What’s Next for Melina?

Barring injury, it’s been a good two years for Melina dating back to her first comeback from injury in November 2008. The three-time Women’s Champion and two-time Divas Champion has spent most, if not all, of her run between November ’08 till Night of Champions last month at the top of the Divas division. That is, of course, excluding the 7 months Melina spent on the shelf between January and July this year.

A brief history lesson: Returning from her injury suffered in June 2008, Melina returned triumphant in November of that year, and chased Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Championship, putting the exclamation point on her comeback by winning the belt at Royal Rumble 2009. Next, Melina moved to SmackDown and began a months-long feud with Michelle McCool over the belt, including that Match of the Year winning bout at Night of Champions 2009. Traded back to Raw in October, Melina became the Divas Champion on her first night back and held the belt till her ACL injury in December. Returning in time for SummerSlam, she regained the Divas Championship only to lose it a month later in that high profile title unification match — and now here we are.

It’s not often that a Diva can command the spotlight for so long, so it seemed inevitable that the A-List Diva would join the queue of fellow former champions turned ‘another face in the crowd’ along with Eve, Alicia etc. following her loss against Michelle McCool at Night of Champions. That ‘face in the crowd’ status was further cemented by her and Gail Kim filling the usual Bella Twins spot of schmoozing with the guest host on Raw last Monday. But while it’s a breath of fresh air to see the likes of Natalya get a chance to shine, I can’t help but question… what is next for Melina?

You see, unlike an Eve or Alicia — who make sporadic appearances since losing their respective championships — I feel there’s more that can be done with Melina while she’s out of the title picture. Melina is one of the most tenured Divas in WWE, as well as one of the most experienced girls having wrestled the likes of Michelle, Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Trish Stratus and more, plus she’s one of the most popular Divas in WWE and also, a great personality. In my opinion, she’s the perfect candidate for what seems to be a dreaded term when it comes to the Divas — a secondary feud.

Sadly, it seems WWE can barely write for one feud for the Divas, so it’s a rarity that we see two. But if we could ever have an exception to that rule, Melina should be it. Putting her in a secondary feud with one of the rising girls could help put them over and after all, aren’t we looking for new stars? Melina’s been blessed to have five title runs in WWE and has had a career that has spanned as many years, perhaps WWE could use this downtime in her own career to help put over one of the other girls. It beats standing around with Johnny Knoxville…

Heck, why not amp it up even more? After two years and three title runs as a babyface, it seems like it’s time to switch things up for Melina. Aside from Lay-Cool, the heel side in WWE is lacking depth and if there’s one Diva that has depth as a heel — it’s Melina. Look no further than her berating and slapping Maria. Don’t we miss that? Sure, smiley, happy Melina has been fun but it seems to have run its course. If Lay-Cool are the immature high school heels, well, Melina’s a college graduate. Sure, her heel act would need to be toned down for the current PG climate, but I’m confident that Melina could deliver the same sass in her performances without using the ‘B’ word.

With Natalya currently at the top of the division and Beth Phoenix’s return pending, Melina isn’t necessarily needed on the babyface side. After all, you also have Eve, Kelly and Gail Kim waiting in the wings and ready to be taken off the bench. The heel side? Aside from Lay-Cool, there’s no strong heels in the division at the moment. Maryse is off doing her thing with the Million Dollar Man and Tamina is more focused on Santino. Alicia Fox is the closest we have to a secondary heel aside from Layla and Michelle, but fans don’t seem to be too convinced by her. The return of heel Melina seems like a perfect fit right now.

Which brings me back to my earlier point of putting others over. Now you have a heel Melina, why not put her against someone like Eve Torres, who WWE loves and wants to get over? Or Kelly Kelly? Even if it is just on WWE Superstars, a secondary storyline with either of those up-and-coming girls will hopefully get them that much more ready for the title picture.

