Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Past Is Prologue: Total Divas Season 2, Episode 4

I don't mean to laugh at someone else's pain, but...
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Sometimes the arc of a massive event in pro wrestling makes the passage of time feel like it is much grander than it actually is. Two weeks ago was the previous first-run episode of Total Divas prior to this one and yet in that time frame, everything happened. AJ went from big boss to sudden loser, Brie's man became the company's proverbial "face" as its champion, and a whole host of other shit from the exciting to the tragic and moribund shellacked everything in between that two week period. I honestly have to look back at my reports to remember that two weeks ago was the big slap episode where Summer Rae gave a deserved one to Nattie for her bullshit about singlehood and slut-shaming and terms that are all things I'd like to forget to avoid WS100 level preachiness in these columns about a show you don't even watch.

Anyway, that slap seems almost forgotten in terms of how much we see Summer, but the impact of Nattie having weird nose injury stuff (damn, Summer can do a good closed palm forehand) is one of three things in this episode. The only thing worth a damn is the Trinity music video stuff because every reality show needs a poorly conceived single and music video component. Also, every reality show needs a power ranking. So that's where this is going.

1. Sandra

I must admit that I wasn't able to watch live with the good folks of Twitter who had a lot of exciting things to say during the episode, which naturally fascinated me in the sense that I like assuming I know what is going on. All I knew for the first half hour though was that Sandra showed up and she was awesome. This is no surprise. Astute long-term viewers will remember Sandra from season 1 and her commitment to making great Diva outfits and a true gift for sass. But have you seen her house? I wish I could just take the time to still frame all of the random shots from her house. It's a treasure trove of wonderful old lady things. The top highlight is this screencap I put on my Tumblr. WHAT HAPPENS AT GRANDMA'S, STAYS AT GRANDMA'S.

2. Naomi/Trinity

I feel I owe a top position to Naomi as despite the fact that she had the ill-planned single and music video, her video turned into a mini Lost in La Mancha in record time. Also, she bedazzled a dress after Sandra doubted her, and then Sandra paid her respects to Naomi, the baddest ass on Total Divas.

3. Summer Rae

This is more of a main roster problem, but it's far too easy to get behind Summer Rae from the three episodes we have been given. Summer does say mean things, but they are all essentially the type of prodding that feels like a person knowing that certain people go for a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mindset. That is why despite the fact that Nattie is supposed to represent stable veteran respect, I like the young punk newcomer far better. Summer is hardly a Kathleen Hanna feminist icon by any means, but she's also kind of starting to not give so much as a shit about other people's problems. When Summer kicked Nattie in their match (which is clearly taped at Old School Raw 2014, past the episode's claims that Nattie is prepping for her TLC 2013 match, but I digress), I openly cheered. Summer outright lied to Nattie about avoiding the face, but did it anyway because this shit isn't ballet. Sorry, Nattie. Maybe get into riot grrrl or something. I don't want to cheer that like Eva Marie smashed your house with a forklift or whatever next week.

4. Jimmy Uso

All hail the tag champ of couples on Total Divas. All hail Jimmy Uso!

5. Nikki Bella

I mean, she was pretty good at her aim to be in real estate. Albeit, it made me think that I also could be in real estate if the pitch is just "you know, beaches are cool and you're near a beach so here's this house where a beach is." Like, the only way to fuck that up would be if the roof collapsed and killed one or more of the people who wanted to see the house.

6. Cameron/Ariane

Something something NoH8 is cool.

7. Brie Bella

I mean, she didn't do anything. She might've been indirectly talked out from the awesome job she did on the Daniel Bryan documentary. If you want an honest portrayal of a couple I even enjoy in this goofy reality show shit, put on that doc and watch Brie be able to explain the ups and downs of Daniel Bryan.

8. Tamina

Hi, randomly appearing person whose job on TV was to guard the person who hates you all!

9. Eva Marie

No H8 so that's okay.

10. Nattie

Again, I don't want to wish facial injuries on anybody. If that nose injury is legit, then damn, that sounds brutal to continue to wrestle on. But again, I'm not given any reason with which legitimate harm on this show would actually change my opinion of Nattie. I was upset when her cat Gizmo died, because only the most blackhearted cynicism I have would make me assume any of that heartbreak is anything less than honest. I assume if there is an actual death in the family that makes TV, I would feel the same way. As of late, though, that line has been far murkier. The signs are more blatant. The use of ring names for characters seem to point to us a world no longer populated as real or even "real." Paul Heyman saying Vince McMahon went to the hospital with Undertaker because he nearly broke his neck may be more true on a given RAW than most of what I am watching.

Ok, I just really wanted more Sandra.