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It has been an interesting week in the land of Divas and Knockouts.
Rumors emerged regarding potential WrestleMania matches, one of which includes a past celebrity winner while another would have reintroduced familiar faces to the WWE Universe.
Stephanie McMahon used Twitter to issue a threat to Paul Heyman while the Bella Twins tasted a bit of their own medicine, courtesy of Cameron and Naomi.
Over in TNA, Taryn Terrell temporarily found herself in the unemployment line before being given the chance for redemption, all to the dismay of former Knockouts Champion Gail Kim.
The company also taped an all-Knockouts pay-per-view event, featuring former Women's and Divas Champions and one of its own announced the impending arrival of her first child.
Who, what, when, where and why? Find out inside.
This is Diva Digest.
On Tuesday, F4WOnline, by way of Diva-Dirt.com, reported indicated that WrestleMania 28 celebrity and Extra host Maria Menounos would compete at the "Showcase of the Immortals" for the second straight year.
A year ago, fans were disappointed (to say the least) about Menounos' involvement in a Divas tag team match, which saw her and Kelly Kelly defeat Eve Torres and then-Divas Champion Beth Phoenix. There were a number of women on the full-time roster who were left off of the show and it rubbed a large number of fans the wrong way.
Luckily for WWE, Maria's performance at WrestleMania was strong. She was impressive in her selling of the heels' attack and created great sympathy for the babyface team among the casual fans watching live and at home.
Maria clearly took her role in the match seriously and, as a result, was more reminiscent of hard-working and dedicated celebrity performers Lawrence Taylor and Floyd Mayweather than others that have appeared simply to promote a product or pick up a paycheck.
Now, it is a real possibility that she could step into the ring for a second consecutive year, a part of another Divas tag team match.
Maria will compete alongside Divas Champion Kaitlyn and the Funkadactyls, Cameron and Naomi. They will face the team of Brie and Nikki Bella, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
If the reports are correct, several things would have to happen before we could get to that point. First, Layla would have to turn heel. There have been several hints at that, including the former champion seemingly lusting after Kaitlyn's title, but no solid proof a turn is happening any time soon.
There would also have to be some sort of involvement from Maria on WWE television. With her name not even being mentioned on Raw or Smackdown on the road to WrestleMania, it would have to be a quick and inorganic development.
With only two weeks remaining until the biggest show of the year, one has to wonder if the company would not be better of booking a mixed-tag match featuring the Funkadactyls, Brodus Clay and Tensai taking on the Bella Twins and Team Rhodes Scholars rather than a hastily, and sloppily, thrown-together multi-woman match.
On the heels of reports surrounding this year's potential Divas match came news that the original match was to feature favorites from the past taking on today's top female stars.
The first match idea, which has since been nixed, was for former Divas to face off against WWE’s current crop. The former Divas penciled-in were thought to be Brie and Nikki Bella, Kelly Kelly, Maria Kanellis and Maryse. They would then have faced off against Divas Champion Kaitlyn, Layla and three other current Divas.
The inclusion of Maria Kanellis in the originally planned match indicates that she may have been another former Diva reached out to when the company was attempting to re-sign former Divas to help bolster its struggling women's roster.
More importantly, the proposed match points at intentions by WWE creative to give the Divas something meaningful to do at this show. A feud between past and current Divas, with 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Trish Stratus somehow involved, could have gone a long way into giving the current crop of ladies credibility that is seriously missing.
It also could have introduced new faces to a generation of fans who may not be familiar with them and created new match-ups to take the place of the same tired, boring singles and tag matches that have occurred involving the same handful of women.
Unfortunately, fans will have to settle for what could have been instead of what is.
On Raw, Paul Heyman mentioned Stephanie McMahon's name during the contract signing for Triple H and Brock Lesnar's No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania. This has led some to speculate that she may somehow be involved in the high-profile match.
That speculation grew in intensity when Stephanie posted the following on her official Twitter account.
The Tweet, as you can see, features a direct threat to Heyman and features Stephanie training with her boxing coach.
