Peacockery Pick: Total Divas (Season 1, Episode 1)
By Miss Peacockery on 14th November 2023
Here we are, “Total Divas.” Believe it or not, I’ve only seen the first two episodes of this despite being the target audience. This is my chance to change that. You know, because there are other better shows like “Better Call Saul” that I could finish but then I’d miss out on Eva Marie’s story arc.
This show was crafted largely by the same minds behind MTV’s “Real World” with some WWE supervision. Unlike “Real World,” these women aren’t strangers. They’re divas! All accounts are that, per reality TV rules, not everything we’re going to see is reality. Things also appear out of order sometimes.
I thought it would be interesting to review both as I’ve never seen it and it might be interesting from a 2023 standpoint. Nowadays, the Bellas have left and Naomi is running the women’s division in Impact, for example. Some of the men we’re going to meet are also at wildly different places, whether it is being a Main Event Uso or influencing things for the competition. And then there’s Brodus Clay. The only person actually left in the company from the main divas cast of this show is Natalya.
I’m actually not the first person to review these here, but it looks like it was last done back in 2014. Let’s give Total Divas the “every ten years” time it deserves. And if I survive this series (25% chance, honestly) there’s always Total Bellas and the Miz & Maryse show. If you’d like to watch along, the series is on Peacock and Hulu as well as internationally on the award-winning WWE Network.
Let’s begin our first episode, titled “Welcome to the WWE.” The World Wrestling Entertainment.
We start by meeting Nikki Bella and Brie Bella, the Bella Twins. They travel the world, run red carpets and meet celebrities around the world. Nikki says she is addicted to the rush of performing in front of the crowds. Nikki explains what WWE is and how many viewers they have, as well as what a sports entertainer is.
Brie and Nikki left for eleven months, and Brie says the other girls are definitely mad they’re back. We smash-cut into a video of Ariane saying, “the DAMN Bella Twins” because DRAMA. We meet Ariane, known on TV as Cameron, who is here to introduce us to the Funkadactyls. She says Trinity is her sister from another mister. We meet Trinity, known back then as Naomi on TV and now as Trinity, who says Ariane is like the mouthpiece and she is the action.
Ariane says when she thinks of Trinity, direct quote, “That girl has a freakin’ donk.” We hear Michael Cole calling the Rear View and Trinity explains how her finishing move works, which is that the opponent runs into her butt. Ariane says the Funkadactyls have become the fan favorite with the Bellas gone. She might be stretching it a bit. Just a bit. Tons of Funk we’re not exactly lighting things up.
Ariane says the Divas division has a hierarchy. You have the faces of the company (the Bellas are shown), the midcard (Funkadactyls) and then you have veterans.
We meet Nattie, or Natalya as she’s called otherwise on WWE TV. She says she comes from wrestling royalty as we see clips of Bret and the Anvil.
We have our official show-opening scene and then zoom to Tampa, Florida where we have ten days until WrestleMania. Nikki says that when they left the company, they were mentally and physically exhausted. We’re watching them wrestle each other in the PC ring, which I’m pretty sure is NOT in Tampa.
In Real Tampa, Ariane is pumping Trinity up for a hotel workout. Ariane says WrestleMania is coming up and they get to wrestle for the first time. As they practice dance moves, we are introduced to “Jon (Trinity’s Boyfriend)” who we all know now as Jimmy Uso. We watch him goof off and help the duo train. Ariane reiterates that she’s the fun, feisty one while Trinity brings the experience.
Meanwhile at the WWE Training Facility, Nattie is getting some tips from Bill DeMott (Head Coach, Development Training). He should probably be learning from her. Her training partner, though unnamed, is Charlotte Flair. We meet a gentleman labeled as “Nattie’s Dad (Former WWE Superstar”, watching from the apron.
Nattie explains what WrestleMania is to the casual viewing audience, the biggest night of the year with 8-10 guys matches and 1 girls match. Sounds like any episode of AEW! Sorry, you knew that was coming. She says this leaves ten divas in the locker room clawing for that one spot.
We’ve zoomed elsewhere as we hear the voice of The Greatest of All-Time John Cena, asking Nikki when the last time was she went fishing. Nikki says she is taken and madly in love with John. We get clips of Cena making various media appearances just to hammer home that hey, that’s John Cena! They do some lake-side kissing and recreate a scene from “The Notebook” which is honestly adorable. I hope these crazy kids make it. No spoilers please.
Across the country in San Diego, Brie Bella is walking Josie (their dog) with Bryan Danielson, TV name Daniel Bryan. They’ve been together for 2.5 years. They live one mile away from Nikki. Brie explains her hippy mentality, where she only shops at the farmer’s market and she likes to cook her food, the complete opposite of Nikki.
Right on cue, Nikki pulls up in her new Range Rover, a gift from John. Bryan says it is fancy. Upstairs, the girls “cheers” glasses of wine with new character Kathy (Brie & Nikki’s Mom). Brie tells Nikki it’s a very serious gift and asks if she thinks it means John wants to take it to the next level, which Nikki shrugs at. She says it’s complicated and says John’s recent divorce might take some time.
