Thursday, January 21, 2021

NXT announce three major signings

NXT announced the signings of three major independent talents, Priscilla Kelly, Lacey Ryan, and Elayna Black. All three stars have been renamed and will...

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‘The Wrong Move’: To retire, or not retire?

Whilst Nikki Bella’s career lays on the line, brother J.J. Garcia’s newfound social media legacy is pushed to new limits. And as Brie Bella grows closer to her culture, how much of it does she really know? All of that and more on this week’s episode of ‘Total Bellas’!

Nikki Bella

The twins head to the Mattel headquarters to see the very first edition of WWE’s doll collection! Once inside the building, the women are taken aback at the new models. They’re moved so much that Nikki starts to think about her career. She reveals that her returning era is supposed to end at Wrestlemania 33 – where she closes the book forever and retires from WWE. But after seeing yet another expansion for the women in the company, she’s having second thoughts.

In the Nena household, our favorite couple are having a discussion about retirement. As soon as Nikki brings the idea of it up, John’s response? “Finally.” Not what we expect…

John then explains himself by saying that as Nikki is getting more and more roles (i.e. with BirdieBee and Belle Radici) she needs to sort out her time some more. He then reflects on her injury from 2015/16, insisting that she needs to take care of herself more. Cena then insists that if she had nothing else going on for her, he would recommend that she would stay with WWE. But as the star and executive producer of two reality shows, as well as the aforementioned projects (amongst others) she definitely doesn’t have a lot of time and energy to spare. Although Cena’s mind is made, Bella’s is still just as confused as it always was.

At SmackDown Live, we see a clip of The Miz and Maryse mocking Cena and Bella in “Total Bull****”. Nikki seems pretty fine with it, describing it as a good “layer” to the storyline. She then says that altogether, it’s “one of the best storylines going into Wrestlemania.”

Whilst she enjoys the programme, Nikki realizes that she doesn’t want to retire. Even though her neck is hurting her, this is what she loves to do. But is still safe?

At dinner that night, Nikki is greeted by an excited fan that asks for a photo with her. This prompts the family to discuss how far she’s come in her career, and she boasts about how content she currently is, work wise.

During another edition of SmackDown Live, John is facing off against Fandango, whom is accompanied by Breezie Bella (aka Tyler Breeze). Before the match can begin, the real Nikki Bella comes out to manage her man. At one point, Breezie attempts to get involved in the match, so Nikki runs in the ring to spear him – and this is where things get painful. As his stomach is so muscly, her neck seems to suffer an injury. Before she gets it checked however, she hits Breezie with the Rack Attack 2.0 and then forces him to tap to the Fearless Lock. Go, Nikki!

Backstage, she quickly has her injury checked. Though it doesn’t appear to be too big, she has an X-ray scheduled for the next day, and fear of not making Wrestlemania creeps into her mind. It could be a sad day for the Bella Army!

Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan

At home, Brie and husband Daniel Bryan discuss the middle name of their incoming child, Birdie Danielson. Bella insists that their daughter should be called Birdie Joe Danielson, named after Bryan’s father. However, Daniel wants to give their daughter a Viking name, as he comes from a Viking heritage. “Birdie Helga Danielson” he suggests, as Brie looks down in disgust. Not sure if I can side with you on this one, Bryan.

Later in the day, the entire family (minus Cena) are sat down for a DNA test. Because, as Brie is trying to figure out the real ancestry of the two of them, Bryan feels as though this is the best way to resolve it. Each member of the family then takes a swab and dabs it across the inside of one of their cheeks. Now let’s wait for the results!

The results for the DNA test come back and the group decide to find out the truth during dinner. Bryan, excited as ever, opens the envelope, and the results aren’t quite what we would assume. Although the full results aren’t stated, here’s what we know:

Lauren – 40% Welsh, 18% Italian.

John Laurinaitis – 56% Lithuanian, 24% Polish.

Brie – In the European section she is 40.4% North Western European, 26.1% British & Irish, 29.6% Southern European and 11.4% Ashkenazi Jewish. She is also 7.1% East Asian & Native American. These calculations don’t really add up (in the literal sense) but I guess she is what she is.

Bryan – 99.8 Scandinavian (Viking).

With this new information, Brie decides that she needs to look into her real heritage some more – and even thinks that she suddenly knows how to cook Jewish meals. It doesn’t exactly go according to plan…

The two then decide to visit a local museum to understand what the Native Americans did in Arizona. Brie is fascinated by the history, but Bryan isn’t sharing the same emotions, per say. As interested as he may be, he wants to also explore his DNA. And due to Brie having so many different cultures she wants to now explore, things are slightly complicated right now.

A few days later, Brie throws Bryan a Viking-themed dinner party to celebrate his DNA. She gets the family together, dressed in Viking uniform, and surprise him with a unanimous “rah!” as soon as he enters the room. Bryan is extremely grateful. Seeing the sweet gesture from his wife puts a huge smile on his face, and he thanks her for her effort. Bryan also receives a gift from his wife that ends up being a small Viking hat for Birdie. So sweet!

Daniel then announces that the couple have decided to follow Brie’s Jewish heritage with the middle name of their child. The tradition is to give the child the middle name of somebody that has passed, so Bryan and Brie decide to name their child Birdie Joe Danielson, after Bryan’s father.

