It is time to usher in the first Total Divas episode of 2017. Expectations are high for the SmackDown Live of reality TV after the last two amazing episodes.
This one opens with Paige pelting Big E's nipples, which he calls "soothing." Ah, yes, this will be good. I also believe E is wearing an Elite shirt.
As the Elite say, let's "break it down!"
The news of the brand extension has just hit, and the ladies are wondering what is going on. Renee Young is especially wondering what this means for announcers and she doesn't want to be on a different brand from Dean Ambrose saying "it would suck".
At a live event, after mocking her for not having a riding partner (this is a sad callback to the premiere when Brie Bella retired and Natayla was like ‘who will I ride with?'), Mark Carrano, VP of talent relations, tells Nattie they need to have a talk. This freaks Nattie the hell out and she comments "I've gotten a ton of TV time lately" and doesn't want her career or character in jeopardy, jokingly guessing that she is being killed off, murdering someone or getting arrested. Renee chimes in with "well at least you have great sunglasses on." My boo with the priorities in line.
Bella Brand Extension
John Cena is going to be away on a movie set, so Nikki Bella has convinced Brie to take a weekend in Napa. Nikki thinks they can get work done, but Brie is trying to get massages, lounge and chill.
Brie: "I feel like I haven't had a child yet because you really stress my body out and you kill my fertility."
Just a light comment!
Get Down Wit' Yo Bad Self
It's Money in the Bank in Las Vegas! Alberto Del Rio is shiny and tan and standing around, with Paige admiring and cheering "Get it, Papi!" Or maybe she says "Get ‘em, Papi." I dunno.
Nattie excitedly tells Paige that her big meeting with Carrano revealed she is having a "big bad guy turn" tonight and will be betraying Becky in their tag match with Charlotte and Dana Brooke. Nattie's been a good guy, a "vulnerable and natural character", but when you're a bad guy, "you want the boos so loud you can't even hear yourself think. "She's nervous but ready to run with the heel turn.
The match is over and, as Nattie notes, "it's do or do time." She attacks Becky from behind.
Backstage, Renee exclaims "Oh my God Nattie!" Paige proclaims she has goosebumps, but then comments that the crowd is ...cheering...
Nattie (talking head interview): Oh my gosh, my worst nightmare as a bad guy is coming true. I'm doing bad things, I'm trying to be mean, I'm trying to be evil, and the crowd is cheering me. That is not supposed to happen!!!!!!!
A few days later at Monday Night Raw in Phoenix...
Eva, seeing herself on a bus: "Hmm that's the first time I've seen that picture."
*she snaps pic*
Nattie is still feeling vulnerable about the heel turn being cheered, coupled with the unknown brand extension looming. She wonders if she will lose hundreds of thousands of followers because people think she's a failure.
Summer Rae (‘memba her?) pops up, teasing her, "Nattie, you're no bad guy! If you mess it up, you won't have a job, and you'll have to sell your cats for money."
Nattie then #BeatUpBeckyLynch in a backstage interview. This is met with silence from the crowd.
Distressed, she tells Cesaro "They weren't booing me!" In the talking head, she says "The crowd didn't make any noise, they didn't react, it was like crickets" and that the crowd is confused which isn't good. She finds Renee after Cesaro is freed and stresses to her, questioning "how much more vicious do I have to be? I want them, as a bad girl, to boo." She says if this fails, she can't go back to being a good guy and she'll probably get fired.
#AllRed and That Neck
Thanks Paige for the highlight of my 2017 and letting me get that title in. I could not have predicted how much it would mean to me to attach my name to that title.
It is the beginning of her neck saga.
She has a tag team match with Charlotte, Sasha and Dana Brooke, and says in the talking head how she's very excited to be back on TV and working a lot more. We see a Charlotte/Dana double suplex on Paige and that is, according to the show, when the injury happens.
Paige: "I don't know what just happened but something just popped in my shoulder, and I'm in so much pain right now. It's literally the most painful experience of my life and I don't know whether this is going to be serious or not."
She also cites concerns about the brand extension and is despondent because she just got back to TV. Her Prince Papi accompanies her to the trainer backstage.
Eva is scheduled for live events in San Antonio, where Paige has lived for the last two months, so the Red Queen comes out a day early to hang out with Paige. The two comment on their rocky history and how they are in a good place now. Paige keeps gingerly touching her neck but plays it off when Eva comments on it.
