Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Total Divas Redux: Episode Eight, ‘No Longer the Bridesmaid’ & After Party

Tonight’s episode of Total Divas was EVERYTHING it needed to be for a mid-season finale and then some! All through the week, we posted teaser clips to get everyone hyped up for the episode and needless to say it exceeded expectations. We all knew the wedding of Natalya and Tyson Kidd (TJ) was going to take center stage, but when all was said and done, it perhaps the surprise that “Nena” would be taking the next step in their relationship that stole the show. All season long, we watch Nikki Bella and John Cena slay our television screens with their ridiculous cuteness and when he asked her to join him in West Newberry, Massachusettes for a family reunion, it was hard not to cheer for Nikki. We all know that John is the one for her, and with his past, it’s been hard for them to both to take that next step. John has been cautious and Nikki has been understand, even if she hasn’t been the most patient person at times. The catch to this family reunion is that it was going to take place the same day as Natalya and Tyson’s wedding. For John, it would be the first time his entire family had been able to get together in years. His father, his mother, and all his brothers and their significant others would be there, and he had already decided that he was going to be there even though he would have to miss the wedding. Nikki was given a few days to think about it, but it wasn’t a surprise when she opted to meet John’s family.

It was a surprise to Natalya, though, and it was one she didn’t handle very well. Given the amount of stress she was under, it’s understandable that Nattie got upset, and Nikki was left feeling incredibly guilty. Luckily, things worked for everyone involved. John’s family really embraced Nikki and that was amazing to see. One of the sister-in-laws even said that she didn’t want anyone to scare Nikki off because she really liked her. Nikki seemed to fit in really well with the entire Cena clan, and John definitely took note of that. At lunch or dinner, it really wasn’t specified as to which it was, that same weekend (assuming, of course, lol), John let Nikki know that he wanted to talk about their relationship. It was good news for Nikki because John asked her to move in with him. He confessed that he wanted to see even more of her and that the long distance thing wasn’t enough anymore. Nikki happily agreed and they sealed the next step in their relationship with a super sweet kiss.

Lucky girl! Handsome, beautiful man. Gorgeous, amazing mansion. I’ll be honest, if Total Divas has done anything it has made me into a huge Cena fan. I’ve always been kind of on the fence with him. I respect him so much as a person for everything he does with charity, and the way he carries himself despite the backlash he gets, but he’s never been a top favorite of mine. That’s definitely changed thanks to the show, and I’m so glad for that! I’m really, really rooting for Nikki getting her happy ending, and John being her prince charming. They are so, so, so cute! I love it!

Natalya’s wedding had a happy ending as well, even though it had a lot of drama in the build to it! With the wedding just days away, Nattie’s family came into town. We got to meet her mother, Ellie, and her sister, Muffy, and wrestling fans already know her dad as Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Despite the fact that Natalya already had her wedding dress picked out, Ellie had a surprise for her daughter. She put together her own version of what she felt her daughter’s dress should look like. Despite the fact Natalya has a lot of respect for her mother’s work as a seamstress, she wasn’t impressed with the gaudy wedding dress Ellie made. Natalya and Muffy had a quick pow-wow in Nattie’s room, and decided to just be honest with Ellie. Their mother’s feelings were hurt, and that just started the downward spiral for Natalya.

Later on, she found out that Nikki wouldn’t be able to attend her wedding and that set off a whole new wave of emotions. Luckily, Brie Bella was there to do damage control and reminded Nattie that her wedding day was just that, hers, and she has a right to be selfish. Natalya kind of calms down a bit when Brie tells her to just focus on herself and not to worry about everyone else involved. Unfortunately, when it came time for the big event, Nattie had her hopes of an outdoor beach wedding ruined thanks to a thunder storm. The wedding planner, Nicole, decided it would be better move everyone inside. It wasn’t what Natalya wanted at all, but what could she really do about it?

Things got worse for the bride-to-be when Jaret showed up to the wedding and crashed a little get together involving some of the cast and Tyson. Jaret took the time to spill all the beans about the text messages and spending time with Natalya on her birthday. The tension was so evident you could cut it with a night and the expressions on the faces of the other people in the scene were priceless. It was sooooooooooo awkward and Tyson asked to speak to Jaret in private. The conversation doesn’t go all that well and Tyson decides to confront Natalya about everything. He goes upstairs and sees her in her full wedding dress, with her hair and make-up done, and Nattie immediately freaks out because he just ruined their traditional wedding. After kicking everyone out of the room, TJ decides he doesn’t care if he ruined everything because he’s angry. He confronts Nattie with everything and questions whether or not they should even get married. All Natalya can do is tell the truth and it’s no surprise when they work things out. Tyson isn’t happy all this was brought up on their wedding day, but they embrace. The wedding goes on as planned.

