Monday, December 4, 2023

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Total Divas Redux: “Paint the Island Red” & “The Double-Cross”

Welcome to a special double-sized Total Divas Redux! I’m filling in for Cryssi again, but I still feel unsure about my Total Divas expertise. It’s a bit like jumping into the deep end, taking on two episodes. But hell, let’s go with it!

In the first episode of our double feature, Eva Marie has a bachelorette blowout in Curaçao. Notably, she didn’t invite Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae, who are starting to feel like outcasts. Hell, even Tyson Kidd apparently doesn’t like them. He says the two should bond on some remote island and forget how to get back. Ouch.

Natalya was invited, of course, and she hopes the trip will help her fix her marriage to Tyson Kidd. They have some fun making “noises” to counter the screaming going on next door. He’s not interested in actually having sex with his wife, though, which is worrisome. He takes her on a “romantic excursion” to an ostrich farm. Needless to say, she didn’t find “being surrounded by bird shit” to be romantic.

She vents to Eva, bursting into tears. She says she doesn’t want to force something if it’s not here. Eva reassures Nattie, telling her that it will take care of itself. Not sure if that’s the best advice for repairing a marriage, but I suppose her heart was in the right place..

Meanwhile, Cameron returns to the main roster after spending some time in NXT. Diva fans will likely raise an eyebrow at this – she was gone? – but okay. At least it’s a storyline about wrestling. Still, it feels weird for them to treat training at NXT as something that can be completed in a few weeks, like she recharged her wrestling batteries or something. She has her own issues with Vinnie, who feels neglected.

That extends to the Curaçao trip, and the two end up fighting over Cameron’s apparently disinterest in their relationship. They patch things up, though, when Cameron agrees to take baby steps in moving their relationship forward.

Brie Bella and Nikki are on the trip, sans their significant others. Nikki hopes this means that Brie Mode will make an appearance, but Brie isn’t into that lifestyle anymore. She’s more interested in furnishing her house. Nikki thinks Brie’s turning into a grandma, and the tension boils over on their last night in Curaçao. The two fight with everyone looking on. Awkward…

Nikki thinks Brie is settling down because it’s what Daniel Bryan wants. Brie says she’s enjoying her life. What she thinks is “fun” has changed since getting married. I think Nikki needs to realize that people change, and they don’t have to go to either extreme to bond. Drink while online shopping! IDK.. It just doesn’t have to be one or the other.

The second episode brought us back to the mainland, where Natalya’s marriage troubles continue. She is scandalized by Rosa’s vibrator and says that if she wanted “intense”, she’d watch a Richard Simmons infomercial. LOL.

Rosa is on the hunt for her “future husband”, looking for someone who she can love. She’s hesitant to jump into anything out of fear that it might derail her recovery. She goes on a day date with the Cleveland Browns’ Gary Barnidge. They hit it off well. When she brings Gary backstage, Summer appears to be moving in on him, having met him already. They bond over their football and North Carolina experiences. LFL reference!

Rosa seems to scare him off a bit when she lays out her numerous guidelines. Well, it was nice while it lasted.. Summer swoops in, the episode leaving us to wonder how Rosa will react when she finds out.

Nikki and John Cena attend the premiere of their movie Confessions of a Womanizer, which is probably as good as it sounds.

This transitions into a storyline about John’s new Judd Apatow movie, Trainwreck. He has a sex scene in the movie, which Nikki isn’t happy about. To me, her reaction seems extreme. If she’s in a relationship with a star like Cena, she’s got to expect that these things might happen. What does she think, he’s going to run away with his co-star? Give him more credit than that, Nikki.

She talks to her family about it, who have share my viewpoint. They even reference Nikki having to kiss other men on the WWE. Remember that storyline with Daniel Bryan? Yeah. It’s not the same thing, but it’s a similar idea, and she’s going to have to accept what comes with John Cena’s “The Rock-in-waiting” status.

The Divas she discusses this with take the opposite stance, Natalya stoking Nikki’s insecurities. Come on, girls.. Be realistic. Yes, she’s been cheated on before, but has Cena shown an inclination towards straying? No. To me, this feels like every single Cena/Nikki conflict we’ve seen so far: much ado about nothing.

We also finally get a glimpse of Naomi, who didn’t make the trip. Natalya vents to Naomi about her marriage. Naomi suggests marriage counseling, which was much better advice than Eva’s claim that “it’ll fix itself”. Naomi continues to be the show’s voice of reason. Yes, more so than John Cena. Her words feel real.

They go to a marriage counseling session, where Tyson claims that Nattie is “burning the candle at both ends”, bringing work home. She thinks that once he gets back on the road, they’ll be in better shape, but he thinks it’s been nice to be home. Natalya cries, saying that she always feels alone. Aw.. Tyson isn’t interested in going back, thinking that she’s making their problems out to be bigger than they actually are. This is like the inverse of the Nikki/Cena thing: they’re underplaying an actual problem. This won’t end well. And neither does the episode: it closes out with Nattie and Tyson throwing out the D word. Uh oh. We’ve seen plenty of Total Divas weddings. Will this be the first divorce? Probably not, but let’s not kill the suspense.

What did you all think of the double helping of Total Divas? It was a lot to take in for me, but writing the Redux probably had something to do with that feeling. Gear up, because next Sunday, it’ll be more of the same!

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