Friday, September 24, 2021

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Total Bellas Redux: “The Cena House Rules”

[media-credit name=”E!” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]total-bellas-premiere[/media-credit]

It seems so long ago when we all found out that WWE trademarked the name “Total Bellas” and we were all wondering what the heck it meant. And then pretty soon we found out we were getting a spin-off reality series. Then following that, we got a trailer, followed by countless interviews and then, here we are with the series premiere of Total Bellas!

In this episode we’re fully introduced to the lifestyle that John Cena lives – and as hilarious as it may be for us, the likes of Brie BellaDaniel BryanJJ Garcia and Kathy Colace beg to differ. But we’ll get into that later on.

After a quick look into John’s way of life, we’re taken back to February 8th, 2016, when Daniel Bryan was forced to retire. The moment is full of emotions, and it’s nice to see that even though we get to see Brie react a little, other WWE Superstars such as Kevin Owens and Summer Rae are also around for the moment. It makes the whole thing feel a lot more authentic, rather than a Bella-family only moment, which it definitely wasn’t. And then after a quick glimpse into his retirement is shown, we’re taken to the end of January to see Nikki Bella’s surgery.

I’m not sure why Nikki’s surgery is shown after Bryan’s retirement, but it is. This is also a pretty emotional moment, and it’s great that at this point Kathy showcases her sadness too. Over the past few years of getting to know Kathy, she’s very much remained as the voice of reason and nothing more. During the five seasons of Total Divas she’s probably said a total of ten words, with no emotion attached to any of them. But during the opening scenes of Total Bellas, we’re immediately thrusted into her emotional motherly side, and I can’t help but appreciate it. Obviously we all knew she had a heart, but it’s nice that we’re shown this immediately as it’s a really important part of her on-screen character. Also it really helps to anchor in just how difficult Nikki’s surgery is, which, we get even more of throughout the episode.

Following this we’re then shown the scenes in which the Bella fam all move in together. And I have to admit, though it’s most definitely done for the show, the guys, girls etc. of the Total Bellas creative team really make it work. Nikki asks forces her family to move into her extravagant mansion as she’s not allowed to lift anything above 10 pounds and can’t drive herself around. And, they all move in – including her brother JJ, mother Kathy and John Laurinaitis (Kathy’s fiancé and former RAW General Manager and WWE Superstar). My only issue here is that there’s no sign of JJ’s wife, Lola. Though she’s probably not the fan favorite, she was someone that I was really looking forward to seeing as, much like the rest of the Bella family, we haven’t really gotten to know her. But this should happen in due time, it may just be a case of too many faces at once. And with this episode being very much about Cena’s lifestyle, Lola’s addition may not be the most relevant of the lot.

Throughout the episode we see the whole gang try to get along, but it’s Cena’s rules that put them on the edge. Between being forced to make their bed, hang out every morning and evening, split off into groups based on gender, and Bryan and Brie’s dog Josie being forced to stay in the guest house, there’s no questioning why there’s some tension in the house. And when forced to dress up for dinner, Bryan and Brie aren’t wearing shoes, which, when combined with the “no shoes in the house” rule, is understandable. But for some reason Cena and Nikki are appalled at their decision – though they allow it for this one time.

During their stay at the Cena and Nikki Express, Daniel and Brie decide to stop asking for permission and end up trying to do something on their own. And what they do is attempt to build a dog run for their anxious pet Josie. Unfortunately for the couple Nikki calls them out on it and they end up deciding on not going forward with it – but of course the tensions are still there and the pair decide that they want to move back to Phoenix, Arizona. And to be honest, I’m completely on the side of Brie and Bryan. It’s not as though the couple asked Nikki if they could move in. In fact, it was Nikki herself that made them do it. The pair aren’t there to serve themselves a vacation, they’re living in Nikki’s home for three months to help her out. So it’s completely understandable that the pair felt trapped and want to leave – I mean, if it were me I wouldn’t (John Cena and Nikki Bella are right there!!) but I get where Brie and Bryan came from.

Towards the end of the episode, Brie, Bryan and JJ tell John – after a bit of a struggle – about their issues with the house rules. The trio soon admit that Cena can come across as intimidating (or “terrifying”, according to Nikki). They express all of their feelings and, after Cena admits how much he is stuck in his ways, he comes to the conclusion to be a little lenient with his guests so that they can feel more comfortable during their 3 month stay.

The ending is what I wanted to see. As hilarious as Cena’s house rules are, I’m sure it would get tedious to see the gang deal with them for the entirety of the first season. But overall, this was a very adorable episode.

E! also released some extra scenes! Here witness Nikki tell John about her surgery, as well as how she finds out about the actual procedure. It’s really nice to see just how supportive John is, and though it’d better to see it in the full episode, it’s great that we get to see it at all.

Between the dirty jokes, the awkward tension, injuries/retirement and the funny house rules, this first episode really sets the season up to be a great one. Each relationship has pretty much been set as much as it should, and we’re definitely off to a great start!

Overall, Total Bellas proves to be a really chilled, laid back yet enticingly entertaining show. We get a good peak into the lives of this famous family and it doesn’t come across as ingenuine/superficial, like some people may pretend. The guys and gals of the Bella family are all very protective and caring of one another, and that comes across ever so well in this episode. I really appreciate the homely feel we get through the cute humor and the caring attitudes of the people in the house. And even if there is some tension, Total Bellas proves that this family is the one to watch. They’re funny, cute and prove to be worth the hour of your week.

Throughout the upcoming episodes, we’re promised a fight between Bryan and Nikki based on Brie, Cena’s recovery process, Nikki’s injury, Kathy’s marriage/argument with Johnny Ace, and more!

Some points to be noted:

  • Bryan and Cena’s relationship is great. I mean, they may not be the closest but it’s pretty hilarious how awkward their conversation was during the “guy time”. We know that their relationship isn’t the greatest as they have almost nothing – besides wrestling – in common, and I love how true that comes across in this episode.
  • The dirty talk. Well, I don’t know why I didn’t expect anything else, but I guess I gotta get used to it. The humor of the Bella family is great, and though it may not be for everybody, it’s nice that we get to see them all get along. But if you haven’t watched this, it may not be the best idea to watch it with a parent! You’ll be finding yourself trying to hide your smirk or covering your reddened face.
  • Lastly, I expected a lot more information on the injury of Nicole and the retirement of Bryan. The episode felt like it swayed right over the situations and this wasn’t what I was expecting. However, based on that preview for the upcoming season, it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case for long – so I’m not mad.

How did you find this episode? Will you tune in next week? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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