When you’re good, you get presents at this time of year. When you’re bad, you get a lump of coal. I must have done something pretty terrible — I’m talking Nikki Bella wrestling levels of terrible — because this year, underneath my tree, I found a DVD of the episodes of Total Divas that have aired this season. And the accompanying note telling me I have to do the reviews before the end of the year wasn’t from Santa Claus, but rather SLAM! Wrestling producer Greg “the Grinch” Oliver. So break out the eggnog (with lots and lots of rum), because now begins the Total Divas recap marathon.

To make things more interesting, I’ll be playing the Total Divas Drinking Game that I made up to make this easier. If interested, send me a note and I’ll happily send you the rules. Trust me, this show is much more enjoyable – well, watchable at least – when you’re in Brie Mode.

Episode 1: They’re no longer called Divas in WWE; Maryse returns to the company; this is the end of the road for Brie


It’s the week before WrestleMania, and all the girls are excited to be part of the big show in a multi-Diva match. Though, as Stephanie McMahon and Triple H tell them, after that night, they will no longer be referred to as Divas, but rather Superstars.

A few new additions to the cast this season: Lana – who it’s weird to see without her speaking in a fake Russian accent; Maryse, who recently rejoined WWE to act as the valet for her real-life husband, The Miz; and Renee Young who admits to be in a relationship with Dean Ambrose.

The Mania match is bittersweet for Brie, since it’s her last match ever, and she’s sad that Nikki won’t be part of it, since her neck injury has her sidelined. She’s also sad that Bryan won’t be attending because he’s still in a depressed funk thanks to his injury-forced retirement and the recent loss of his dad. Brie’s also angry with Maryse, who told the rest of the Divas at dinner the night before that she’s angry with the Bellas for screwing her over in a contract negotiation last year, resulting in her not being with the company for the past three years.

Trinity, meantime, is worried about how to style her hair to make it special for the big match. She’s so desperate, in fact, that she trust Paige to style it for her. This is predictably disastrous, as clumps of her hair fall out when Paige over-bleaches it. The next day, Trinity has to cover up her disaster of a hairdo – choppy, green, blue, and all beat up. It’s like the Nikki Bella match of hairstyles.

Meanwhile, Lana tries out her sexy new singlet which Nattie fears will lead to a wardrobe malfunction, and we can only hope. Then Nattie, as per usual, helps nobody with her horrible advice, bringing up to Lana all of the ways things could go wrong.

That night, Renee, Brie, and Paige are out for dinner, when Maryse shows up. Turns out that Renee ran into her earlier that day, and invited her in an attempt to try to get her and Brie to patch things up. The two of them immediately start bickering, playing the blame game on one another, making things awkward for Renee and Paige, before Maryse storms off in anger. I’ve gotta say, maybe it’s because she swears like a drunken sailor, or maybe it’s because she’s a fellow Canadian, or maybe I just like the view, but I’m totally behind Maryse.

After a Fan Axxess session, Nikki joins Brie in her hotel room, and immediately irritates Brie by slamming her street-worn dirty boots onto Brie’s bed. Brie is still sad, and whines about all of the negativity surrounding her during her retirement match weekend. Nikki is like “wah, wah, wah, poor baby, I’m worse off than you are with my broken neck, so suck it up.” Not pleased that Nikki won’t attend her pity party, Brie kicks her and her boots out of her room.

It’s Mania, and despite their fight, Nikki is there to support Brie. Meanwhile, Nattie gets blamed for teaching the Bellas how to wrestle, but in her defense, I have to assume she meant well. Later, Nattie tries to give another pep talk to Lana, and really she’s the worst motivational speaker of all time – if that’s how she trained the Bellas, no wonder they suck.

Trinity got a new head of hair, courtesy of her personal hairstylist that she flew in just to repair the Paige-inflicted damage. WWE suit Mark Carrano comes to remind them of how a few years back, the Divas match was cancelled. But he assures them that neither Divas match will get cancelled tonight.

The match happens, and despite Nattie’s soothsaying, Lana doesn’t screw up. Brie gets the win for her team, and as her team celebrates, Nikki joins her in the ring to be there for her sendoff.

Backstage, everyone celebrates the success of the match. Later, Lita makes the in-ring announcement that the Women’s Championship will replace the Divas title. And, God help us, Nikki has designs on becoming the champion. So, I guess that’s what we have to look forward to for the next few episodes. Yeesh.

Episode 2: Neidhart gives Lana a shotput tutorial; Brie finds Nikki too dictatorial; Trinity holds a moving memorial


It’s the RAW after Mania, and the buzz is in the air to kick off a new season. Nattie’s upset that Maryse is still showing up backstage, even though family of superstars are only allowed to be at Mania, and she goes to Carrano to complain. He basically tells her to mind her own business and shuts that noise down. Nattie’s worried that Maryse has secretly been given a spot on the roster, and that she may lose opportunities to be on TV as a result. She then confronts Maryse about it and makes what might be interpreted as a threat of physical assault. Though Maryse’s official return later that night was as Miz’ valet, Nattie’s fears may have the ring of truth to them, as Maryse in a talking head segment says she’s going after the Women’s championship.

