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Monday, February 17, 2020

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The “Piggie James” Impact

If you’re a fan of women’s wrestling and more specifically, the WWE Divas, then you are familiar with the “Piggie James” storyline that has graced our television screens in recent weeks. The angle has ignited a lot of discussion and controversy due to the sensitive issue it has been dealing with; a woman’s weight and image. The WWE constantly promotes their women as smart, sexy, and powerful and with those labels come certain expectations. I’m almost positive the girls employed by World Wrestling Entertainment are expected to maintain their appearance at the highest level they possibly can. I’m purely speculating here, but seeing as how the majority of their roster is filled with models, the girls get hired for their looks alone. If want to sit here and nitpick, the male portion of the roster has its fair share of lookers to but that’s not what’s important today. In the entertainment world, looks are everything, and as sad as it is, Mickie James could be considered big for a diva by some people.

Personally, I find it absolutely ridiculous to call Mickie James fat, but the writers over at the ‘E saw a chance for a storyline and they decided to role with it. Week after week we got a chance to see then Women’s Champion, Michelle McCool, and her BFF, Layla, humiliate and taunt Mickie for being “overweight”. Team Laycool (and sometimes Beth Phoenix) made Mickie’s life a living hell until the Royal Rumble when Mickie finally got some much needed and oh so sweet revenge. Laycool got served a nasty little dish of their own medicine and Michelle suffered the ultimate embarrassment of losing her precious title in less than a minute. I thought the end justified the storyline, and overall I thought the angle was brilliant. Lets face it, the WWE just doesn’t care about their divas like they used too. The Diva division has suffered in the post-Trish era. I don’t know if it’s because the WWE just doesn’t care these days, or if it’s because they don’t have the confidence in any of their women like they had Trish. Either way, women haven’t had legit storylines in a long time and their three minute matches have been sloppily put together and terrible to say the least.

Since the draft last April, Smackdown has more than proven itself as the place to be if you’re a diva. The girls on the blue brand are given a little more time and for the most part, better writing. As a diva fan, I didn’t find Piggie James appalling whatsoever. I found it funny, dramatic, annoying, and I enjoyed it. As a woman, I sympathized with Mickie and wanted to punch Michelle McCool and her perfect little self in the face. Us diva fans were FINALLY given a storyline we could get emotionally attached too. We were made to root for Mickie and we were made to hate on LayCool for their terrible actions. All women were given mic time. They were given segments. The storyline had extreme build and that’s something we haven’t seen since the days of Trish and Lita. Our girls were finally given time to shine. I had no idea Michelle was capable of comedy. I had no clue I could ever be made to want Mickie James win a match. I was so excited to see what Beth Phoenix would do and which side she would pick. I even marked out for Maria when she got herself involved and cut the best promo she’s ever done. This simple, childish storyline brought something out of each and every woman involved and it was refreshing to see. Despite the touchy issue it was built on, I think everything worked out well in the end. Us Diva fans were finally given a reason to get excited and emotional.

A lot of people are questioning why this storyline was allowed to play out to a PG audience. Since I’m not an insider, I can’t really answer that question, but I can pose another one. Why were Randy Orton and Triple H allowed to terrorize each other last year leading up to Wrestlemania? We got to watch Randy Orton punt elderly people in the skull. We got to witness Triple H breaking and entering into a man’s home, scream at the man’s wife, and vandalizing said home with a weapon. Then we got to watch Randy Orton absolutely destroy Stephanie McMahon and kiss her unconscious body while Triple H watched handcuffed to the ring rope. Surely that doesn’t send a good message to children. We can’t have double standards for the divas and superstars. It’s politically incorrect and frankly, it’s just downright unfair. If you are going to question why “Piggie James” was allowed to play out to an audience that caters to children, then you have to question most things the WWE does, including Orton/HHH from last year.

Another thing that gets me about the backlash of this angle is the fact people are personally attacking Michelle McCool and Layla for it. These women follow a script, just like actors and actresses. It’s highly unfair to sit there and criticize them as people for what they do on television. They’re merely doing do their job and if you hate on their characters, then that’s great. We’re not supposed to like the people they portray on television. But getting personal with them just isn’t right. I’ve seen so many petty comments it’s kind of ridiculous. Michelle McCool has more than proven herself as capable wrestler and she is one of the most consistent women performers the WWE has right now. She rarely makes a mistake and looks good with whoever she ends up in the ring with. That’s a pretty good thing in the WWE these days because there’s quite a few others who can’t perform. I’m not even a McCool mark but I can respect the fact she’s broken away from the Diva Search mold and made me forget she even came from that stupid contest.

At the end of the day, we’re still going to think and feel how we want, but I hope that I’ve been able to at least make one person see this angle in a slightly positive light. It was a positive angle for the WWE Divas and I can only hope that the WWE keeps giving them more opportunities to wrestle, cut promos, have segments, and build storylines.

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