Sunday, June 20, 2021

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Total Divas Redux: Episode 14, ‘Ready to Ride’

Dun dun dun dun! Welcome to your one stop recaplet of all things Total Divas from our season one finale, “Ready to Ride”. Before we get underway, allow me to introduce myself so you don’t read this redux in Cryssi’s voice before realizing our southern belle is taking the week off from this hit E! reality show to cover TLC. Because of this, I, Bobby, have been called on to step in and perform her duties to the best of my ability. Now, upon my return to recapping from this past weeks edition of SmackDown, I described myself as the JTG of Diva Dirt because we’re both sort of not in the forefront as much as we used to be. Being that I’m not certain the entire Total Divas fanbase knows who that is (no harm meant by that JTG… I still count the time you let me wear your chain at a meet & greet as a life highlight), I’ve decided to instead change my WWE doppleganger to someone a little more common in the Total Divas Universe in that of Alicia Fox.

Like Alicia, I’m employed alongside your main cast, but I’m just starting to make my presence felt again after some time on the backburner and so you may get to know me through such segments as when I poked fun at Katelyn for peeing her pants while writing up an indy news recap or when I gave helpful advice about my past mistakes to Steven that time he was nervous about making his interviewing debut at WSU. It’s the little things, but throughout these moments, you’ll get to know me and my personality so thank you for allowing my writing into your home.

Now onto the good stuff! Total Divas… oh Total Divas, where can I even begin? It’s a show I need in my TV diet each and every week, and whether certain segments are real or scripted, which I notice is a hot topic amongst fans, I don’t even care. It’s entertaining and fun and all I’ve ever wanted in my wrestling life aside from a much requested Jamie Noble/Nidia reunion and NXT Redemption anniversary behind the scenes sit-down tell all special. Do I judge the Divas based on how they’re portrayed on the show? Not usually, because I know in reality TV you need a hero and a villain, and most of the time they don’t always show the full reasoning behind why someone reacts a certain way or does a certain thing. That’s perfectly fine because they want the show to be entertaining… blahh, sorry my babbling problem is acting up again. What I’m trying to say is that my love for Total Divas and the cast shines bright, so without any further stalling, let’s get down to business.

It’s been quite the debut season for our favorite ass kicking females of the ring over the past few months. There’s been Brie Mode-esque highs, there’s been Gismo-esque lows, and there’s been Sandra, which is a new holy, angelic figure I’m sure we all can agree we want to see more of in season two (and on Raw and SmackDown and so on and so forth). Nevertheless, tonight’s episode dealt with a few different relationship (and DRUNK) stories in particular. Those include:

Daniel Bryan (Bryan)’s surprise proposal to Brie Bella.

Nikki Bella‘s feelings about marriage and children that tend to differ from those of John Cena.

Eva Marie‘s disapproving family response to her fiancée, Jonathan.

Natalya channeling her own version of Brie Mode and drunk dialing Mother Teresa herself, Stephanie McMahon.

I can’t lie… the thought of seeing Brie’s proposal, getting more Eva Marie and seeing the infamously built up Natalya/Stephanie drunk dial showdown is overtaking me with excitement. Admittedly, I’m not as excited to see John and Nikki disagree because I just want them to be happy dang it, and I want to see photos of a Nikki wedding with little Bella-Cena children running around in their Never Give Up K-Mart gear, red gloves and backwards caps. But I suppose I’m sure I will be okay when this is over… at least I hope so. Let’s get underway and see what happens to my sanity!

Can my little old words even do this part of the episode justice? Absolutely not. I truthfully believe if “perfect couple” was in the dictionary, you would find a photo of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella — him holding four of their Slammy’s in his hands with the other two hanging from his beard and her cradling their dear Josie as various woodland creatures stand around them smiling with the sunlight beaming down and reflecting off the Slammy gold (Can you tell I may have thought about this frequently?). The fact we even got to see footage of Daniel running the entire proposal plan by Nikki in advance was icing on the cake, as was their families walking out (Shout out to Mama Bella and Nana!) and meeting each other for the first time to surprise Brie with a big outdoor, nature filled engagement dinner.

Daniel and Brie have had a few problems on the show, what with him being elevated to a high status in the company and thus having to take on a larger workload which leaves less time with her. But no matter what, they have never once given me any indication that they can’t work out a problem that comes their way. They honestly remind me of the male/female equivalent to one another with their hobbies and interests, which is why they fit together like Peanut Butter and Jelly… Brad and Angelina… Will and Jada Pinkett! …Alright, I’m sure you’re starting to get annoyed at my inability to find flaws, so I’ll fix that.

