Thanks to several readers I have decided to join a Beth Phoenix self-help group. I didn’t realize I needed professional help, but after reading some of the comments from my last column, my eyes have been opened a bit. For example, Agent E suggested I was suffering from “too much Glamazon love” and even called me creepy! Jennifer L134 suggested I check out AA. Ouch! Who knew I had this problem? Who knew these types of problems even existed? I mean, I save every Beth match on DVD, I call my daughter the Glamazon, and I back flip into my office cube every morning, but is this an actual medical problem? That’s preposterous…ummm…right?
Maybe, maybe not. But the comments of some readers pointed out to me (albeit in a playful way) I should examine this a little closer. Truthfully, I have probably been in denial for quite some time. For starters, I guess I shouldn’t check every day to see if Smackdown is coming to DC so I can pre-order tickets. And I guess I shouldn’t walk around with a women’s title belt raised above my head. (I could go on and on, but in the interest of time, I’ll stop there.) So I thank the readers for helping push me forward. In some ways I’m starting to feel like I belong in the Straight Edge Society because my eyes have now been opened. Actually, I thought about cutting my hair, buying a Punk T-shirt, and going completely “straight edge”…but then I realized something. I could give up drinking. I don’t smoke or use “prescription medication” (God Punk is a great promo). But I can’t be “straight edge” for one very big reason – I am much, much, much too vain. Nobody is shaving or cutting anything on this money maker. The hair…it stays.
Side note – I always have my hair cut by a hot chick. Just a quirk of mine. I find a beautiful hairstylist and I stay with her. It is a deep and meaningful relationship is some ways. There’s lots of chit-chat, lots of head rubbing, and I always leave happy. The only difference between her and my wife is the money exchanged. (Joke alert! Thank you, thank you….I’ll be here all week.) First there was Tina. She got me through high school and college. God I miss Tina. Then I moved to DC and was in a tailspin for about 12 months, bouncing from one barber to another. I hit all the ones in Northern VA looking for my new girl. I thought I found the right one…Brenda…but then she tried to set me up with her sister. That went horrible wrong, mainly b/c there was little family resemblance…if you know what I mean. Plus her sister’s name was Wanda…that didn’t work for me. It was my one and only blind date. And yes I can be that shallow. Cut me a break, I was 24.
One time I was looking like Mike Knox, so I broke down and had some dude cut it, which I’ll admit was fine until the post-haircut neck massage caught me a little off guard. Yes you read that right. Check please! Like Brutus Beefcake, that guy was a little too interested in “struttin’ and cuttin’”. Finally I found lovely Heather who has now been cutting my hair for about 13 years. Lovely Heather has a twin sister too (bonus) – lovely Jennifer. Mission accomplished! I admit a chimpanzee could probably cut my hair…it’s not all that complicated…but Heather brightens my day and keeps me looking sharp. (PS – It’s all good…my wife goes to her too. We keep fashion in the family.)
By the way, I should warn you – I’m going to work Mike Knox into every column…just for kicks. Take a Dramamine if necessary.
So I may not be going “straight edge”, but I did attend my first “Glamaholics Anonymous” meeting this past week. It was an unusually well-attended meeting from what I understand. Must have something to do with Beth being off TV for the better part of 2010. I have to admit I still didn’t think I really belonged there. I actually started laughing because it reminded me of a Star Trek convention…all these weirdoes sitting around wearing home-made Glamasuits. Someone even went old-school and wore a Santino T-shirt (dork!) Then the instructor walked in and welcomed all of us. Most people just kept staring at the ground mumbling about Extreme Rules and extreme makeovers.
To get us started the instructor called on….me!
Instructor: “Hey there…you look new. Please stand up and tell us why you are here.”
Me: Standing up. “Well, I write a weekly column for Diva-Dirt and some of the readers think I have a Beth problem. They claim that I should seek help and maybe…gasp…write about other Divas! Ha!!! OTHER DIVAS?!? Stupid right?”
Instructor: “Well, I have never read your column, but your readers might be right.”
Me: “What, that’s ridiculous!”
Instructor: “Well, son, you ARE wearing a tiara….”
Me: Quickly sitting down and shutting up.
Could the readers be right? Have I been so focused on Beth and her title quest that I have been ignoring the rest of the girls? After class, one of the other GA folks stopped me and said, “Thanks for coming tonight, and I love the blond wig.” I’ll admit…it was a low point. I hear one step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I was now ready to admit I had a problem. I pulled the teacher aside and asked what should be my first step to finding ME again. He suggested easing into things…not going cold turkey and putting away all the Glamazon photos, DVDs, and autographs just yet. “And I agree with your readers. The first thing you should do is write about another Diva. Are there any other ones you like?” I stared at him with a blank look on my face. This was going to be a lot tougher than I thought.