The best part of the wedding and the reception is watching everyone come together to cut loose. WWE superstar Damien Sandow being master of the ceremony so to speak was such a treat. If you watch regular WWE programming, you will love this just as much as I did. During the reception, Nikki actually called Brie and asked to speak to Nattie. Once again, Nikki apologized for missing her best friend’s wedding, and this time Natalya was all to happy to forgive and forget. She came to understand that it was an important event in Nikki’s life to meet John’s family, and all was good. When the bouquet was thrown, Cameron avoided that thing like the plague and Brie happily snatched it and waved it towards Daniel Bryan (Bryan). I also want to say that the fun photobooth at the wedding was an amazing idea. I’m so jacking that for whenever I walk down the aisle with Sheamus.

Or Dolph Ziggler. Or Dean Ambrose. Or the actual person I’ll probably end up marrying.

Either way…

The episode wasn’t without Eva Marie and JoJo drama either. We watched last week as their relationship started to fall apart and things came to an ugly head this week when Jane told the girls that there was a valet spot open on the main roster. Obviously both of them wanted it and when it went to Eva, JoJo’s snotty little attitude came out in full force once again. She was majorly over Eva and when Eva tried to talk to her about it, JoJo basically brushed her off. Well, things progressively got worse between the two of them and while at an NXT taping, Eva decided to talk to JoJo in private about what was going on between them. To say the conversation didn’t go over well would be an understatement. Eva basically decided that they spent way to much time together and that things be a lot easier if she had her own place. JoJo ended up storming off at this point, and yikes. I wonder if there’s anything that can repair this relationship at this point?!

The final aspect of the episode was the scary incident with Cameron (Ariane) that resulted her in having to be carted off to the hospital in an ambulance. Cameron and Naomi (Trinity) were at their hotel when Cameron called Naomi crying because she was in a lot of pain. Naomi was kind of scared because she got the feeling something was serious wrong so when she showed up to see Cameron, Cameron was barely able to answer her own door. Naomi wasn’t about to play around, she just straight up called the ambulance and as we saw on the eppy, Cameron was kept for about six hours. It turns out that the problem she was having had something to do with her female body parts, and we found out more about that at the after show. From my own experience, I thought maybe Cameron was having a gall stone attack. When I had those, I experienced crippling pain that basically paralyzed me to the point where I couldn’t even move. All I could do is curl into a ball and pray that it would be over soon. It seemed like that was exactly what was happening to Cameron as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be as simple as that. But I will say, that I love the friendship between Naomi and Cameron. They truly are there for one another through thick and thin.

Also, Cameron’s health scare gave Vincent an in. He showed up with flowers and lots of support for his then ex-girlfriend, and I thought that was super sweet. He ended up being Cameron’s date to Nattie and Tyson’s wedding, and it was Nattie herself that said they had basically adopted Vincent into their WWE family. Love it!

This was the perfect episode to end the first half of the season on. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself until November, but I know the wait will be worth it. The teaser clips they showed was soooooooooooo dramatic, and all it did was leave me incredibly thirsty for more! Total Divas has been the best thing ever to me, and the only downside is the wait, like I said.

And now, time for the After Party section of this Redux.

Okay let me start off by saying that it is so unfair that we have to wait until November to get new episodes of Total Divas. Between the mid-season finale and the after show, I’m on such a total high right now! It more than made up for the disappointment I felt with Night of Champions, but that’s not for here. The entire cast of girls, as well as Jimmy Uso (Jon), Tyson Kidd, John Cena, Sandra, and JARET joined WWE personality Renee Young to dish the gossip.

JoJo and Eva Marie still haven’t patched up their relationship. Eva even went as far to say that she could no longer be a mother to JoJo. JoJo’s personality is apparently a little to immature for Eva to deal with, and said that it would be better if she just lived by herself. JoJo defended herself and claimed to not know where all this was coming from, which prompted Nikki Bella to jump in and kind of compare their relationship to her own relationship with Brie Bella, her twin. She said that Eva and JoJo seemed to have a big sister/little sister dynamic, and then joked that she probably wouldn’t like Brie if they weren’t related. Love it!

The focus switched to the Nattie/Jaret mess, and Nattie tried to avoid it by saying she wanted to talk about her dress. Renee wasn’t going to let her off the hook so Nattie just reiterated that Jaret is one of her oldest and closest friends. She admitted that when she was younger, she enjoyed the physical connection she had with Jaret from their training together, and later on she enjoyed the attention she got from him when Tyson wasn’t giving her any. JoJo gave an impressive amount of insight for a 19-year old, by asking Nattie if the physical connection from wrestling and the chemistry is what made her fall for TJ. Everyone was like, ohhhhhhhhhh!!! They bring out Tyson and he is more than happy to throw shade at Jaret and his lack of wrestling ability. It’s hilarious. There was also more on this later on!

