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 411mania » Wrestling » TV Reports

411's Total Divas Report 06.01.14
Posted by Ryan Byers on 06.02.2014

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.

We are in New Orleans two days before Wrestlemania, and Vinny arrives at Ariane's hotel room. She's glad to have him there for the big event. Hopefully he doesn't have any run-ins with Brodus Clay this year. Ariane says that she is the bomb dot com and makes noises that are reminiscent of a llama. Even Vinny doesn't know what to make of this.

After the intro, most of the cast and their significant others are out having drinks, discussing whether Nikki Bella and John Cena will ever get married. Despite having previously been sworn to secrecy on the subject, Nattie drops the bomb dot com that Nikki was married in a previous life. Trinity picks up on the fact that Nattie is not supposed to be repeating this information. If you think the storyline of Ms. Neidhart exposing this secret is ever followed up on, you are incorrect.

Eva Marie is walking around Fan Axxess with husband Jonathan. She says she's under a lot of pressure. Come on, you're doing an autograph signing. Mick Foley goes into creepy old man mode, running up to her and hugging her. It reminds me of those awkward moments several years ago in which he always seemed to be far too big a fan of Melina. Fans start heckling Eva while she's doing the signing, including a "you can't wrestle" chant, and it starts to bother her. More validation for Summer Rae's actions a couple of weeks ago . . . take that, comment section.

Now we transition to the company's red carpet kickoff event for Wrestlemania. Nattie has been slotted as the hostess of the event, which she apparently has no problem this year with despite the fact that last season she was nearly in tears when she had such responsibilities assigned to her as opposed to getting to enjoy the event. The Funkadactyls meet up with one another, and I'm not sure but I think Vinny is wearing a pleather tuxedo. I cannot think of an outfit that better fits his personality. He looks like a bearded couch. Trinity mentions that she's never heard Ariane say, "I love you" to her man. Well, that's awkward. Who just brings up a topic like that out of nowhere? Despite not saying that she loves him, Ariane does refer to her man as a "noodle ball." I don't know what that means, but, like the pleather tux, it somehow fits.

In a situation that I'm sure happens every single day, John Cena gets left standing alone with the Bella Brother Dot. You'll recall that he knows about Nikki's prior marriage and is under the impression that Cena knows as well, but in reality Cena is like Sgt. Schultz and knows nothing, because Nikki never told John but lied to her family about having told him. Jesus, recapping that storyline makes me want to say "screw it," turn off this show, and go watch an old Clash of Champions on the Network. Anyway, as you would probably expect from the setup, Dot begins talking to Cena about Nikki's earlier marriage. John, consistent with his character, plays along like he knows all about it but suddenly rushes out of the event. He doesn't say WHY he left, so I have a suspicion that we'll find out later in the show that it was for an unrelated reason. This will not be before Nicole wines and moans about how her relationship is over, though.

After a break, Ariane takes Vinny and her mother Tammy out for dinner at a New Orleans restaurant. Ariane tells her mother that she loves her, and Vinny immediately calls her out for it. In a confessional, Ari blames her unwillingness to say the words on her abusive stepfather. Then . . . she starts crying. Given the backstory she just explained, that's understandable, but poor Vinny didn't hear that, so he's got to be sitting there wondering what the hell he just did. He says that he'll be there for Ariane no matter what. Beyond the superficial, I'm not really sure what attracts him to this woman, but it seems to be genuine, so all the more power to him.

Speaking of dinners, Nikki Bella and John Cena meet up for one. Cena is rather short with her, but she thinks it's because of all of the work that he has to do leading into Wrestlemania. For some reason, he refuses to bring up what Dot told him earlier.

We flash forward to two hours before Wrestlemania. Everybody is excited. Fans chant "Yes." They recap the Bella Twins and the Funkadactyls being bumped off of the Wrestlemania XXIX card, which you'll recall was one of the major storylines on the very first episode of Total Divas.

Summer Rae is walking backstage with Emma, who Summer has recruited to be her only friend on the roster. Summer says that all of the other girls hate her, and Emma tells her that it would help if she stopped being a bitch. At least that's what I think she said, because Emma speaks very quickly and that, combined with her Australian accent makes her a bit difficult to understand. I DEMAND that E! and WWE make her a regular part of the series and give her the Boomhauer gimmick from King of the Hill.

Speaking of Emma, I would just like to note for the record that I used to watch Emma wrestle in a sweaty Eagles Club in front of a crowd of 200 people, and, given that, it is damned insane to see her on a nationally televised reality show in the vein of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I definitely did not think that was a possibility while I was enjoying her indy matches and trying to avoid any physical contact with the lesser-washed masses that had assembled in Berwyn. Getting back on topic, Summer is upset about not being invited to the BrieBry wedding, but she's got a gift for Brie that she plans to put into a card and give to her today. Summer, dear, I don't think you're going to be able to fit a king cobra into that envelope.

Oh, by the way, did you think this story about Summer giving Brie a gift would be followed up on? Well, you're wrong. It's never mentioned again.

The Bella Twins are reviewing their gear for the evening . . . wait a minute . . . I thought they only finished up women's Wrestlemania gear thirty seconds before their matches were on! Creepy Underboss Mark arrives and tells them that the women's match has been bumped from the third bout on the card to the seventh, which they don't like because they claim it is the match most likely to be cut from the card. No way, they can't cut the pre-main event bathroom break match! The Bellas tell the Funkadactyls about the change, but they refer to the match not as the seventh match but as the "semi-main." I don't think they know what that term means. "Main event" and its derivatives refer to the main attractions in selling the show, not match order on the card itself.