Paige says she knows Eva hates snakes so their first stop is a snake farm. Are they REALLY in a good place now because yooo. Paige winds a snake around that injured neck, like it's Britney, bitch.
Later, the two are exploring the Riverwalk (which looks beautiful and fun, btw) and wind up at a bar. It appears Alberto's kids send Paige a video telling her they miss her. The show never really clarifies.. Paige sends them back a video telling them she misses them and will be home soon. Eva is surprised that it's been apparently moving so quickly, but can tell that Paige is really happy and feels genuinely comfortable with the kids. After Paige sends the video, she calls her a "stepmom."
Paige: "I am a stepmom and I really like it! I'm really good with them, too."
Eva: "Would you have his baby?"
Paige: "I would have his baby."
She also says she would marry Alberto, and refers to her ill-fated engagement with Kevin from previous seasons and how queasy she was over it, but with Alberto she's like "yes". K.
She then rolls up her shirt and shows Eva her tattoo under her breast of Alberto's name. Eva continues to be stunned.
Paige tells her: "He's the first person who's ever meant something to me."
Eva replies with "I've never seen you like this ever. Talk about milestones!" Paige claps back with the milestone that Eva has become a great wrestler in a year.
(In the talking head interview), Eva: "I'm literally like I don't even know what to say because you just started seeing this guy."
Brie and Nikki descend upon beautiful Napa and Nikki comments that she didn't know it would be this warm. Brie Free goes on about global warming and the drought. Nikki thinks the drought is good for red wine and with a "Google's my bitch", brings up an article proving her point. Wait, Brie, it may be fake news, check her sources.
Brie doesn't really allow this and drives home that it's not good for mankind to which Nikki replies...
Nikki: "Yeah, duh."
As they soak in the beautiful scenery and sip wine, Nikki remarks how she needs to retire here and John will have to get used to living in California full-time. Brie notes how John will have to get used to the slower pace. Nikki acknowledges that won't happen for a while ("till he's like super old") and goes on to say..
Nikki: "That's okay, I'll just get used to hanging out with my vibrator most of the time."
While Brie may have not signed up for getting work done in Napa, Nikki has an agenda. She tells us one night she was sipping her wine and it struck her that she and Brie should be winemakers, because they have a passion for wine, drink wine all the time, and love Napa Valley. Brie is very lukewarm on the idea, and thinks Nikki just likes filling her plate up with work because that's how John is.
Brie in talking head: "John is so busy in his career right now, he's always gone, and my sister is constantly looking for something to do. I feel like my sister's trying to keep up with John, and I'm not that way. When my plate is full, that's it; this is all I'm working on."
Regardless, Nikki has forged ahead to make a meeting with their two well-known wine exec friends. But girlfriend knows if it's going to be a Bella brand wine, Brie needs to be on board.
In the wake of last episode's IQ test, this also happens.
Brie, on the way to a winery: "It looks like u should have a handkerchief with your outfit right now, how do you spell handkerchief?"
Brie: "But there's a c in there."
Nikki: "Yeah, I said it."
Brie: "h-a-n...*trails off*
Brie: "I think there's an h..." *trails off*
As they head for their meeting, they hear an animal in the nearby water making ...pleased, primal sounds (if any cSs lurkers need a username, there you go!). Nikki ponders if they're having sex. They arrive at dinner and Nikki wastes no time in this scene and tells the wine exec friends they really want to get in the wine making business. Brie pushes back, and Nikki gives her a look that is the retina equivalent of a Bellahammer.
The winemakers smoothly diffuse the tension and suggest they learn more about the business first and offer to show them some of the ropes tomorrow.
Hold for that Heat
Back to our heatless Hart. Nattie is still stressed but determined to make this turn work.
She thinks a black wig may be the solution and tries it on for some of the make-up artists, Dana Brooke, Lana and Renee.
Rusev's commentary(from afar): "SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!!"
Nattie is not sold and despairs "there's got to be another way to make these people hate me."
A few days later, Nattie hunts down Mark Carrano, who is chatting with Renee. Nattie has a pitch for "the powers that be."
Nattie: "I'm extremely grateful to be a bad guy...it's amazing and exciting and fun..."
