At long last, here is the recap for the final few episodes of the first half of the season. In these episodes, Lana and Rusev suffer a nasty prank in the days leading up to their wedding. Speaking of pranks, the wrestling gods are playing a very cruel one on all of us by taking Paige out of the ring with an injury while bringing Nikki back into it. Check out the full recap for all the details.
Episode 8: Nattie’s a flop at planning Lana’s strange wedding; Back to WWE is where Bryan is heading; From Ambrose no attention is Renee ever getting; Paige never wrestles again is what we are betting.
Backstage, Renee, Paige, and Nattie are eating, when Lana comes to them to get some ideas for her wedding planning. Not wanting to be part of this, Renee and Paige quickly head for zee hills – seriously, all that was needed was the bongo sound when Scooby and Shaggy run away from a scary ghost – leaving Nattie alone to help Lana. Lana is looking at a circus-themed day, and Nattie enables this nonsense.
Renee is rocking the bikini bod in her pool with Dean Ambrose, and really that should be the show. She talks about Dean Ambrose being the champion but when he gets home, he just wants to laze around. Or something. I was really just hoping for more bikini shots.
Backstage, Maryse fondles Eva’s breasts, and really, that should be the show. Meanwhile, Paige has puppies of another kind, meaning she brought a dog backstage, since she’s been taken off the show because of her injury. Xavier Woods figures out that she hasn’t potty-trained him yet (the dog, not Xavier), and that means that this dog is likely going to pee on something later on in this episode, getting Paige in trouble.
Elsewhere, everyone’s wondering about who will end up where after the upcoming brand extension. Trinity is hopeful that she ends up on the same show as her hubby Jon (Jimmy Uso).
After receiving a lengthy text, Nattie is already sick of helping Lana with the wedding planning, complaining to Summer Rae about Lana’s high-maintenance neediness. Summer’s the best, using every second of her limited screen time to insult Nattie – man, those two hate each other. Later, Nattie complains to R-Truth, who suggests she completely botch the job, and give Lana bad suggestions until she “fires” Nattie. Hard to tell if he’s the bigger dummy for suggesting it, as opposed to simply telling Lana that she doesn’t want to do it, or if it’s her for latching on to the idea. Or is it the writer of the bad 80s sitcom from which they stole this terrible plot idea.
Renee is upset that Dean has refused to join her on a couples retreat with Brie and Bryan. Nattie kind of sympathizes with his point of view, since she knows what it’s like to be constantly on the road and just want some downtime at home. Lana, though, says Renee should go as Brie and Bryan’s third wheel, and why miss out just because her boyfriend is a social misfit.
Speaking of Brie and Bryan, they’re out shopping when they run into a super Bryan fan. After that encounter, they talk about Brie’s lady parts and lady functions, in what has to be the worst lunchtime discussion ever. They run into Brie’s pregnant friend, driving home the point that they really want a baby.
Backstage, Paige tries to convince WWE suit Mark Carrano that she can avoid surgery by just going through physical rehab, but he’s not so convinced.
On their retreat, Brie gets a message from her cousin who announces that she’s pregnant, depressing Brie about her barren uterus. Renee tries to cheer her up, telling her that she’ll for sure get pregnant now that she and Bryan are both retired and off the road, foreshadowing the surprise that’s about to come.
Lana and Nattie are out selecting Lana’s wedding dress. Bridezilla wants a dress that will merge her interest for a beach theme and a circus theme. Nattie tries to sabotage the planning with bad colour suggestions, none of which Lana likes.
At lunch, Renee misses Dean, and is nervous about being split up with him after the brand extension, since Carrano has said only married couples are guaranteed to stay together. Not said, but implied, is that no matter what happens, John Cena and Nikki Bella will be on the same show, because John Cena… recognize. Bryan says how relived he is that he doesn’t have to worry about being on TV anymore, and really, that sitcom writer is at it again with this so not subtle direction of this story. Somewhere, a script of Fuller House isn’t being written.
Paige and her dog are waiting her medical checkup, and she’s sad that her career may be over.