One part that did upset me during the episode was when they showed the segment from Raw a few months ago involving Brie Bella running out to scream for Daniel’s safety when Randy Orton DDT’d him off the ring apron to the outside. It just made me realize how much they really dropped the ball with what could’ve been a huge storyline for Brie and given her some of the spotlight similar to what AJ got last year with the likes of CM Punk, Kane and Daniel himself. Seeing them as this big babyface couple would’ve been so refreshing on TV, but what’s done is done and unfortunately it seems like the ship has sailed on getting that. We’ll always have this video package though, and they can’t take it back.

At Brie’s engagement dinner (and after taking a pregnancy test earlier on that confirmed she wasn’t with child), Nikki Bella turned to her mother and began expressing her concerns about John Cena’s refusal to have children or ever get married. This was present throughout the entire episode as well, with him continuing to put his foot down and say it flat out will not happen, no matter how much he falls for Nikki. She admitted that she had learned to accept it, but seeing Brie and Daniel experience the excitement of getting proposed to and having their families come together is making her not want to hide how she feels in fear that there won’t be a future between them anymore. As the episode comes to an end, Nikki confronts John with how she feels, but he still sticks to his guns and we’re left wondering what’s to become of NeNa in the future!

Alright, I have a lot to say about Nikki and John. Before I do though, I just want to say that I’m a big fan of the Bella Twins and I also enjoy John Cena most of the time (I rooted for him in Miami at WrestleMania 28, so don’t even question it). Nothing I say is coming from any sort of pre-built negative thoughts about either of them. I just want them to get married and I wish he would change his mind about it. It does aggravate me that she has to back down when they disagree most of the time, but I like that she speaks up at least and voices her opinion (and I LOVED when she finally called him out on the fact she has to make the sacrifices when they disagree on something), but then I hate having to see Nikki put away what she wants and has always dreamed of because he won’t budge on the issue. It’s honestly not fair to her even if I do get that he’s been burned in the past and is probably still scarred from it. Part of me wants to lash out in a rage filled tirade about why he should marry her (because you know, John Cena is going to log onto Diva Dirt, read this redux and change his mind), but I can see both sides of the story and it’s stopping me from being that angry at him for making her have to give up important things she wants, no matter how much I do side with and sympathize for her.

Although I am kind of lost on why they don’t just do a pre-nup. Don’t get me wrong, I know that is a huge deal to put on someone, but Nikki basically already said she understood his reasons for wanting to protect his money since he cares for his family members, so I’m assuming it wouldn’t be that bad in exchange for her to be able to walk down the aisle and have a wedding that she always pictured, right? Working out agreements like that where each party wins in the end should be what happens between them, but instead it always comes across (on the show at least) that she has to lose in the end if she doesn’t want to risk them not being together. The only thing I can ever remember her winning out on was their issues about putting up pictures and lighting candles which I don’t think is quite equal to getting married and having a child. Nikki put it best in tonights episode (as morbid as it is to think about) when she said that eventually, she is going to lose him and then she’s going to be left with nobody or one day wake up and wonder why he refused to marry her when she’s been nothing but good to him. Of course I’m not John Cena so I can in no way imagine how bad he got hurt in the past. I’m sure it was ugly and gave him a lot of trust issues, but like I said, if it’s money he’s worried about, Nikki didn’t seem obliged to signing something when she found out the reasoning behind his concerns before, and in agreeing to sign a pre-nup, she could one day get the wedding of her dreams without John having the fear that something will happen and he’d suffer like his other marriage. It seems quite equal to me, but I’m not them and I can’t pretend to be (unless it’s Halloween, in which I’d have to be John because nobody wants to see me dressed in Bella gear, trust me).

EVA! Unlike some of my fellow Diva Dirt team members, I am by far on Team Eva Marie. In tonights episode, the red headed stunner brought her fiancée, Jonathan home to meet her family. It sounds like your usual love story right? Wrong! It turns out that Eva and Jonathan may kind of already be engaged… and her family may not know about it just yet. This gives me so much insight on Eva’s family and I have to say that I’m ashamed because the fact they didn’t know about the engagement means they aren’t Total Divas fans! It was on season 1A Father Marie, why didn’t you watch?! Nevertheless, Eva got into a huge argument with her family over the issue when they weren’t too welcoming to Jonathan, leading to the two storming off and plotting to elope in Vegas since she couldn’t get her parents blessing. In the end though, she got a call from WWE saying she would be working the next forty days (Good GOD), and so Jonathan agreed that he would do whatever she wanted because he wants to be with her and isn’t going to pressure her into things (You better be watching this episode after your match at TLC John Cena…).

