Did you know that John Cena and Nikki Bella are dating? Did you know Daniel Bryan is dating Brie Bella?
If you read this website or other professional wrestling news sites you probably did. But did your young niece or nephew who watches wrestling know that?
They do now. And that’s a problem.
On WWE storylines, Cena and Bryan are single as far as we know. Until the commercial break hits. Then we’re clued in that they are in serious relationships with the villainous Bellas. When Raw resumes, they're all single and have nothing to do with each other.
Earlier on Raw, the Bellas cheated Natalya out of a win and called her ugly. During the same show we saw a preview for next Sunday’s Total Diva episode with Bryan and Cena hanging out with them at Cena’s mansion.
So why exactly would the two top good guys in the entire company date two women who are portrayed as mean, degrading and self-centered? Why would they even associate with them?
There’s no good explanation for it. None.
How does this make any sense to the kids who look up to Cena, and watch him date a heel on commercials, but not on the actual show? Actually, how does it make sense to anyone in terms of creating a consistent narrative?
WWE breaks its own reality in a way that no other TV show does.
Total Divas may have been considered a big success with its debut ratings. Fair enough. But it's still a fraction of what Raw draws every week. And WWE should wonder what damage the show could do to its biggest cash cow, and his possible successor.
WWE can't hide the obvious anymore. Bryan and Cena may have to have the Bellas involved in their storylines, and that is destined to fail.
Wrestling is a strange beast. It uses a weird mix of reality and fiction that promoters use to play off fans’ emotions. For the most part, these fans don’t want to see their top babyface male stars involved in romantic storylines, real or not.
Hulk Hogan never had a love interest; neither did Shawn Michaels, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Rob Van Dam, Sting or countless other big names.
The Rock only had a brief fling with Trish Stratus, Steve Austin only had Debra when he was a heel, and you can’t argue that Sara added anything to The Undertaker’s act.
Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth are basically the exception to the rule.
There are countless examples that it just doesn’t work. Young male fans don’t care to watch wrestling for love stories, and women who are attracted to guys like Cena don’t want to watch him with another woman. It ruins the fantasy.
Another big problem is that Total Divas does not exist in its own story-telling bubble. At least the rules have not been established. It's a huge mess. The announcers on Raw made note of Natalya being frustrated with the returning Bellas as she had mentioned on the reality show.
Does this then mean that what happens on Total Divas is considered canon? Does this mean that Natalya is not dating The Great Khali? Which parts of the show are we supposed to ignore, and what parts of the show are used to build feuds?
Imagine if Dexter had a reality show on TV that followed around the actors and their personal lives as they filmed the show. Then, on Dexter they had storylines from the reality show. It wouldn't work. It would be idiotic, but that's what WWE is doing.
WWE is entering into dangerous, uncharted territory. The further Total Divas goes along, the messier things become.
Sure, we had Tough Enough exposing the backstage lives of wrestlers, but not at this level. That show revolved around new, upcoming talent with a few mid-card trainers in the mix. The last run of the show had retired stars taking over the reins.
Total Divas is creating a problem with WWE storytelling on a much higher level than Tough Enough did.
Sooner or later, the relationships with the Bellas and Bryan and Cena is going to have to be addressed. There's no other way around it with the current promotion of the show. And that's not good.
This has the potential to be a total disaster for everyone’s careers.