Total Divas Recap: S1E1 “Welcome to WWE”
I have been a fan of reality TV almost as long as I’ve been a fan of wrestling (yes, I am very, very excited for the new AEW reality show). So, in 2013 when it was announced that the WWE Divas were going to have their own reality show called Total Divas, I was ecstatic that my two favorite things were coming together. I watched the whole series and was very sad when it ended. Of course, many of the cast members have come out since Total Divas revealing information that questions the authenticity of the show, but it is still a chaotic mess and I love it. I am now deciding to do a rewatch of this iconic series and bring you all along for the ride while I recap each episode. I invite you to watch along with me as I drop 1-2 recaps a week, starting from the very beginning.
The first episode opens up with each Divas introducing herself and explaining a little bit about the WWE. We have the Bella Twins, the Funkadactyls (Ariane and Trinity), Eva Maire, Jojo, and Nattie this season. This episode is a little weird because sometimes all the women are being their authentic selves, but they will also randomly switch in and out of character. We spend a lot of time explaining wrestling, which I suppose is good since the show was on the E! Network and they were bringing in viewers that weren’t necessarily wrestling fans, but for wrestling fans it was very redundant. One odd thing that stuck out about Ariane’s introduction was that she randomly brought up Trin’s butt when describing. Without even being prompted. I don’t know, this episode doesn’t paint Ariane as the greatest person, but we’ll get into that more later. Nattie takes some time to explain what a veteran means and how she’s part of the Hart Family, while Nikki Bella tells everyone that if she wasn’t a Bella, she’d want to be one. Okay.
We are 10 days away from Wrestlemania and all the women are excited about the biggest event of the year. They even take the time to tell us about 10 times that it’s the biggest event of the year. We see Nikki and Brie training in a ring and we also see Trin and Ariane working out in what looks like a hotel gym. Trin’s husband, Jon (aka Jimmy Uso) is also there, but looks like he’d rather be anywhere else when Ariane starts talking.
I feel you, Jon. Also, there are like 18 Jons/Johns/Johnathons throughout this show, so I’ll do my best to try and differentiate between them. Ariane makes the statement that she has all the sass on the team and Trin brings the wrestling part of their team. She is basically saying that she doesn’t need to be good in the ring because Trinity has that part down. Okay, Ariane. We then flash to another ring and Bill Demotte is working with Nattie while she works with THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE FLAIR. I’m not kidding, Charlotte Flair is in the very first episode of Total Divas and I believe it’s the only time we see her on the show ever again.
Nattie explains that there are usually a lot of men’s matches on Wrestlemania, but only one women’s match. This is honestly really sad to look back at because now we’re at a time where there are usually 3-4 women’s matches on Wrestlemania and the girls used to have to fight for just one couple minute spot.
We then move on to Nikki Bella having a fishing date in the rain with John Cena. They even give John a video package hyping him up as the most important person on the planet. I wish they would’ve given the other Jon a video package too. It’s only fair. Anyway, Nikki starts talking about how her and John are basically the Notebook right now, but she doesn’t even know the plot of the Notebook when she tries to describe it. It’s mostly “yeah i think they finally got together or something. Or she was getting married and wanted the other guy instead or something.” I mean, I’ve never seen the Notebook, but I believe that I could have come up with a better description than that. So, they do the whole jump up and kiss thing from the Notebook (or something) and start making out and being really cringe. I don’t understand how they are just okay doing this in front of a whole entire camera crew, but go off I guess.
We then are introduced to Brie, her boyfriend Bryan Danielson, and most importantly, their dog Josie. I love Josie. Brie explains that her and Bryan are hippies and Nikki is not a hippie. Conveniently, Nikki then pulls into what I am assuming is Brie’s driveway to show off the Range Rover that John Cena just bought her. Nikki and Brie are most excited that the seats are red and there is a sunroof. Riveting stuff. Nikki then for some reason starts bringing up Cena’s past relationship and how he’s still struggling seemingly without anyone even asking her. Why are you laying out your boyfriend’s relationship issues in the first episode? When he’s not even around?? I don’t know, but don’t worry because this is a major plot point in like every season. Bryan makes a comment about how Cena bought Nikki a car before a ring and I laughed.