Renee confides in Brie that she’s angry with Dean for not joining them on the retreat. Meanwhile, Bryan gets a call from WWE telling them they have something for him. He’s not sure if he wants to go back or not. They speculate as to what the job may be, but he’s in the dark. Bryan says that if it’s a chance to wrestle again, he’s all in. But Brie isn’t so excited, since it’s going to be hard for her to have a baby without him. Though I suppose I could help her out if need be.
Paige’s neck pain is spreading, so she calls up the doctor, who tells her that she needs to get an MRI so they can figure out what’s going on.
Dear God, Maryse’s dress is tight, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for a cake-tasting session, to which Lana invited her because she’s having doubts about Nattie’s ability to make the right decision, judging from the dress store fiasco. Nattie keeps suggesting things she knows Lana won’t like. When Lana excuses herself to use the facilities, Nattie reveals her scheme to Maryse. Nattie asks for Maryse to take over, but Maryse flat-out refuses. In an unintentionally hilarious moment, right after Lana complains about hating vanilla because it’s so bland and boring, she then says to Nattie, about Nattie’s vanilla wedding cake, “That’s so you.” Tremendous.
While out shopping, Renee asks Brie what whether she’d join Bryan on the road if he had to travel, but Brie says her focus should be on getting pregnant first and foremost. Brie just wants to have a normal life with her husband, and being on the road would make that difficult. Renee suggests Brie talk to Bryan about it, so they can have a frank discussion about their future.
Not apropos of anything else on this episode, they keep coming back from commercials by showing Eva Marie walking around in a tight dress, and really that should be the show.
Before a show, Lana approaches Nattie, who finally has had it. She tells Lana that she’s too busy career-wise to help Lana with her wedding planning. She tells Lana that she’s been trying to do a lousy job so that Lana will ask someone else. Lana takes it surprisingly well, and says that Nattie should have just told her she didn’t feel comfortable helping her, and Lana would have understood.
Still on the retreat, Renee calls Dean and tells him she’s ticked that he bailed on her, and left her alone with Brie and Bryan. He tells her that he’s arranged a trip for them to Big Sur, and she’s thrilled, forgetting all about this kind of passive-aggressive like behaviour. He really is a douche, and she keeps accepting it like he’s a hero. Wake up, Renee.
Paige goes to the clinic for her MRI. Off-camera, she finds out she’s got a bunch of neck issues, which is revealed when she’s talking with Nattie and Trinity later on. She’s upset, since it’s happening right around the brand extension, but she says it’s not going to derail her.
Brie, Bryan, and Renee are on a whale-watching expedition. In a quiet moment, Brie shares her concern that if Bryan takes this job, it will affect their life and family plans. She says she retired so they can live their life pursuing that plan with him. He says if she doesn’t want him to take it, he won’t. But she says she wants him to be happy and to get back a piece of what he’s lost. They agree that whatever happens, they will make a family work. They see some whales.
Backstage, Carrano tells Paige that they’ve received her MRI results, and they are not good. She’s out for at least four weeks, possibly six, and if it’s still not fixed, then who knows what will happen. He says she’s not going to be part of the brand extension, and that her career is pretty much ended until when and if it gets 100% fixed.
Brie joins Bryan backstage at TV, where it’s announced that he will be on the commentary team for the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. He’s clearly thrilled to be in front of the live crowd again, and she’s happy for him. The episode ends with the crowd chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Episode 9: Lana could have been Mrs. Old Spice; Renee is a bad friend and not very nice; on the red carpet the Bellas are smooth as ice
Backstage, the girls are all excited about being in Las Vegas, and are all excited about Lana’s upcoming bachelorette party. Lana asks them not to say anything to Rusev about it, since he’s against the idea of bachelorette parties because this show. Apparently, he has antiquated ideas about women and me, because one of his friends once made out with the bride at a party and he apparently doesn’t trust Lana not to do the same.
The twins are at a beauty salon, and they’re excited that the whole family will be walking the red carpet at the upcoming ESPY Awards that John Cena will be hosting.
