While we all watched the latest painful example of WWE's tone deaf #DivasRevolution last night on Raw, you just knew that this was going to be something that would be discussed, dissected and debated for a long time to come.
We didn't have to wait long, as social media and the internet spent the time between marking out over the Dudley Boyz return and ranking Jon Stewart's place on the all-time celebrity wrestling fans list (the correct answer is #1, step up your game Jackman!) arguing and venting about WWE's women's scene over the past month.
When Total Divas stars The Bella Twins both expressed frustration with the Brooklyn audience on Instagram, it was on like Donkey Kong. Paige jumped in with this since deleted Tweet:
You helped us create change and then did your best to disrespect. Niceeeee jobbbbbbbb!
And then things got really interesting.
One of the Raw Fallout videos released on WWE.com and YouTube after last night's episode went off the air featured JoJo Offerman interviewing Team Bella. Brie, Nikki and Alicia Fox had defeated PCB one night after that trio won a three team tag match at SummerSlam...and moments after a trainwreck of a Miz TV segment that again portrayed the "Revolution" as a battle to be the coolest clique in the lunch room.
Watch the clip above, and for clarity's sake, here's a transcript:
Nikki: You know, we actually don't really look at wins and losses, and the reason why is we already know we're the dominant team of the Divas division because, one, the champ is here, the champ is a part of this team. And what "Revolution" do we have? Do you think these people really care about these new girls? I know we don't and all the crowd showed you tonight is they don't give a rat's butt about the new girls.
Brie: So what Nikki is saying is, the Bella team, well, we're right. Everything we've been saying, thank you Brooklyn for putting a period at the end of our sentence. We are the most dominant team, and we are right.
Alicia: And we're empowered women. That people...women want to be like strong women, and when they see Team Bella in the ring, they can't do anything but relate.
My initial reaction to this was basically, "HOLY F***ING $#!+".
Any credence you could put into the rumor that went around over the weekend of John Cena allegedly politically undermining the NXT women to help protect his girlfriend, Divas champ Nikki, or an analysis of "who stands to gain from keeping the status quo?" (answer: the centerpieces of the division pre-NXT influx and stars of Total Divas), can be supported by the video, especially the twins' statements about the revolution not being needed and no one caring about the "new girls".
And that's still a major concern I have with the interview. These things don't occur in a vacuum.
But the difference between the tone of their social media postings, which pointed fingers at the Raw crowd, and the promo, which takes aim at PCB (and, I guess, Sasha Banks), is striking. I tend to doubt that they were scolded for blaming the fans, since "the customer is usually wrong" is almost a credo for WWE.
Which leaves as an alternate explanation that someone backstage realized that one of the reasons we in the audience can't find it in us to care about #DivasRevolution is because it lacks heroes, villains and conflict. The champ's squad's speeches here still contain horribly unhelpful sentiments like "wins and losses don't matter" and "nobody wants change" - but that last one is at least something that PCB can rally against, creating the protagonists, antagonists and STORY this angle desperately needs.
Social media posts by Charlotte and Becky Lynch after all of this was broadcast refrain from crowd-blaming and fit with how a traditional babyface would respond to the Bellas' (mostly) heel promo:
Well Brooklynch. I'll love you and leave you. You were a beautiful boisterous bunch. #RAW— Becky Lynch (@BeckyLynchWWE) August 25, 2015
The powers-that-be have done nothing to deserve the benefit of the doubt here, so there's a decent chance that I'm getting my hopes up only to have them dashed again. But at least this lets us analyze the product being presented rather than speculate on backstage drama.
And the reason the Divas Revolution is going under is because the product on sale has been crap.
I want to see this program succeed, because as my friend ReverendKain said, unlike male wrestlers, there's very few options for them outside this company. If these people who have dreamed of becoming pro wrestlers since they were kids don't get a shot and succeed in WWE, careers in the independents are difficult if not impossible for female performers. Ring of Honor doesn't have a women's scene, TNA is a dubious proposition who reportedly has never taken very good care of all but the biggest stars, Lucha Underground's future is unknown. The women-only promotions like Shimmer and Shine tape only a handful of shows a year.
So, even if it's only setting myself up for more disappointment, I encourage WWE Creative and all the writers and performers involved to continue in this vein. Have Team Bella, who's pretty much bullet proof for their E! and Instagram audiences, be bad girls who don't want change and are trying to help Nikki break AJ Lee's record without defending the title. Position PCB as the group who needs to unseat them from power to get a fair shake. Build Sasha and B.A.D. as faction that cares only about the gold, without worrying about any larger purpose like change or empowerment.
While the women are blaming the fans, and we're mad at the women for putting it on us...the people with the definitive ability to deliver a more entertaining product, one that allows more female wrestlers to succeed, get a pass.
Here's hoping these post-Raw messages were a step in the right direction. And let's keep pushing WWE to take women's wrestling in a real direction, whether they're trying to do that here or not.