WWE’s rollout of Eva Marie and her Eva-lution gimmick continued on the May 10 Raw. Not only were we given a new video where she touted her success outside of wrestling, and promised to use it to inspire others to greatness, but we also got a replay of the introductory vignette from the Monday prior.
No “Breaking News” banner from us this time (because Geno’s on vacation this week, otherwise there very well might have been), but still an intriguing topic. Mostly because I was kind of confused by her character last week, and now I’m really confused.
“I’ve finally reached a place in my life where I can say I’ve made it. I have seen levels of fame and fortune that I could never have imagined in the beginning of my career. Some may see me as a supermodel, but I like to see myself as a super role model.
“I have everything I ever wanted, and I want others to see their wildest dreams come true as well. But they have to be willing to put in the work. Everybody wants that one perfect picture, but they don’t realize it takes 99 bad ones to get there. Life’s not picture perfect, but anything’s possible.
“This is Eva-lution.”
90% of this is beyond heel-ish to me. Some of that is because while Eva has certainly done just fine since leaving WWE in 2017, acting as if she succeeded in becoming a female Rock is a pretty delusional stance. But some of my reaction is because I’m not someone who thinks reality show fame is the pinnacle of human achievement, or who keeps up with how many followers I have on any given social media platform.
However, I’m online enough to recognize there are lots of people who will root on a character that’s essentially “I’m beautiful and rich, and if you do what I say [IRL, usually by spending money in the way I tell you to] you can be too!” And Eva switches up enough at the end when she begins talking about hard work, and the number of times everyone has to fail before they succeed, that I can really convince myself people at WWE think this is a 100% babyface roll out.
It’s from Wrestling Observer Radio, which makes it hard to know if this is Dave Meltzer reporting something or speculating/opining about it, but Dave says Eva is “absolutely” a face.
“The idea is that she’s a supermodel who’s worked hard to become a supermodel and somehow... she’s a celebrity who wants to help other people, so she is a babyface.”
Meltzer goes on to say that this is “exactly like” Tenille Dashwood’s abandoned Emmalina gimmick - except as a face, which is a big difference. And the months of Emmalina teases didn’t reveal much about her character, or feature any role model talk. They instead just showing glamour shots and selfies while Dashwood promised it would be worth the wait. So I really have no clue how this is like that except that they’re both attractive women. Anyway...
To me, this seems a little more like what they were trying to do with Lana last fall (although I guess maybe that was always a plan to make her an underdog midcarder in the tag scene). It seems a lot more like what they tried to do with Eva Marie in NXT circa 2015.
And whether it’s intentional or not, that may be WWE’s smartest move. Because with real crowds set to return in the next few months, pushing Eva as an aspirational figure will almost certainly trigger the opposite response - just like it did six years ago. Whatever segment of the fanbase would cheer her being presented as a wrestling Kardashian will be drowned out by the people who will be rushing to return to arenas to chant “CM Punk” and “AEW” during every Raw broadcast.
Then she’s set up as the mega-heel, heat magnet her biggest supporters love.
Maybe someone else will even benefit from it this time.