Previously on Total Divas, the girls went to Miami for Nattie and Nia’s birthdays, where they drove a lambo, had a dance contest, and were reluctant to eat sushi off of a naked man..
But enough living in the past, let’s look at the one biggest match that was Season 8 Episode 7 of Total Divas:
Paige Versus Nia Jax
I love Paige, as you know, but for real this was one of the most ridiculously contrived Reality TV storylines in Total Divas history. Even though Paige is still a full-time performer with WWE as the General Manager of Smackdown, she’s concerned about her post-wrestling life, and specifically the fact that she’s never really had a job outside of wrestling. So she decides to “try out” some normal-people jobs, and drags Nia Jax (who’s actually worked outside of wrestling before) along with her.
Paige’s life is fascinating to contemplate. I don’t think you can exactly call her privileged, because you don’t get the impression that the Bevis family has any money to speak of, they just happened to be a wrestling family. Stephanie McMahon, for example, is the daughter of an undeniably rich and privileged wrestling family, and the most she did at 13 was model kids’ merchandise in WWE catalog, as opposed to Paige who debuted in the ring at that age.
But the point is that Paige knows nothing of working life outside the Business, so with Nia she’s going to briefly sample some regular jobs, in that way that only having a Reality TV show allows you to do. Then they decide to make it a contest (complete with scoreboard graphic) because it wasn’t quite Reality TV enough. Never mind the fact that unless things go even more disastrously for Paige than they have in the past, at her level of achievement the she’s ever likely to get to waiting tables at a pizzeria is probably owning her own “Paige’s Pizzeria” and employing a fleet of servers herself.
Still, watching Paige and Nia learn to bake pizzas and wait tables is pretty fun, particularly when it becomes clear that Nia (who again has worked real jobs before) knows what she’s doing on a level that Paige can’t come close to. Paige would probably do better at serving if she used a little more of her television charm, but I guess that’s harder when you’re trying not to drop a precariously balanced hot pizza and tray of drinks.
After the pizzeria, they try their hands (or rather, feet) at driving pedicabs, a challenge Paige wins by virtue of being less sweaty in the Orlando sun. Then they work at a bowling alley, where Paige finally throws up her hands and quits after she has to dig through the trash looking for a little old lady’s lost glasses, which turn out to be somewhere else anyway. Honestly, I’d probably have quit in that moment too, even if I wasn’t a Reality TV Star in disguise. Don’t worry Paige, I’m sure you’ll find post-WWE work that doesn’t involve digging through garbage. Have you considered being a late night TV horror host? That’s just one idea off the top of my head.
Winner: Nia won the contest 2-1, but really she and Paige both win because they get to go back to their TV jobs while some people work in bowling alleys, pedicabs, or pizzerias every day. Granted, it’s a bit of a heel victory.
Nikki Bella and Rusev Versus Daniel Bryan, Brie Bella, and Lana
I love when Total Divas (or any ensemble show) puts characters together in new combinations you weren’t expecting. This week, for example, Rusev and Lana go to visit Bryan and Brie, while Nikki is also there. In theory Lana wants Daniel Bryan to teach her how to have a good ladder match (this is right before Money in the Bank), but also Rusev wants Lana to see Brie with Birdie and realize how great it is to be a mom, so she’ll want to do that right away.
What ends up happening is that Rusev and Nikki take Birdie out while Lana and Bryan go to train (taking Brie along), and then they decide throw Birdie a late birthday party, because Bryan was out of town on her actual birthday and she never got a proper party (not that she minds, being one). The whole time it’s really obvious that Rusev is pretending that Birdie is his and Lana’s baby, while Nikki is pretending (as she tells us in the confessional) that Birdie is her baby with her husband Rusev. It’s a pretty bizarre dynamic, but also Rusev and Nikki both have a “Why not? Let’s do it!” attitude that makes them very compatible friends. It also makes them the kind of people that throw an expensive last-minute party for a baby without the parents’ permission.
The party also includes some Bulgarian traditions like a loaf of bread with the baby’s footprints in it (don’t worry, the feet came before the baking) and a thing where the baby theoretically predicts their future career by choosing from a selection of toys (Birdie’s going to be a chef, apparently). Rusev, it turns out, gets pretty excited about babies, which I guess isn’t too surprising when you remember how excited he was just by Alexa Bliss’s baby pig.
Meanwhile, Lana really wants to be a wrestler, and knows that especially since she’s just starting her in-ring career, she might never make it back if she takes time off to have a baby now. Rusev is impatient about it, but eventually he’s smart enough to figure out that asking his wife to give up her dreams is super unfair, and he apologizes and tells her he understands and they’ll have kids sometime down the road. It ends up being one of the most sensitive moments we’ve seen from Rusev, which is really nice.
Brie and Bryan are a little taken aback by the whole Surprise Baby Party thing, but they take it in stride. If you’re going to be the sort of parent who doesn’t want your kid to get used to the idea that birthdays are going to be big and exciting every year, you have to at least be willing to concede that your family may insist on giving your kid a fun time whether you want them to or not.
Winner: Lana, for standing her ground on the baby thing, and also Nikki for insisting on giving Birdie a good birthday and succeeding at it. And honestly, Rusev too, for looking at things from his wife’s point of view and having what might actually be a pretty functional marriage.
That’s all for now, Total Divas fans, but join me next week when Naomi finally returns to the show, everybody goes to Lake Tahoe, and Paige tries to straight-up murder Lana, which honestly there’s a good chance she deserves.