By Will Pruett
I'll be watching Total Divas on a weekly basis and writing about it. It's okay. You can feel sorry for me.
For a long, long time, WWE has existed in two semi-related realities. They walk a fine line between story and actuality. With Total Divas on E! this past Sunday WWE introduced a new reality to their world. To understand the new reality, let's discuss the first two.
WWE's first reality is the storyline world. It's often referred to as kayfabe. This world was the only reality wrestling worked in up until the mid-90's. In this world, the most important thing is the WWE Championship, matches are for money and prestige, and wrestling is a completely organic sport. What happens on Raw actually happens in this world.
The second reality is the one most interesting to most older wrestling fans. Anyone reading this site will instantly relate to this world. The second reality is the backstage and real life story of wrestling. In this world, matches matter based on quality, money matters in terms of actual pay and level of push, and wrestling is an art form. This world is very interesting and very fun to look into.
Sometimes these realities intersect (both accidentally and on purpose). Injuries are the most common intersection of them. When a wrestler is hurt in the ring, he is usually hurt across both realities (exceptions for vacations and movie filming do exist). There are notable moments like the Montreal Screwjob where we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of the second reality while enjoying the first.
WWE also likes to make us think these realities are mixing. This happens most often in promo exchanges like John Cena and The Rock's last year, Joey Styles' worked shoot in 2006, and the "Pipebomb" promo from C.M. Punk in 2011. Fans who love the second reality want to think what they're experiencing is real, even when it isn't. Reality is tricky in WWE.
Of course, this brings us to the third reality introduced on this show. This reality is in an odd place in the middle of the first two. In the Total Divas reality, WWE's stars are dating the people they're actually dating. They are also paired up the way they are on television. This world consists of overly dramatic conversations where every person is on the verge of an emotional climax.
This reality is not governed by a logical timeline. Apparently Natalya (now forever known as Nattie) had no idea she wasn't booked for WrestleMania when she didn't have a story for months going into the show. She didn't actually know about this until days before the big show. In this reality, the obvious is not obvious. Wrestlers have no way to tell whether or not they'll be on the card apparently.
This reality is not about actual events, but reactions to them. Ariane (who we know as Cameron on WWE television) was apparently yelled at by Brodus Clay for messing something up during the dress rehearsal for WrestleMania (which could not have been a dress rehearsal since the Funkadactyls' costumes were not finished until minutes before their match was set to occur). I'm going to assume it was a dance move. We didn't see the supposed yelling, but we did see the reactions. Ariane's meathead boyfriend, Vincent (who seems about three drinks away from domestic violence) reacted quite poorly to the unseen blowup. The show centered on his reaction, not the actual event.
Names are not names on this show, unless you happen to be a Bella Twin or John Cena. Everyone else is referred to as something slightly different than their WWE televised name. In this way, WWE is telling us this is the "real" reality, despite its overtly staged nature.
Girls new the the Divas division aren't sent to NXT to train in this reality, they are sent on the road with current Divas. I guess travel is a part of the training, but it doesn't exactly help the wrestling portion of things. JoJo is only 19, which is also kind of odd. Will this give the show a kind of "Real World" feel with young people doing stupid things?
Finally, this reality approaches matches in an odd way. They are competitive and they are meant to entertain. They are "worked out" ahead of time, but the goal is also to win. They rivalries between the girls are approached the same way. The Bella Twins legitimately dislike The Funkadactyls, but like them enough to "work out" and stage a match with them. This makes very little sense when one thinks about it. This is where WWE's realities seem to all conflict. The third reality may be the least real of them all.
Picking up the pieces:
- The timeline of WrestleMania week was oddly skewed. How exactly did all of this play out? What about the Hall of Fame? Were these events all mere days before WreslteMania?
- Missing from the recap about is a chat about The Bella Twins, John Cena, and "Daniel" Bryan Danielson. This will come. Give it time.
- Who among us, when trying to avoid marriage, has not bought their significant other a car? It's probably the easiest way to avoid marriage.
- Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella actually seem like a likable couple. This surprises me.
- John Cena said some mighty awkward things to Nikki Bella while fishing. I'm legitimately frightened by them. They seemed functional together.
- Everyone on this show had a boyfriend, aside from the two "newbies," and the boyfriends look to be future featured characters. How much can WWE show Nikki Bella with John Cena and still hope Cena remains a sex symbol for fans? Does this matter in wrestling?
- The piece The Funkadactyls seem to have been waiting for from the seamstresses was never shown again. It couldn't have been that important, right? Also, were they just attaching sequins to it randomly? The sequins seemed to be as unnecessary as the costume drama.
- Eva Marie's hair drama was a fun distraction from the other drama on the show. It lacked the idiotic intensity of Vincent yelling about nothing in particular. It didn't have the awkward evasiveness of John Cena not putting a ring on it. It was basically standard silly reality fare. If WWE is looking for a first shirt to sell for her, "Red Hair Don't Care" should probably be it.
The weird thing about this show is how enjoyable it is once you shut your brain off and just watch it. I'm not in love with it, but I can definitely watch it for the camp value. Since I'll be watching it, I'll happily write about it.
Are you hooked on Total Divas now or completely ignoring it? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
Diva on Divas Week 1: Dot Net's resident diva on Total Divas including WWE's third reality, John Cena's noncommittal Range Rover, and why "red hair don't care" would make a great t-shirt
Jul 31, 2013 - 06:00 PM
Jul 31, 2013 - 06:00 PM
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