappropriate, nor has Nattie articulated any actual feelings about summer aside from having bad "feelings" about her. The conversation doesn't do anything to resolve the tension between the two of them, mainly because one of them (rightly) doesn't understand why there's any tension.
After the meeting breaks up, Nattie goes to Fandango and complains about Summer some more. (Summer some more . . . see what I did there?) Summer walks up to Fanny after that conversation has ended and is pissed about Nattie talking about her behind her back and potentially souring her relationship with her "partner" Fandango. Again, Summer's perspective is the reasonable one. Fanny tells Summer that she should have a direct conversation with Nattie if there's a problem, and Summer agrees but says that it probably shouldn't be at work. Again, she's making sense and being a professional.
We cut to Nattie Neidhart's home, where Summer Rae shows up with her camera crew. That's not particularly realistic, but I'm willing to see where it goes. Fortunately, they do explain that Summer was able to stop by on her way to the NXT training facility, which is plausible. Summer says that she wanted to be a professional and not have this conversation at work. She further explains that she wants to put all of the gossiping aside, that she respects Nattie's talent, and that she wants to start with a clean slate and work together as professionals. Nattie refuses to accept any of this and call her a phony. NAME ONE THING THAT SHE HAS ACTUALLY DONE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT SHE IS A PHONY OR THAT SHE IS A SLUT OR THAT SHE IS ANY OF THE NEGATIVE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE CALLED HER THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS EPISODE OR ANY OTHER EPISODE FOR THAT MATTER.
Nattie continues to be an ass, telling Summer that she's a few steps away from being a stripper and further stating that there's a reason why she's single. Summer responds by slapping the taste out of her mouth. I'm not a big advocate of physical violence, but, excepting instances of self-defense, that's about as close to justified as you're going to get.
Nattie responds in kind, shoving Summer off of the doorstep, telling her to get off of her property, and threatening to call the police. Come on, Nattie, is that the best you've got? Is that what you call getting hungry and forgetting your manners?
Overall: The replay of this show that I normally watch was on an hour later than usual tonight, so it's late and I'm tired. That means I'm going to try to get through this fairly quickly, particularly since I think I included a fair amount of commentary throughout the body of the recap.
In short, this was the second decent-ish episode in a row and, judging it against the standards of the series as opposed to the standards that I have for television generally, I would go as far as calling it good. Some of the storylines and reactions are still contrived, but the pacing is better and, even if a few of the characters don't act like any person that I know, they're at least (for the most part) acting consistently with the personalities and motivations that have been established for them in prior episodes. Also, the storylines continue to build from episode-to-episode as opposed to everything being a one-and-done, which was a big contributing factor to everything in season one feeling rushed through. Plus, we had one of the few scenes in the history of the show that I found to be legitimately entertaining as opposed to drawing perverse "so bad it's good" entertainment from it, with Bryan Danielson's lecture to Ariane essentially being the polite, PG version of the lecture that Steve Austin gave to Ariane at the end of her run on Tough Enough.
I still wouldn't watch this of my own volition, but, as an "assignment," it's getting less painful . . . or at least it is if you're willing to accept the fact that Summer Rae and Eva Marie are the real babyfaces of the show.
Do you like Ryan's exasperated ranting about Total Divas? If so, check out his exasperated ranting about numerous other wrestling-related topics on Twitter.