7 days until WrestleMania and we’re in New York City. Nattie explains all the things that happen during WrestleMania week, then receives a call from Jane Geddes, SVP (WWE Talent Relations & Development). Jane asks Nattie to come down and chat with her and Mark Careano (WWE Talent Relations). They tell Nattie she’s not going to be in a match and that some of the women are going to be in a mixed tag match. She says she taught the Bellas how to wrestle and now they get a match and she doesn’t. Jane also says Nattie gets to chaperone two new girls from developmental. Nattie isn’t happy.
Newark Airport and we meet Eva Marie and JoJo, the newbies. Eva says she can be the “baddest diva” (wellll…) and JoJo is going away from home for the first time as a 19-year-old.
Brie walks up to Nattie getting the talk. Nattie tells Brie she’s happy for her and she’s going to have the new girls. The girls conveniently walk out of the elevator to meet Jane. Jane immediately asks Eva to go blonde. This of course sets Nattie, the current blonde, off.
5 Days Until WrestleMania. Vincent (Ariana’s Boyfriend) has appeared in her hotel room and she’s happy he made it. I don’t like him already. She says he is sweet and knows how to balance her.
WrestleMania Dress Rehersal. The Funkadactyls meetup with Nattie, Eva, JoJo and Vincent after their warmup match and are upset. Ariane tells them that their partner, the highly esteemed Brodus Clay, yelled at them and told them “you suck” (insert that one gif of Tyrus wrestling here). Vincent says he will call him out and says he’s going to the locker room to mess him up. Trinity is watching from afar, knowing that he could screw up both their spots. Nattie tells him to let it simmer down.
Trinity and Jon leave, where Trinity tells him what happened. Jon says it was handled wrong and Trinity says she has to cut this out from happening again.
To the hotel again and Nikki wants to meet the newbies because she’s heard one of them looks like her. Nikki’s first impression is that Eva is hot and competition while JoJo is like a little girl. Nikki says she sees trouble in Eva’s eyes.
Across the hotel, Trinity takes Ariane to breakfast. Ariane says Vincent made a mistake and stuck it on her, while Trinity says he shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It can’t happen again. Ariane: “Whatever, I’m over it.”
Eva Marie with JoJo in tow has arrived at the hair salon, announcing they need to make her blonde. Mid-hair job she says she’s not going blonde and she’s going against the company’s word. She goes for “Rihanna Red” as JoJo continues to watch as the supporting character she seems to be here. Eva Marie shows off her bright ass red hair and says it screams “Eva Marie.”
Back at the hotel, Jane summons the girls downstairs to see Eva Marie’s hair. She tells Jane that being blonde didn’t work for her. Jane says she actually likes it, but in the future do what the company says. Tow the line.
We’re all at the WrestleMania Kickoff Party, and Nattie has been assigned as red carpet reporter and isn’t getting a red carpet moment. Nikki sees the new girls being confident and having fun and says they’ve got to find a way to intimidate them (because that’s how girls work). Brie interrupts Eva and JoJo taking pictures and tells them to go refill her champagne and this is just pettiness for a reality show.
1 Day Until WrestleMania and the Bellas stop in a restaurant for food. Brie says she and Bryan are going ring shopping Friday. Nikki says she wishes she had that in her future and she’s worried he won’t ever marry her.
Trinity and Ariane meet up backstage and Ariane still hasn’t talked to her man. They argue and Trinity reminds her she needs to handle her business.
Meanwhile, Nikki and John go to a fancy dinner. She tells him she wonders why he won’t marry her. He says he’s tried that once and that marriage and family are both huge obstacles for him. He says he enjoys life with her and he would never open his home or life to anyone else. They toast to “one day at a time.”
It’s Mania day at last and 80,000 fans are in attendance. The Bellas nervously watch Bryan/Kane vs Dolph/Big E from backstage and celebrate her man’s win. We cut to the Funkadactyls waiting for Miss Sandra to finish their gear and they better be more respectful to that legend.
As Undertaker and CM Punk wrestle, Miss Sandra finally gets their gear fixed. The girls are ready backstage and Nattie expresses excitement for the Bellas being up… only for John Cena’s music to hit. Nattie explains to the newbies that this is where the ladies’ match was supposed to be.
The trio run backstage where the dejected Funkadactyls and Bellas sit. “When are you guys going out because you guys were supposed to be up before this?”
“Uh, never. We got cut.”
Dun dun dun.
They say the match before them went way over so they were cut. All four don’t get their first Mania match. Trinity goes off to privately cry and Ariane comes to comfort her partner. Trinity says she only has a few more years here and she’s chasing this WM goal. Ariane says they can do it together and Trinity says they need to go get a drink or four as we end the show on the WrestleMania fireworks.
It wasn’t a bad episode, really. They definitely snuck a little reality show drama in. Knowing what I know now ten years later with Nikki/John, that’s a bit sad. Tune in next week and we’ll see what adventures are ahead for our divas!