Previously on Total Divas, Sonya got the girl, Carmella’s life exploded, and Natalya tried to have a storyline with Ronda even though Ronda hates leaving her farm.
But enough living in the past, let’s look at the biggest matches in Season 9 Episode 3 of Total Divas:
Sonya Deville Versus Identity, Expectations, And Ronda Rousey
Sonya begins this episode on a high note, as the King of Ft. Lauderdale Pride. Her shoulder is healing up quickly, she’s back together with her girlfriend, and she has a whole bunch of presumptively straight WWE women to share her Pride float with her, including Mandy Rose, Carmella, and Charly Caruso, who has been in every episode of this season so far. If there’s a Season Ten, they better bump her up to main cast.
Arianna remains a complete enigma, but she and Sonya do seem very happy together. I’d love to get to know her better in future episodes, but this may just be the level of Total Divas engagement that she’s comfortable with.
Sonya’s riding high off of Pride and being medically cleared when she attempts to start a feud with Ronda Rousey on social media. At least, that’s what Total Divas wants us to think, but actually the Pride Parade was in February of this year, and the Instagram post Sonya makes about Ronda in this episode is from November of last year.
I try not to focus on the ways Total Divas manipulates time, but this one was impossible to miss if you watch other WWE products. Just last episode they were doing the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber, but Sonya’s post about Ronda grew directly out of the segment on Smackdown where Becky Lynch was choosing her replacement for Survivor Series. You can convince me that Florida has Pride parades in the winter, but don’t act like I don’t know what order the PPVs come in.
Anyway, leaving this show’s temporal confusion behind, Sonya posts about how she knows what it would take to beat Ronda Rousey, and Rousey responds by being dismissive of Sonya’s MMA bona fides, calling her a “hobbyist.” It’s true that Sonya never got one tenth as far in MMA as Rousey did, but she comes off a little harsh, and that makes Sonya question if her MMA background, which was treated as a big deal when she signed with WWE, even means anything at all with Ronda around.
In the midst of this, Carmella hosts an ’80s-themed party where she wants all the women to dress in vintage dresses and heels. Sonya accommodates this request, only to have an anxiety attack at the party because she feels so uncomfortable in the kind of high femme clothes she used to feel obligated to wear before coming out as gay.
I like that this show, which is usually pretty invested in the conventional femininity of female wrestlers, lets Sonya talk about how she’s pretty much not up for wearing dresses and heels anymore. Accepting this also gives her emotional arc a sense of resolution for this episode, which is convenient since Ronda Rousey has no intention of talking to her about the social media thing.
Winner: Sonya Deville, who’s learning to be comfortable with who she is, which includes not just her sexuality and gender presentation, but no longer being the most impressive shoot fighter on the WWE women’s roster.
Natalya Versus Farmwork And Grief
Speaking of Ronda Rousey, in lieu of going anywhere that the rest of the cast is hanging out, she invites Natalya and TJ to her farm. She says she wants to get Nattie away from work and give her space to deal with her leftover grief from her father’s death, but Ronda’s way of dealing with things is to do manual labor around the farm, and then doesn’t seem to hold the same appeal for Nattie.
At one point Ronda’s literally like, “It’s time to shovel some shit!” and Natalya responds, “Do we get masks?” (They do not get masks.) Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir are also helping out on the farm, but they don’t really say much, they’re just in the background of a bunch of shots.
Being on her farm with her husband seems to bring Ronda such great joy that she doesn’t understand why Natalya might not find the same level of joy in cleaning up after goats and donkeys. But this is Nattie on Total Divas, so she’ll follow the emotional arc you give her for the length of an episode, and she enough she eventually cries for her dad and talks about realizing she needed to get away from the WWE life for a minute.
Being at the farm (in November, I guess?) means that Nattie’s also around for Ronda reacting to Sonya’s aforementioned Instagram post. She says it’s all in character and she has no hard feelings, but the entire time she’s wearing the face of someone who’s extremely upset about something, also talks at length about it to other people while casually refusing to talk to Sonya.
So I dunno. Either Ronda’s more upset about Sonya talking about kicking her in the face than she lets on, or she’s just unhappy about being on this TV show and being expected to talk about such things. Or both, I guess? Could be both.
Winner: Natalya, who gets through her assigned emotional arc of the week and also gets all the poop shoveled and the hay stacked.
Naomi Versus Body Image
Sonya, Natalya, Charly, Carmella, and Naomi go with Liv Morgan to a strange bar where performers dressed as mermaids do an underwater dance outside big picture windows. Liv thinks it would be fun to be a mermaid (which is just one of the reasons she should also join the cast for Season Ten), so she recruits Naomi to come with her to Mermaid Class, after which they get to be mermaids for the night. I genuinely have no idea if this is one of those opportunities that’s only available in Reality Show situations, or if they really do just offer classes for temporary mermaids, but it’s surreal enough to be interesting either way.
The problem is that mermaids don’t wear a whole lot above the tail. Clamshell bras are standard issue and Naomi, who has recently gained some weight, is self-conscious about going Full Ariel. She still goes to Mermaid Class with Liv and learns to swim with one big flipper on both feet, but it’s pretty up in the air until the end of the episode whether or not she’ll actually do the mermaid show, which the other girls all come back to the bar to see.
Of course, because it’s the only way this episode could end, Naomi overcomes her self-consciousness and makes her blue-lit mermaid debut alongside Liv. All mermaid bodies are beautiful, it turns out, and anyway being thicc is in.
Winner: Naomi, who learns to love her merself.
Carmella Gets Her Win Back
Carmella’s mostly a supporting character in this episode, but it does show her recovering from the disaster of last episode. She and Corey spend some quality time together, and reestablish the strength of their relationship after the wrench that his ex-wife through into things with her social media attack.
There’s an attempt to wring some drama out of Corey being unable to make it to Carmella’s party, which was meant to be in part a birthday party for him. But while it’s a shame, it’s clearly a work thing and she’s understanding about it. Past seasons with Rosa Mendes and Paige made me wary of love interests with neck tattoos, but Carmella and Corey really do seem to care about each other a lot, so good for them.
Winner: Carmella, whose life and love are falling back into place after some substantial upheaval.
That’s all for now, Total Divas fans, but join me next week for more outside-the-ring drama.