It has been discussed for a while – provisionally for the WWE Network, which is seemingly still a long way from becoming a reality – but today, WWE and E! made the announcement that a new series featuring five current and two new Divas will launch on the entertainment channel on July 28. Titled Total Divas, it is one of five new reality shows the channel is launching in the near future. This one will follow Natalya, Funkadactyls Cameron & Naomi and Nikki and Brie Bella, with WWE’s press release insisting that it will “[highlight] the professional and personal lives of WWE’s leading ladies”, as well as “complete and utter access to the backstage workings of WWE, the show examines the preparation and fallout from matches, [and] the romantic entanglements of a WWE locker room”.
As mentioned, there will also be two new Divas, hired as part of a privately-held Diva Search which happened recently. They are Natalia Eva Marie – who will be known as Eva Marie – and Joseann Alexie Offerman – who will will be repackaged as Jo-Jo Offerman.
The press release claims the show will work on two levels – tracking the lives of existing Divas, as well as following the tribulations of prospectives.
The show will highlight the lives of five current WWE Divas — Natalya, The Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls — and hit the ground running, following a tag team match between The Bellas and Funkadactyls on the last Raw before WrestleMania 29. The show will follow the lives of WWE’s women as they travel around the country, living, loving and competing along the way. Viewers will also be introduced to Eva Marie [pictured right] and Jo-Jo Offerman [left], two prospective new Divas who have yet to earn their stripes, and will be tested along the way before they’re accepted into WWE’s prestigious women’s corps.
As mentioned, the show starts in the build-up to WrestleMania, which will lead to an awkward moment, in that the mixed tag match featuring the Funkadactyls and Bellas was bumped from the event – not a great way to portray the women as an integral part of the show, so WWE will probably either hastily skip over that fact or try to spin it into a positive. Meanwhile, Eva Marie and Offerman will likely be shown struggling with the schedule, finding a work-life balance and (more than likely) crying, as tears mean ratings.
Don’t be confused – this won’t be a reality show which will just be fly-on-the-wall, as WWE will be very keen to shape things exactly the way they want it. What we will likely see is something like The Hills, The Only Way Is Essex or Jersey Shore. Also, the “compete and utter access to the backstage workings of WWE” is unlikely too, for obvious reasons.
This announcement is also interesting as it pertains to the future of the WWE Network – if it even has a future. Considering this show was being hyped for the company’s own channel and now it’s going to be commissioned and hosted by another channel, it can’t look good for WWE’s plans to launch its own space on the airwaves.
In addition, while there may be complaints that the Divas should be wrestling instead of being on reality shows – which is a valid argument – it could work out well for the women in the long run. For example, if it brings in new fans, translates into feuds on the programme for WWE TV or sees the company put more Divas matches on in order to do some cross promotion, then that’s a boost. Alternatively, WWE could be shooting themselves in the foot by letting their five Divas get day release from their “universe” and allow them to show themselves off to a wider audience and media bosses who may want to recruit them for other projects, it could cause a conflict of interests in the future – much like the situation Maria Kanellis found herself in when she wanted to pursue other interests, as she discussed with us during episode 54 of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast.
Another question this raises is how this would affect the morale of the women toiling away in NXT like Emma, Summer Rae, Paige, Sasha Banks and others to see two women with no wrestling experience getting TV time on a well-known channel alongside current WWE Divas, while they’re plugging away in Florida, wrestling on a show which you can’t even watch on TV in the US. You wouldn’t be out of order to suspect WWE’s priorities. After all, why couldn’t two of them been in those positions?
– Lee Burton