Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Nikki Bella and the Divas

I'll admit it, I have never really been a fan of Divas. Women's wrestling throughout the 80's, at least as I remember it, was a lot of cheap hair pulling and body slams. I pretty much ignored women's wrestling through the 80's, I never really paid much attention to what was going on in WCW back then, and I never had any interest in any of the female wrestlers of that era. 

Then the 90's came, and women's wrestling got much better, and so much worse. On one hand you had Chyna, a woman with the skills and the talent to stand toe to toe with the men. You also had Lita, who was the exact opposite of Chyna; small, fast and athletic. 

Both women were more than capable of holding their own in the ring, in some cases even better than the men. In fact at one point Chyna was a serious contender for the men's title. Chyna was the first woman to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament (Queen of the Ring?), the first female contender for the WWF title, until Mankind came around to knock her out of the spot, and eventually became the first and only female Intercontinental Champion. Had she not done such terrible porn, she would be in the hall of fame already.

Lita had the same level of success, but in different ways, and also carried the same amount of baggage, although not from porn. No, Lita's legacy was tarnished by cheating on her boyfriend Matt Hardy with Edge and turning it into a painful storyline. Seeing her relationship and hearing Matt's moaning and groaning was painful to watch, I think they were the first pair of entertainers to make the entire WWE Universe feel uncomfortable. 
Lita and the Hardy Boyz were groundbreaking in their own way and Lita had no problem keeping pace with her crazy male partners. Lita was a "dancer", who decided she wanted to become a wrestler after watching Rey Mysterio Jr. on an episode of WCW. From there, Lita met the right men at the right time, including Paul Heyman who was in charge of ECW and worked her way up to a WWF spot. Her high-flying moves and perfectly executed hurricanrada made her one of the top stars of the day.

Later on, Trish Stratus joined the mix. I actually met Trish a few years before her debut with the WWE. She was manning a table at Fan Expo. I asked her what she did and she told me she was a fitness model. I felt kind of bad for her because there was no one interested in buying the calendar of a local girl they'd never heard of. It was almost embarassing, because the cute anime girl across from her was surrounded by an entourage of men and women. Trish was the link between the great divas and the not-so-great, which I will get to soon. Trish could wrestle AND looked sexy, which essentially makes her the first real DIVA, a wrestler and model who could pose in swimsuits and also close matches. Unfortunately the Divas division never really got the serious push it needed, because whenever fans asked for a match, there was always some other woman willing to take her clothes off instead. Which brings me to the bad side of the Divas division: Sable.

I never found Sable attractive. She looked like someone's mother who thought she was hot but really didn't get what hot was. Her boobs were too fake, her body too tall and lanky, for me to personally find her attractive. However, she pushed the envelope on what was acceptable on television. Her bikini matches and constant slutty behavior crippled the Divas division and turned it into a joke. When every Diva was willing to do the swimsuit issue and was forced to promote THAT over their own skills in ring, your going to have problems. No one took the Divas division seriously. Until now.
I'll give Sable credit for trying, and she must be tough, she sleeps with the Beast Brock Lesnar every night, but I never considered her a wrestler.

Which brings us to the greatest Divas champion of all time: Nikki Bella.

As far as I am concerned, AJ Lee, Chris Benoit and CM Punk no longer exist in the WWE timeline. They've been retconned out and good riddance. 

When I first came back and saw the reinvigorated Divas division, both in the WWE and in NXT, I was surprised by the talent and skills of the women wrestlers. It seems creative isn't as sharp with using them as they are with the men, but still they've managed to carve out a nice spot for themselves.

I knew Nikki was with John Cena and Brie was with Daniel Bryan, but I didn't know much else about them. I assumed that Brie, with her natural body and more laid back attitude, was the one I'd support. Nikki seemed superficial and a bit of a valley girl. Until I discovered Total Divas, I thought for sure I'd be a Brie fan.

But Nikki Bella is one of the coolest women I've ever seen on television. She is open with her feelings and not afraid of her passions. She whipped out a box of dildos on television and didn't think twice about it. Her attitudes toward her career, her sex life and her relationships is completely normal and healthy, something you almost NEVER see on television. Nikki loves her life and she is not afraid to show it, she has goals that she works toward and is not distracted with trying to life a certain lifestyle, the way her sister is. Brie seems like an annoying hipster who doesn't know how to shine her light out, instead holding back. Nikki burns bright and shines in the ring. She has all the skills needed to remain champion and most women aren't working hard enough to take it from her. While Nikki builds a second career as a real estate agent, Brie is worried about farming vegetables from her own feces. Yeah, you read that right. Nikki Bella is the first real woman champion, the first real Diva, and I hope John Cena stops acting like a jackass and realizes what Nikki has to offer as a mother and wife. 

TOTAL DIVAS offers a unique glimpse at the wrestling industry from the perspective of the women who are lucky enough to work there. I really think it would be worthwhile to unite the two Divas divisions and create a tag team title, everyone loves the current women but Nikki needs more challenging opponents in the WWE. Paige's constant complaining is boring. Brie doesn't seem to want anything, other than what she doesn't want, apparently Brie would rather fight for chicken's rights than be women's champion. 

I hope the Bellas have many more years of wrestling ahead of them and I hope Nikki beats the old Divas record for longest run with the women's title. She totally deserves it. Nikki Bella is my Divas champion and I am not afraid to say it. I'd love to see her matched up against Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair. Make it happen, WWE!

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