Wrestlemania begins, and we get a bunch of footage of the women watching their men's matches backstage. Nikki is concerned because she's been timing out the show in her head and she doesn't think that the women's match will get to go on. She's discussing this in such a manner that she's essentially admitting that the matches are fake, because otherwise they wouldn't be running for pre-determined times. This show really needs to decide whether it's going to treat wrestling like a work or a shoot.

Now the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar match is beginning, and the Bellas blame Undertaker's match running long for having bumped their match last year. They figure that, if Brock/Taker goes more than five minutes over time, they're off the show. Of course, as everybody knows, the streak ends. The moment is described as bittersweet for the women, because the match ended on time and they're glad that they get to go on but upset that now that they have to follow THAT moment of all moments, with a crowd that will now be processing Taker's loss as opposed to focusing on them.

After a break, we go to the women's battle royale. They make the claim that the women were able to "turn the crowd around" after the Undertaker's loss and show some over-the-top crowd reactions to big moves . . . though they never do it in such a manner that the action in the ring and the "reaction" of the crowd can be seen at the same time. Gee, I wonder why that might be. As you all know, AJ Lee taps out Trinity to win the match, and, even though none of the main cast won, they don't care because they feel like they put on an entertaining performance and because they now need to focus on Brie Bella's wedding. If the match and its outcome were so inconsequential, why did we spend the last half an hour building up to it?

The very next day, we're in Sedona. Everybody is happy to unwind after Mania, except for Ariane, who has food poisoning. We see the rehearsal dinner, and there are a lot of feel-good moments, particularly with the twins' grandmother. Then, the Bellas' uncle Joe gives Nikki and Cena some crap about when they're going to get married. Yup, everybody has one of those relatives.

Vinny shows up at Ariane's cabin and takes care of her while she is ill. It lasts fifteen seconds.

We are now two hours out from the wedding, and the Bella family meets up. The girls' dipshit brother arrives and again starts talking about Nikki having been married previously. Jesus. THIS is one of the more reality-shattering things they've done on this supposed reality show. Unless this guy has some sort of odd behavioral disorder, there is no way that he would be so obsessed with this issue and bring it up as the first topic of conversation literally every time that he sees his sisters. Anyway, his comments are such that it quickly becomes apparent he has told Cena about Nikki's prior nuptials. As expected, this causes everybody in the room to simultaneously blow their stacks. It's up to Mama Bella to keep the peace, as she tells Nikki and Dot in more polite terms to shut the fuck up, because this is Brie's day and they are not to disrupt it any further. I'm glad that at least one character on this show has her priorities in order.

The wedding begins, and quite frankly, it is beautiful. I can't even begin to be cynical about this. They read their vows to each other, and Bryan in particular did a great job of writing them. Bryan Danielson cries. John Cena cries. Hell, even I'm fighting back a tear here, and I'm watching this back three months after it happened and have no personal connection to anybody involved. The couple says, "I do," and everybody gathered for the wedding chants "Yes." Danielson almost looks embarrassed to have something from professional wrestling encroaching on his wedding.

Because this show is incapable depicting legitimate, positive emotions for more than two minutes, we then immediately shoot back into the Nikki Bella B.S., as she runs up to John Cena the second the ceremony ends and tries to talk to him about prior marriage-gate. He whispers to her, "This is not the time or place." COR-FREAKING-RECT.

At the reception, Ariane pulls her man Vinny aside and finally tells him that she loves him. "Oh wow," he says. She also declares that he is the bomb dot com, which, coming from her, is probably a bigger term of endearment than, "I love you."

Speaking of asides at the reception, Nikki pulls John Cena outside after her maid of honor speech. He says that he is not upset with the fact that she was married before, because he understands that what happened before him happened before him. In other words, he has exactly the reaction that I said he was going to have when they first started this storyline three weeks ago. Memo to Nikki Bella: I, as a wrestling fan and semi-coerced view of this show, should probably not know your live-in boyfriend better than you do. Cena does note that, if he was upset by anything, he was upset by Nikki telling other people about her prior marriage but not confiding in him. Understandable. However, he's not so upset about it that their relationship is in any kind of trouble.

To end the show on a positive note, we get one last confessional shot of Brie Bella telling us how she feels that she's the luckiest girl in the world. And, with that, season two comes to a close.

Overall: It's difficult for me to say anything negative about this episode, mainly because it included footage from the wedding, and seeing all of the genuine happiness associated with that put me in a good mood, and it's something that I would gladly watch even if I did not have this reviewer "job."

However, the show did just about everything that it could do to try to piss me off despite the high from the wedding. Perhaps the biggest flaw is that this episode felt that it could have been divided into two separate episodes, as there would have been more than enough material related to Wrestlemania and more than enough material related to the wedding that you could get two forty-two minute shots out of it. This problem was compounded by the fact that there were two scenes on the show (Nattie letting the cat out of the bag and Summer's gift) that had no relations to anything else in the episode and easily could have been left on the cutting room floor. I'm not a television professional, but even I know enough to tell that's just sloppy, haphazard storytelling.

My other complaint would be the sheer implausibility of Nikki Bella's storyline, but by going into that again I'm starting to feel like a broken record, since implausible storylines has been a consistent issue with the program literally since the day that it began. I've known from the beginning of this show's run that I am not a part of its tragic demographic, though, so maybe I should just get used to the fact that there are apparently some people out there who don't want their reality show storylines to have any grounding in reality.

I suppose that I'll see you all next season, when we'll get more of this plus Rosa Mendes for some reason. Until then, just remember that . . .

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.


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