Total Divas TV report



Episode 2: “A Tango with Fandango”

Recap by Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) for the Wrestling Observer

We catch up with the Divas at RAW in Roanoke, VA (May 6, 2013). Eva Marie and JoJo are in awe of the whole production, particularly Fandango. Eva Marie notes that Fandango is big right now (then) and notes that Fandango is always with a different girl and thinks she can do that, too, seeing Fandango as a ticket to a main roster gig. Elsewhere, Trinity wanders in (wearing an AJ Lee t-shirt) and finds Ariane fretting over having nothing to wear. She goes through her bag of different costumes and says she loves their seamstress (Sandra), but feels they need to shake things up and get a different one for their gear. Trinity is hesitant, noting Sandra's done their stuff since day one. She appears to demur on the issue, but says that if things hit the fan, she's blaming Ariane.

Elsewhere backstage, the Bellas get coffee and talk about flying on the jet and doing a trip to Tampa (to see John Cena's place) and Aberdeen (to see Bryan Danielson's place). Brie explains they're doing a life swap. Reality TV magic. In yet another backstage venue, Nattie shows the new girls catering and jokingly tells JoJo to stay away from the sweets - “We have to wear spandex!” - and JoJo jokes about being 19 and able to eat whatever. Eva Marie asks about Fandango's multiple dancers and Nattie notes that he's very particular. As if on cue, Fandango wanders up and says hello to everybody, complementing Eva Marie on her appearance. Nattie mentions Eva Marie can dance. The plot thickens, and it appears that Eva Marie has an opportunity to shine, she just needs to convince WWE.

Brian (Road Dogg) James appears to go over the upcoming Divas match with the Bellas. It's Brie versus Trinity tonight. James suggests trying out their “twin magic” spot. We go through clips of the match as Nikki describes her and Brie's television personas: “I would describe our characters as the biggest bitches you would ever come across. It's nothing like how we are in real life, though. We're super-sweet.” Brie loses by DQ when the referee figures out that Nikki and her switched spots, which leads to a Bella beatdown of the Funkadactyls post-match. Brie notes that they have lots of fun when they wrestle.

Backstage, Eva Marie approaches the talent relations people (Jane and Mark) about her Fandango idea. They claim ignorance about her dance background and give their okay for an audition if Fandango's cool with it. The audition is set for the next RAW. We get some clips of Bryan Danielson wrestling The Shield, then go backstage where JoJo chats with Fandango, putting in a good word with him for Eva Marie. He's cool with the audition and wanders off to shower. Eva Marie lets it slip to JoJo that, uh-oh, she somewhat over-sold her dance background and she doesn't know how to ballroom dance.

One of the perks of being John Cena is use of a private jet, as the Bellas are joined by Bryan Danielson and Cena on a private flight to Tampa. Nikki talks up Cena, then the Bellas discuss Eva Marie apparently disrespecting Nikki at some point by saying she wanted Cena as her tag team partner. Cena says he likes Eva Marie because she's bold and attracts attention to herself, which earns him a glare from Nikki. Then they toast to “an interesting adventure.”

In Tampa, Eva Marie is greeted at her door by boyfriend Jonathan. JoJo wisely gives them some space, giving indications that Eva Marie never indicated she had a beau. Joanthan talks her up and then proposes to her. She says yes and then goes to tell JoJo what just happened. Meanwhile, in LA, we get more adventures with Ariane and her boyfriend Vincent. Ariane is calling a new person to make their gear. Over in Tampa, we visit John Cena's house. Bryan notes it's really nice, while Brie remains blown away. Cena has a big house, complete with a cigar room and apparently a room for his shoes and clothes, which Nikki calls a “dressing room” and Bryan calls “a giant closet.” And he has a pool with a waterfall, and a guest house, which Bryan notes is better than his house in Aberdeen. Brie diplomatically admits it's bigger than Bryan's house. Nikki takes Brie for a ride in one of John's cars. Elsewhere, Eva Marie says goodbye to her new fiance, then gets dolled up to go out on a date of some kind with Fandango to become his new dancer. Even though she just got engaged, and still has no ballroom dancing experience. JoJo notes some flaws with the plan and says that taking off her engagement ring is going too far.

Back in Tampa, everyone has fun in John Cena's waterslide and pool. Brie notes “The one thing I like about being at John house is I feel like I'm in a rap video.” They drink champagne and Bryan beat-boxes poorly. Meanwhile, Ariane meets the new gear designer and tries on the new gear, which gets her approval. Elsewhere, Eva Marie meets up with Fandango for their date. They reminisce about when they met at WrestleMania when he kissed his own hand – and we get a helpful clip, which is hilarious. Fandango asks if she's ever danced before, which leads to a talking head where she freaks out over not being able to tell him that she can't dance. They flirt a bit and eat dinner together. Fandango invites her along with some other people to a club. She pledges to make a quick appearance and then leave, wondering if it's a good time to let him in on her secret. Which one? The “being engaged” or the “not being able to dance?” He continues to flirt and she frets about the uncomfortable situation she put herself in.