Of course, a key component to this working — and something WWE seems reluctant to give — is promo time. Aside from Lay-Cool, no other Divas are given regular promo time. What made Melina a great heel, and Trish Stratus before her, was that they were constantly talking. Like I say, even if it is on WWE Superstars, promo time and a match each week could go a long way. Putting Eve against Melina, and getting the crowd interested, could be a launch-pad for Eve to feud with Lay-Cool for the Unified Divas Championship.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling time on Melina’s own career, by any means. Turning heel would probably give her a new lease on life too and she’d be waiting in the wings to take over from Lay-Cool when they run their course. Heel Melina vs babyface Beth for the belt? Or Natalya? In the meantime, give her a secondary feud and team her up with Lay-Cool on Raw when you do tag team matches.

There’s still a lot for Melina to offer the division, even if she isn’t in the title picture. Having her on the sidelines becoming another face in the crowd will do no one favours. WWE should take advantage of the asset that they have built up over the past five years and utilise her to strengthen the division by working with the likes of Eve, Kelly, Alicia, Tamina etc. in secondary programmes.

That’s just one writer’s take anyway.

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  • ohiofan1

    Yea I would definately say turn Melina heel. Besides LayCool, we don’t have any credible heels. I have said numerous times that one person can’t be the focus point all the time with the belt because it gets stale (see TBP) Eventually, LayCool will get staled if they keep pushing them with both belts at this rate along with winning back in a month.

    Melina should have never turned face in the first place. Melina just cannot play a face. All she does is smile and it looks really fake. I wish the WWE would learn that when you turn somebody face, you have to keep their personality the same and not be generic happy. It failed with Morrison and MVP. They were good heels, but when they turned face, they became generic. Randy Orton is the only exception as he still has his viper character as a face.

  • shannymac

    Honestly, I really want to see Melina return to her “bitchy” roots. As much as I love her, I just feel that most of her face run has been a bit underwhelming from a character perspective. I would love to see her at least turn tweener, and show off more of her fire and passion.

    At the very least, WWE could be using her in a “second-fiddle” to the top face (Natalya, atm) role. Similar to what Mickie was while Melina held the Women’s title on RAW. It would help firmly establish Nattie as a face, as well as keep Melina active and on TV.

  • MikeChrisH

    Why are people so worried about Melina still doing something? I don’t see fans of the other girls complaining that their girl isn’t doing anything, especially Gail fans who continue to watch her stand backstage. Melina, for the first time ever, stands backstage and people are going nuts over it because she cannot have more unnecessary title reigns and constantly be pushed down our throats etc.

    Melina’s done with. She was only brought back to put Michelle over so they could unify the titles since Melina is one of 3 people Michelle will either put over/have a PPV match with (notice how it was all Layla when it came to feuding with Kelly). People should be lucky she’s still there cause I honestly believe they would have released her ala Candice as she’s over 30 and out with injury more than she is active. Simply put, she’s 1 injury out the door, if that even.

    Be happy she’s a 5 time champion and maybe some people can write articles about other girls like Eve and Alicia, who know have to be completely rebuilt due to Michelle and Melina’s continuous, unnecessary pushes. The division was FINALLY starting to see new faces get pushed (maybe they weren’t necessarily over but they would have eventually) but lo and behold they manage to take months of build up and flush it within two weeks for the same two women all the time.

    Why won’t no one write an article about why women like Melina and Michelle need to stop being pushed all the time? It’s doing more harm than good now.

    Sorry if that’s mean or anything but I just don’t see why people are complaining about a woman who’s accomplished so much yet noone offer’s anything for the other girls who haven’t done as much and are just sitting around doing nothing and/or jobbing in 25 second matches.

    • http://www.diva-dirt.com Melanie

      MikeChrisH — Did you even read the full article before you commented? Or did you just comment based on your predisposition to Melina without properly reading what I wrote? Sounds like the latter.

      Nowhere did I ‘complain’ about her not being at the top of the division. I said that WWE should take this time to use Melina to get other girls over like Eve or Alicia.

      Perhaps in future you should fully grasp what it is that the article is about before commenting.