I completely understand where Eva Marie is coming from in this entire episode, and not just because I think so highly of her. I know what it’s like to come from a family that is somewhat overprotective, and because you’ve always grown up so close to them, you don’t want to do things that go against them and ruin your bond with them no matter how angry they may make you. Seeing Eva’s mom say that if she and Jonathan ever file for divorce, she is never welcome in their house again was jarring, and I couldn’t even fathom what I would do if my parents were to say that to me. Of course, when your buttons get pushed too much though, you react in ways that you normally end up regretting so I thought it was smart for Eva and Jonathan to just leave before the situation got any worse. People need time to cool down after heated moments and staying around would’ve probably made Eva blow up in a way she wouldn’t be able to take back or ever forgive herself in doing, so A+ on the decision to exit Eva.

Now, I don’t think Eva and Jonathan were entirely in the right (but they’re still great and that’s what matters). I realize that when you know you’ve met the one, you know… and you want to spend the rest of your life with them. But they really should have met her parents before he popped the question. As much as I love Total Divas and reality TV in general, I know it isn’t always entirely 100% truthful in its portrayals, so maybe this isn’t the entire story between Jonathan and her family. Nevertheless, based on what we saw, I do think the family was very unnecessarily harsh on him. I’m sure it’s because they’re just protective of Eva, but at least treat Jonathan with respect if he’s doing so to you. The brothers and her dad seemed to be jumping on him, his tattoos and his nose ring from the minute he walked in the door. I’d get if it set them off when he revealed he had already proposed to her, but they were starting with him way before that and even then, he still kept his cool and didn’t retaliate in a way that most guys probably would have out of frustration building. He seems very down to earth and calm, and I genuinely believe he and Eva are the right fit for each other. Plus he sat behind me once at an NXT show of all things and was nice as hell so I’m team Jonathan/Eva all the way. Sorry Marie family, but you lost me when you basically revealed you weren’t Total Divas fans and there was honestly no going back after that (Although Eva’s mom seems really nice and I kind of want to be friends with her even if we probably have nothing in common and she said that line about Eva and Jonathan divorcing).

Here we go… time for the motherload! Ever since we saw a preview of this scene in the midseason return, I have been salivating at the mouth to see it. In fact, I was starting to worry that it got cut since each episode was happening without it included. Never fear though, for Natalya, Stephanie and the Total Divas Gods are here to bestow upon us the magic that is Nattie’s drunk dial!

After finding out from Mark Carrano earlier on that Stephanie wasn’t pleased by receiving nine voicemails throughout the night when Natalya was intoxicated in New Orleans, she had been terrified of her ultimate confrontation with the bosses daughter. Once she got some advice from Cameron, Brie Bella, Eva Marie and Alicia Fox earlier on (that included Cameron basically telling her she’s on her own because Nattie called her a stripper that danced like a prostitute during her drunken reign of terror when our “master of the girl, bye” tried to snatch Nattie’s phone from her in the midst of one of the Stephanie phone calls), Natalya headed into the office and met up with business suit Steph. Are you afraid yet? Because I may be hyperventilating a tad.

Nattie immediately tries to fix the situation and apologize, citing her state of mind as the reason. But oh no, Steph is not having it. She wants Natalya to LISTEN to the voicemails one by one and deal with them (I can’t even start with the possible joke that could be inserted of Natalya being so nervous she might pee herself so I’ll just leave that to Alicia Fox since she likes to pop up every time Natalya has to deal with something embarrassing). Since Stephanie is running down the voicemails (and since they’re so golden), I’m going to do the same for you because the WWE Youtube video cuts out all the good ones. Ahem…

“Hey Steph, it’s Nattie calling. I know you’re probably busy, but I just wanted to talk to you about some ideas that I had, and I feel like with my lineage and with being a Neidhart, I deserve to have a Divas Championship.”

Preach.

“I’m frustrated and I don’t want to go to work and feel that pent up anger. It’s building and building and building.”

I can see this and don’t blame you Nattie.

“So I just don’t understand why I’m not the Divas Champion right now.”

I have said this for a few years so church to that (hopefully I used “church” right).

“I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you to get back to me!”

Oh my, Natalya I’m starting to become concerned with the way you’re talking to Stephanie.

“First of all, I’m not wearing any underwear and I’m ready to ride”.

… I cannot even come up with an appropriate sentence to follow this so I’ve decided to provide you the following photo:

Oh, but wait… there’s more!

