Top-Down Smackdown: Divas Go to Pot, and It’s 2014 All Over Again


Okay – are we just out and out supposed to take Total Divas to be as staged as wrestling now? Because even within the supposed “reality” of reality TV that we already know on some level is strongly manipulated, last night’s episode strained credulity in every way.

I will say that I like the addition of Paige to the cast: she’s a natural performer and inherently likable, even though she normally plays a villain. But the first “plot” they’ve given her didn’t work at all.

We are to believe that in the midst of a (probably fake) spat with husband Tyson Kidd that’s currently being used as an angle on regular WWE TV shows, Natalya decides to “go party” with Paige. At the party she eats a brownie, which Paige later tells her was laced with pot. Freaked out about the whole thing, Natalya swears Paige to secrecy, then tries to crash her own car so she’ll have an excuse to be late for work and miss the drug test she expects to happen. The drug test that isn’t going to matter given that she’s been caught on camera both eating the brownie and deliberately crashing her vehicle.

Can you guess the big twist? Paige finally reveals there was never any weed in the brownie. Natalya is incredibly pissed.

Because we all know that if a WWE star were shown ON CAMERA taking a drug that is illegal in parts of the country still, WWE would totally allow that to be shown on their own cable program, right? Give me a break. As for Natalya being worried about the drug test – we are talking about the same company that employs Rob Van Dam, right? To the best of my knowledge, the wellness program does not suspend people for just weed.

Beyond that, though, the whole notion that something these divas do while there is a camera crew following them around is somehow going to stay a secret is insane. The other plotline on the episode, in which the Bella family wonders whether or not to say anything to Nikki about how they’ve been trying to dissuade John Cena from dating her, also depends on the premise that NO-ONE WILL EVER SEE A SHOW MADE BY THE CAMERAMEN DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES. It serves as rather thin gruel to try to “prove” that the Bella sisters’ in-ring feud had some basis in reality.

It’s not still real to me, damn it.

Meanwhile, on the more obviously fake storyline-based show, Daniel Bryan made his big return and announced he’d be in the Royal Rumble, thereby adding more or less the same twist in the Road to WrestleMania that we had last year – big, muscular, limited-ability star anointed prematurely, and Bryan steps in to save the day. Though I’ve been reading on the dirtsheets that Vince McMahon thinks Bryan’s fan reaction last year was a fluke and doesn’t plan on having him take Roman Reigns’ spot.

I don’t know how tenuous Bryan’s health is. Because I try to base this column only on what’s actually on TV, I have no idea how his indefinite health issues suddenly became fixed, and in a way I like that I don’t know what’s real here and what’s kayfabe. I fear for Bryan’s health because I believe it could be in jeopardy.

But it also makes me fear they won’t do the right thing and give him the Brock Lesnar match. As a huge Brock fan, I want to see him only get beaten by Daniel Bryan – best fighter versus best wrestler. There’s no way Bryan can be called a B+ player after that.

But maybe, in Vince’s mind, that’s the problem.

Even though we’re on an earlier publishing schedule now, feel free to still treat this as your Raw/WWE talkback thread. A Gotham thread will go live closer to showtime.