Okay, odds are, if you're a hardcore wrestling fan, you probably don’t watch Total Divas. It isn’t likely to be something that many hardcore wrestling fans would be interested in watching. There is no real wrestling on the show, as it focuses on the 'real' lives of some of WWE’s female wrestlers and their partners. It’s aired on the E network and, in many ways, it’s not too different from Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
The show does have some things going for it. Besides the typical drama, there are some lighthearted moments that are typically provided by the male wrestlers featured on the show. As well, Total Divas sheds some light on what goes on behind the scenes in WWE. That can sometimes be interesting, especially in the world of pro wrestling where maintaining kayfabe is still crucial.
With that being said, there are a number of things wrong with Total Divas. Just like with any other show, there are a number of dark secrets that the producers of Total Divas do not want you to know about. For this article, some of these dark secrets involve behind the scenes goings-on that the producers just wish you didn’t know about.
15 The Show Is Heavily Scripted...
This hopefully shouldn’t come as a surprise to you but Total Divas, like many other "reality" shows, is heavily scripted. The show is produced in such a way that makes it look like everything that happens is real, when the reality is that the show’s producers scripted it to happen that way. Oftentimes in shows such as this, the producers either script events entirely or exaggerate and alter events in order to bring in higher ratings. In other words, most of those fights and breakups you see on Total Divas? Most likely scripted or blown out of proportion for ratings.
As with any reality show that has ever been on TV, the producers want to try to convince viewers what they are watching is reality. If viewers felt the "reality" they were watching is scripted, then that might make them want to tune out. Then again, WWE is scripted as well…
14 But There Are Still Some Real Moments
Remember how we just finished saying that Total Divas is heavily scripted, and you cannot fully trust the accuracy of what you are watching on the show? As contradictory as it might seem, there is still a sense of realness to the show after all. All the relationships depicted on Total Divas are real – Tyson Kidd/Natalya, Nikki Bella/John Cena, Brie Bella/Daniel Bryan, and so on. Moreover, some (not all) of the drama that naturally goes on is not scripted either. A lot has been made about Nikki Bella wanting to marry and have children with John Cena, who was adamant about not wanting either. That was naturally a big part of Total Divas storylines for a few seasons, giving producers some real-life drama to work with.
More recently, Alexa Bliss revealed her struggles with anorexia several years ago. This represented one of the more serious, genuine moments of the show and was very much real.
13 It Reveals John Cena's A Control Freak
Anyone who has been following WWE for any part of the past decade will know why WWE doesn’t want you to see the type of person John Cena is in real life. Cena is supposed to be this incredibly nice and respectful guy all the time. Total Divas shows another side to John Cena that we otherwise would not have known.
The show makes Cena look like an absolute control freak, whether it be from enforcing strict house rules or making Nikki sign a 75-page cohabitation agreement! Cena’s house rules are so incredibly out of date and strict that it stunned Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella when they stayed at Cena’s house for a few nights. He demands the most out of people and always expects them to meet his incredibly high standards. It took Cena years to give in and finally propose to Nikki Bella. This showed us that Cena was, for a long time, not willing to do the one thing that he knew would make his girlfriend happy. He clearly loved her and she loved him so, after having dated for so long, what was the problem, John?
12 Naomi Was Taken Off The Show For A Lack Of Drama With Her Husband
Naomi is a popular WWE wrestler, who also happened to be a regular during the first four seasons of Total Divas. While Naomi may not have been used as much on WWE TV for a while, she was prominently featured on Total Divas. When the casting was revealed for the show’s fifth season, fans of the show were stunned to find out Naomi was removed from the cast. Naomi and her husband, fellow wrestler Jimmy Uso, were favourites on the show because of their humour and comedic relief. Speculation was rampant after Naomi revealed that her removal from the show was “not by choice.”
It has been largely rumoured that producers felt Naomi and Jimmy Uso lost their appeal after having gotten married, since they could not easily be involved in dysfunctional relationship drama. In other words, Jimmy and Naomi’s marriage was too boring for Total Divas producers!