Backstage, Rusev and Lana are hanging out. In a talking head segment, Lana says that she’s never had a relationship like the one with Rusev, and that she used to be a party girl, so presumably only was with dirtbags.
The suite Lana booked is huge, complete with its own basketball court. He’s got a couple of sketchy-looking buddies there to keep him busy while the girls hit the strip to get into Brie Mode. At dinner, Renee gets shady, asking a couple of random fans their thoughts about bachelorette parties, then inviting them to Lana’s, all while Rusev is sitting there at the table. She then starts grilling Rusev about why he doesn’t like them. She tells Rusev she’s taking Lana out to one, including to a male strip club. If I were Lana, I’d drop her as a friend, as there seems to be no point to this but to add tension to Lana and Rusev’s relationship. But then I forgot for a second that this show is idiotic and irritating and why hurt my brain trying to assess it from a common sense standpoint. Still, this segment does nothing but make Renee seem almost as unlikable as her douche boyfriend Dean Ambrose.
The twins get asked to attend a meeting for their ill-conceived Birdy-Bee fashion line, but Nikki is already too busy, planning for the ESPYs. Their mom Kathy and brother JJ show up. They and Brie want to chill family-style, but Nikki brushes them off to answer some business texts and everyone gets mad at her.
The girls get ready for Lana’s bachelorette, and Renee is still planning on taking Lana to a male burlesque show. Rusev overhears her, but Renee lies to him and says they’re going to do some tame stuff with no naked men involved. At the bar, the Old Spice commercial guy comes up to their table and apparently he and Lana once dated. Renee invites him to the next day’s pool party, which Trinity is puzzled by, because she apparently didn’t read my paragraph above about common sense.
At lunch, the Bella family decide to come up with a code word when they get accosted by paparazzi because they all look terrible when they don’t have time to pose. Kathy then requests a moratorium on phones at the table since they’re all taking unflattering pictures of each other eating.
The bachelorette party (Lana, Renee, and Trinity, so party in name, if not numbers) get onto a party bus to head to the strip club. The party bus host is a lame geek and tries to insert himself into the fun, but they’re having none of it. They head to the Thunder Down Under show, and Lana gets dragged on stage where a dancer gyrates on her. Lana thanks them for the experience, since she’s never done anything like that before. Then the evil Renee starts prodding Lana over her relationship with Old Spice guy.
Rusev and his buddies meet up with the girls, and Lana admits that she went to the strip club, with Renee throwing gasoline on the fire by talking about the gyrating dancer. Rusev is clearly upset.
At another club, the random fan from the night before that Renee invited to the party shows up. She and her friend are in full-blown Brie Mode, making everyone uncomfortable. At one point, the random girl and her friend start fighting, leading to Trinity having to break it up until security shows up. That Jezebel Renee stooges to Lana telling her that Rusev didn’t tell her that one of the girl propositioned her. What she didn’t say was that Rusev politely ignored it and dismissed it as the drunken rambling it was, but of course Lana thinks he was trying to cover it up for some reason, and gets all mad. God, I hate this show.
The twins have set up an appointment with a media trainer who will teach them on the art of answering red carpet questions. Kathy and JJ both fail, mainly JJ because he’s too honest for the phoney-baloney nature of Hollywood.
As much as I can’t stand this show, they know how to win me over,and that’s with the occasional scene where the girls are in skimpy bathing attire, and that’s what Lana is wearing here. She asks Trinity about her wedding, and Renee’s interrogation brings Lana’s concerns about her past dating experiences to the surface.
Then they go into the pool and run into another random fan who thinks she’s a cat, making everyone awkward. Speaking of which, here comes Old Spice guy, and he finds Lana. But he actually turns out being a decent guy, telling Lana he’s happy for her, and knows that she’ll have a good husband in Rusev. She’s emotional by this and after he leaves, Renee and Trinity see her crying, as she’s getting pre-wedding jitters. Renee and Trinity talk her down, reminding her about how strong her and Rusev’s relationship is.
