Previously on Total Divas, all the girls faced their fears during their Lake Tahoe vacation, except for Brie who made hers up for a prank.
But enough living in the past, let’s look at everything that happens in the hard-hitting Season 8 finale of Total Divas:
The Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart Memorial Reality TV Episode
I came into this season, my first as a Total Divas recapper, ready to make some funny jokes about how reality television is just like wrestling and how every episode is built around silly conflicts that would never happen in real life. Then Total Divas caught me off guard by dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. Sure, there was the usual malarky like Nikki Bella throwing her niece an unauthorized birthday party when it wasn’t her birthday, and Paige trying to get people to eat sushi off of a naked man. But there was also Nikki being chased by paparazzi after her breakup with John Cena, and Paige dealing with the end of her in-ring career and constant harassment from fans. I still think Naomi and Jimmy Uso’s marital conflict was a bit of a work, but it felt all-too-real at its core. Even the Paige/Lana fight, as over-the-top as it was, clearly grew out of actual years-long animosity.
I guess what I’m saying is that I came into this season expecting to write about how none of it mattered, and then a lot of it ended up mattering, at least to me. That trend reached its crescendo in this season finale, in which Natalya dealt with the illness and death of her father, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart. Jim was a recurring character on the show, in addition to being a wrestling legend, and there was never any doubt that his death would be dealt with on screen. We could debate the tastefulness of shooting at his funeral and so forth, but at the end of the day this is a family that has lived a life entwined with the wrestling business for decades, and this is what they wanted, and probably what he would have wanted. Natalya says as much late in the episode.