11 Dolph Ziggler And Nikki Bella's Relationship Was Exaggerated
Yes, it’s true. If everything had worked out between them, Nikki Bella would be engaged or married to Dolph Ziggler right now. Not missing an opportunity to cash in on this, Total Divas milked their past relationship (which happened several years ago) in order to add drama to the show and bring up ratings. Nikki made it known she wanted to be a mother, but Cena doesn’t want children. Enter Dolph Ziggler, who informs Nikki that “he is able to give her children.” This implies he is trying to steal Nikki away from John Cena, when that wasn’t really the case.
Ziggler didn’t really want to rekindle any sort of committed relationship with Bella, because they never were in a committed relationship in the first place! Their past relationship was more short-term and never really anything too committed, as much as Total Divas producers tried to make it seem like it was.
10 Renee Young And Dean Ambrose Were Deemed Too Boring For The Show
We already covered how Total Divas producers found Naomi and Jimmy Uso’s relationship to be too boring for TV. In what seems to be a trend here, apparently Renee Young and Dean Ambrose’s relationship was not dramatic enough for the show. While there was a great deal of emphasis on John Cena and Nikki Bella’s in-ring engagement at WrestleMania, the show often neglected to focus on the engagement between Renee Young and Dean Ambrose. The main reason for this is that their engagement and marriage story wasn’t dramatic enough to pull in ratings.
People care about Ambrose and Young but their story was too vanilla for producers to care enough about it. Even Renee Young admitted that their relationship didn’t have the public appeal the producers were looking for, and so Renee Young was removed from the cast for Season 7. We're sure Ambrose was happy about being taken off.
9 The Bellas Didn't Want To Join The Show At First
This is a shocker. Total Divas has benefitted Nikki and Brie Bella more than any other wrestler who has ever been on the show. Nearly every episode of the show has some sort of prominent storyline featuring at least one of The Bella Twins. Moreover, it pretty much helped save their careers, and resulted in a spin-off series, Total Bellas. So, why would they have been hesitant to join the show?
Apparently, they were insecure about the whole concept and were unsure if they wanted to put their lives on display. While it’s not known what convinced them to do just that over the past several years, it has clearly paid huge dividends for both of them. They are now "reality" TV stars who are now enjoying a higher profile as a result of the show (and of course, their relationships with popular WWE superstars).
8 The Show Hurt Natalya's Career
While Total Divas may have helped save the careers of Nikki and Brie Bella, the same cannot be said for Natalya. In all honesty, Natalya didn’t even really need to be on the show. She is a very talented wrestler in her own right, and comes from a heavily respected wrestling family.
On Total Divas, Natalya has been stuck with some of the dumbest and strangest storylines. She was shown as some sort of crazy cat lady, and the show just really made her look a lot softer than she did prior to joining Total Divas. The WWE audience never really reacted to her as much as they did beforehand, so Natalya then became an afterthought. Hopefully that changes moving forward after Natalya finally won the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship in 2017.
7 Several Female WWE Superstars Don't Want To Be On The Show
When they first started casting for the show, it was pretty much an open invitation to the female superstars on the WWE roster. Not all the wrestlers in the women’s locker room wanted to be part of the show. One of the more notable talents who refused was AJ Lee, who went on to give a scathing on-air promo about the failed actresses who are on Total Divas.
With the rise of the Women’s Revolution in WWE, more and more women have chosen not to appear on the show. Thus far, none of WWE’s Four Horsewomen (Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley) have expressed interest in being cast on the show. They are more focused on honing their craft as wrestlers and dedicating their time to that, rather than spending a lot of time in front of a camera for Total Divas.
6 Natalya Attempted To Spice Up Her Marriage
In Season 4 of Total Divas, Natalya was involved in a storyline that saw her hiring a professional of sorts to spice up her love life with Tyson Kidd. If the show is to be believed, the reason for this is so that Natalya could better improve her persona as the Queen of Black Hearts. Additionally, Natalya revealed she hoped the dominatrix would help spice up her and Tyson’s relationship. Okay then Nattie, whatever you say.