After a trip to John Cena's house in Tampa, it's back on the private plane for a trip to Washington state! Bryan and John propose a guys versus girls wood-chopping contest. Brie says she likes the trees, while Bryan notes she likes the rain a little less. Bryan's house is much less fancy than John's, as John notes that there's no TV. Bryan takes them on the tour, noting several family heirlooms here and there, including his parents old bed and dresser in their bedroom. John wisely asks if Brie thinks the house is big enough for the kids she and Bryan plan to have. Ariane calls Trinity to let her know about their new gear, while Jon Uso and JoJo joke in the background. Trinity freaks out about how the gear may fit her, noting she has a bigger backside than her tag team partner. Back in Washington, it's wood-chopping time. The Bellas are dressed scantily, noting this as a strategy for the contest, aiming to distract the boys. A highlight of the montage of wood-chopping is Nikki complaining about hitting herself in the crotch with the axe-handle. Cena is excellent at wood-chopping, which leads to Nikki posing seductively to distract him, which leads to an amazing Cena line of “I already have wood, so it's not going to do anything.” On his turn, Bryan goes slowly and goes over his allotted time, so the girls win. The girls drive to get wine and note how different San Diego is from Washington state. Brie notes what she's sacrificing to live with Bryan in Aberdeen and gets a bit freaked out. Nikki recommends talking to Bryan about it, but also recommends tearing down his house. She also repeatedly steps in goose droppings during this heart-to-heart.

The week is over and it's time for RAW, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eva Marie is backstage and finally beginning to freak out, asking JoJo “What are we going to do?” I'm not sure if JoJo should be all that concerned, but she remains supportive. Eva tells Fandango she's nervous. JoJo notes that Eva Marie's already gone against WWE with changing her hair color, then with her mystery boyfriend, and now with lying about dancing. All the girls meet up in wardrobe, with Eva Marie and Nattie sharing that she'll be dancing with Fandango. Nattie mentions that Trinity was a professional dancer, which leads to her wondering how Eva Marie could be a dancer if she doesn't know how to do the splits. Trinity advises Eva Marie not to “s--- the bed.”

Jane and Mark (from talent relations) lead Fandango and Eva Marie out to the stage, with a panicked Eva Marie pledging in a talking head to “fake it 'til you make it.” She proceeds to do nothing resembling ballroom dancing while Jane, Mark and every cast member from Total Divas – who are helpfully watching this at stage-side – make astonished, aghast faces. The girls note that Eva Marie's in trouble. Fandango grumpily notes that they won't be doing another run-through. Mark asks if Eva Marie said she was a trained dancer. “I don't dance, but I know that wasn't good.”

Backstage, Trinity doesn't really like her new gear, and a pixelated spot of the screen confirms her claim that “all my cookie is hanging out.” And they have to work tonight. After noting the flaws of the new outfits, Ariane suggests they ask Sandra – who didn't make the gear, mind you – to come up with a solution. Beginning their conversation with “Don't be mad, but...”, they explain the whole new outfits story. Sandra is understandably unimpressed at being asked to fix somebody else's work in a hurry. Sandra drags an apology out of Ariane before she'll do the work, and eventually gets an overly cheerful and fake one from her, which leads to her refusing to do the fix. Sandra's the best character on this show. As a result, the girls have to work in their old gear. Trinity advises Ariane not to piss off Sandra anymore.

Eva Marie is pulled into the “TV Office,” where Stephanie McMahon meets with her. Stephanie notes she embarrassed herself and the company. As we go to a break, Eva Marie wonders if she'll be fired. When we come back, Eva Marie apologies and cries a bit, pledging it'll never happen again. If it does, Stephanie says she'll be gone and won't come back. “Take care,” Stephanie closes as she leaves.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This week's edition was much more story-based and less of an info dump than last week. Presumably with the producers assuming everyone saw last week, there's a lot less hand-holding and a lot less Nattie. Beyond that, though, the two main stories – the Bellas and their boyfriends travelling, and Eva Marie trying to become Fandango's dancer – were given a lot of screen-time and were oddly compelling.

And after two weeks, JoJo and Sandra the seamstress may be the best characters on this show. JoJo just hangs around and acts bemused at Eva Marie's antics, while the scene with the Funkadactyls trying to get Sandra to fix their new costumes was the best cringe humor I've seen on TV since The Office finished its run. Overall, a perfectly acceptable mix of backstage drama and “real-life” drama.

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