Nikki and Brie Bella
WWE's regular programming and Total Divas need to live in two separate rooms, not sleep in the same bed.
The reality show and the company's pro wrestling serials are two forms of entertainment too disparate to marry. The fanbases are different, and any further merging of the two products will lead to clunky TV and fans tuning out.
The current overlap of Total Divas and Raw is reportedly not enough in WWE officials' minds.
Per F4WOnline, via PWMania.com, "WWE officials have been discussing ideas for RAW involving Total Divas that would see something like TNA's #IMPACT365 videos be inserted into the show, basically more of a tie-in between the two shows."
With as little attention as the midcard gets, with Raw's three hours already so beset by filler, dedicating more time to Total Divas tie-ins is a case of misplaced priorities.
It's smart of WWE to make money off the popularity of reality shows. Total Divas has also given added exposure to its stars. Would Eva Marie have been chosen for a Maxim photo shoot had it not been for the show? Would Naomi have been named Beauty of the Week in Jet?
Kudos to WWE for creating a hit show, but two successful things added together don't necessarily equal double the success. WWE can't think that because ice cream and pizza are good that ice cream on a bed of pizza is going to be even better.
Look at the company's previous attempts to do that with reality and wrestling. Flops have been the hallmark of those efforts.
The tension between Tyson Kidd and Fandango on Total Divas bled into Raw. On the reality show, Natalya, who had just married Kidd, was flirting in the ring with Fandango.
WWE attempted to turn into an on-air rivalry. When Kidd made his return to the ring, he and Natalya faced off against Summer Rae and WWE's resident ballroom dancer in a mixed tag team match.
The feud fizzled from there.
A huge part of the blame for that can be attributed to the genesis of the rivalry happening so long after it hit the air. The fact that Total Divas is taped months before it airs while Raw is live makes it impossible to have any continuity between the two.
There's also the issue of separating kayfabe from reality.
Too many peeks behind the curtain leads to a muddled product. Fans know that Kane is Glenn Jacobs, but when they watch Raw and SmackDown they are often sucked into the reality WWE constructs for those shows. Were we to see Jacobs on a reality show, petting kittens and arguing with his girlfriend, it would ruin the suspension of disbelief.
That's what's happening with Total Divas infiltrating WWE's shows.
When Kidd and Natalya's relationship became part of the reality show, WWE had to quickly depart from the storyline relationship between her and The Great Khali.
When John Cena and Daniel Bryan are supposed to be rivals onscreen, it's hard to buy into that when one sees them going on double dates together. Fans know that WWE's rivals are not really enemies, but we don't need to see the actors with their masks off so to speak.
Sean Radican of PWTorch.com said it perfectly:
It's like when Walking Dead is followed by Talking Dead. The problem with what WWE does from time to time is bring the Talking Dead elements (Total Divas) into the Walking Dead (Raw). These two things should always be kept separate.
The Walking Dead fans know the zombies aren't real. That's fine because a well-told story sucks the audience in to the point of them being able to momentarily leave that truth behind. Imagine if in between scenes, AMC posted clips of the actors getting their zombie make-up and saying hi to their moms on camera.
That's what it feels like WWE is heading for with integrating Total Divas and Raw more.
We're far removed from the days of heels getting stabbed in fan riots, but must we completely ruin the mystique of wrestling's fictional world? And for what reason?
Total Divas is already a hit. The show was recently the top cable show in its time slot, per TVByTheNumbers.com. Raw has been around for 20 years and often succeeds ratings-wise as well.
You don't get a more awesome movie by combining a kung-fu flick and a romantic comedy. One of the elements is sure to suffer.
That's been the case with the merging Total Divas and Raw has done already. The reality show is the only reason fans had to sit through Eva Marie's awful in-ring debut.
Rather than AJ Lee engaging in a deeply personal feud with Natalya, Tamina Snuka or NXT's Paige, she's instead been asked to take on the reality show cast. This has led to her reign being far less captivating than it could be.
It also means more onscreen time for The Bella Twins than most WWE fans can stomach.
More Bellas, Funkdactlys, Eva Marie and JoJo isn't going to better Raw, just as a Street Fight between Sheamus and Mark Henry isn't going to better Total Divas. The two's audiences simply want two different things.
Keep the shows separate. Let each entity exist on its own, succeeding in its own separate way.