This week’s episode of Total Divas is all about heel turns — and not the kind that usually happens on this show, a huffy spin-and-stomp-off in a sprain-risking pair of Christian Louboutin pumps.
No, we’re talking about an honest-to-goodness wrestling character change — Naomi (Trinity Fatu) and her post-Funkadactyls transition from babyface to heel.
The drama begins when Corporate Angel of Doom Mark Carrano appears over Trinity’s shoulder while she’s having her makeup done pre-show in London.
“So Trin, you’re gonna be turning tonight, OK? We just found out from Vince.”
He tells her as she’s having eye makeup applied, and she reacts with a dramatic makeup-brush-impacted, eye-fluttering shocked face:
“Are you ribbing me, Mark?”
Mark, of course, has never been ribbing anyone in the course of the entire show, and it will turn out to be the night Naomi runs back into the ring after a battle royal and knocks out the victor, Paige, in front of Paige’s hometown crowd (a scene only made better by the in-home commentary at my place, where resides a toddler who announces “I fall down!” as Naomi spikes Paige out of the ring).
Trinity is profoundly uncomfortable with being evil and seeks some counsel from her husband, Jon “Jimmy Uso” Fatu, who tells her she needs to change up her repertoire if she wants to be a bad girl — and “it starts in the bedroom.” Fortunately, we’re spared the details from any further development in that vein and instead we see some discussion of whether the now-signature LED shoes, originally selected for her babyface character, will work for a heel. Jon thinks they’re face shoes, but maybe they could belong to Bad Naomi — with some work.
“I feel like I can’t do any of this stuff because I’m just supposed to be a mean bitch out there and just hate everything and be bad,” Trinity whines.
“We gotta get you a better mindset,” Jon says. He decides to start by teaching her to trash talk as they play ping pong. Trinity fails miserably.
Then they go out to dinner with some co-workers (including Tamina Snuka, who arrives to a standing ovation from the table, which is what I feel should probably be the kind of thing that happens to you on the regular if you’re Tamina Snuka), a meal during which Paige, Jimmy and Alicia Fox attempt to get Trinity to be mean to a waitress so she can practice being bad. Trin refuses, and then Alicia Fox decides the best thing to do is throw a drink in her face (which is obviously what she was brought there to do; why else would you invite her to dinner?), at which point she gets actually furious, throws some glasses and gets kicked out of the restaurant as Tamina, Paige, JoJo and Rosa Mendes sit in awkward silence.
Outside, Jon talks Trinity down and apologizes for conflating being mean on TV with being mean in real life.
“At the end of the day, we are playing characters. We’re entertainers,” he says. “Whatever that was in there, if you could just do that on like a switch you could turn on, that’d be a lot more safe and a lot more fun.”
And of course, at Extreme Rules, she does exactly that, color-changing LED shoes and all, as her friends watch backstage.
“I have, like goosebumps for her!” squeals Renee Young (who, we learned earlier in the episode, used to own a record player until some movers broke it, so never let anyone tell you that Total Divas doesn’t cover the serious stories).
“She dropped it like it was hot and then left a little bacon on the floor,” Nattie comments, making things awkward as usual.
Also this week on Total Divas:
- Natalya continues her campaign to be the strangest, most weirdly uptight and simultaneously unreasonable character on reality television. Nattie and TJ/Tyson Kidd are moving into a new house, which provides Nattie with ample opportunities to lie to everyone, especially TJ. She says repairs to their old house will cost $4,000; the estimate is actually $15,000. She says her dad accidentally broke an ugly ceramic lion’s head her mom bought; in reality, she talked Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart into smashing it on purpose in the driveway. Oh, and she told TJ that her sister Jenni would be visiting for four days; turns out Jenni’s actually moving in permanently. Later, after the Bella twins lecture her about truth-telling, she starts dropping honesty bombs on the whole family, which is when the episode’s most bizarre revelation pops up: Cat Fancy magazine, which she said had been interested in doing a feature on their cats, never actually approached them. She faked a letter from the magazine and sent it to WWE. What?
- Those readers tracking the Total Divas timeline against WWE storylines will have guessed we’re close to Extreme Rules and the news of Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson’s potentially career-ending injured status. Nikki Bella becomes consumed by the idea that Brie is not upset enough about her husband’s career being in jeopardy and expresses it by asking weirdly pointed questions like “Isn’t it weird to think that Bryan’s career could be over?” (Brie describes it as like “one of those little annoying pixies that just is on your shoulder” that you want to flick away, and she says this so matter-of-factly that you assume Brie Bella actually does routinely experience shoulder visits from troublesome pixies, which actually kind of jibes with everything we’ve learned about Brie over the last three seasons of this show.) In the end, it is Yoda-esque Daniel Bryan, as usual, who talks zen-like sense into Nikki: “You’re acknowledging that you worry too much, which means that you could worry a little less and still worry an adequate amount. Which is what I think Brie does. Brie worries an adequate amount.”
- At one point, Dean Ambrose can be seen in the background doing pushups, and when he stands up, it looks like his face is blurred out. In four seasons of this show, I can’t remember any WWE Superstar’s face ever having been removed or obscured. Case in point: Rusev is in and out of the background of practically every workplace scene in this episode. Which left me wondering: Does WWE not want to pay to have Dean Ambrose on Total Divas, or is Dean Ambrose too cool for reality TV? Discuss.