Recap by Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) for the Wrestling Observer
In a talking head, JoJo establishes two key premises: (1) Justin Gabriel is a WWE superstar and (2) is “so, so hot.” Backstage at a show, she and Eva Marie asks Chris Jericho if he knows if Gabriel is single. Jericho teases JoJo about having a crush on Gabriel and the girls walk off giggling. After the title sequence, we get some clips of a Daniel Bryan babyface comeback in a match against The Shield. After his match, Bryan Danielson comes backstage and gives Brie Bella a kiss as Eva Marie and JoJo look on, declaring them “the cutest.” Brie is very happy. Elsewhere, JoJo shows Justin Gabriel some photos on her phone – and they flirt quite a bit. JoJo recounts her break-up with Sebastian, "the love of (her) life." Eva Marie decides to leave them alone, but she notes that she's a bit worried about her friend. While watching Justin Gabriel's match at the RAW tapings (against Curt Hawkins of all people), Eva Marie teases that in his ring gear, JoJo can get a sense of “what she's working with.” JoJo decides to invite Justin to their house-warming party. As the girls watch Justin win his match, Michael Hayes (in a walking boot) pops up behind them and makes a noise to scare them, then meanders away. Weird.
In Tampa, we visit the WWE's training facility, where the Bellas and the Funkadactyls work out in the ring. Nattie appears and joins them, noting she's a bit stressed from planning her wedding. Nikki says one thing she won't need to worry about planning is the bachelorette party, noting in a talking head that they're going to Vegas. Nikki promises to keep things PG-13 and Nattie recounts last week's incident of Jaret declaring his romantic interest in her. Nikki promises to keep Nattie's mind off things at the bachelorette party, then shows off her new move, which is a weird flap-jack thing off the ropes that nobody could do in a match in a million years. The girls goof around a bit, so we visit JoJo and Eva Marie's apartment for their house-warming party. The cast of the show arrive for the party (plus TJ and Jon). The gang talk about wine, which brings up the term “Brie Mode” - apparently referencing how Brie gets crazy when she drinks. Apparently Bryan Danielson has mellowed her out a bit. Justin arrives. Nikki and Nattie discuss Jaret again, leading to Nattie mentioning that she and TJ have only ever dated each other. Nikki is aghast at this. The party continues and everyone dances around. Ariane discusses her history of dating older men. JoJo is not dissuaded, taking Justin to a more secluded party of their tiny, tiny apartment and they start smooching. With everyone else at her party watching. Eva Marie confides that she's worried due to their age gap.
JoJo and Justin go on a date. The waiter asks if they want wine and Justin jokes that JoJo's underage. They laugh at the awkward situation and they toast. JoJo discusses her rabbit for a few minutes and shows Justin pictures of her rabbit. They seem to have a fine meal. Elsewhere, Nikki and her boyfriend (WWE Champion) John (Cena) go to a store of some kind. It's basically a purse store. Nikki mentions Nattie's sparse sexual history (just TJ), and John doesn't really seem to care. This leads to a discussion of Nikki's history, which John jokes that hopefully her number (of partners) is “between one and a thousand.” John Cena is the most calm, rational person on this show by a country mile. At Ariane's apartment, she and Vincent prepare for her trip to Vegas. Vincent sort-of invites himself, noting that everyone else is going to Vegas and not him.
And we cut to Vegas, where the girls are celebrating Nattie's bachelorette and apparently the guys are going to celebrate TJ, too. JoJo and Justin goof around in a shower – which has a stripper pole for some reason. Bryan pops some champagne. Curt Hawkins and Jey Uso (the Uso who's not dating Trinity) appear in the background, apparently because they're friends with TJ or something. Somewhere in here JoJo declares that she and Justin would make beautiful babies. The girls joke that we'll see “Brie Mode” in Vegas. There's a pool party. Jon declares that Trinity is the most attractive woman at the pool. Elsewhere, Nattie and Nikki hang out and Nattie's getting texts from Jaret. Nikki declares the texts as flirty. Nikki says if she was gonna get married soon, she wouldn't respond to the texts.