  • MickieFan226

    I don’t see Melina turning heel in the near-future. As much as I would like to see her go heel again, it just seems like WWE is all about LayCool at the moment. They appear on both brands now due to being Unified Champions so WWE isn’t looking for a top heel on Raw. Alicia and Maryse are good heels and I think WWE would turn to them if LayCool ever split up.

    Like you said, it would be nice for Melina to go heel and have a small feud with Eve. But WWE tried to get Eve ‘over’ with the crowd months ago when she was feuding with Maryse and still to this day, I feel like Eve isn’t over. She gets no reaction when she comes out to the ring and WWE doesn’t give her a chance to get over because she never has a chance to speak.

    I see Melina having a role like Gail Kim has had in the past couple of months. Appearing backstage or in random tag team matches while LayCool feuds with Nattie, then with Beth Phoenix.

  • xfrenchkiss

    I think the fact that it has been a good two years for Melina is exactly why Melina should refrain from being in every feud, every title picture, etc. Melina has had her time to shine, she has made her mark – It’s time for girls like Natalya, Gail Kim and even Eve to make their mark and become stars in their own right. I really don’t think it’s needed or necessary for WWE to further focus on anything Melina related. Natalya is doing great and making a name for herself, finally. Young stars like Eve Torres also needs to be worked on and I feel her dancing, energetic role with R-Truth might help considering – and only Lord knows why – he IS over with the crowd. Chances of Gail Kim being made into a star is quite slim, and I’m not really holding my breath over it, but the focus should be set more on young girls like Alicia and Eve more so than someone who has already had her time to shine in Melina.

    And, I don’t think heel Melina will get Eve over. I think someone like LayCool could more so get Melina over. I feel like why Melina and Eve would have a good feud, more people would still side with Melina, especially with her being a heel just like they did with Maryse and Melina. Eve is going to need someone like LayCool, or Vickie who are annoying to the crowd, even if LayCool does not get frequent reactions, I feel like they could still help Eve over in some type of way. I think for now, Melina’s time is rightfully up, for now. She’s only taken the backseat for three weeks, she’ll be fine. There are a lot more girls who need to be used more so than her.

  • xfrenchkiss

    *more so get Eve over.

  • wl75

    I think Melina will turn heel again once LC drop the belt to either Beth or Natalya- If Beth is rumored to be feuding with McCool (title involved or not), Nat will need someone to feud with (title involved or not). Once NXT is over, I could see a Maxine/Alicia/Melina teamup against say Nat/AJ/Eve..

  • http://wowmark.wordpress.com/ TrishMelinaFan

    At this point I’d love to see a heel Melina. I think her face turn has run its course and it’s time to switch it up for her. I see Melina’s future going one of two ways; either she becomes heel, or she ends up axed. Simple as that.

    Melina’s been in WWE for five years now, and that’s always a rarity. It signals the beginning of the end for many women’s wrestlers, and if you don’t believe me just ask Trish, Lita, Mickie, Jillian, Torrie, and many others. The only way I see Melina lasting is a heel turn. She wouldn’t even have to necessarily be in the top feuds, or any at all. She could just contribute to the feuds here and there.

    If she WERE in fact to be included in the main feuds, it’d be great to see MNM rejuvenate the tag team scene again. Or even have her join LayCool. At this point, Melina’s had a nice run, much like Mickie. Not HOF worthy just yet, but goodd nonetheless. And if she were to last a little longer in the spotlight, we could see her with the likes of Trish and Lita in the HOF one day.

  • Tom

    Eve may not get a big reaction but she still gets one. As matter a fact no divas gets big pops these days so. Eve was just getting over when her title run ended. That pushed helped her just like it did with Alicia push. It got them “noticed”. I think Melina turning heel on Eve would be a great idea. It wouldn’t work with LayCool (hey if you would call someone who doesn’t get a reaction its them) they get zero heat NOTHING.

  • Glen

    To be quite honest I can not agree more with that. It is only smart to use someone that is already popular with the crowd to put over other girls that haven’t quite gotten there yet.