Carrano (interrupts): "Every time you talk, you're ‘extremely grateful', can't you just talk normally?"
Nattie: "I'm concerned that because I've been a strong, strong good guy fans will continue to like me. So my idea is, I know Eva's been frustrated with getting herself integrated back on main roster, so being a veteran, I would like to take her under my learning tree. She has nuclear heat, if I could scoop some of her heat, it would be money."
Carrano: "For you. What does it do for anything else? You're taking heat away from Eva. She is probably the most hated WWE superstar we have, male or female."
Nattie: "So you're basically telling me I'm not important and Eva is?"
Carrano: "Here we go...no! You're not going to be teamed with Eva. You're your own star, why do you want to try and ride Eva's coattails?"
Speaking of Eva...
Paige is still in pain and hanging out with Eva in San Antonio. Eva helpfully gets her a neck brace (while Paige sits in the car), and being in a neck brace strikes Paige as unbelievably funny. Paige tells Eva not to tell anyone about her injury because "they're so sensitive about people being hurt these days", she doesn't want her TV momentum hindered, and the looming brand extension.
A few days later at Smackdown, Paige is congratulating Darren Young for some reason and Carrano wanders up inquiring about her neck. Paige is really weird in this scene, yeah she's been found out, but she's just acting bizarre. Watch and see if you agree. Paige tries to play it off and switches from "it's nothing" to "just a little thing", but Carrano rightfully points out that if he's asking about it, it means he already knows so just be honest. She, as predicted, gets pulled from TV until she gets it fixed. Carrano pleads with her "Honesty, honesty! Please keep up the communication!"
Paige is PISSED.
Paige talking head: "Everything that I didn't want is happening. I'm not going to be on TV. I'm getting sent home. I have to go to a doctor and I've only told one person. I knew I couldn't trust Eva."
She descends upon Nattie and Eva, who are just chilling in a hallway. She calls Eva a piece of shit for telling Carrano about her neck injury and that she always has to be 1) either "always be the freaking same" or 2) "always be the freaking saint". I can't tell that Norwich accent.
Eva sits there so calmly, but says in her talking head "I have no idea what Paige is talking about, like what is going on, and she is blown up, going nuts."
Then Nattie interrupts and drops the bombshell that she was apparently the one who leaked it to Carrano, when she innocently asked him about Paige's neck, and she didn't know Paige's neck was a secret. Paige turns onto her, still figuring Eva is one who told Nattie.
Nattie: "Everyone in girls' locker room assumed everybody knew about your neck."
Paige is still insistent that Eva had to be the leak.
Paige: "I can't trust anyone around here anymore!! Now I'm pissed off at you!! I didn't want them to know!! Thank you Eva!! Thank you Nattie!! Goodbye!!"
Renee wanders up wondering what commotion is, and Renee agrees with them, saying everyone in locker room noticed Paige's visible neck issues.
Eva says she's done with Paige unless they have business or wrestle together.
At apparently the same Smackdown as Paige's meltdown...
Nattie talking head: "I'm just feeling really defeated, if WWE universe doesn't get behind me this storyline will go away and I'll be back to drawing board and I'll go back to purgatory."
She attacks Becky from behind during Becky's entrance! The crowd boos!
Nattie talking head: "I finally get booed! This is amazing! They hate me and I couldn't be happier."
Nattie walks backstage proud as a peacock yelling "I got booed!" Renee goes "yeah bitch!" and they hug.
Nattie admits she needed to be patient and it takes time for audience to transition.
Back in Napa, Nikki is working and learning with the wine exec friends, while Brie is lounging in the shade and being commentary. After Nikki's day of hard work, they relax by the pool with champagne. Nikki feels triumphant, but Brie again brings up that she tries to fill up her loneliness with trying to be as busy as John is. Nikki is tired of the ‘because of John' argument Brie and Bryan always launch at her.
Nikki: "I hate to break it to you because I'm probably going to be more successful than him, FYI."
Nikki goes up to the room and Brie calls Bryan recapping the fight. Bryan straight up tells her she was wrong. Brie I like you girl but yeah. Nottttttttt good.
Brie eventually apologizes and tells us her sister has always been ambitious. Yeah. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This episode had a lotttttttttt going on. But, all in all, super interesting episode.
What do you think, Cagesiders?