At the pool, Eva Marie and JoJo are shocked to see Justin talking to another woman. Later, Nattie does shots. Trinity asks if we'll see “Brie Mode” tonight. TJ toasts to Nattie. Nikki boots the guys out so that the girls can get ready to go out to Chippendales. We get shots of the gals reacting to the show, but thankfully not much of the show itself. Nattie admits she's having a lot of fun. Back at the hotel, JoJo and Eva Marie wander around, with JoJo saying being underage in Vegas isn't fun. Shocker: they see Justin out with another woman, eventually hopping in a cab and leaving the hotel with her. JoJo declares that she's “done,” and curses a bit. Eva Marie notes that everyone warned JoJo and hopefully she learned her lesson. Elsewhere, the Bellas and the Funkadactyls drink. Brie is hammered, clearly in “Brie Mode.” Brie dances around like a fool, although it's Nikki who falls over while dancing on a couch and spills her drink. Back at their hotel suite, Nattie keeps getting texts from Jaret. There's a lot of discussion of text etiquette and texting men back. Brie decides to have a one-on-one chat to remind Nattie of what she has with TJ. Nattie admits she's scared and Drunk Brie compares Jaret's infatuation with Nattie with how the Chippendales make women feel. It's not a terrible metaphor.
After the break, the ladies decide to send Drunk Brie to Bryan's room (at 4 in the morning) without Bryan figuring out that she's hammered. She doesn't have her key, so she knocks and wakes him up. She shows off the goodie bag she got at Chippendales, including handcuffs. “Get this (bleeping) handcuff off my wrist” is uttered by WWE's top babyface. In the morning, Brie says her head hurts and she admits she's hungover. She admits that she was in Brie Mode last night and Bryan asks if she thinks he didn't know that, noting that the pink handcuffs weren't discrete. He's very understanding, noting that it's Vegas and a bachelorette party, so she can do what she wants. This entire conversation takes place while they're spooning in bed. Brie declares that she's blessed to have a man that doesn't mind her getting into Brie Mode on occasion. Later, Nattie makes a toast to her amazing friends. JoJo and Justin are sitting next to each other and it's a bit awkward. Later on, Justin asks what's going on and admits she's confused. He admits that the age gap is “there.” JoJo is disappointed and admits that Eva was right.
In one of the weirdest moments in the history of wrestling-related television, the Bellas throw Nikki's vibrator at each other. Elsewhere, Trinity visits Ariane's room and admires her awesome-looking bathroom. Ariane says that Vincent should be arriving soon and – with a bellowing knock on the door – he arrives as if on cue. Ariane's a bit annoyed that Vincent is so high-energy compared to everyone else. Everyone goes out to dinner and a club. Brie toasts to Nattie and TJ. Nikki toasts to “orgasms and boners.” The Bellas are very different people. Nattie gets wacky bachelorette-themed foods brought to her and Vincent – sitting two seats over – seems to goof around with each of them. After dinner, everyone heads to a club and – shocker – Vincent continues his poor behaviour by getting hammered. Whatever mode is beyond Brie Mode, that's the mode Vincent is in. Brie notices Vincent and Ariane fighting over how much he's drinking. Vincent spills something on her and they continue to argue. Ariane decides they should leave. Nattie declares Vegas “the trip of a lifetime” and once more declares her love for TJ.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A much more focused episode this week than last, but it made the show better. I also quite enjoy the brief moments of zen with John Cena and Bryan Danielson, and the show illustrating that Nikki and Brie are very different people.
That said, I could've done without so much Nattie texting melodrama, and the JoJo/Justin Gabriel connection failed to register as something worthwhile. Thankfully both appear to be in the rear-view mirror as we creep towards the end of this part of Season 1 of Total Divas.