Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Total Divas Redux: “The Truth About Cats and Divas”


Welcome to another Total Divas Redux! Sorry for the no-show last week – circumstances have taken Cryssi away temporarily, so I’m filling in this week. In the interest of time, I’m forgoing a full recap of last week’s episode. If you missed it, here’s what happened:

John Cena changed his stance on marriage, but not babies. Alicia Fox and Paige fought about Paige being a blabber mouth, but made up by the end of the episode. Natalya felt unwanted by the WWE, getting the bait-and-switch treatment at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and being left out of the Diva Revolution. Happily, though, her erstwhile enemy Summer Rae gave her a bit of a pep talk and lifted her spirits.

This week marked the first episode of the season that felt like classic Total Divas, with a plethora of stories that gave practically everyone something to do. It wasn’t chock-a-block with relationship drama (my least favorite kind of Total Divas drama) and instead dealt with professional drama, the kind that makes the “peek behind the curtain” aspect of the show so cool.

Let’s break down what happened:

NATTIE THROWS A PARTY With the WWE touring through Florida, Natalya saw a the perfect opportunity to lift her injured husband Tyson Kidd‘s spirits by throwing him a surprise party and inviting his wrestler friends. Even R-Truth, cat phobia and all, agreed to go. Tyson’s tag partner Cesaro came as well, and Big E stopped by, drawing the (rather aggressive) attention of Natalya’s sister. Kofi Kingston brought along his wife and adorable son.

Predictably, things went haywire, the cats busting out of Nattie’s bedroom (thanks, Kofi’s son!) and scaring the crap out of Truth. Tyson wasn’t happy about people pitying him, forcing Nattie to realize that she may have projected some of her feelings onto him and was possibly coddling him.

WELCOME, MANDY ROSE! Tough Enough runner-up Mandy Rose finally made her Total Divas debut, being introduced to the Divas by Mark Carano. While Mandy gets an icy reception, all I can focus on is the fact that she has signed a five year deal with the company. A five-year deal and a spot on Total Divas? I guess actually winning Tough Enough wasn’t the gold mine we thought it was. Sara Lee got hosed!

Mandy expressed her interest in training, which is to be expected. I’m not enthused by the “we’re gonna try to get her training time at NXT” line, since I’m pretty sure that’s the same road Eva Marie went down, being stuck on the road for Total Divas for years and training sporadically until she had to buckle down and go back to NXT. I don’t want to see Mandy make the same mistake, though the fact that she already made her in-ring debut at a NXT live event may indicate that they’ve already made it a priority.

I’m not jazzed about a Mandy/Eva tag team, but it’s nice to see two Divas – who otherwise would get iced out by their peers – do some bonding.

EVA MENDS FENCES, OR TRIES TO Upon returning to the road, Eva took steps toward mending fences with the Divas she fought with last season. She apologized to Brie and Nikki Bella first, explaining her actions towards Nikki (like the “bad Divas Champion” accusation). They find common ground,seeing as how they’ve all had to deal with shedding the “models, not real wrestlers” label. Apologizes done, they all re-followed each other on social media, which I suppose is the Total Divas version of a group hug. Aw!

Everyone seemed ready to forgive and forget…except for Alicia. After a roadside heart-to-heart between Eva and Paige went well, Mandy asked for some background on the feud. Alicia explained the problem in excruciating detail, ruthlessly accusing Eva of not earning her respect.

When the Divas took a trip to see how their first makeup line is being made, Mandy reached out to Alicia to see what could be done to fix things. Instead, she only found more reasons to distrust Eva, and began worrying if she had aligned herself with the wrong Diva.

ROSA RETURNS For the first time since rejoining the cast of Total Divas, Rosa Mendes got a bit of the spotlight, though that mainly consisted of sharing pregnancy cravings and updates with her fellow Divas. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but it was nice to see her!

BELLAS DO BRANDING Brie and Nikki were given the opportunity to endorse an unnamed fast food product, leading to a split of opinion: Brie wasn’t into the idea, while Nikki was psyched about the opportunity. Nikki tried to convince “farm-to-table” Brie that they could sell it with a fitness angle, but Brie wasn’t buying it. I don’t blame her – sexualizing eggs and pouring hot coffee on your boobs seems one step below a Carl’s Jr. ad.

The Bellas eventually came to an understanding, pretty much agreeing to disagree. Brie could embrace her healthy living passions while Nikki chased her dream of becoming a media darling a la The Rock and John Cena. Not sure where that leaves the commercial, but I’m willing to bet it’s not happening, given the fact that there hasn’t been a peep about it in the media.

All in all, this was my favorite episode of the season so far. The more the show dives into the details of makes a Diva’s life so unique – the injuries, the politics, the highs, the lows – the more I’m excited to see what comes next. Let’s hope this season delivers more on that end!

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