According to the dirt sheets, this cringeworthy segment was apparently inspired by a lawsuit filed against Natalya in 2014. A prisoner from Pennsylvania accused her of being an "evil dominatrix," but the lawsuit was dropped pretty quickly. While nobody wanted this lawsuit being publicly known, the idea of Natalya dabbling in that profession was apparently too good to pass up in the minds of the Total Divas producers. They worked into a storyline that was much more suitable for TV, and managed to tie it into her new on screen persona for WWE.
5 Total Divas' Ratings Are Declining
Total Divas has somehow managed to be on the air for seven seasons (and counting), since it made its debut in July 2013. The number of episodes fluctuates wildly from season to season for some unknown reason, with the highest episode count being 20 in Season 3 and the lowest being 11 in Season 2. The real story here is that, despite the inconsistent episode count, the ratings for Total Divas continue to plummet. The highest rated episodes occurred in the first two or three seasons of the show (July 2013 – March 2015). Since then, the show has generally struggled to maintain 1 million viewers per episode.
WWE continues to promote Total Divas relentlessly in spite of it not being the ratings draw it once was. They clearly want to suck you in to the reality TV show and make you believe in the stories they are telling. Maybe WWE should focus on giving the WWE Universe more high-quality wrestling storylines instead!
4 Some Wrestlers Try To Avoid The Cameras
We previously mentioned that there are many WWE women’s wrestlers who are not fans of the show. They do not want to be cast on the show because they are content to focus on their actual wrestling careers. While the women are obviously the stars of Total Divas, many of their real-life partners get sucked in to appearing on the show. You are just as likely to see John Cena and Daniel Bryan as you are to see Nikki and Brie.
Just like some of the women’s division, there are many male wrestlers who absolutely hate being on the show. While some of them appear in brief cameos, they often do anything they can to avoid the Total Divas cameras! In a 2016 interview, Roman Reigns once revealed that some wrestlers will start cursing deliberately just so that they will be edited out of whatever episode is being filmed.
3 Paige's Scenes Were Deleted
Throughout much of 2016 and 2017, Paige was pretty much non-existent on WWE programming. That absence also apparently extended to her role on Total Divas. While her absence was largely due to injury, she was also persona non grata for a while because of her relationship with Alberto Del Rio. Paige generated a great deal of controversy, whether it be through her leaked tape with Xavier Woods and Brad Maddox, the infamous airport incident with Del Rio, or even any rant Del Rio went on.
It made sense that Total Divas wouldn’t want to feature Paige while all this was going on. That being said, is it a coincidence that last season’s ratings plummeted? It certainly looks suspect that it was the only season she hasn’t appeared in to date, and it is the one that has drawn the lowest ratings. They went to great lengths to cut Paige out of every segment she was in to avoid showing her, when it seems as though she helped bring in the viewers.
2 The Show Can Be Very Manipulative
Here’s a big one that the producers of Total Divas probably don’t want anyone to know about. The show is eager to capture raw emotions from the wrestlers who appear on the show, because it makes for good "reality" TV. That is all well and fine when it is scripted, but it is a whole other story altogether when the emotions are very real. The producers come across as being very manipulative when they thrust cameras into their faces during obviously emotional times, just to bring in ratings.
A prominent example of this was when Daniel Bryan became depressed following his forced retirement due to injury. The series filmed Bryan struggling immensely with the mental illness and the ways it affected him. This just shows that, even though depression is something personal, the producers didn’t feel it was off limits for the show.
1 Total Divas Sometimes Affects WWE Storylines (Or Vice Versa)
In a perfect world, we would like to think that WWE storylines is kept separate from whatever goes on in Total Divas. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Most recently, Nikki and Brie Bella made their return at the 2018 Royal Rumble. Many people were surprised that Nikki eliminated Brie from the women’s Royal Rumble match. Of course, the initial speculation was that WWE was planning a Brie vs Nikki match, likely for WrestleMania.
Wrestling critic Dave Meltzer threw cold water on that notion pretty quickly. According to Meltzer, Nikki eliminating Brie from the Royal Rumble match was actually an angle to set up and use for an episode in the upcoming season of Total Divas.
Isn’t it sad how a match meant to highlight how far women’s wrestling has come was used to promote a show that still uses the term “diva”?