My head hurts. There's so much kayfabe twisting, bending and breaking going on in new WWE Divas' champion Nikki Bella's interview with E! online, the website for the network which airs the Total Divas reality show, I don't know whether to boo, cheer, respect or feel sorry for John Cena's real life girlfriend.
There's one instance of possible reality (as opposed to the "reality" of the E! show) slipping through, and it will greatly interest folks who think that Nikki and AJ were disrespected with the amount of time they were given at Survivor Series. "She and I wanted to have this long old match last night," Bella reveals.
Unfortunately, we don't get any more real dirt. It's just a side comment slipped into an article that treats Nikki like a fan favorite and someone who just won an athletic event where the outcome wasn't pre-determined.
Asked how it feels to be Divas champ for the second time (actually, the article doesn't mention her previous run - because if it didn't happen while she was on E!, this piece doesn't seem terribly concerned with it):
It honestly feels amazing. I hate to compare this but I'm going to-you know when you have Olympic athletes who fight for something for years, and they finally get that goal-get that medal, it's just such an amazing feeling. It honestly is weird because you feel so many different emotions in that moment. Like your body doesn't know whether to cry, you're in shock, you don't know what to feel, people keep coming up to you and congratulating you; people are cheering and it's weird. You kind of get in this weird emotion but it feels so good and it makes all the hard work and the traveling and missing all the family events and weddings and friends' pregnancies, worth it. In that moment when you win that championship it makes it all okay. It's crazy but it feels beyond amazing to be the champion now.
Setting aside that she has no idea how Olympic athletes feel, what would be the harm in not trying to make it sound like a shoot competition? Everything else she says would be true, and more interesting, if pro wrestling was embraced as the wonderful, unique fictional endeavor it is as opposed to half-heartedly throwing up an allusion to amateur sports.
Because when it comes to the characters and drama that inhabit WWE's Monday, Tuesday and Friday night shows, this interview just doesn't care. Someone just reading this would assume that Nikki is a bigger babyface than Cena and Daniel Bryan combined. The Divas roster was just so happy for her!
They were waiting outside when I came out and gave me hugs and kisses, and Nattie wrote me a nice, super long text. They've all been waiting for a change and they've seen how hard I've been working and I think they are very happy for me; they felt it was very deserving.
And don't think that the line about wanting "a change" was a shot at AJ. They're super-cool, too!
We all are professionals here and AJ and I have been working with each other for a while. And when you start to work with certain girls, you get excited for them when they win.
Don't let the post-Survivor Series video fool you, either. Brie is pumped for her sister's time in the spotlight! "Brie was just beyond happy." Actually, based on the disconnect between the video Geno posted on Monday and the way they acted on Raw, maybe we can't blame this contradictory messaging on Total Divas...
Even though the best justification for their short match was as a callback to the WrestleMania 28 World Heavyweight Championship bout that featured Lee and Brie's husband, that hasn't been mentioned in any kayfabe segments. But it's fair game on E!
She did that kiss of death to Brie's husband Bryan at Wrestlemania and she made history; we made new history last night-we did it even quicker. You know when someone thinks they're good at something, you can use it against them and that's what we did. We did the kiss of death.
But then, Nikki isn't dating John Cena on Raw either...
...nothing was better than John opening up a big bottle of champagne and he gave me a big old kiss because he knows how Nikki Bella loves to celebrate.
You keep referring to yourself in the third person, Nikki Bella. We'll keep trying to figure out if you're the self-centered party animal we're supposed to love on Total Divas or the self-center conniving villain we're supposed to revile on Raw.
It apparently doesn't matter to large numbers of the WWE Universe, so it might just be Jim Cornette and me that feel like our heads are going to explode when we read stuff like this.
But it seems to me that there is a good kind of meta-storytelling possible when performers real life overlaps with the kayfabe product. And then there's this that just blurs lines for no real benefit. Or for the benefit of a "reality" show with no wrestling on it over the shows focused on athletic exhibitions that are the real thing that differentiates your product from soap operas and the Real Housewives franchise.
Is this cranky old man just over-reacting again? Do I need to get out of the way of the future of sports entertainment? Or is the Divas division so far removed from pro wrestling that it doesn't really matter if they disregard and/or confuse work and shoot?