Nikki is obsessing over how she will look at the next night’s ESPYs, so Brie suggest a dip in the pool to chill her out. But Nicole keeps looking at bad pictures of her on social media, so JJ throws her phone into the pool, angering her. On the plus side, more skimpy bathing attire (not on JJ, fortunately) – so the idiocy of this scene is at least tolerable.
In their hotel, Lana breaks down crying, confessing to Rusev about how scared she is of the wedding. She’s afraid if they don’t make it, she won’t be able to take it. Rusev says if she doesn’t want to get married, they can just live together. But he says the best approach to facing fears is to confront them – meaning, they should go ahead and get married. And if she’s scared about anything, she should lean on him. She feels better and all is good.
The wedding party goes out for a fancy dinner arranged by Renee, and she brings out the night’s entertainment – a freaky magician who has two masked luchadore assistants. The assistants unmask, and it’s the couple from the bar the other night. And then the party bus host shows up, as does crazy pool cat lady. It was all a rib played by Renee – you all got Swerved! Renee is proud of this prank, even though it seems mean-spirited to ruin Lana and Rusev’s moment, and she really is detestable. Seriously, unfriend her.
The Bella family is getting ready for the ESPYs and the shot of Brie waxing down Nikki’s leather dress is probably unsuitable for TV-PG audiences, but really that should be the whole show. The Miz and Maryse, Ric Flair and Charlotte, and Summer Rae are there to support Cena. Cena and Nikki are red carpet veterans, and neither Kathy nor JJ make a fool of themselves. Though they don’t show Johnny Ace answer a question, we can assume he botched it. But Cena didn’t, and his hosting gig seemed to go pretty well.
Episode 10: Lana finally gets her dream wedding; everyone worries about to which show they’re heading; Dean’s drunken antics are very upsetting
Nikki and Cena go for a fancy lunch at the same place they were eating at when Nikki’s neck started bothering her. In a couple of days, she finds out if the surgery was successful and she can come back to the ring. Here’s hoping no.
Renee joins the rest of the girls at the gym, where the talk is all about Lana and Rusev’s wedding. Lana’s crazy circus wedding includes bringing in a couple of elephants, which outrages Maryse because of the abuses that elephants undergo by circuses and the like. Lana basically tells Maryse to know her role and shut her mouth.
Trinity is getting her hair done with Jimmy and she wonders what will happen if they end up on different shows after the brand extension draft.
Backstage, Maryse tells Miz about the fight she had with Lana about elephants, and says that if the elephants are there, she won’t. Miz agrees with that stance because look at her.
Renee tells Nattie that she’s going to be taking her boyfriend Dean Ambrose to Toronto to spend time with her family. It will be the first time they will meet him outside of a show, where his character may not necessarily have painted him in the best light. Not realizing that outside of the show, based on his appearances on this one, he’s even worse.
Trinity is still nervous about the brand split and being separated from Jon.
Immediately after landing in Toronto, Ambrose has nothing good to say about the city. He then acts douchey in the car, and Renee finds this charming. Poor, confused girl.
Nikki goes for her MRI. Results to follow.
At their rented house, Renee scolds Dean for not showering and getting presentable before meeting her parents. He revels in his slobbiness for no reason other than to make her feel bad. He answers the door and wow, he comes across as a jerk. Renee’s mom suggests they go to The Beaches, but Ambrose says he wants to bungee jump off the CN Tower. Then Renee’s mom shows off her gross foot. What’s wrong with these people?
Nikki’s MRI results are in and they’re bad for anyone who likes wrestling. But there may still be hope, as the doctor’s clearance doesn’t necessarily mean that the WWE will clear her.
Lana is in a skimpy bikini watching videos of elephants to see if Maryse was right, and is disappointed to see that she was. She and Rusev debate whether or not they should get a flower arch at their wedding. He doesn’t think so, despite the fact that it’s her dream.
