This is being referred to as the new Golden Age of Television. A time when some of the highest-quality programs ever made are on the air. The return of Total Divas is the exception to the rule. Welcome back to SLAM! Wrestling’s coverage of the show that even 205 Live viewers snub as being low-quality wrestling programming. We’re already a couple of weeks behind, so let’s get things rolling with the first two episodes of the season.
The premiere starts off with a video package celebrating the women’s revolution in WWE, with the most recent cataclysmic change being Ronda Rousey’s signing to WWE.
The Bellas and Nia Jax are doing a photo shoot, and they start talking about Nia’s upcoming match at WrestleMania against Alexa Bliss. Nia tells the twins that she likes Ronda in WWE, but they’re all happy that Nia’s storyline is still being prominently featured.
Paige is back, but after her injury, she’s not allowed to ever wrestle again. She will be making her retirement speech the day after Mania, but her status is hush-hush until then. She and Nia head to the Superdome, where Nia is a bit nervous about her match. Paige wants to grab a bite, but Nia kind of brushes her off, because she wants to prep for her match.
All the girls trickle into New Orleans, and Paige is trying to force a tourist agenda on the girls, including a swamp tour with Lana, Nattie, and Naomi. Nattie is proud of her husband, TJ (Tyson Kidd), who is now a WWE producer, after he had to retire due to injury.
Brie and Bryan are back home, getting ready to pack for Mania. Brie’s excited because WWE may put her and Nikki’s lingerie line, BirdieBee, in the Mania store. Brie has decided to take on the role of President of the company, after the last one left. As long as she stays out of the ring, that’s great.
The swamp tour begins, with Sonya DeVille joining the others, and they see a bunch of crocodiles. This would have been a perfect time for a cameo by Steve Keirn, but no such luck. Paige has sought the advice of a voodoo priestess to try to get a healing spell so she can return to the ring. Naomi dismisses the idea, telling Paige that she shouldn’t hitch her wagon to such sorcery.
Nattie and Lana visit the superstore, leading to a funny moment where they aren’t recognized by security – yet the Bellas, who are both retired, have their own section in the store. Nattie calls Brie and tells her that she’s going to do whatever she can to help the BirdieBee merch sell out. But then she goes rogue, and cuts an Instagram promo, saying that if you buy some BirdieBee stuff, you’ll get a chance to meet the Bella Twins and Daniel Bryan.
The next day at Axxess, Tyson gets asked by a fan about Nattie’s chances in the women’s battle royal, but he starts listing off the other women in the match instead, which upsets Nattie. Great producer, lousy husband.
Meanwhile, Paige is upset because all of her interviewers tell her how much they can’t wait to see her back in the ring, which of course, she cannot publicly comment on.
Later that night, the girls all hit Bourbon Street. Nattie is still pimping out BirdieBee merch and promising fans a Bella meet and greet. Lana calls her out on these false claims, but Nattie is too drunk (Brie mode!) to quit.
Paige finds a curbside psychic and decides to get a reading, making the others wait. Naomi is particularly irritated by this pseudo-witchcraft. Over drinks, Nia talks about her match, and has all the girls’ attention, while Paige sulks in the corner because she can’t be part of the show.
The next morning, the Bellas are at Axxess for their signing session. A few of the fans mention Nattie’s promises for a meet and greet session, and Nikki is, like, WTF? Nikki gets ticked at Nattie, but also at Brie for tacitly approving the video, because she okayed Nattie’s offer to help. Brie says she’ll speak to Nattie about it, but Nikki’s looking like she’s got impeachment in mind.
They find and confront Nattie at a charity event later that night. Nattie defends her actions, but Nikki says that those desperate tactics could hurt the BirdieBee brand. Nattie apologizes, and all is forgiven.
The next day, Paige tries to get Nia to come to a pre-arranged, cemetery, but Nia again brushes her off. She tells her flat out that she has to wrestle so doesn’t have time to play tourist. Paige takes this as meaning that Nia doesn’t want to be her friend because she can’t wrestle, which makes no sense, because the Bellas have lots of friends. But, irrational thinking makes for more fake drama, so let’s go with it. Paige walks out in a huff, but Nia follows her out the door. Paige tells her how depressed she is, and just wants to keep herself distracted, and how every mention of Nia’s match hurts her. She also shares that she felt ridiculed by Naomi who dismissed her attempts to seek a remedy through the dark arts. Nia apologizes for her insensitivity, and the two make up.
