Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Raw Redux (December 14th, 2009) – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Last night’s Raw, in all its bloated 3 hour glory, was the annual Slammy Awards edition. Among the awards to be handed out were Diva of the Year, which was to be voted on by the fans at WWE.com. As we waited on pins and needles (not) to find out who won the award, we pondered whether the award would be given to support a storyline via rigging by the WWE or a popularity contest held by the voting public. As is turns out, it was neither, and I’ll explain my theory as we come to it.

We start our Divas action (not counting the Divas presenting awards throughout the night) with a Jerry Springer-esque evening gown tag team match. The babyfaces–Mickie James, Melina, Brie & Nikki Bella, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, and Maria are taking on the heels–Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Rosa Mendes. Most look out of place and trashy in their gowns, and I would critique them (I’ll save that for this week’s Style Jury), but I’m much more distracted by the fact that they’re WRESTLING IN EVENING GOWNS. Well, this’ll be one mesmerizing clusterfuck:


Skip to 2:52

They start with a line-up face-off, trading verbal barbs before heading off their their respective corners. Mickie and Rosa start off the match, Rosa takign advantage and tossing Mickie around, pounding her head on the mat. They trade slaps, and Rosa tosses Mickie into the corner. Mickie blocks her attack, locking her head with her legs and hitting a hurricanrana. She then pulls her to her feet, hitting her Mickie-T to get the pin an the win for her team.

I have to say, this is one of the few moments where I’m glad that a Diva match was cut short. I’m glad that no more than two Divas had to humiliate themselves by wrestling in their dresses. Mickie and Rosa did as awkwardly as I expected, but hey, someone had to take the bullet. Now that the match is over, it’s time for the Diva of the Year Slammy to be awarded. The girls line up in anticipation as MVP and Goldust present the award.

Our winner is announced as, drumroll please…. Maria??? MVP’s reaction right before he reads her name says it all, and Maria looks as shocked as the rest of us as she goes up to accept her award, saying a typical acceptance speech before being interrupted by Batista in a douche costume, doing a Kanye West impression that’s not only awful but over 3 months old. If the joke were a carton of milk, it would have expired into a living organism at this point and, ironically, would be more worthy of a Diva of the Year award than Maria. Maria plays Taylor Swift as she left the stage and allowed Dave to be “escorted” off by security.

But as we watch the wild pink-polo-wearing douchebag be captured in his natural habitat, we’re left to ponder the reasoning behind this decision to crown Maria as Diva of the Year. Was is it truly a popularity contest, and she was just the most popular Diva among the fans? Or was it rigged for storyline purposes? As I said earlier, I believe it was neither, because I have a theory. Yes, Maria is popular, and I do not doubt that fans flocked to vote for her in the poll, but I don’t believe her star power amongst the casual fans is that much stronger than, say, a Mickie James or a Kelly Kelly. Also, Maria has been back for only two weeks, and hasn’t been building up enough relevance to warrant a storyline-based award. So, what was it? I believe it has a lot to do with the reason she has been absent for the past several weeks–a little reality show called Celebrity Apprentice. We’ve covered her involvement on that show on the site, and it is reported that the show will premiere next March. Now, what about the placement of that premiere seems convenient for you?

I could go on and on about how little this makes sense–Maria is not only one of the worst wrestlers on the roster, but she has had so little presence on the roster this year (aside from the awful Dolph Ziggler saga). With Divas much younger and newer than her outclassing her in the ring to an embarrassing level, it’s laughable to see such a complacent Diva be awarded for her mediocrity. Now, we discussed this on the Post-Raw show last night, and I don’t mean to sound like a tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist, but I think there’s a strong possibility that the WWE wants to raise Maria’s in-company profile leading up to that show’s premiere. I wouldn’t be surprised if, with the show’s proximity to WrestleMania (it starts 2 weeks prior to the PPV, to be exact), the WWE tries to angle a WrestleMania storyline for Maria in order to take full advantage of her involvement on that reality show. What better way to prep her for such a push than to give her an award that will (or so they hope) raise her WWE name value? I honestly can’t think of another reasoning behind it. Like I said, I don’t believe she’s that popular amongst fans, especially with her extended recent absence, and they aren’t trying to push an existing storyline with the win. So, what’s left but an attempt to increase her stock in preparation for a future push?

Say what you want about the award’s irrelevancy (and I’m sure there’ll be a dozen or so comments by readers who didn’t take the time to read this saying “IT’S THE SLAMMYS, WHY DO YOU CARE? IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL!!!”), but it still speaks volumes about the Divas at large. As meaningless as the award is, it still recognizes Divas for their year of hard work. They aren’t awarded (formally) any other way, so this is as close as they get to recognition. So it especially sucks when so many Divas–Melina, Michelle, Mickie, to name a few–deserved it much more than Maria. In a year that was full to the brim with disappointments, those girls managed to generate some entertaining moments, and they weren’t recognized for that, for whatever reason. Though, with how disappointing this year was, this awarding of Maria as Diva of the Year acts as a perfect cap on a year that taught us to keep our expectations low–don’t expect anything, and you won’t be disappointed! In fact, I think that’ll be Diva Dirt’s New Year’s Resolution: lower our expectations to ground level.

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