On the drive home I started to think about the other girls. I started to think about the current storylines. Was there anything else interesting to me? Vickie as the Official Consultant to the General Manager of Smackdown? Hmmm…not really. LayCool as the unified BFF co-women’s champions? Nah, they beat Beth for those titles (yes I hold a grudge). Maryse acting all Maryse-like? Kind of old news. This was going nowhere. As a pick-me-up I decided to get a haircut on the way home so I stopped in to see Heather. Her twin sister was working that day as well, and all of a sudden it hit me. Heather/Jennifer. Jennifer/Heather. Twins. I love twins. And you know what? More and more I am loving…the Bella Twins! And not because they look good with David Hasselhoff or in Slim Jim commercials. I’m loving them because…wait for it…wait for it…these girls can work! In the ring! Hitting actual wrestling spots! Pulling off tag team moves! Good God I really like the Bella Twins! “Cause you can look but you can’t touch!!”
With their theme song playing in my head, I couldn’t wait to get home and start my weekly column. I felt a renewed sense of purpose. I felt a balance and focus I had lost since Beth crunched her knee on Superstars. (By the way I still blame Rosa. Give me time; I just started attending my meetings. I still have work to do.) I must admit my first impression of the Bella Twins was not a good one. Sure they were good looking, but soon after Brie made her Smackdown debut in August 2008 she started pulling the old Killer Bees “switch-a-roo” with her twin sister Nikki. Brie picked up a few victories like this and I kept getting angry about it. Let me tell you, if there is ONE gimmick I have always hated it is the Killer Bees “masked confusion”. (I don’t know how many times I threw my Jim Brunzell action figure across the room when they would beat the Hart Foundation with that stupid ending. I mean, how blind can a ref be?!?) After a few months it was “revealed” that there were 2 Bellas (shocking) and they started competing in tag team matches. Because I was still upset about the Bella switches, I refused to acknowledge “Hey, these girls are actually decent in the ring.”
I started warming to the Bellas later that year when they developed an on-screen relationship with Carlito and Primo. The subsequent rivalry with the Miz and Morrison was hilarious (remember their double date?) and every time Morrison called them the “Colon Brothers” (accent on the first syllable) and wore an ass on his face, well…now that was high comedy. And the Bellas were at the center of it. Of course the girls feuded over which guy they liked but they eventually kissed and made up. (I swear every “on camera” wrestling relationship is straight out of Rydell High School. Dolph Ziggler ignores Maria completely and she’ll still sit there like a Jack Russell terrier during his matches? Really? I love how Zack Ryder was “dating” Rosa…then she gets traded to Smackdown and Woo Woo Woo…here comes Alicia! And don’t even get me started on William Regal and Layla.) The Bellas bounced around between Smackdown and RAW, eventually landing on ECW in June 2009…where they started doing the Killer Bees thing again. I couldn’t take it. God I hate the Killer Bees. So I started feeling anti-Brie and Nikki again.
In fairness I should mention I spent some time with Brie and Nikki earlier that spring at the WrestleMania 25 Art Show. They are both very articulate and very lovely. I became person #230,790 to ask for a photo where person “X” stands in the middle and pretends they are his two girlfriends. And yes, I have the photo framed in my basement. So I just want to be clear, my anti-Bella feelings only apply to their characters.
In October 2009 the Bellas were once again sent back to RAW, this time as part of a tri-branded Divas trade (the bullsh*t one where 2 TV chicks sent Beth to the Blue Team. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep very well that night…and neither did the neighbors.) It was during this time that the Bellas got used primarily as arm candy for the weekly guest hosts, and this is where I feel the WWE did a huge disservice to their careers. Sitting ringside with Mark Cuban in a Dallas Mavericks jersey doesn’t scream “we are the next generation of dominant Divas!” I mean, how many NASCAR drivers do we need on that show?!? (I was going to go into explicit detail about my feelings concerning the “RAW guest host” concept, but my doctor advised against it…). The Bellas were rarely given chances to show their talents in the ring and when they did get booked they usually competed in gimmick matches with crappy endings. Not good times. “Just like I originally thought, Brie and Nikki will never be more than eye candy,” I said to myself.