At home a few weeks later, Nattie’s getting shotputting lessons from her dad, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart, but it keeps getting interrupted by calls from Lana for advice on wardrobe, in-ring stuff, and a bunch of other stuff.

Elsewhere, the Bellas are out for brunch, and it must be freezing outside if Nikki’s shirt is to be believed. In the midst of this view, she says something about something. Brie says something about this being her cycle, and gross. The two fight, but the camera still keeps focusing on Nippi – sorry, Nikki, and I miss what else they say.

Renee, Trinity, and Nattie go out for dinner, and Nattie is excited that she may be getting a championship program. After some kvetching about Lana’s constant calls, guess who walks in? Lana’s upset that a photo of her practicing a ring entrance – which almost shows off her glasnostic glands – went viral. Lana asks Nattie for some coaching at the Performance Centre, but Nattie kind of no-sells her.

Backstage, Carrano tells Nattie that if her title match against Charlotte doesn’t blow the roof off the place, they may change things up and drop her from the title picture and bring in someone new like Paige, Eva Marie, or Lana. The crowd starts off pretty dead, but by the end, she’s won them over the way she needed to.

The next day, Trinity is sad because of the recent Pulse nightclub shooting in her hometown of Orlando. She goes visits her Uncle Buck (who looks nothing like John Candy, sadly), with whom she used to go to that club all the time .They talk about how they were there just a few weeks before the shooting, and that’s prompted her to come home, to mourn for her city and be there for her friends and family.

In New York, the Bellas are doing a photo shoot for Latina magazine, and then have set up meetings on their Birdy-Bee lingerie line, but Brie wants to leave the city so she can go ovulate.

Trinity and Uncle Buck go by the memorial shrine outside Pulse, and are emotionally overcome by seeing the pictures of people that they had known from the club.

Lana drops by Nattie’s place, interrupting Nattie’s limited time at home. They head to the Performance Centre where Lana practices ring entrances that are bit more modest than her last one.

The Bellas are meeting with their fashion partners to talk about lingerie. They want the twins to attend a red carpet function the next night to celebrate Latino actresses, and Nikki jumps at the chance. But Brie is less than enthused, since she’s still hoping to ovulate herself into pregnancy. They fight because that’s what the Bellas do on this show. Outside the car, there’s a sign for a bar named Foley’s and I can’t help but wonder if it’s owned by Mick Foley, and wouldn’t that be a better reality show than this?

Lana is oblivious to how much Nattie wants her to leave the house, staying long enough to meet Nattie’s folks and somehow getting a shotput lesson from Jim. Inside the house, Nattie gripes to her mom about Lana’s ever-presence. Outside, things go wrong when Lana misthrows the shotput, sending it through the windshield of Nattie’s truck. Nattie is really ticked, and rebuffs Lana’s apology, blowing up and lashing out at Lana for infringing on her familiy time.

Back in Orlando, Trinity visits her friend Piggy who was working at Pulse the night of the shooting. It’s an emotional visit, as Piggy talks about the night and all the friends they lost. Trinity gets inspired and says she wants to organize something on behalf of the victims and the city.

The Bellas are still sniping at one another over lunch. Nikki tells Brie the reason she’s pushing Brie to think about post-wrestling-career stuff is because she doesn’t think that Bryan’s depression is conducive to Brie’s plans to start a family. Brie thinks Nikki may have a point, and that she hasn’t really considered whether Bryan is stable enough at this point.

Backstage, Lana watches Nattie’s match against Dana Brooke, and is upset that Dana stole a move that she had seen Lana practicing at the Performance Centre. After the match, Lana tells Nattie about it, and Nattie tells her to confront Dana about it. She gives Lana a supportive hug and feels bad for yelling at her before, since she can see how determined Lana is to succeed. Nattie remembers that she’s supposed to be a locker room leader and that she can’t be irritated when people use her as a mentor.

Trinity and Uncle Buck visit a charity to plan for a community gathering for the Pulse community. Her speech is actually pretty good, and she unveils the memorial plaque she commissioned which shows all of the names of the 49 people lost in the tragedy.

Brie goes back to Phoenix to talk to Bryan about the baby thing. Brie tells him that she’s ready for kids, but wants to make sure he’s ready to become a father. He says he has concerns, which makes her think she may have retired too soon – since she quit to start a family. But it turns out that he thinks he can handle a family and that they should start trying. So let the ovulating begin.

Episode 3: Maryse adopts an unwanted pooch; Paige is looking for a man to smooch; Brie wants a baby in her cootch


At home, Maryse and Miz’ giant horse-sized dog pees all over their bedroom. The Miz has to clean it up, which makes him mad, but is kind of poetic to anyone who’s a fan of the Figure-Four Leglock.

Backstage, Paige tells Alicia that she wants to get back into the dating pool. Alicia suggests she find herself a team, but I think I would be enough for her. Oh, actually I think Alicia meant she needs a team of friends to help her find someone. My bad.