We are not one week away from Wrestlemania and everybody is at the hotel preparing for Wrestlemania week. Nattie gets called down to talk to Jane and Mark who are in charge of talent relations. Mark and Jane are the worst. Jane in particular looks like your one aunt that disapproves of basically the whole entire family and always is talking trash about everyone behind their back. Definitely the type where you feel like you can’t drink at Christmas because Jane will just stare at you with a disapproving look on her face.
Jane’s face when you try to have any fun
Anyway, Jane tells Nattie that she’s not on the card for Wrestlemania, which is somehow news to Nattie. You’re telling me she didn’t know if she would have a match or not until the week before Mania? Had she been in any storylines that would suggest that she would be on the show? They just now decided to do the mixed tag match with the Bellas and the Funkadactyls?? I mean, I know WWE doesn’t have a reputation of always having it together, but I find this extremely hard to believe. Nattie is mad that the Bellas left for 11 months and immediately have a Mania spot. But lucky for Nattie, Mark and Jane have assigned her to babysit two new girls that are coming to town for Wrestlemania week. Nattie is also mad about this because she doesn’t want to babysit the new girls and have them take her spot eventually. Why do adult women need babysitters? I’m not sure. We also hardly see them with Nattie.
Right on cue, Brie Bella crashes the meeting in the hotel hallway and gives everyone hugs. Nattie tries to act mad for a second and then hugs Brie and congratulates her on her Mania spot. Then, Eva Marie and Jojo also crash the hotel hallway meeting. Brie then graciously takes the time to explain to us what a “newbie” is, telling us that newbies are not divas yet, but are trying to be. Thanks, Brie. Jane tells Eva to dye her hair blonde because she has dark hair with dark red streaks in it at the time. Eva says that because she’s Mexican-Italian, she looks like a Bella Twin, so that’s why she has to dye her blonde so people don’t mistake her for one of the twins. Okay, Eva, whatever you have to tell yourself. Nattie is mad again because SHE’S blonde and should be the only blonde on the roster. I can see the feud starting now.
We then go to Ariane’s hotel room where her boyfriend, Vincent/Vinny, just flew in. I don’t know what it is, but Vinny looks like a giant cartoon character to me. He just doesn’t seem real.
Definitely a cartoon character
Anyway, apparently Vinny has never seen Ariane wrestle before and has never been backstage which like… does he not own a TV to watch her wrestle? Ariane also goes on a weird tangent during the confessional on how she pushes guys away, but she loves Vinny. Very random, but okay, Ariane. We then flash forward to a backstage dress rehearsal where Ariane starts crying because Brodus Clay apparently yelled at her for something. Vincent is not pleased and starts saying that he’s going to fight Brodus which I’m sure would work out well for him. Vincent also says that he doesn’t mind going to jail for Ariane. How romantic. Jon (Uso) is there and tells Vinny that he’s not gonna do anything, while Nattie also tries to diffuse the situation. Trinity is over it and later on tells Jon that she needs to have a conversation with Ariane about Vinny. A lot of this show is people telling other people that they need to have conversations with other people about other people. Exactly.
We are now back at the hotel and the Bella Twins are going to go meet the newbies. Nikki says that people have been telling her that one of them looks just like her when her literal twin also works for the company, but whatever. Nikki sees Eva open the door and already doesn’t like her because she thinks Eva is hot. Brie says that Jojo reminds her of a child. Nikki tells Eva that she definitely needs to go blonde, so she doesn’t look like her. Again, I’m not quite sure why everyone is all up in arms about Eva looking like the Bellas when they look nothing alike except for the same-ish hair color. Gotta have the drama. Eva Marie is very weird in this whole exchange and seems to have a bit of an attitude with the Twins. Nikki and Brie also keep switching into character randomly which is odd.