“Please return my phone calls. I’ve done everything I can to make you guys like me. I’m just so f****** frustrated. Obviously I don’t mean anything to you so I’m done. I quit! I don’t even care anymore, Steph!”

NATALYA NO.

The situation eventually ends with Stephanie telling Natalya that it’s okay how she feels, and they know her history. She is a valued person to them and will surely hold the Divas Title again one day. Plus they share a bond of being females that grew up in the business so she makes sure Natalya knows she can always come to Stephanie if she has a frustration or an idea and they will discuss it together like the mature generational Divas they are. Oh, but Stephanie is 100% saving those messages, just so you know.

Phenomenal. I had pretty much built up expectations of how I wanted this drunk dial scene to go between them and it did not disappoint in any way, shape or form. Stephanie playing back the messages was evil, yes, but also extremely entertaining and I’m sorry Natalya, but please don’t hate me for kind of chuckling/laughing so hard I almost choked. It’s just seeing Natalya, this esteemed veteran of the ring with all this family history, let loose and do something so out of character for her was needed for me this episode after how tragic it was watching her in last weeks. I know some people will probably be up in arms at them treating Natalya like the joke, but honestly after having to basically hear Nattie and TJ‘s live reactions to Gismo being put to sleep, I would rather their grieving be kept off screen as private moments between them because I already felt extremely intrusive from that alone. Plus, how incredible was it hearing Natalya say what so many fans have been saying in that she should be Divas champion to the holy mother, Stephanie McMahon? Whether she was drunk or not, I loved it and it made me become even more of a fan than I already was.

All in all, this episode had everything I love about Total Divas bottled into one (okay, I could’ve done with a little more Naomi and Cameron… and don’t even get me started on the JoJo treatment). Brie and Daniel got a big moment shown, Nikki finally stood up to John towards the end and expressed how she feels (even if we won’t see what goes down until March), Eva Marie was a larger focus than she has been in some of the more recent episodes and Natalya’s drunk dial fiasco lived up to the hype I created in my head over the past six weeks.

Even though this recap is probably the size of a Harry Potter novel already, being that Total Divas has officially wrapped the season, I’d like to end it with a list of some of the things I’m thankful the show has given us over the past few months:

The Supporting Cast (Sandra, Heel Jane, Gismo, King Louis, Charlotte the cat, TJ’s Mom, Naomi’s Dad, Mama Bella, Vinny and Cameron’s Sex Therapist, Naomi’s Hair Salon, Natalya’s Mom, Renee Young‘s eyelash falling off during the reunion, Nikki Bella’s Friends, Eva Marie’s Family, Alicia Fox, Fandango, Jaret, the girl who held up an #AllRedEverything sign at Summerslam, Josie and Glitty)

Brie Mode (no explanation needeed)

The Male Counterparts/Boyfriends/Fiancées/Spouses (Daniel Bryan, Vincent, Jonathan, Jon Uso, Justin Gabriel, Sebastian, TJ and yes even you John Cena… just let Nikki have something okay)

Stephanie McMahon confrontations

Daniel Bryan saying “Grown Ass Woman”

Eva Marie’s brief one tryout run as Fandango’s dancer (complete with Heel Jane scowls)

Most likely being the reason I still got my Nikki Bella fix many of the weeks she was injured

Cameron’s upcoming album, road rage and catchphrases (including but not limited to Girl and Boy Bye, Da Bomb Dot Com and Extra)

Giving my beloved Naomi more to do on TV (I mean beloved in a fan way, calm down Jimmy Uso)

More of Braniel’s love of nature

Ginger Mahal

Putting Natalya back in the forefront of the division

That theme song that I may kind of rap along to (in the comfort of my own home and car okay)

And of course, the main cast of Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie and sort of(?) JoJo

Speaking of which, my one main complaint is what the heck happened to JoJo? Granted, I feel like NXT is a better fit for her anyways, especially being so young and showing so much potential already. But dang, you would think Alicia Fox was on the main cast more than her in the back half of the season. I’m pretty sure we can all guess JoJo isn’t going to be returning for season two, so I’m sorry to have to be the one to do this as much as it pains me, but as I channel my inner Big Brother America host, Julie Chen… JoJo, by a vote of 4 to 2, you have been evicted from the Total Divas cast.

In all seriousness though, I cannot wait to see what JoJo accomplishes because I see so much promise in her. Total Divas wasn’t the right fit it seemed, but NXT looks to be more her style. Hopefully 2014 is a big year for her, as well as the cast of Total Divas and the division in general.

Until March when the show returns, as does Cryssi to take back the faithful redux,

This is Bobby signing out,
Peace!

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