J.J. and Lola Garcia

The family are out to have lunch, but before they can all eat their meal, blogger Lola Garcia decides to take some pictures for her site/Instagram channels. J.J. Garcia takes some pictures with her, and this is what causes him to get a bit of a big ego. J.J. believes that managing social media is an “easy” job that he can do.

At dinner, Lola and J.J. have a competition to see who the better photographer is. Lola goes as far as standing on her chair to take her photo, but J.J. is still persistent that he does a better job.

J.J. continues his bragging so much that his mother Kathy Colace makes a bet that if he can triple his current Instagram following of 15,236 by two weeks time, she’ll give him $1,000. If not, he has to pay up. Although J.J. sees it as all fun and games, it’s clear that Lola isn’t sharing those feelings. This could get sour really quick…

The next afternoon the group has some fun at Nicole’s villa. They intend to help J.J. with some ideas for his Instagram, and his biggest one comes from Nikki’s page. He decides to copy this photo to the core. And though he ends up doing it, his version doesn’t quite capture the same essence of his sister’s. This bizarre attempt does take him up to 16,791 followers, so it does prove to be working!

As another attempt to gain followers, J.J. insists on waxing his chest for his Instagram followers. The painful experience, though embarrassing (and hilarious to Bryan), it does get him up to 20,191 followers!

Backstage at SmackDown, J.J. attempts to get some more Instagram followers by asking some of the female Superstars backstage to help him out. A photo with Natalya takes him to 23,006 followers, one with Alicia Fox takes him to 26,435, and one with Renee Young gets him to 29,002 followers! Not bad.

His next attempt is to pose with a vacuum cleaner and Vivian in his arms, stating that he sent his wife to the spa in the caption. This pushes him up to 31,211 followers. Turns out however, that she wasn’t sent to a spa. And instead, she’s the one that took the photo. Oh, boy.

Lola then gets a little upset as she still sees this as a mockery of her job. After Nikki states that he should buy his wife flowers, J.J. takes some offence. He then reminds his sister that whilst he’s working, he’s also taking care of his daughter, something that Nikki “can’t comprehend.”

Nikki then takes him outside, telling him to not get so competitive. J.J. defends himself, saying that as his family doubts him so much, he needs to stand up for himself. He’s then convinced to apologize and does so as soon as he gets back to the table. He picks up a flower from outside to give to Lauren, and the two make up. Ah, the happy couple we’re supposed to love are back!

Deleted Scenes:

After having his torso waxed, J.J. comes to Brie and Bryan’s home to show his new body to his sister. Brie is taken aback, laughing at the situation. But as weird it is, she still says that he looks “leaner” because of it.

At the WIN Awards in LA, Brie and Nikki show up to celebrate women empowerment. On the red carpet the twins share how happy they are to see women succeed together, and how great it is that there is an award show dedicated to this. Seeing all of these stories makes Nikki think about career changes. She contemplates whether it’s good or not to end her current chapter, as the motivational women around her have inspired her to do so. She comes to the realisation that she’s okay with not being in the ring, despite being upset about it. Brie insists that Nikki’s neck is telling her that she needs some change in her life, so the departure of Nikki Bella could be upon us.

Next on Total Bellas:

  • Brie and Bryan see an updated scan of Birdie.
  • Brie has some decision making troubles with Bryan.
  • The mother-to-be has some discomfort with her labour.
  • Nikki has her x-ray and she is said to “downplay her injury.”
  • The doctor insists that Nikki is “done for good” in the ring.

Thoughts: The happy family episodes are definitely the best. Seeing the Bella fam getting along and not really arguing over serious stuff is what makes this show so enjoyable. Because after all, how much drama can we see on screen before it starts to ooze of artificiality? And we do dip into that territory quite often already.

Witnessing the sweet side to Bryan is definitely one of the biggest highlights of the show. He makes the show feel real as he doesn’t really get involved in a lot of the excessive drama. Everything he does seems calm, and he’s very aware that the camera is there. And for a show that has a foundation of non-reality TV fans, it needs that to keep them invested. Daniel offers a genuine side to the show, and this episode simply highlights that as he doesn’t get openly angry and keeps the tone calm.

But we do have other characters to give the drama the show needs.

J.J. is possibly the most annoying reality TV character we’ve seen in a long while. He gets on everybody’s nerves and refuses to think logically most of the time. And that’s why he’s so great. He’s incredibly easy to hate and allows everybody else to be easy to love. Lauren wouldn’t have much going on if he wasn’t so annoying the whole time. So with him being irritating and causing drama for no reason, we get to feel closer to Lauren out of sympathy – and because she comes across as pretty decent.

Now onto the hot topic… Nikki’s injury.

This seems to be Nikki’s only storyline on both shows ever since 2015 – and it’s kind of overplayed. It may be relevant to her real life, but after hearing about this every week it’s hard to care. Each time she’s on screen she discusses her neck, moving on with her career and the possibility of John marrying her. And this same arc has been around since season four of Total Divas – which aired two years ago.

It’s great to see consistency, but more diversity is also key. It’s enjoyable – to an extent – but we need to see the star of the show giving us more to enjoy.

What did you think of this episode? Are you entertained by Nikki’s story? Will you be tuning in on Wednesday? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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