    As for her being used too much, it’s not really about that, it’s about the fact that she can be used to positively affect the Divas division with putting other Divas over rather than hogging the spotlight. Like it or not she is one, if not the, most popular Diva in the WWE and while Laycool hog the main stage (which is really more of a destructive thing I agree) Melina can put over other girls so they can one day take over for Laycool and Melina when they leave. I completely agree!

    Letting two newer girls like Eve or Alicia go out there alone would be a bad move because they are not over therefore can not put each other over with the crowd. Put someone like Melina who has been a “big deal” and BAM! There you go, instant over magic. It seems like the best thing.

    One thing I would like to say is that I am sort of glad that Melina is not in the title scene right now because we have been reduced to one title again. I do not know how I could deal with another drawn out Laycool/Melina fued. I do believe that Laycool NEEDS to drop the belt. They are great, but in reality their little fun is getting old with the crowd and me. I can’t stand it much longer. It’s time to actually build someone up and let them take over as top guns in the division, namely Natalya.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/jordanmvsx Jordan

    This is just the result you get when you have one title. There’s no doubt that they could have one feud on each show, with one not needing the title, but I guess WWE doesn’t want to do that.

    Although Melina is my favorite diva, the last thing I want to happen is for her to get to over pushed in every feud so that she becomes over rated. WWE could use this time to have Superstars matches with Alicia, Melina, Eve and Gail. But, it’s just nice to see a new diva be in the light and take a spin.

  • theregoeskitty

    i think Melina is better off as a Heel, after seeing her as such a byatch in the past it’s really hard to believe her as face, and her face turn has been so plain

    i think she should definitely go Heel again because they’re lacking a mega bitch heel role and she’s queen of that character, plus her move set isn’t exactly tailored to face role, a lot of her moves look very cruel (stomping on her opponents head for example)

  • Glen

    I also do agree that it would be nice to read an article about why Laycool and Melina should step back and the possibilities of the title picture without them. I just think it would need to be constructive and not simply because you do not like Laycool or Melina. I love them both but I can agree when something has run its course. This is one of them.

  • theregoeskitty

    after reading my comment, i hope it doesn’t come off wrong I’m not calling her a b*tch, I’m saying i preferred the mega b*tch Heel character she had :)

  • shameronstar

    I think Vickie needs to do what Stephanie did and become a non-wrestler champion because if Vickie can get someone like Kaitlyn over she can do wonders for someone like Eve or Natalya or Gail or who ever she feuds with far more than Lay-Cool can.

  • shameronstar

    Oh P.S. I forgot to mention, if Stephanie’s feud with Lita got her over than any of the other not so over face divas feuding with Vickie for the title can surely help them.

  • Glen

    @shameronstar OMG I totally agree. And it would be extremely entertaining to see as well.

  • mojodoom

    As much as I adore Vickie I don’t think it’s a good idea to give her the title just because she’s humongously over. Especially a title that is still at it’s infancy. I think they can utilized her better by aligning her with or keeping her with LayCool. That way more than one person can benefit from the awesomeness of Vickie.

    I agree. Melina is on her way out. It would be very wise for the WWE to utilized her and use her in a way to get the younger divas over. Jillian was fantastic at her role as the relegated heel jobber. They need someone to replace her when she officially begins her new role as a trainer in FCW. Melina is a perfect candidate. She could relieve Jillian with talent enhancement duties. Maybe after her tenure she can join Jillian down in FCW as well.

  • Tom

    lol The fact that this topic has turned into idea’s to get Alicia and Eve more over, shows how much some fans are losing interest in Melina…I’m just saying.

  • shameronstar

    It isn’t that I don’t like Melina it’s just that her performances are much better as a heel or tweener because she can hold my interest in her better, plus I like her brawler/submissionist style with “occasional” contortion as a heel/tweener which is why she needs to even out the heel ranks along with Tiffany who I think given her recent issues could play a crazy, over aggressive, controlling dragon lady who likes to be the dominant party in her relationships with men and people in general kind of like Annie Wilkes from that movie “Misery”. Also, maybe Gail should turn heel too once AJ, Naomi, Kaitlyn, and maybe Aksana come to the main roster.

