Last night’s WWE Slammy Awards were the nail in the coffin for what has been a year of disappointment. From the Miss WrestleMania battle royal to the ‘Mayweather Melee‘ to the Diva Bowl and not forgetting the ‘Indians vs Pilgrims‘ match leading into Maryse‘s lackluster return. Given the track record WWE has had with it’s Divas this year, in hindsight, we were far too optimistic for the Slammys to be the exception to the rule. From the nominations fiasco to the award being handed out on Raw, it’s been a marred process.
Clearly, it hasn’t been a good year for the Divas and last night summed up precisely what was so wrong about it. But try to make sense of the situation:
Before we even begin, I’m not going to sit here and blast Maria for winning Diva of the Year, her win wasn’t under her control and it’s unfair to judge her personally for being chosen to win. It’s her moment and good for her. I can’t say I think she deserves the award but I’m not going to hold it against her.
Who deserves the blame
Let’s direct this annoyance at the people that it should be directed at — WWE. As the opening paragraph suggests, this whole year has been letdown after letdown at the hands of WWE. A year that could make even the most unrelenting Diva fan question why they continue to watch. Whether the vote was truly the results of a fan vote or if it was booked in Maria’s favour we’ll never know, but I’m sure there are theories to suggest both.
As pointed out in the Post-Raw Show and in the Raw Redux, Maria is set to be part of a big ensemble cast for the Celebrity Apprentice on NBC next year. Perhaps Maria’s Slammy win was their way of pushing her in that series. If you hear Donald Trump putting her over on the show as WWE’s Diva of the Year, then you’ll know. Especially since the show has already filmed. I mean, you gotta compensate Maria on that show somehow right? The show often boasts about the celebrities’ accolades in creating a competitive atmosphere. “Maria, WWE Diva” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Cyndi Lauper, multi-platinum selling artist” does it? “Maria, WWE Diva of the Year” is a little more grandiose.
One of the things everyone, fans and critics alike, have pointed out is if this was truly fan voted, wouldn’t Mickie James win? Mickie is usually the winner of all of these fan polls and is unarguably, the most popular Diva in the WWE right now. That’s not to downplay Maria’s popularity — because she is up there. She and Kelly have a great rapport with the fans and are usually second or third in past fan-voted contests. But given Mickie’s current disposition with the company, would they really award her the Diva of the Year prize? Probably not. You’re pretty much calling the girl ‘fat and ugly’ every single week with all the ‘Piggie James’ BS that we’ve seen, you’re not going to give her an award. The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that Mickie probably topped the poll but they went for the second highest polling Diva.
It’s clear that WWE has positioned the Divas division to be so much of an afterthought that the average fan won’t care what they do with the girls. And as such, they can get away with murder. I mean in reality, we’re but a fraction of the total audience, right?
The uncrowned Divas of the Year
It’s clear that there are standout names that deserve this award and it’s those girls I feel the most sorry for. These awards may not seem like a big deal because they’re chosen based on storylines or whatever, but put yourself in the shoes of the Divas and Superstars. Being given an award is an achievement for your career and a sign from management that you’re doing your job well, or did your job well. Last year, Beth Phoenix earned her Diva of the Year award. This year, both the Divas and the fans were cheated out of a winner that had earned the award.
Both in real life and storyline, there were a few names that come to mind immediately. Frankly, Melina seemed a total shoe-in to win this award. She has had one of the best years a Diva could have in this day and age with two title wins and a body of work in terms of matches, that will be remembered fondly going forward. Women’s Champion, Michelle McCool has had a strong year filled with consistent hard work [even working through an injury]. Even Mickie James, with her record sixth title win in four years, is a strong candidate.
It’s the Divas who I feel most sorry for because their work throughout the year goes unrecognised for the most part and then at the end of the year, when it’s actually time to recognise talent, that is treated as a joke too. There are girls in that lockerroom that put their all into their jobs and want to make a difference to women’s wrestling and believe it or not, strive to change the way the Divas are booked but have become so used to being let down — just as we have.
Rather than be angry about what happened, my gut reaction was to laugh my head off in a “fool me once, fool me twice” way. That reaction has now turned to apathy for the whole situation. Congratulations to Maria, once again. Regardless of what happened, like an abused girlfriend in denial, we’ll keep running back to WWE. Let’s hope 2010 is a better year.