Conventional wisdom views WWE’s “Women’s Revolution,” the marketing branding attached to WWE’s increased focus on women’s wrestling, as a reaction to the previous era of WWE Divas, which consisted of very short matches often used more to titillate viewers than to sports entertain them. After all, one of the big moments in the Women’s Revolution was replacing the butterfly-themed Diva’s Championship belt with the less gendered Women’s Championship belt and a change in terminology for female wrestlers, from “divas” to simply “superstars.”
Total Divas, the E! Network reality show about the backstage lives of WWE’s female competitors, is widely viewed as the epitome of the previous era’s attitude, but one prominent WWE superstar has a different take… and her name is Nikki Bella!
“What is unfortunate is that when Total Divas was succeeding and we became a hit reality show, they let people with a mic in the ring just bash it and us Total Divas never got a response. So, with the fans, it began to give Total Divas a bad name, ‘Oh, they are just reality stars.’ Actually, while the girls who aren’t on the reality show are just wrestling, us girls on the reality show are wrestling, are filming, are never sleeping, going to appearances, making sure that the world knows how amazing women wrestlers are. So, I don’t feel Total Divas gets enough credit because the words ‘reality show’ has ruined it for people. It think certain people also, characters for the company, have ruined it as well out of pure jealousy. I’ll admit that.”
She also claimed credit for Total Divas being the real catalyst behind the Women’s Revolution, for bringing in new fans focused on the women from the show, fans with a fresh perspective on kayfabe:
“I think [Total Divas] helped start the women’s revolution. Total Divas [led to] more women started coming to our show, like, ‘I gotta check this out.’ I remember when Brie [Bella] was fighting Stephanie McMahon, so many women showed up because they were like, ‘I can’t believe she’s fighting her boss, Oh My Gosh!’ It was crazy for them to even imagine, like, ‘She’s Gonna hit her? Like, This is nuts!’ and so I think Total Divas has done so much for women’s wrestling. It was the first time that we got an hour of TV to ourselves, to really showcase what women do.”
Bella implied that the Total Divas stars are the wrestlers fans really want to see, rather than the newest generation of competitors who are not featured on the reality show. She explained:
“It happened so quickly and so fast. I want to say that when seasons one and two came out, both of which we were lucky in that they had 16 episodes each, after that season two….Bam! Everyone wanted to know Natalya, Brie Bella, Naomi, Ariane. Everyone was like, ‘Who are these girls?’ and when we go to events, there would be women wrestlers who weren’t on the show and were getting more TV time than us and [the fans] wouldn’t care about them. They would be, ‘I want to see those Total Divas girls. Can you bring them back?”
What do you think? Does Bella have a point?
Total Bellas, the spinoff of Total Divas focusing on the lives of the Bellas and their beaus, Daniel Bryan and John Cena, returns to TV on September 6th.