Previously on Total Divas, Paige revealed her secret boyfriend after grossing out Nia’s brother, Nattie tried to host a barbecue despite knowing nothing of hosting or barbecue, and Brie Bella realized she was done breastfeeding.
But enough living in the past, let’s look at the biggest matchups on Season 8 Episode 5 of Total Divas:
Nia Jax Versus Natalya, Naomi, and Lana
This is one of those classic Total Divas stories where a quick conversation would have made everything okay immediately, but they wait all episode to have that conversation. Nia Jax just bought her first house, all by herself except for her dog. She apparently invited Natalya, Naomi, and Lana for a fun girls’ weekend, but actually planned all along to put them to work unpacking and getting the place in order. Anybody who’s ever watched this show could have told her that Nattie and Lana are the last two people you want to help you around the house. Individually they have no useful skills, and together they’re a nonstop maelstrom of drama.
It is kind of funny to watch Nattie and Lana come off as ridiculously privileged, though. Asked to help put together a small bookshelf, Nattie mutters, “This is what you pay people for.” Faced with similar work, Lana says, “I could write you a check.” As she so often does on this show, Naomi comes off looking the best by staying out of the middle of the conflict. She’s still super-annoyed that Nia deceptively invited them over to do work for her, but she lets the other two take the lead on criticizing the situation. Because who wouldn’t be annoyed if your friend invited you over for a fun time and then had you put furniture together and paint their house? For Lana, of course, there’s also a lot more going on than that.
We’re still in the period where Lana was off of TV, when she was no longer managing Tamina and hadn’t yet gotten involved with Rusev Day. So she’s looking for ways to reinvent herself and get attention. Her plan a couple of weeks back to get on TV by leaking fake public sex photos with Rusev somehow didn’t pan out, so now she’s aggressively brainstorming character ideas at Nattie and Naomi. After a lot of pitches involving glitter and sequins, a wig at the costume story inspires her to actually dye her hair pink. Nobody’s sure if Mark Carrano will like it, but because she’s Lana she does it rather than asking anybody.
She also does it in the bathroom of Nia’s new house, which leaves bright pink stains on the wall. Ironically this brings things to a head, where the foursome can finally discuss their different expectations for the weekend. Nia gives up on making everyone work, and they all head to the hotel where Natalya had already secretly checked in because Nia originally expected them to sleep on her floor. Along the way Nattie and Lana have their inevitable weekly drama after Nattie says she doesn’t really like the pink, and ultimately Lana decides to go back to blonde.
Winner: Lana, by pushing things to the limit and trying new stuff, even though she lacks the conviction of Liv Morgan.
Paige (with the Bella Twins) Versus the Patriarchy
I went back and forth on how to describe the conflict in this segment. The feminism of Total Divas is of the softened, reality TV variety, where they’d never actually use a word like “patriarchy,” or for that matter “feminism.” But whether you like the word or not, the patriarchy is definitely why Paige is being publicly shamed for someone else leaking her private photos and videos, and why it gets worse when she’s elevated to a more prominent position as Smackdown General Manager. The Bella Twins really are the perfect friends to go to when you need somebody to talk to about this, considering they’ve been shamed by WWE fans for being sexual, and for who they have relationships with, for their entire careers.
Ultimately there’s nothing the Bellas can offer Paige to make everything better, because really they all know that the best thing they can do is keep being unashamed and going full speed ahead with their careers. It’s obvious, though, that just talking to the Bellas is something that makes Paige feel better. I came out of this episode feeling like I had a new understanding of her friendship with them. She may have grown up in an English wrestling family, but Nikki and Brie have been in the American Sports Entertainment business a lot longer than her, and especially now that she can’t wrestle anymore she’s particularly inspired by how much they’ve diversified their brand. In other words, the fact that Paige now also has her own clothing line is hardly a coincidence.
The Bella Twins are also great at offering fun-but-improbable Reality TV Show activities. So after Paige lets out all her frustrations at the bar, Nikki and Brie take her to a recreational junk yard of some kind, where they get to smash cars with sledgehammers. As a cathartic exercise to release your frustrations with the patriarchy, it seems pretty great. It also leads to some excellent Divas-with-hammers visuals, making it an all-around perfect activity for this show.
Winner: Paige, who’s sick of your crap, and now she has a hammer.
That’s all for now, Total Divas fans, but join me in weeks to come as Paige feuds with Lana, Naomi wants her own apartment, Nia challenges Ronda Rousey, and Natalya suffers a family tragedy