We then have a quick scene where Trinity is talking to Ariane about Vinny freaking out backstage about Brodus. Ariane says Vinny would be a punk if he didn’t defend her. Trin says that Vinny can’t be backstage doing that stuff or it threatens both of their careers. Ariane says whatever and that she’s over it.
At the salon, Eva Marie is preparing the dye her hair blonde and is really hesitant about it. She claims she looks like Mufasa. In a bold act of defiance against Aunt Jane, she then decides to go “Rihanna red” and says there will now be no mix-up between her and the Bellas. There already was no mix-up. Not once did I see Eva Marie with dark hair and confuse her with a Bella. Anyway, Jane then says she wants to see Eva’s hair in the same hotel hallway that apparently they hold all their meetings in. Jane makes a face when she sees Eva and asks what happened to the blonde hair.
Jane’s face when she sees the red hair
Eva says that blonde wasn’t working for her. Imagine being new and telling your boss that something just didn’t work for you. Gotta respect her no cares given mentality. Meanwhile, Jojo is just along for this ride and said maybe 7 words the entire episode and really comes off as Eva’s silent sidekick. Jane tells Eva that in the future she has to do what she’s told and she’s lucky that Jane loves the red.
There is now some kind of red-carpet party that isn’t really explained. Nattie is mad again because she has to host the red carpet and not walk it with everyone else. Nattie is always mad about something. Inside the party that Nattie isn’t at, the Bellas are mad because Eva and Jojo seem too comfortable around everyone after only being there for 3 days. Which, isn’t that a good thing?? Apparently not to the Bellas because they decide to have the newbies go get them more drinks and generally treat them like garbage for no apparent reason.
We then flash forward to what I’m assuming is the next day and Brie and Nikki are out to lunch. Brie starts bragging about how she and Bryan are going engagement ring shopping soon and she’s so excited. Nikki starts crying out of nowhere saying that she doesn’t want Cena out of her life (?????) and how she wants to have a ring but John has relationship issues because of his past marriage. Again, why is this girl constantly bringing up the man’s past? Let him breathe for a minute. Later on, Nikki and John go out to dinner and Nikki brings up marriage. John says he was already married and wasn’t a fan. Then he says that he would only go fishing in the rain with Nikki and that seemed to make everything better. It doesn’t take much, apparently.
Meanwhile, Trinity and Ariane start arguing backstage because Ariane hadn’t talked to Vinny about him blowing up about Brodus yet. Yeah, I can’t believe we’re still going on about this either. Trin tells Ariane that Ariane has deep rooted issues that she needs to figure out and that was all it took for Ariane to say she’ll talk to Vinny after just making a scene about not wanting to talk to Vinny. I wish my arguments ended that quickly.
It is finally WrestleMania, and we see the Bellas getting ready for their match in their absolutely iconic outfits. I loved the red outfits, one of my favorites. Trin and Ariane’s outfits aren’t even ready yet which seems odd to me, but Sandra is working her butt off to make it happen with constant complaints from Ariane. Nikki and Brie watch Bryan’s match and they act as though they’ve never watched wrestling before. It was odd. They then decided to walk by the Funkadactyls as they are having their gear crisis and make some remarks which gets Ariane all fired up as usual. Thank God Vinny wasn’t there, or WrestleMania may have been ruined. The girls get their gear, and everything seems to be ready to go until Nattie makes the realization that John Cena is in the ring instead of the girls. She decides to investigate and finds out the Bellas/Funkadactyls match had been cut because the Undertaker/CM Punk match went long. Nattie then takes some time to explain to viewers how live television works. Thanks, Nattie. The girls are really upset, and I do feel for them. To have everything ready to go just to have it taken last minute is heartbreaking and super disappointing. We get an appearance from the incredible LAYLA as she comforts Naomi. Ariane starts going on about how she has to talk to Vinny again and then the episode is over without much closure except for Trin saying that she’s going to go have a few drinks.
And that is episode 1!! Tune in next week for Season 1, Episode 2 “A Tangle with Fandango” which I’m sure will have a ton of drama in it. I do believe we also get to meet another Jon, as well.