In the Saturday Supplement, the Diva Dirt team will aim to discuss a news story, a televised event or other relevant and current topics. The objective, like the average weekend newspaper, is to offer more indepth and lengthy discussion.
We’re in a era of women’s wrestling where it’s not only possible, but likely for former porn stars and models to get title shots, while professional wrestlers with years of experience get put on the backburner. With that said, I ask the question: What are the components for the ‘perfect Diva’? And even if you have the total package, will you still be marketable to the WWE Universe?
The first ingredient to the ‘Perfect Diva’ recipe is skill. An extremely valuable asset to any Diva (though you wouldn’t know it judging by some of the girls in recent years) should be in-ring skill. A pretty smile and a great rack can only get you but so far in the wrestling world. If you want to be taken seriously by a wrestling promotion and their audience, you should at least be able to take a decent bump.
The next component is sass. While in-ring skills are extremely important, personality is just as vital. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best wrestler to ever step foot in a wrestling ring; no one is going to care if you have the personality of a brick wall. The biggest offender of this rule is current Women’s Champion, Michelle McCool. While McCool has come leaps and bounds since her debut, in regards to her wrestling ability, her lack of charisma has been her downfall. The fans just can’t seem to get behind (or against) Michelle and some might attribute this to absence of spunk outside of the ring.
As shallow as it may sound, another important aspect of women’s wrestling is beauty. Professional wrestling for women, especially in this day and age, is based mostly on aesthetics. If you don’t have the so-called ‘look’, chances are you won’t make it very far in a mainstream promotion. That said, in the last few years, wrestlers such as Awesome Kong, ODB and Beth Phoenix, who may not be considered ‘beautiful’ in a conventional sense, are breaking the mould of the typical Diva. They are prime examples that a female wrestler doesn’t have to look a certain way to get noticed.
Last but probably the most important part of this formula is passion. While passion is probably one of the most important tools for a wrestler, male or female, a lot of women’s wrestlers in a certain mainstream promotion seem to be lacking. It’s not surprising given how girls are recruited these days. Talent scouts seem to be looking for models they can turn into wrestlers, as opposed to actual wrestlers.
Most Divas possess some of these qualities that I have listed but a select few have the ‘total package’. There is an elite group of girls, who are able to captivate audiences with their skills, attitude and beauty. Only a minuscule percentage of ladies who have dedicated their lives to learning every subtlety and nuance of pro-wrestling. Unfortunately, these Divas never get the push.
Over the last decade, the most popular Divas have had a certain look for the most part. Model-esque looks and figure, blonde hair, etc. The pattern can be traced back to WWE’s golden girl Trish Stratus, all the way to current flavor of the week, Kelly Kelly.
At the time of Trish’s first title win, there were other women such as Ivory and Jacqueline, who were more experienced competitors that were passed over in lieu of Trish. In the modern day, competitors like Victoria and Natalya were pushed aside for the less experienced Maryse, for the Divas Championship. Coincidentally, both these Divas are similar in terms of looks. Hmm…
The reason for this, I daresay, can be explained by looking at WWE’s demographic. Monday Night Raw, WWE ‘flagship’ show markets itself to the young, Caucasian male group, from the ages 18-35. In WWE’s eyes, a blonde, Caucasian woman would catch the attention of it’s audience, better than a brunette or a African-American Diva.
On the other hand, Friday Night SmackDown has a large percentage of Latino viewers and often utilizes Latinos in their broadcast to boost rating. Evidence of this include Rey Mysterio’s success, Melina‘s abrupt return to Smackdown last spring and the recent success of Eve Torres.
This favortism doesn’t stop at who’s booked on which roster. Take a look at WWE’s most recent marketing campaign with 7-Eleven. Instead of choosing Mickie James, who is a five time champion, Gail Kim or Melina who are top contenders in their respective divisions, they chose Kelly Kelly to grace their SummerSlam cups. Once again, WWE’s ‘key demographic’ seems to be more responsive to a female of the blonde, Caucasian persuasion. Before Kelly became the proverbial poster girl of the WWE, Divas like Trish and Torrie Wilson were often at the helm of such marketing initiatives. Is it really a coincidence that all of these girls are seemingly cut from the same cloth? Why not choose girls who are just as beautiful such as the three listed above. Couldn’t any Diva on the roster sell Big Gulps or pay per views just as well as Kelly? If they’re all as “Smart, Sexy and Powerful” as WWE likes to boast, what’s the harm?
Is it really that implausible that Raw’s demographic could get behind a Diva who doesn’t necessarily fit the All-American girl mould? Can SmackDown’s audience relate to a Diva who isn’t Latina? Should slim, fair-haired girls be the face of such a diverse women’s roster. The ‘Perfect Diva’ shouldn’t have a race, shape or size. Maybe WWE should let the fans decide who we want to support, instead of telling us who we should.