On a side note, do you see how fast the Billion Dollar Princess is throwing those punches?
The inclusion of Stephanie into the story, and match, between "The Game" and Lesnar would be more the welcome. Love her or hate her, the youngest McMahon has always proven to be entertaining.
Her explosive altercation with Paul Heyman during the build to last summer's SummerSlam main event had fans talking and a repeat of it, on the biggest stage the sport has to offer, could create an instant WrestleMania moment.
Last Sunday night, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling taped its all-Knockouts pay-per-view event, which is part of the company's "One Night Only" PPV series. A number of familiar faces appeared on the show, as well as a few Gut Check competitors and new faces that fans will get to know on a national stage.
Matches taped for the event include:
- Alissa Flash vs. Gail Kim
- Ivelisse Velez vs. Lei'D Tapa
- Mia Yim vs. Tara
- Miss Tessmacher vs. Santana Garrett
- ODB vs. Trinity
- Taryn Terrell vs. Jacqueline Moore
- Hannah Blossom vs. Taeler Hendrix vs. SoJo Bolt
- Velvet Sky vs. Jillian Hall
- Mickie James vs. Serena Deeb
- A battle royal to determine the "Queen of Wrestling"
Spoilers can be found elsewhere so please refrain from posting them in the comment section.
The Knockouts have always been major ratings grabs for TNA and one of the more popular aspects of their shows. There are far worse ideas than giving them their own event on which to showcase their skills.
The integration of former WWE stars such as Jillian Hall, Jacqueline and Serena Deeb will provide first-time viewers with name recognition while the young, new blood gives long-time fans something to look forward to in the future.
Early indicators are that the show will debut sometime in May.
On the same day that TNA taped its Knockouts-only pay-per-view event, a former champion in the singles and tag team division announced that she and her husband were expecting their first child.
I want to announce b4 it gets out elsewhere, that I've been away from the ring b/c @reaper_3 and I are expecting our 1st Raynedrop in Aug :)— Madison Rayne (@MRayneTNA) March 17, 2013
Madison Rayne has not appeared on Impact Wrestling since Dec. 13, 2012, when she defeated Velvet Sky.
Once a member of The Beautiful People, Madison is a four-time Knockouts Champion and a two-time Knockouts tag champion. She is one of the most decorated women in the history of the company.
We at Diva Digest and Bleacher Report congratulate Madison Rayne (real name: Ashley Cabot) on her pregnancy and wish her the best.
You read that right.
According to a report, the former WWE Intercontinental and Women's Champion is leaving the world of adult entertainment and is heading overseas to become a teacher.
Chyna's new Vivid video, "She Hulk XXX" is available online today at Vivid.com and in stores April 3,2013. "She Hulk XXX" will be Chyna's last film with Vivid as she has decided to move out to Japan and is teaching English to Japanese students.
The interesting career path the "Ninth Wonder of the World" has carved for herself takes another unexpected twist. Once one of the most recognizable women in popular culture, Chyna left World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001, entered adult entertainment (officially) in 2011 and, now, heads to Japan to begin helping others learn English.
With all potential jokes aside, it is good to see that Chyna has found something that she wants to do and is unafraid to take the steps to do it.
Here's wishing her the best of luck in her latest endeavor.
On Monday's Raw, AJ interrupted a match between WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No and Primo & Epico, an attempt to distract the titleholders during a non-title bout. It did not work, much to her dismay.
Later in the evening, following Dolph Ziggler's win over Kofi Kingston, the champions re-appeared and accepted AJ's challenge for a tag title match at WrestleMania between them and her team, Ziggler and Big E. Langston.
Since aligning herself with Dolph at the TLC pay-per-view last December, AJ's role has greatly diminished. Some believe that is a good thing while others, this writer included, believe that she is a valuable asset as a character and has fallen by the wayside in recent months.
The past two weeks, however, she has reemerged as the catalyst for the rivalry over the tag titles and looks to be a major factor in the newly announced WrestleMania championship match.
