Welcome back to SLAM! Wrestling’s continuing coverage of Total Divas. This season has some major changes, with Eva Marie gone from WWE, Paige off of this show due to her lengthy absence, and Renee Young not in the credits anymore, because if people want to see her and Dean Ambrose’s drunken exploits, they’ll probably see them on TMZ soon enough anyway. Can new cast members Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, and Carmella make up for it? Or at least make the show less annoying? We doubt it. But check out the full recap to find out!

After a quick montage of what dreck we can expect this season, the show starts off with Nattie ripping off her bra and throwing it to the ground in frustration, just like Gloria Steinem back in the day. #Feminism.

There’s a buzz backstage at Smackdown, because apparently that night’s TV will include a special announcement involving all the women. Nattie doesn’t think they’ll let the women do a Money in the Bank, but Naomi’s excited about the possibility.

And so she should be, since that’s exactly what the announcement is. The crowd loves the announcement, as do the women involved.

Naomi and Jimmy Uso, both champions at this time, are at their new house in Pensacola. Naomi explains that their respective working schedules has caused some strain in their lives, including their love life, which has dwindled recently. After an argument over which one should cook dinner, Jimmy says he’ll take her out to eat. But she’s wholly unimpressed when he drives her to a drive-thru spaghetti place. They argue some more, and she says he’s bored with his antics. He promises to fix her boredom.

Brie and Bryan are home doting over their new daughter Birdie. Bryan was even given paternity leave from WWE. Nikki comes over and she’s still buzzing from her engagement to John Cena. Even though she’s itching to come back, she’s still staying out of the ring to let her neck injury heal. Bryan, on the other hand, wants to stay at home as long as he can. They float the idea of her taking over his Smackdown General Manager role, and figure out a storyline, which she says she’ll pitch to the powers that be.

Alexa and Nia each get an introduction video, since they’re new to the cast this year. The three of them are hanging out backstage, talking about the upcoming female MitB match. Maryse is jealous about the match, because she just got moved over to RAW. When Nia starts talking about how Maryse really missed out on being part of it, and suggests that it’s the current crop of women that have really opened peoples’ eyes on what women can do, Maryse gets insulted.

Jimmy takes Naomi to a lighthouse to learn about Pensacola’s history. He suggests they get into some of the freaky-deaky at the top of the lighthouse, but she wants no part of it.

Lana is excited about being given the chance to make her in-ring debut as part of the MitB match. She asks Nikki and Nattie to help her train, butt Rusev keeps heckling from outside the ring, throwing in criticisms and unhelpful commentary. Nattie admits she’s nervous about doing the ladder match because she’s afraid of heights. Nikki adds onto her pressure, noting that if the women don’t do well, they’ll likely never do another one again.

Later, Nattie’s parents come to visit her at home. Nattie wants to practice some ladder techniques, so who better than her dad, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart, to teach her, right? Because of the legendary ladder matches he’s been in, right? Anyone? Bueller? They head off to a hardware store to buy some ladders that she can use to practice. They end up buying a few of them, but of course, in their buffoonish attempts to secure the ladders to the car, they end up locking themselves in the car, and one of the ladders falls off during the drive home anyway. The training session is a disaster, because Nattie’s afraid to climb it, and Jim’s such a ladder match expert that his teaching is way too advanced for her… yeah, let’s just say that.

At home, Jimmy has home-cooked a romantic dinner for Naomi, and she’s feeling the love again… even though she finds the take-out containers from the place where he bought it.

Bryan gets a call, and WWE wants him to go back to work. Brie’s upset because she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to cope with the baby all by herself. They reason that WWE doesn’t want to run with their idea to have Nikki take over the GM spot.

Everyone’s in Tampa, so they head to Nikki’s place before the PPV. Bikini shots ensue, so take that, Ms. Steinem. They ask Rusev if he’s excited about Lana making her in-ring debut, and it’s clear that he’s not in favour of her being part of it. The ladies tell him he’d better suck it up and support her, and to commend her for wanting to take the risks.

Nikki tells them about her pitch-meeting with Creative, but they passed. She’s disappointed, but she says there’s a lot of other good things she can do officially for the company, even if it’s not on TV. Like quit (my idea)?

Backstage, Nia asks Maryse if she’s ever been in a Gauntlet match. But even though she’s asking because she wants some advice about it, Maryse thinks she’s asking it in a condescending manner, like suggesting Maryse has never done anything that difficult in her career. Maryse starts yelling at Nia about showing her a lack of respect and throwing out repeatedly the facat that she’s had a 12-year career, and so she’s better than Nia. The yell at each other for a while and start throwing out threats before they split up and go their separate ways. Alexa, who watched this whole thing escalate out of nowhere, is completely befuddled by what’s happened.

Later, Alexa explains to Nia that the women of Maryse’s era never got the chance to compete in certain matches, so when Nia asked her about them, it seemed to Maryse that Nia was rubbing salt in the wound. She hopes that Nia and Maryse can work things out. Nia says she’s going to learn a bit more about Maryse’s history, and be a bit more careful when talking with veterans.

At home, Maryse tells Miz about her interaction with Nia, and how it makes her feel that people don’t think she’s as good as the women are today. Miz gets hot, reminding her that during her era, women didn’t get the opportunities that they had today, so getting over back then meant you were really special. He tells her she has nothing to prove to anybody, and that Maryse is a cornerstone of the Women’s Revolution. Miz suggests Maryse go and school Nia, but Maryse is like F her, she’s not worth it.

It’s the night of the PPV, and everyone’s stressed about putting on a great ladder match in order to not blow the opportunity for everyone else in the future. The episode ends with the participants making their way to the ring to make history.

Bob Kapur forgot to write anything here. E-mail him suggestions at bobkapur@hotmail.com.