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Monday, September 9, 2013

Total Divas 1x7 - "A Leg Up"

"Unless your face is everywhere and you're actually being used, it doesn't even matter." - Nikki Bella on being top Diva in WWE. She's describing AJ Lee, incidentally, who is the only Diva who qualifies for that description. Just wanted to put that out there.

This week, the true story of why Nikki Bella has been on the DL can now finally be told. During a six Diva tag match on RAW (placing it in May or early June judging from Kaitlyn holding the Divas Title), K8LYN tossed Brie into Nikki. Nikki flew off the ring apron and slammed her left shin on the arena floor. This made an old soccer injury (insert pics of cute teenage Nikki) she never properly healed much, much worse. Shin splints, I believe was the diagnosis. After her X-rays, the WWE doctors put her on 12 weeks of recovery time on crutches.

After a year away from WWE, Nikki is horrified at what this could mean for her WWE career. Brie is similarly alarmed since her destiny is tied to Nikki's: "We're a package -- THE BELLA TWINS!" (HELLO!) Nikki goes into DENIAL MODE (a bitchier alternative to BRIE MODE), spurning Brie's advice about how to handle it, when to tell Mark and Jane, and what it would mean to take time off to heal herself. 

While Nikki lashed out at Brie and refused to listen to her mature, reasonable sister, there is one man - one special man - Nikki will listen to. One man we all listen to, for when he speaks, I know I lean forward a little closer to heed his words. That man is John Cena, who - after taking in "her femininity" - listened to Nikki's fears that time off to heal her leg after a year off already will torpedo her wrestling career ("I'm almost 30 years old!"). Cena reminded her she takes meticulous care of every aspect of her body but wondered why she left this injury alone for so long. Cena then reassured her everything will be okay, and if she has to take a year off (Nikki is aghast!) Cena would make it fly by for her. (No doubt, Nikki is currently reciprocating this for Cena as he heals his elbow.) Finally, Mark from Talent Relations tells Nikki that she's off TV while she heals. All of this drama of the future of the Bellas' WWE careers sure is undercut by the fact that we see them every week on WWE TV and on this show, Total Divas, regardless.

Meanwhile, the human-like replicant called Eva Marie received some wonderful news: Maxim Magazine chose her of all the Total Divas for a photoshoot for the September issue. This goes over with a lot of measured congratulations and purposely edited jealous looks and comments by the rest of the Total Divas. Nikki and Brie didn't hesitate to mention they posed for Mexican Maxim last year, but American Maxim is a much bigger deal. No one is more threatened by what this could mean than Jojo. While the red headed android had a great shoot with Maxim, Jojo greeted her cybernetic roommate's pictures with "stank face". A successful Eva Marie could mean leaping onto the main roster, leaving Jojo behind. She's suddenly aware this is a competition. (It is? Does Jojo suddenly think she's on NXT3? Where are Cole and Josh to mock them while they play Name That WWE Theme?)

Turns out living with 19 year old Jojo is like living in Robot Hell for Eva Marie, as she complained to Nattie, who had little to contribute this episode besides her usual fowl looks and insulting Hooters Girls, which Eva Marie used to be, thanks to her cybernetic implants. Jojo seeks solace with Trinity (who doesn't appear until 20 minutes into the episode), and pitches her one big idea to get herself noticed and make it into the main roster: singing. Before Lillian Garcia can say, "Oh no, she di-n't!", Jojo suggests she sing the National Anthem before RAW. Trinity, perhaps realizing that's a one way trip to never actually making it onto the main roster, instead suggested her and Jojo re-recording the Tons of Funk theme song. After a day in the studio with Trinity's father, who it turns out is a music producer of no repute, Jojo and Trinity present their new theme song and idea to Jane. Before Jim Johnston could say "Oh no, they di-n't!", Jane calls Jojo and says she loved it and she can perform it live with the Funkadactyls. I had no recollection of this performance taking place, and no wonder, because it turns out it happened on Main Event (a show I don't watch). 

This episode of Total Divas marks the very first time Vince McMahon himself makes an appearance, to tell Jojo and the Funkadactyls he's looking forward to their performance. Looking good in the yellow sport coat, brother!

Vince appearing actually genuinely shocked me. I think the only other person who would literally stop me in my tracks if he suddenly showed his face on Total Divas would be the Undertaker

Finally, the Funkadactyls and Jojo take the stage (splice in Justin Roberts announcing so that it sounds like he's saying this performance is the "MAIN EVENT!"). As it's standing room only at the monitors backstage for Jane and the other Total Divas, Jojo and the Funkadactyls proceed to perform hideously. I'm not Simon Cowell, but that was the shits. Nattie's face says it all - wait, that's her usual facial expression. But the funniest thing Eva Marie may ever be programmed to say was saying Jojo's horrible performance was karmic payback for being mean to her. LOL. The Funkadactyls and Jojo tried to save face about their bombing out there, but Jojo knows she stank (faced). Oh well, back to the drawing board.

And yet, the star of Total Divas is clearly Ariane. Ridiculous histrionic Ariane and her bald, ape-like dreamboat Vincent. In between the two of them shouting "BABE!" "BABE!" "BAAAAAAAABBBBEEE!" at each other, and Vincent pushing her buttons (which Ariane helpfully mimes), we learn Ariane is under enormous pressure this week. You see, Vincent is pushing her (buttons) to meet the family, which to the Bellas can only mean he's getting serious and is looking for marriage and kids, things Ariane isn't interested in for another seven years. When the Bellas ask point blank if she loves Vincent, Ariane must pause and can only muster, "I have love FOR him..." Uh oh, girlfriend! Despite her best attempts to ignore him while giving her puppy a pedicure (pause to say, I think I hate this woman), Ariane buckles when Vincent invites her to have dinner with his father. And thus we learn Vincent is Armenian, and yes, indeedy, Father of Vincent makes no bones about the fact that 1) He wants a wedding straightaway and 2) He doesn't like his son being left at home for four days out of every week. In the funniest moment of the episode, Father of Vincent tells Ariane his plan to place Armenian bread on her shoulder during the wedding. Is she allowed to munch on it if she's feeling peckish?

Vincent, unable to glean any hints from Ariane's facial expressions or erratic behavior (or maybe he's just used to how she is), "surprises" Ariane by taking her to a fine jeweler to pick up an engagement ring. So, we learn in Armenian culture: Bread on shoulder, yes. Getting down on knee to propose, no. Finally, Ariane can't take it anymore and storms out of the jeweler and then informs Vincent in so many words she just can't bear the bread on her shoulder. It seemed like she was finally breaking up with Vincent, but no, it seems like they're still together for some reason. BABE! I guess they deserve each other? BABE!

TOTAL DIVAS REVELATION: This episode actually highlighted a real concern amongst most WWE Superstars and certainly the Divas about their job security. Except for a handful of top guys who have reason to feel secure, the performers of WWE are constantly on edge about how close they are to being wished well on their future endeavors. Any injury, any reason to have what little TV time they claw for taken away from them, could mean the death knell for their careers. For all the perceived fame, money and glory there is to be found as a WWE performer - and there is a quite bit if you're successful - it's also sucky and stressful for everyone on the middle and bottom of the roster.

Next week in the season finale of Total Divas: A Match Made In Heaven, or do Nuptuals Turn To Napalm?