Nattie joins Nikki for brunch and to catch up. Nikki gives her the news that the doctor has cleared her, and Nattie’s happy for her. Nikki says she would have hated to retire because of injury, and that she wants to go out on her own terms. Unfortunately, her terms aren’t immediately.
Back in Toronto, Renee’s whole family and Dean are at brunch when someone brazenly steals Renee’s hat right off of her head. Ambrose immediately springs into action and chases down the thief, nearly coming to blows with the drunken idiot. Renee runs after him and scolds him for acting like a psychopath in front of her family. He goes back to the table and downplays the event, and they start arguing about it in front of her family. She wants to be away from him for a bit, so he ends up taking her mom somewhere.
Nikki meets up with the WWE trainer and he gives her a quick workout to assess her in-ring condition. She’s quite rusty and botches a few moves, so I guess that means she’s back to normal.
Renee finds Dean and her mom at a bar pounding back shots. She tries to get them to come back home, and unfortunately when he tries to drunkenly run into traffic, she doesn’t stop him.
Lana is in a different skimpy bikini – seriously, what’s the bikini budget on this show? – and Nikki comes over. Rusev has a surprise for Lana, and instead of the floral arch, it’s Brie and Bryan and a Lamborghini which he bought as a gift for himself. Lana’s upset that he bought a new car, but balked at spending the money on the arch.
It’s daytime, and Renee is upset that Ambrose is a drunken lush, and so is her mom, apparently, because they’re pounding back the drinks at a bar. Renee gives him a time-out, telling him to sit there on a sidewalk bench while she goes into a store to shop. Her mom follows her and questions why she’s treating him so badly, and Renee says she just wants him to calm down and stop acting like a drunken jackass. Her mom is a big enabler and says that Renee should lighten up and accept him the way he is even if she’s uncomfortable with it. Way to parent.
At lunch, Lana tells Nikki that she’s a bit upset by Rusev’s inflexibility over the wedding, like the fact that he won’t budge on the arch, and somehow this becomes a discussion about Nikki and how she wants to marry John Cena and take his last name. She tells Lana that she needs to come to some kind of agreement with Rusev about all of this stuff before the wedding.
Renee apologizes to Dean for not wanting him to be an asshat, saying that she was wrong for trying to change him for her parents’ sake. Man, she’s really a victim in denial. Later, she and her whole family drink with him, and he hits her with nunchucks while her parents laugh instead of calling the cops on this abusive moron. Everyone’s there on the beach for Lana and Rusev’s rehearsal dinner, and everyone is having a good time. Dean and Renee show up as well, so I guess he wasn’t too drunk to board a plane.
The next day, Lana is getting ready for the big day. She gets a nice card and a elephant-themed gift from Maryse and Miz. This results in her being disappointed that while she was going to get elephants to the ceremony for him, he won’t even spring a few bucks for the floral arch that she wanted.
But then he did. As a surprise, he actually did get her the arch – which she sees for the first time as she’s walking down the aisle – and this makes her realize that the big lug really does love her.
The wedding goes off without a hitch, and it’s actually somewhat sweet. Until Lana’s father botches Rusev’s (and now Lana’s) last name. Good thing they had that rehearsal dinner, right?
The after-party is circus-themed with a big top tent, elephant statues, cotton candy, rides, and stilt-walkers. At the reception, between cake-cutting and first dances, talk amongst the Divas is centred around the draft.
Nikki then gets an e-mail telling her that she won’t be allowed to be part of the draft, which puts a damper on the celebration. She’s upset, since she’s been training to come back and feels like she should be on the draft. But Brie and Bryan remind her that her surgery is so recent and that she probably isn’t ready for a full-time schedule at this point, so she should just be patient.
Everyone arrives for the draft show. Well, everyone except for Nikki, who’s back in the training centre, botching practice moves some more.
The show ends with everyone worried about what the draft will bring to their personal and professional lives, and a quick preview about what’s to come when the show returns in April – and come back here for all the details on SLAM! Wrestling’s continued coverage of the show. And we may actually get them up on a timely basis!
Bob Kapur has never been married. E-mail him your proposals at firstname.lastname@example.org