But first impressions can be deceiving and sometimes you realize you were wrong. I call it my “Sandra Bullock Theory”. For the longest time I never understood what anybody saw in her. I didn’t think she was pretty, she didn’t seem very approachable, and I thought her acting was a borderline “C” at best. Let’s just say I wasn’t the first in line for Speed 2. I would see pictures of her in People magazine and think “she’s famous?! I see 10 girls a day better looking than she is, and half of them are probably better actresses!” I’ll admit, I was overly harsh. I’m not even sure why. I just didn’t like her. Fast forward to 2010 and I find myself with a whole new appreciation for Sandra. Her recent movies have been solid (The Proposal, The Blind Side) but what did it for me was when she accepted her Oscar for Best Actress (which at one time I thought was as likely as Martians invading Earth or Maryse wrestling for 10 solid minutes). She was very humble. She was very sincere. I literally could not have been more impressed by her grace and humility. So, now I am on board with Sandra Bullock and I actually felt bad when her personal life got kicked into the gutter by her deadbeat husband.
My favorite first impression story? We got new neighbors this past summer. I was mowing the grass one day when I saw the husband on his deck so I walked over and introduced myself. We chatted for a few minutes and he mentioned that he liked wrestling a lot. “Wow, me too!” I said. “Who do you follow? WWE? TNA? Who is your favorite??” He looked at me funny and then in an instant I knew what was coming next. “Umm, yeah, not that kind of wrestling. The REAL kind.” (God I hate that expression.) “Oh…” was all I could say, completely mortified. (Good lord, I may have even slipped in a Macho Man Savage impression at some point, but since I have tried to hit the DELETE button on that conversation I am not quite sure.) I turned and hurried back to the house, hoping he didn’t notice the home-made Glamazon t-shirt I was wearing. All’s well that ends well though; we are good friends now and go watch the UFC pay-per-views together at the local bar. Kind of a compromise I guess.
See, first impressions can be wrong. In the case of the Bella Twins, even to this day I feel they are a case of “perception” vs. “reality”. Because of the way the WWE used these girls over the past few years, many of us have come to shrug off their in-ring talent. We are wrong to discredit them this way. Since the 2010 Draft in April the Bellas have been used more frequently on TV and although they usually lose, they are showing flashes of solid offense, effective bumping, and some nice high spots. Nobody throws better dropkicks that these two. Nobody. Even better, they are really gelling in the ring as a tag team. I like their quick tags, double-team moves, and classic tag team psychology. I’m even OK with their ring entrance. Similar to LayCool and the Beautiful People, I like teams that dress alike and have choreographed entrances. I’m a sucker for good tag teams since I grew up with the Harts, the Rockers, Demolition, the British Bulldogs, etc. I know they are not that caliber of team, but you know what I am saying.
Before the 2010 draft I wrote this about the Bellas:
With the eleventh pick in the 2010 Divas Draft, RAW selects….THE BELLA TWINS. They come as a package, and really there is no other place for Nikki and Brie. They belong on RAW because they work well with the guest hosts, but I think the WWE is missing a big opportunity with them. These girls can wrestle. I would play them against each other and create a nasty sibling rivalry where they fight each other but bond together when challenged by others. I think these girls have more depth than Vince allows them to show.
I think I was right on the mark here and we’re starting to see their true talent in the ring. I have enjoyed their recent matches, especially the 6-Diva tag team match on the May 17 RAW. Teaming with Eve, the Bellas lost to Maryse and LayCool but they were showcased as legit workers and at times carried the action. I loved the booking of that match and when you think about it, the Bellas were in the ring with the Divas champion, the #1 contender, and the hottest female team in the company. That’s a long way from the Abraham Washington Show. Good for Brie and Nikki. I loved during the match with Jillian and Maryse on the May 13 Superstars you heard one of them yelling “Bellas Baby!” when she whipped her opponent into the turnbuckle. You got that right…Bellas baby!! They still need to work hard to improve their wrestling skills, but I am encouraged that Vince is finally giving them a chance to reach their full potential.
So how about that – I enjoyed writing this week’s column after all. I’m not sure how long Beth will be out of action, but I am starting to feel confident that I can watch the WWE and enjoy the other Divas. Maybe I’ll even tune into IMPACT on Thursday nights. We’ll see. Like I said earlier, I still have a long way to go to put Beth’s ACL injury behind me. For next week’s GA meeting, maybe I’ll even leave the tiara at home…that seems like a good next step.
PS – Just to be clear, I am not belittling or poking fun at self-help groups in this column. Trust me. Addiction has severely affected my extended family and I am grateful for the impact others can have on people. Sometimes it is important to laugh and joke about something to help deal with the pain.
PPS – Look for our new Diva Dirt audio show starting on Wednesday June 2, 2010 at 10pm EST. Who are the stars of the show? YOU! This will be your chance to call in and chat with the staff of Diva-Dirt. We are excited to bring your voice and opinions to life and get to know you better. So start thinking of your comments and get ready to dial in! Oh, and the show will be LIVE! Cool, huh?
PPPS – If you want, follow me on Twitter: @dlb19338. I actually tweet about things other than Beth, so that’s a good thing.