Recapping and Grading WWE Total Divas for Sept. 8 "A Leg Up"

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Recapping and Grading WWE Total Divas for Sept. 8
Total Divas cast (Photo by E!/WWE)

One week to go until the mid-season finale, featuring Nattie and TJ's wedding!  In the meantime, this week on Total Divas:

  • Eva Marie gets to do a photo shoot for Maxim magazine, leading to Jojo being frustrated that Eva has stuff like that to do, so she works with the Funkadactyls on a new version of their and Tons of Funk's entrance music.
  • Nikki hurts her leg and gets worried about her future in WWE.
  • Vincent(~!) wants to take his relationship with Ariane to another level.

The show opens with Eva Marie getting a phone call in her car.  It's the WWE office with the offer to appear in Maxim.  She's thrilled because it's her dream to appe...wait a second.  There are women whose dream it is to appear in Maxim!?!?!?!  That's impossible.

In their hotel room, Jojo sings "Star Spangled Banner" to Eva Marie, who had no idea that Jojo could sing so well.  Wasn't Jojo hired because she could sing that well?  Anyway, she wants to sing the national anthem at a WWE event, but Eva Marie is worried that Jojo is in the WWE just to advance her singing career and not wrestle. 

Yes, EVA MARIE IS WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE USING WWE TO BENEFIT HER NON-WRESTLING CAREER.  Wow.

Anyway she does the Maxim shoot, which is basically what you'd expect, except the photographer is a friendly woman and not some vaguely creepy dude.  Eva Marie talks about how amazing it was when she gets home, but Jojo is stewing.  Angry Jojo is awesome.

At TV, Jojo pitches her idea to Trinity, who somehow comes back with suggesting she sing Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls' entrance music instead because Star Spangled Banner is such a difficult song to sing.  Later, Eva Marie is in the car with Nattie, who thinks Jojo should be working on her wrestling instead of playing "girl band with Trinity and Ariane."

We meet Jojo and Trinity in a recording studio, where they're being assisted by Trinity's dad, who just so happens to be a record producer.  Well of COURSE he is!  The demo sounds OK, and when they send it to Jane Geddes in talent relations, she thinks it's "awesome."  They plan for a performance of the song on live TV at the next set of tapings.

"Live TV" turns out to be an episode of Main Event, which is not, in fact "live."  Everyone is talking about how it's live so they can't re-do it, but as we all know, Main Event is taped the day before it airs.  Well, it's not like we didn't already know this show wasn't intended for wrestling fans.

Performance time.  Well, it was already weird when this originally aired, and here it's explained at least partially by Trinity having a terrible cough.  They're out of tune and it's not good.  Everyone is frustrated with how badly it went...except for Eva Marie, who sees it as karma for not supporting her.  Oh my.

There's a quick segment where Nikki walks downstairs at home while John Cena is being stretched by his stretch therapist.  The therapist's services are offered to Nikki, who obliges.  It's noted that her leg is especially tight.  Gee, I wonder where this is going?

At Raw, she's knocked off the apron during a match and lands awkwardly on her leg. 

She's in a lot of pain later as she explains that she first injured her shin a decade earlier as a soccer player and it never healed right.  She tells Brie, who tells her she can't hide it, and even threatens to tell Cena and WWE if Nikki doesn't first. 

Later, Nikki admits to John that her shin is bothering her, and John says that she needs to get checked out by the doctor whenever anything feels wrong.

John Cena, who worked for several weeks on a torn tricep, was the voice of reason when it came to being careful about injuries.

Nikki gets a bone scan.  She can tell from looking at the screen that something is wrong, but the technician tells her to get the diagnosis from WWE's Dr. Michael Sampson.  Well, sort of.  When she sees Dr. Sampson, she mentions that the radiologist at the hospital where she initially got the scan diagnosed her.

Most ridiculous thing this week?

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Look, I honestly don't mind the inconsistencies with real life that we notice as wrestling fans.  The show is clearly designed for people who don't watch other WWE programming.  But why aren't you editing around scenes that create holes no matter who is watching the show?

Anyway, it's a stress fracture and she needs to be on crutches for three months.  When talent relations and the creative team get word of the injury, they decide to send her home.  Which didn't actually happen since she just came to ringside for Brie's matches on crutches during ad breaks and hid the crutches when on the air.

Just in case you wanted to destroy all pretenses of plausibility, Nikki worries about losing her spot since she's going to be out for three months at 30-years-old.  John Cena's live-in girlfriend was worrying about her spot.

There is no middle ground on this show, is there?  You either love or hate what's going on.

Finally, VINCENT IS BACK. 

Ariane still hasn't gotten over his drunken adventure in Las Vegas, but it's not directly acknowledged after their first segment.  Vincent accompanies Ariane to a nail salon, where she and her weird looking rat dog that she keeps in her bag both get their nails done. 

The amazing thing about Ariane is that I'm sure she really does do this even when cameras aren't rolling.

Vincent asks her to finally meet his dad after ten months of dating.  She tries her best to ignore him and talk to the salon employee about proper doggie manicures, but relents when she sees how important this is to Vincent.

Vincent's dad likes that Ariane learned how to say "hello" in Armenian.  Well, I guess that would be difficult for her.  Then he weirds her out by going on and on about placing Armenian bread on their shoulders.

Ariane reacts about how you'd expect, which is to say she's completely horrified.  That gets worse when Vincent's dad talks about grandchildren.

There's some discussion about how she's on the road so much and Vincent needs to be engaged or married to move out.  If Vincent hasn't already moved out and he doesn't already live with Ariane, then how has she never met his dad before?

Vincent has a TJ-taking-Nattie-to-the-courthouse-esque awful romantic epiphany and takes her to a jewlery store to pick out a ring.  The way she goes from "ooh, shiny expensives things!" to a panic attack is a sight to behold.  She runs downstairs and outside, where he follows her.  In tears, she says she thinks they need a break.  He takes it surprisingly well and says he'll be there whenever she needs him.

Grade:

What grade do you give "A Leg Up?"

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By most standards, this was a pretty blah episode.  By Vincent standards, it was, wacky Armenian bread shenanigans aside, a chore to watch.  There were some amusing moments here and there like the bread, Jojo stewing with anger, and Trinity's dad being awesome, but it wasn't enough to overcome the scheming, artificial relationship drama, and other aspects that can drag Total Divas down.

I guess it's best too look at this like the cool-down/heat killer match at WrestleMania: The Las Vegas episode was the Undertaker match.  Next week's wedding episode (also the Summer finale) is the WWE Championship match.  This week was the three minute Divas match...except it was an hour long...you know what I mean.

It served its purpose but I have no desire to ever see it again.

Final Grade: D

David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.

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