  • http://wowmark.wordpress.com/ TrishMelinaFan

    Tom- It’s not that people have lost interest in her, quite the contrary, actually. She’s become so controversial to the point that it’s not even funny. For some reason, whatever it may be, people just despise Melina as a human being now. They see her face and the insults start a-flyin’! So, they want her gone. It’s weird, but true.

    shameronstar- Vickie would be amazingly entertaining as champ. She could literally steal the win by having a wrestler “represent” her in the ring. So when the wrestler wins SHE actually picks up the belt. Vickie is the most over PERSON on the roster period. Anyone who’d face her would get one hell of a rub off her. Just ask Beth and Kaitlyn. Beth is currently the most over woman on the roster. And guess who’s to thank? No, not LayCool. They did jack-shit. It’s aaaaaaall thanks to Vickie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xxtesxx TommyStarstruck

    Melina needs a heel turn 100% and I agree with everything you said in this write-up.

    I’d LOVE to see Melina turn heel and feud with Gail Kim, giving us another Diva storyline that is much needed- With heels dictating where the match goes, she could totally propel Divas like Kelly Kelly, Eve, etc… I’d honestly love to see Tamina and Melina feud as well.

    ***and wasn’t there supposed to be Fatal 4 Ways and Triple Threat matches with Melina’s return?… Melina VS Tamina VS Gail Kim VS Eve would be an amazing match- or even ‘Insert LayCool Member’

    I really hope WWE creative takes notes from Diva-Dirt… like they should, because there are so many great Divas not getting any ring time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xxtesxx TommyStarstruck

    OH MY GAH—- NO VICKIE GUERRERO AS CHAMP- NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO (ESCUSE ME?!) NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

  • shameronstar

    @TommyStarstruck lol your reaction is exactly why Vickie should be champion thank for being my sample group in my hypothesis.

  • seasons-of-love

    I know she’s done extremely well over the years, but the thing that annoys me about Melina’s depush is that’s happening just as her popularity as a face is peaking. The pops she’s been getting lately – particularly at NOC – have been pretty crazy, so naturally WWE decides to have her replace the Bellas as guest host foil. Yet they seemed perfectly willing to give her a six-month title reign in 2009, when she was having difficulty getting the fans to really take to her. It was the same with Mickie…sure, she got a lot of airtime, but she was depushed at the weirdest times. Remember in 2006, when she was struggling to really get over as a face and they gave her a title, yet the moment she regained a big fanbase they gave the title to Melina and had Mickie play second fiddle to Candice and Ashley? I dunno, to me it just seems like WWE doesn’t want a female who can rival the males in terms of popularity. They want them all on the same standing popularity-wise so that they can market them as a group, rather than as individuals. Perhaps that’s why they don’t mind super-pushing Michelle all the time…they realise she won’t get too over regardless, so she’s a safe option.

    Personally I’d love to see Melina as a heel, because she was fantastic in that role. nd she could really help out some of the less experienced/credible girls; she did wonders with Candice in 2007. But there are two problems:
    1) She’s the most popular and credible face they have right now, and like I said, she’s at a kind of peak in terms of popularity. Turning her now would be an odd choice considering that, and she’d run the risk of getting a face reaction in her matches, thus turning the crowd against the opponent. It’d be like turning Mickie heel and having her feud with Candice in 2007 or Melina in 2009.
    2) WWE seem perfectly keen on pushing Lay-Cool right now, and Maryse is also doing the rounds as a bitchy arrogant heel. Melina would have a similar character, and chances are she’d do it better than those three. You don’t want to make your top heels look weak by comparison, do you?

    Basically, to me the answer seems obvious. Plant her in a storyline with the men. They did it when Trish was out of the title picture, and likewise with Lita. If she’s not doing anything else, then inject her into a storyline with Morrison. They have proven chemistry, a history and she could actually help him develop a character, which is his one real weakness at this point. Then perhaps you could turn her heel somewhere down the road, a la Trish in 2004.