Season 9 of Total Divas is beginning filming for release on the E! Network later this year, and that means we’re starting to get new about changes in the cast. The first thing that came out was on Lillian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, where Lana revealed that she and Rusev were taken off the show because E! says viewers simply don’t like them. (thanks to WrestlingInc for the transcript)
…Apparently, they had a meeting with the E! [Network] executives, and there’s a whole bunch of new E! executives now, and when Kevin Dunn told me that E! Executives took a poll and we are strongly disliked by the E! demographic. They do not like us, and that, basically, I’m hated, we’re hated, and the E! executives thought our stories were very slapstick. They were a strong no. The executives were a strong no. I was shocked.
Lana was often a force for chaos on the show in a not-particularly-likable manner, and had some pretty intense conflicts with both Nattie and Paige, so this choice is not too baffling, although it must be disappointing to everyone who like seeing Lana do farm work in a bikini while Rusev grills out naked.
Fortunately a promising new cast member has been added to take their place. Sonya Deville will become the first lesbian cast member on the show, and her girlfriend will be on it with her. Sonya spoke about all of this with Afterbuzz TV (transcript again from WrestlingInc.)
Obviously I’m nervous, because any time you have cameras in your personal life, inside your home, in your relationship, it is obviously nerve racking. My life is crazy and shit happens sometimes that I’m not proud of, and I make mistakes. It’s going to all be captured on TV and it’s going to air, and people are hopefully going to be able to relate to some of those mistakes, and stuff like that. My girlfriend will be on this season with me, and so that’s a big thing for her because she’s not in the public eye like I am. She’s not used to cameras in her face. It’s going to be an adjustment for her as well, and our relationship.
Just to be clear, since Sonya didn’t name her girlfriend, she and Zahra Schreiber broke up a long time ago. So the girlfriend who will be on Total Divas with her will be someone new. Considering Zahra’s history with WWE, Sonya breaking up with her probably made joining the Total Divas cast much more likely, although I assume that wasn’t the reason for the split.