Wednesday night featured a rare Divas match on WWE's Ion Network program Main Event. In the bout, Natalya teamed with Layla to take on Aksana and Alicia Fox. The match was solid, if unspectacular, and featured the babyface duo scoring the win.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for a fan of any of the four women involved to get overly excited about the match. None of the women involved are expected to be major factors come April 7, except for (maybe) Layla, and there was no real reason for them to be fighting in the first place.
Unless you count Alicia Fox claiming, earlier in the show, that Natalya deeply missed her boyfriend, the Great Khali, while the two Divas were doing charitable work in Africa.
A quick, harmless match that means nothing during the ever-so-important Road to WrestleMania.
Here's to hoping WWE can finally find something productive for any of these four Divas to do in the transitional post-WrestleMania period.
This week's Impact Wrestling featured the fall-out from referee Taryn Terrell's attacks on Gail Kim at both TNA Lockdown, as well as last Thursday's live show from Chicago. As she stood in the ring and addressed the audience, she admitted that she knew her job was in jeopardy. This brought out Gail, who did not hesitate to taunt Taryn.
Brooke Hogan would interrupt and announce that, though she did not want to do so, she had no choice but to fire Taryn Terrell as referee of the Knockouts division.
Gail was elated at the announcement. She had been cost the Knockouts title in the past and felt that Taryn had a lot to do with it, despite the fact that it was she who had physically and verbally provoked the official on a number of occasions.
Brooke was not done. She then announced that she had signed Taryn to a Knockouts contract and that the New Orleans native was free to do whatever she wanted to whomever she wanted.
Taryn took Gail down with a spear and pounded away. The first-ever Knockouts Champion escaped from the squared circle and rushed to the backstage area, the object of her torment, now a fellow Knockout, hot on her heels.
The feud between Taryn and Gail continues to be one of the more interesting and entertaining rivalries on TNA television and the best women's feud on either of the big-two companies' programming.
Where it goes from here now that Taryn, who has showed promise in her appearances in Ohio Valley Wrestling, will be competing in actual matches remains to be seen.
On last week's Smackdown, the Bella Twins condescendingly introduced themselves to the Funkadactyls, Cameron and Naomi. When the dancers took exception to Nikki and Brie's insulting tone and comments, the former Divas Champions attacked them until being pulled away by backstage agents.
This week, Naomi and Cameron got a measure of revenge on their attackers.
Nikki and Brie accompanied Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow to the ring for their match with Brodus Clay and Tensai who, as usual, were accompanied by the Funkadactyls. Seconds into the match, Cameron and Naomi attacked the twin sisters, causing the match to be thrown out.
As the Bella Twins and Team Rhodes Scholars retreated up the ramp, the dancing foursome stood tall in the squared circle.
The latest development in the budding rivalry between the Funkadactyls and the Bella Twins seems to point to some kind of involvement with each other at WrestleMania. It seems very unlikely that a straight up tag team match would occur so expect others to be involved.
Could the eight-woman tag match discussed earlier in this article be where the company is heading or will there be a mixed-tag that will accomplish the goal of including Divas on the card while also featuring four Superstars at the same time?
Expect to find out sometime in the next week.
One of the most prominent stories heading into 2001's WrestleMania X-7 was the affair Vince McMahon was having with Trish Stratus at the expense of his heavily-drugged wife, Linda.
The owner of WWE would flaunt his relationship while Linda sat motionless in a chair, staring out the window. The lights were on but no one is home and fans could not help but feel a great deal of sympathy for her.
Stephanie McMahon did not take kindly to her father's indiscretions and called him out on it several times. When she could not get through to him, she turned her attention to the little Canadian home-wrecker herself and one of the most entertaining feuds between two women in the history of WWE resulted.
At No Way Out in February, Stephanie would defeat Trish thanks in large part to interference from WWE Commissioner William Regal. Twenty-four hours later, Vince, Stephanie and Regal revealed their alliance to the world when they humiliated Trish in from of the entire world, dumping her (both literally and figuratively) by pouring a bucket full of slop all over her.
Desperate to get back in his good graces, Stratus demeaned herself for Vince, crawling around the ring on all-fours and barking like a dog before stripping down to her bra and panties at his order.