At the Hall of Fame ceremony, Nia tells Naomi how disappointed Paige is, and what she said about Naomi. She then confides to Renee Young how nervous she is about her match. She then talks to Lana, who does Nia no favours by telling her about pressures that Nia hadn’t even thought of before – including the pressure from internet trolls. Lana sucks at being a friend.
Naomi finds Paige and pulls her aside to clear the air. Naomi tells Paige about her conversation with Nia. Naomi tells Paige that she supports her, no matter what she tries in order to get healed up. The two of them make up and all is good.
Later that night, Piage goes to another psychic, with Lana in tow, but Naomi is to scared to go into the voodoo shop. The voodoo priestess gives Paige a voodoo doll, and does a spell to try to heal Paige’s neck, while Exorcists-type music plays.
It’s WrestleMania day, but, we have to wait until next time, because Time’s Up.
Backstage, the Bellas are talking about day-drinking (Brie mode!) before the show. Both of them are hoping to get back into the ring some day (which makes me want to get into Brie mode). Even Siri says nothing positive about the thought.
Backstage, everyone’s prepped and ready for the show, the biggest Mania ever in terms of women power, with four matches on the show. Tamina gives Nia a pep talk backstage, and tries to calm her down, as she’s feeling butterflies.
Nattie is still miffed about TJ’s slight from Axxess, and she feels completely unimportant in his eyes. She tells Paige how she feels, and Paige makes her confront TJ about it. After instigating it, Paige leaves as TJ and Nattie scrap. TJ refuses to compliment Nattie, which leaves her in tears. Paige consoles her, and when Nattie thinks about Paige’s situation, she realizes that TJ may be simply trying to keep himself emotionally in check, since he can’t wrestle and this may be a sore spot with her.
kstage, Paige congratulations Sonya, who’s trumpeting that she’s the first openly-lesbian female to perform at WrestleMania. Wait, she’s what? That’s the first I think I’ve heard about it. No wonder she turned me down.
Paige seeks out Bryan after his match to get his advice on how to give a good retirement speech. He gives her some advice, which is to focus on the positive things that happened to her during her short career. She keeps her chin up, and decides to go into her speech with a better outlook.
TJ finds the Bellas and asks their advice on how he can fix things with Nattie. They tell her to simply stop being an asshat and compliment her. He says he’ll do it, basically just to shut her up.
The twins then track down Nia in makeup and give her some encouraging words before her match. Nia is still a bit nervous, performing on such a big stage for the first time.
It’s time for the first ever WrestleMania womens’ battle royal, and Paige joins the commentary team for the match. It’s bittersweet for her, watching how far the women have come, but not able to be part of it. For her part, Nattie decides to not think about the tension with TJ and simply focus on the match. She does well, but ultimately, Naomi takes the win. Afterwards, Naomi celebrates the victory with an outpouring of happy emotions.
Later, TJ gives Nattie a bouquet of flowers and publicly (well, in front of the other women anyway) tells her how proud he is of her. Nattie is understandably thrilled.
The women all are curious to watch Ronda’s debut match, and are blown away by her performance (for the record, I thought she did fine, but I really didn’t like the match). Nia agrees with me, but for different reasons: she’s worried about following that performance. Unnecessarily so, as it turns out, since her match with Alexa is well-received.
The next day, the Bellas head out to a meet and greet over breakfast with some fans who felt cheated about not getting one after Nattie promised it. The fans all seem pleased with the experience, and they think about doing this kind of thing more regularly. As they’re walking, in the background, some dumb clod nearly trips over his own feet and has to catch himself from face-planting on the sidewalk, and that was immeasurably more interesting than anything either of the Bellas were yammering on about. In the end, Brie says she’ll step down as President and they’ll try to find someone with experience. Hey, why not Paige, she’s not doing anything else these days.
Paige and Absolution go shopping, and laugh about Lana’s incessant texting, which she proceeds to “ghost”, as the kids say. Later, they hit Bourbon street for some fun (Brie mode!). After, they meet up with the rest of the crew for drinks and dinner. Everyone is feeling sad for Paige, whose big speech will be the next night.
On RAW, Paige gives her emotional farewell, in the same city where she debuted on the main roster four years earlier on the night after Mania. She’s upset, but looks forward to turning the next page.
Bob Kapur has occasionally day-drank in New Orleans. Throw him some beads at [email protected].