Previously on Total Divas, seven whole seasons happened! The most recent of those seasons were ably recapped by my predecessors Bill Hanstock and Danielle Matheson, but now it’s my turn to recap the best wrestling show with no wrestling on it. Nikki and Brie Bella got their own spinoff show, but stayed on this one as well. Then the Miz and Maryse got their own show too, and have now left this show behind. Paige joined the cast in Season 3, but left in Season 5. Nia Jax joined in Season 6 alongside her then-best friend Alexa Bliss, but Alexa and that friendship are both out the window now.
But enough living in the past, let’s look at the biggest matchups on the Season 8 premiere of Total Divas:
Paige Versus Nia Jax
I could not be happier to have Paige back on this show. She’s funny and real, and she always makes Total Divas worth watching. She reappears in this episode, after a season off due to injury and her life being a mess for a while, and the first thing she does is get out of a car on the New Orleans street and laugh at the fact that one side of her top has fallen all the way down, leaving half of her bra on display for the world. It’s not actually that scandalous, because the difference between Paige’s black bra and the shirts she wears is really pretty minimal. It’s still funny watching her laugh at herself for being a mess, though. It’s funnier of course because she’s actually much less of a mess than she was for a while, so she can be ridiculous and over-the-top without making us wonder if she’s really okay.
Here’s another thing to love about Paige: She puts her opponents over. Even when she’s in conflict with somebody, she never really makes them seem like a bad guy. In this episode, she’s upset because everybody’s in New Orleans for WrestleMania including her, but she’s already been told she can’t wrestle anymore (and worse, she can’t tell the public yet). Not only is she sad because her career appears to be over, but she has much less to do than everyone else, and feels left out when nobody has time to hang out with her. She gets especially mad at her current bestie, Nia Jax, who’s too busy preparing for her big WrestleMania title match to show up for Paige’s swamp tour and has to turn down her cemetery photoshoot (everything Paige plans is very Paige).
It all comes to a head with Paige accusing Nia of not wanting to be her friend anymore because she can’t wrestle, which leads to Nia chasing a stomping-off Paige out of a hotel and the two of them having a much-needed heart to heart amid the lush Southern greenery about Paige’s feelings on not being able to get in the ring in the city where she made her main roster debut just four years earlier at the Raw after WrestleMania 30. Things get exaggeratedly dramatic when you’re living your life on the E! Network, but it’s obvious that Paige’s pain is real, and it was probably worse here, before she knew how strong her post-wrestling WWE career was going to be. I’m giving her the win though, because the important thing here is that she realizes she has friends around her and that they’re going to help her through this tough transition in her life.
Winner: Paige, by hugging it out.