It's been an exciting couple of weeks for the women of WWE.
They got Twitter buzzing twice - first with a hashtag movement that even got the Chairman to log in to his social media account, and again with a back-and-forth between one of the roster's most famous women and the company's highest ranking female executive. Said famous face returned to active duty for the first time in months, and down in Developmental, the NXT women got a main event slot on WWE Network.
Now, another of the company's most famous ladies has spoken on all of these topics - including the genesis of the 30 second match that kickstarted #GiveDivasAChance. Divas champ and Total Divas star Nikki Bella was a guest on Mark Madden's radio show yesterday, and she says that she and her sister Brie, along with their opponents Paige and Emma, made the call to go with the quick roll-up booking for their tag match on the February 23rd episode of Raw:
What's funny about that is we were given about three minutes. Three to four minutes. And we - us four girls who were in the match - we put our heads together and said look: we can either give them a two minute match, or we can give them nothing and get Brie and I so much heat and tell a great story...We're not gonna give people three minutes of BS, and it ended up being a big chance. It ended up turning into #GiveDivasAChance trending worldwide for two days. I mean, we could've gone out there, done a few moves and called it a day, but we were like, 'How do we tell a great story?' and at the end of the day, that's what we did. Brie and I got good heat at the end of it, we got trended for two days straight, and it was like, 'Whoa. We're storytelling now.' And that's what puts the Divas on the next level. Instead of just going out there and doing moves, we storytell. 'Cause that's what the boys do, and that's what we need to do.
Not that three minutes is a long time, but this still makes me wonder if notorious micro-manager Vince would leave even that small segment of his flagship show in the hands of the talent? Or does his disinterest in women's wrestling mean that this is precisely the area where he would say "do whatever you want"?
Her version also strikes me as a little kayfabe-y, and as we've seen with AJ Lee dropping the hashtag into her promo on Raw, WWE is co-opting #GiveDivasAChance every bit as much as they did the Daniel Bryan uprising last Spring.
Regardless of who made the call to use their time that way on that Monday night, Nikki is on board with the movement's goal of getting the women more time on television. Even then, she's looking on the bright side of whatever she's given...and she doesn't agree with AJ Lee's charge that WWE doesn't compensate her and her fellow Divas as well as they do the male Superstars:
We're all here because we're living our dreams. Whether it's two minutes or twenty minutes on TV, I'm beyond grateful for that, because there are millions of people that wish they could get two minutes in that ring, and they can't, so I'm not going to be one to b---h about it. But do I think Divas should definitely get more time on TV? 100%. But do I think pay is different? No.
Some of her pay argument comes down to percentages, but she also takes a position that women don't draw as much as men in the current system. While she thinks that's changing, Nikki says that Divas can make the same money on merchandise as any guy can, so she doesn't see what AJ is "crying" about:
Let me put it this way: if a Diva was to headline a show, would those seats sell out like it does when John Cena's headlining? Roman Reigns? Brock Lesnar? Absolutely not. We're not there yet. We're trying to get there, but we're not there yet. As far as merch goes, we all get the same percentage, so I don't know why anyone's crying about it. We all make the exact same percentage, so it's like, sell more merch if you wanna be like the guys. At the end of the day, we're in a man's world. People show up to watch men wrestle, and they look at us the 'pretty things on the side', but I think slowly, we're changing people's minds about that. It's not gonna happen overnight, but eventually we're gonna get there. We just need patience and time.
On the one hand, I'm inclined to believe that if anyone has knowledge of compensation deals, it's a big female star who is also John Cena's girlfriend and Bryan's sister-in-law. On the other, Nikki's personal relationships and professional standing are also a reason to tow the company line - which she's clearly doing here, even if everything she says is completely accurate.
Check out the whole interview from with Madden on Pittsburgh's 105.9 FM for more, including talk about AJ's return and its impact on the division. And thanks to Diva-Dirt.com for transcription.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Did Nikki and company decide to only wrestle for 30 seconds? What do you make of her arguments concerning gender pay differences? Is any of this proof that Divas will or won't be given more a chance after the events of the last two weeks?