Recapping and Grading 'Total Divas' for Nov. 10: "SummerSlam" Midseason Opener

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Recapping and Grading 'Total Divas' for Nov. 10:
Total Divas cast

It's baaaaack!

This week on Total Divas: The show takes place in a parallel universe the week of SummerSlam.  I'm not sure how else to describe what I saw.

The show opens with the Divas at breakfast.  Eva Marie shows off her Maxim photos to everyone, including Jojo, who kvetches about seeing them many times already.  Eva Marie goes on and on about how she has a Maxim signing that day and how Maxim increased her presence in the issue from one page to four.  Then the Bellas talk about being on the cover of Maxim Español and how it was available in more countries.  Take that, and smash cut to the opening credits!

Ariane is driving with Trinity and Jon from the airport to Raw.  I think.  They never make this stuff clear enough. Ariane has a road rage incident over a slow car (literally, that's what happened, he didn't cut her off or anything) that leads to Trinity calling her "girl-bipolar," and at least I laughed at that.

Who is/are the biggest FAN FAVORITE(S)?

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At this point, the episode goes from being a typical episode of Total Divas to making me want to throw things at the TV.  Remember that episode from the first half of the season where the whole episode revolved around the Bella Twins being worried that the Funkadactyls were becoming "fan favorites" and everyone shoehorned the term "fan favorites" into their conversations?  Well, Eva Marie shows off her Maxim issue (again) and says, "I dunno Nikki, I'm becoming a FAN FAVORITE!"

Kill me now.

Is it that much for me to want the people on this show to sound like normal humans speaking regular English?  It doesn't even sound the way WWE's insistent language usually does, that sounds like normal speech, just a bit off.  Whenever someone says "fan favorite," they put an unusual emphasis on it like "fan favorite" is a mysterious double entendre.

Meanwhile, Nattie wrestles Trinity on Superstars.  They're having a good match when Nattie gets Trinity in a waist lock and does her booty shake move to get out of it.  Nattie makes a wacky face, and they quickly go to the finish.  Backstage, Nattie explains that Trinity hit her in the bladder (with her butt) and made her pee her pants.  Nattie storms into the shower while obviously acting and not actually angry.  As she throws her gear on the ground, the camera zooms in on her pants and blurs them.

Nikki finds this hilarious and goes to tell her boyfriend, John Cena.  Stonefaced, he says that "I pooped myself once" during a match where he had food poisoning.  "Everybody knew."  Then she tells him to get his elbow looked at since, as you may recall, the swelling was such that it looked like someone sewed a tennis ball under the skin.  Yes, I'm sure that six days before SummerSlam, WWE had not made Cena get his gross elbow looked at yet.

A few days later, it's some SummerSlam weekend red carpet event thing.  Like she was in the first episode shot WrestleMania weekend, Nattie is not happy about being the red carpet interviewer.  At one point, Alicia Fox tells her that 50 people know she peed her pants.  Swell.  Anyway, Nikki and Cena are having photos taken when he's pulled away.

Later, once the red carpet clears, Vincent makes a fool of himself posing on it.  This might have been the only good thing in the episode.  Ariane yells at him, but Trinity explains to her how awful she probably makes him feel when she does that. So Ariane decides to try to get to the root of her anger issues.

At Fan Axxess, the girls all do autograph signings.  Eva Marie meets her only fan, who I really, really hope was a plant.  Then she makes a crack about having a longer line than the Bella Twins, and dear God get this woman off my TV.  When the Bellas are done, they go with Bryan to a recording studio to lay down their lines for the WWE Flintstones movie that's coming out down the line.  OK, this was fairly enjoyable, as well.

What grade do you give "SummerSlam" (The episode, not the PPV. The PPV was awesome.)

Submit Vote vote to see results

Back to Ariane.  She goes to her mom's house to talk about her anger issues, which basically date back to her stepfather being awful.  Her mom apologizes, and I don't mean to make light of this because her mom doesn't look like she's acting, but this plays out exactly how it would on any other reality show of this time.  Ariane opens up, mom apologizes, they agree to help each other out, the end.

At the hotel, Nattie isn't sure she wants to wrestle at SummerSlam because she's still frustrated over the pants-peeing and being the only Diva who's not strutting for the cameras at the red carpet events.  TJ, speaking fluent Canadian as always, then reminds her what a big opportunity SummerSlam is and she sees the error of her ways.  Well, that was fast.  

It's time for SummerSlam, thank God.  Cena finds Nikki to apologize for disappearing and explains that he got the diagnosis of his injury and tells her what he told the world the next night: He tore his triceps and could be out of action for as much as six months.  She's one of the first people to know, as he's only told the major decision makers in WWE so far.

At this point the show completely flies off the rails for regular Raw viewers.

Nikki explains to the camera that six months is a long time, and because they do live TV every week, Cena could lose his spot.

I will repeat that.

John Cena's girlfriend, who was worried about losing her spot when she was injured earlier in the season in spite of being John Cena's girlfriend, said that John Cena could lose his spot in spite of being John Cena.

Nattie has her match with Brie and says it might have been the best match of her career.  Well, if you say so.  She may just be feeling really good about not peeing her pants.  As the Bellas sit down with their mom to get ready to watch the match event, Eva Marie walks by to talk about the one sign for her in the crowd which may have been held by the same fan from Axxess.  They pretend she's not there.

Main event time!  BELLA BOYFRIEND VS BELLA BOYFRIEND.  They pretend nobody knows Cena is hurt even though he pointed out his giant swollen elbow six days earlier on Raw, he's wearing a gigantic elbow pad during the match, and Bryan is working over that arm throughout the match.  Brie innocently asks if his elbow had been fixed yet, and Nikki shoots her a knowing look since she can't say anything.

Anyway, Bryan hits the flying knee and wins the title!  Brie is over the moon!  The show ends as if that's how SummerSlam ended, with Bryan leaving as champion.  Really.  Confetti and pyro go off, everyone celebrates, the end.  I'm curious to see how this is addressed next week.  If they decide to just pretend he was the champion throughout the taping of this half season then that's pretty fascinating.

I know that much of the audience doesn't overlap and they've tinkered with things before, but this is at a completely different level.

Like any other reality show, being a premiere, it ended with a preview video for the rest of the season.  The only substantive moments that haven't been in any other ads yet were Cena making it clear that the paperwork he wanted Nikki to sign was a cohabitation agreement (ruh-roh) and VINCENT TRAINING TO WRESTLE.  AWESOME.

Grade:

If not for the tease of Vincent at the WWE Performance Center, this episode would have been the end of me. If not for that, the only thing keeping me watching this show would be to see how much it would stray from what actually happened on Raw.

This episode was easily the worst of the series so far.  It was everything that everyone feared the show would be before it launched and was kind of a pleasantly surprising guilty pleasure.

Everything was contrived reality show plotting with the subjects of the show speaking more like alien robots than ever before.  Case in point: FAN FAVORITES.  In addition, Nattie's reaction to peeing her pants was more akin to a cartoon character than a real person.

This show.  THIS SHOW.  Ugh.

Final Grade: F is for FAN FAVORITE.

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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