Renee touches base with Cameron, who says that we will see more of her health problems in later episodes. She reveals that she may not be able to have children in the future due to what her body is going through, and that’s really, really sad. Talk turns to Vincent and how quickly they got back together after breaking up at the jewelry store in California. Vincent came to see Cameron after her hospital scare and it made her realize that he was one of the good guys. She said that he is incredibly supportive of her career, and she can’t picture herself without him. So sweet!

Brie Mode is the next topic of conversation, and rightfully so. They show highlights of Vegas, and Brie having her goodies blurred while dancing like a stripper. What’s funny is that before that, they spoke to Queen Sandra who was in the audience. The wardrobe malfunctions were brought up and Nikki was revealed to be the girl who shows her body off the most. Nikki, to her credit, jokes that she paid for her boobs so she might as well flaunt them. You go girl! Talk goes back to Brie, and they show a teaser clip from next season. Daniel and Brie are finding themselves in a difficult spot thanks to his popularity and push, and it’s upsetting to Brie that she’s not his top priority anymore. When the clip ends, Nikki mercilessly teases her sister that she’s so angry because she isn’t getting laid, and thankfully no one brings up Nikki’s purple people eater! They also talk about Daniel Bryan’s beard and Brie says she loves it. She apparently likes hair.

Naomi actually agrees with the beard love, and her man comes out. Let me just say, that I have so much love for Jimmy Uso after this season. His personality is hilarious and they talk about how playful his relationship with Naomi is. They also poke fun at the nickname Naomi has for Jimmy which is “Jurdy”. It stems from the fact they used to refer to one another as peanut butter and jelly, and one day she just butchered saying jelly. Either way, it’s cute and Jimmy’s impression of Nikki walking on her crutches in high heels is even more adorable.

“Nena” also got focused on, and the big step Nikki and John took with their relationship. He is very quick to shoot down Renee’s question of if a proposal is next, and Nikki takes everything in stride. She knows John had a very difficult situation with his past when it came to his ex-wife and then John apologizes for taking Nikki away from Nattie and Tyson’s wedding. Like always, John Cena is a class act and calls the six Divas who put their lives on camera for the entire world to see true pioneers for the sport. He lets it be known that the backstage area has always been kept private and gives them a huge congratulations for breaking those barriers. He’s such a great person. Nikki is one lucky lady!

Nattie probably didn’t feel so lucky when they brought out the special guest. JARET came out to a chorus of boos from the crowd, and no one really looks all that happy to see him. Renee asks Tyson if he got a chance to confront Jaret at the wedding, but Tyson replies that he didn’t want to waste his time. Jaret admits that he still has feelings for Natalya but has accepted the fact she’s with Tyson. The best part of all of this is Nikki harassing the hell out of Jaret. She’s such a troll. TJ more or less calls Jaret an opportunist, and that prompts Naomi to jump in and point out that most people on this planet want to bang Nattie. Jaret accusses Tyson of not treating Nattie like the queen she is, and Brie goes on the defense. Jaret takes it all in stride and simply states that he believes Tyson isn’t the one for Natalya.

Oh. My. God.

He so just went there. What a HEEL!

To wrap up they show some AMAZING footage of next season. Like I stated at the start of this, it’s sooooooo unfair that we have to wait until November. My Sundays are going to be a little less exciting now that Total Divas is on break. I’m sure everyone who is reading this is with me on that! And before I wrap this up, I want to give props to Renee Young. She was absolutely amazing with her hosting duties tonight and I really do hope she ends up on commentary sooner rather than later.

Words can’t even express how much I LOVE this entire group of people, even JoJo’s sulky little girl self. The main cast and the supportering characters – Sandra, Jane, Mark, Vincent, Eva’s boyfriend, and yes, even Sebastien – are everything and I can not wait to see what the next six episodes bring us. I can honestly say that covering reality television has always been a dream of mine and these past eight weeks at Diva Dirt have been my favorite. It’s reignited my passion for wrestling and my love for all the women (and men) who bust their butts for us on a nightly basis. To Nikki, Brie, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie, and JoJo … thank you! Thank you for giving us a chance to get to know you and share some personal triumphs and struggles with you. To John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Jimmy Uso, Tyson Kidd, and Vincent… thank you! You didn’t have to be part of the show, but you love your partners enough to share this experience with them. Kudos to everyone involved in the process of the show, and everyone who made cameo appearances. Congratulations to everyone for a successful first run and cheers to many, many more.

I’ve loved covering this show more than anything, and until November…. Cryssi out!

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