Elsewhere, Carrano pulls aside Trinity and acknowledges that she’s frustrated with Creative for having nothing for her at the moment, but that they’re planning to roll out something three weeks later. He says that since she won’t be on TV, they’re going to give her a WWE Films project instead, co-starring with The Miz in the next Marine movie.

In a talking head segment, Maryse talks about her husband, The Miz, noting that while his character is easy to hate, in real life, he’s a nice guy and a romantic at heart.

At home, Brie and Bryan are awaiting pregnancy test results from the doctor. The call comes in and she’s not pregnant, so it’s possible she may need some remedial lessons in ovulation.

Eva Marie picks up Maryse before going to some fashion party, and is blown away by Maryse’s giant house and their crazy expensive sports car. Maryse explains that she’s become a house-flipper and is making tons of money doing that.

Trinity recruits her man Jimmy Uso to read through the script for the movie, and she’s scared when she finds out that her character has to ride a motorcycle – something she can’t do in real life. She wants Jimmy to go with her on set to support her, but he’s like “nuh uh, I’ve got a job.”

Eva and Maryse go to an animal shelter and Maryse falls in love with some of the dogs, even though Miz doesn’t want any more – she already has four rescue animals. She agrees to adopt one, figuring she’s way tougher than The Miz if it comes down to fisticuffs.

The Bellas are at a photo shoot with Lana, Renee, and Paige. Brie’s excited that she can get into Brie Mode since she’s not pregnant. Brie looks amazing in a thong and it’s kind of a shame that she wants to lose that figure to have a kid… selfish.

On the drive home, Maryse plots with Eva about how she can keep the dog hidden from Miz until after she gets home from the fashion red carpet event. They get the bright idea to take the dog to the event, which will no doubt end in disaster. The girls get home to get made up, and are surprised when Miz gets home earlier than expected. As he does some work around the house, they – and dear God, Eva’s dress is almost a belt – sneak the dog out to the car without him seeing it. Of course you know the dog was going to poop all over the red carpet. And it does. Which embarrasses Eva, who was the one who was invited to the event after all.

Lana joins the Bellas for dinner and drinks where the talk turns to tattoos – Brie wants one to commemorate the ending of her WWE career.

Maryse and the dog return home, and Miz isn’t too pleased with the new addition. Miz gets upset, since he doesn’t want any more pets – and it’s clear the other dogs don’t care for the new one either, judging by the growls and barks.

Trinity and Jimmy head to a motorcycle shop so Trinity can start thinking about a backstory for her character. It’s probably not for the best that she’s afraid of motorcycles, even when they’re parked. Apparently, a friend of hers was once in an accident and lost a leg, and that’s what Trinity associates motorcycles with.

The Bellas, Lana, Renee, and Paige do a photo shoot out on the beach, and really, this should be the entire show, since it’s much better than when any of them are saying stuff or doing non-bikini stuff. Brie wants to really sex it up since she knows her sexy clock is winding down. Nikki thinks Brie is obsessing over it, and says there’s still plenty of time for Brie to be sexy even after she has kids.

Jimmy brings home a little mini-motorcycle for Trinity to practice on and overcome her fears. She gets on it and immediately wipes out, nearly hurting herself. She freaks out at him, saying that his foolishness could have cost her the movie opportunity if she’d been injured. He tries to make amends, but she’s mad, thinking he doesn’t appreciate how stressed she is.

Maryse drives Miz out to see a house she’s found for potential flipping, but he’s not impressed by its look or its location. He doesn’t think it has any redeeming quality and doesn’t think it’s a worthwhile investment for flipping. So is shocked and really dismayed when she tells him that she’s already bought it for $400,000. She’s excited about the buy, but he looks like he’s ready to pass out. He’s even more upset when she tells him that she consulted with a bunch of people about it first, but he wasn’t one of them. They drive out of the neighbourhood in stony silence.

That night, the photo shoot gang go for dinner, and Brie suggests they all go get tattoos. Nikki is a killjoy, telling Brie that she should talk with Bryan about it first. Meanwhile, Renee is the devil on Brie’s other shoulder, pushing her to get one. Brie tells Nikki that she’s harshing her vibe and she wants to go wild before she becomes a mom. But Nikki reminds her that moms can be sexy too, so she needs to pump the brakes, and Brie finally listens.

At dinner, Miz is still angry, and questions Maryse whether her can trust her to not be a financial idiot while he’s away filming the movie for a month. He reminds her that he could easily get injured and if she’s spending all their savings, that could be a disaster. She tells him to trust her, but he’s not sure he can. He tells her that the reason his parents got divorced was because of communication problems, and he’s worried that his marriage is suffering from the same problem. She blames her father who disappeared and died when she was very young, and I don’t quite understand the logic, but I guess Miz does because by the end of dinner, they’ve made up.

That night, Trinity is packing for her month away filming, and Jimmy comes in with an apology letter. He’s also booked a flight to go visit her on-set and support her, and she’s happy.

The next morning, Maryse’s sister and nephew are visiting, and Maryse gives them the new dog. Miz is happy with the decision, but probably would have been happier if they’d had $400 grand and taken the new house instead.

Bob Kapur wants to wish everyone the best of the season. E-mail him some presents at bobkapur@hotmail.com.