Add to that the fact that Shane McMahon had returned to avenge his mother's treatment by his father, going as far as to purchase WCW out from underneath Vince, and the Chairman of the Board was a very busy man in early 2001.
At WrestleMania X-7, during a street fight between Vince and Shane, both Trish Stratus and Linda McMahon would get revenge on their tormentor in the grandest way possible.
During the bout, Shane McMahon came off the top rope and crashed through the announce table after Stephanie pulled her father out of the way. Trish came to Vince's aid and feigned interest. Then, in a crowd-pleasing moment, she slapped the hell out of her billionaire boss and a brawl between she and Stephanie commenced. They fought up the ramp and to the back, the latest chapter in their rivalry underway.
The action in the ring continued with Vince assaulting referee Mick Foley and pummeling his son with trash cans. As he raised a third trash can over his head, Linda rose from her seat and the crowd erupted in one of the loudest ovations any fan will ever hear. A stunned Vince could only watch as Linda walked up to him and delivered a low blow.
Moments later, Shane would dive across the ring with a Van Terminator, kicking a trash can in his father's face with tremendous impact. The son would beat the father before celebrating the win with his mother, who now stood triumphant after months of humiliation at the hands of her husband.
Trish and Linda's revenge on Vince McMahon is the type of blow-off fans expect at WrestleMania. After a months-long storyline that saw the villain constantly come out on top, the good guys finally won and they did so on the biggest stage possible. A more-than-memorable moment.
In a new addition to Diva Digest, the top five women from the week that was in WWE and TNA will be counted down. They will be judged based on win-loss record (if applicable, considering the state of Divas on WWE TV), interviews and backstage segments, upward and downward momentum and, finally, overall impact.
Without further ado, here are the inaugural Diva Digest Elite Five for the week of March 18.
5. The Bella Twins
The Bellas continued to look down on the current crop of WWE Divas but this week, their condescending ways were met with fists of fury, courtesy of Naomi and Cameron, the Funkadactyls.
4. Gail Kim
The first-ever Knockouts Champion thought she had gotten one over on Taryn Terrell, provoking her until she had no choice to attack, resulting in her termination as an official. She thought wrong, receiving a spear and the bad news that Taryn had been signed to a Knockouts contract.
3. Stephanie McMahon
I mean, really. Did you SEE how fast she was throwing those punches?
2. Naomi and Cameron
The Funkadactyls prove they will not be walked all over by the Bella Twins or anyone else, gaining a measure of revenge by pounding away at Nikki and Brie on Smackdown and, perhaps, cashing their tickets for WrestleMania.
1. Taryn Terrell
The former ECW General Manager continued her impressive month on TNA Impact Wrestling as she was fired as an official, only to be immediately rehired as a wrestler. Her attack of Gail Kim continues a stellar rivalry.
There finally appears to be some kind of momentum for the Divas heading into WrestleMania 29, and the next two weeks will go a long way in determining exactly what your favorites will do on the big show.
Will the Divas Champion Kaitlyn find herself in some kind of match opposite the Bella Twins, who have interrupted her potential courting of Cody Rhodes in consecutive weeks? Will the rumored match, featuring Maria Menounos, come to fruition or was it simply that: a rumor?
What will the next step be in the rivalries between the Funkadactyls and the Bella Twins and Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim? Will we see either the Bellas in a WWE ring or Taryn in a TNA ring? If so, how will they look in their first televised bouts in quite some time?
With her name being mentioned during the contract signing for the Triple H-Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania, will Stephanie McMahon make an appearance on Monday's Raw?
As usual, you can find all of the answers to those questions, as well as the latest and breaking news involving the women of WWE and TNA and another WrestleMania Rewind right here inside Diva Digest.
Until then, enjoy your week.
The name may have changed but Diva Digest will continue to thrive based on reader interaction. Have a comment or suggestion? Leave it in the comment section below. Don't have a Bleacher Report account? No problem. Tweet your comments or suggestion to me @ErikBeaston. I read every single comment and suggestion and do my best to continue to improve this article.