NXT (28/09/2010): Define a Diva

Like last week’s review, I imagine this post will be more about the concept of a divas season of NXT and how it’s being treated, rather than the content. This is partly because there was not one match on the card. Now i’ve defended the all-round star-making concept of NXT in the past, but it does need at least one match!

This just proves to all the critics of WWE divas that they’re not there to wrestle. This is especially upsetting when this assertion is made, seemingly, against the will of the fans! The past two weeks have seen Naomi beg to wrestle, and the fans react positively to her, so why don’t WWE let them wrestle – it’s what the fans and presumably they (as wrestling promoters and, I imagine, fans) want to see!

NXT season 3 started off reasonably well. The concept was and is a great way to introduce new stars and let them show off. In the past three weeks though, it’s as is WWE have given up on this and decided that being a diva is little more than being confident and vaguely ‘athletic’. Last week I speculated that it may all be a work to make the show’s move to WWE.com seem like less of a loss. It doesn’t seem that’s the case as we didn’t have an influential WWE authority figure come out and banish it to the internet. I imagined anyone from Vinnie O’Mac to the Anonymous GM doing this … That doesn’t mean that how the show is being treated isn’t a work, it just isn’t that one. Indeed, I still think it must, surely, be a work or why on earth would management let the commentary team put the boot in every week, and even give them a gong and CM Punk (who, unfortunately, didn’t bring his spectacular wit to the show this week – I imagine it clashed with his current persona) to further facilitate it?!

With that out of the way, i’ll talk quickly about this week’s show itself. A wheelbarrow challenge, more than most, I can live with – it’s physical and tricky. Have that furnished with a match or two and we’re right back on track! As for Hornswoggle, he’s again fulfilling his rightful role in WWE, not a ‘wrestler’ (like he occasionally was in some dark times last year) but a personality – a prop almost (given his stature, it’s a shame to call him that, but that’s the role he plays, and he plays it well and in a way that isn’t abusive or the like).

The ‘Diss a Diva’ segment was also quite good in itself. Even if we aren’t seeing divas as wrestlers, we’re at least hearing them talk and getting to know and respect their personalities. What really came out in a few ‘disses’ was some of the divas trying to separate from the pack and label themselves as different from other divas. I would note that post-Lita/Trish up until Serena was a pretty dark time for female wrestling in the WWE, and indeed, it was difficult to really differentiate them in terms of character (and sometimes in look). There does seem to be something of a move away from this. The anti-diva Serena, as I mentioned, was a healthy checking character to have around. The (I thought) positive message of the ‘Piggy James’ storyline was also more considered and indeed, both of LayCool have foregrounded themselves as distinctive and interesting. For all it’s problems, this season of NXT is undoubtedly a positive step for female wrestling in the WWE as it at least gives divas a further platform to build upon these recent positives.

One caveat to what i’m about to say is that every single one of these ‘rookie’ divas are undoubtedly attractive, and probably wouldn’t be there if not. However, AJ does represent some sort of break from the specific WWE mould (y’know, T&A …) in ways that are obvious but that I wont attempt to define here out of decency. She showed she was a different kind of diva, and I think that that’s one of the reasons she is so popular (and will probably win). I believe she is a bit of a geek, and despite her extraordinary looks, not pre-occupied with them. The video-package about her showed her genuine love for the industry – something it’s important not to lose. There were one or two others that stood out, also arguing that they wanted to redefine what it is to be a diva (i.e. try not to be Aksana) Kaitlyn being another notable one. So, while it’s only to a limited extent, a lot of positives came out of this segment. Also, good job by Naomi, who – as I mentioned – reasserted the importance of actually wrestling.

Speaking of Kaitlyn, she furthered her interesting feud with Vickie Guerrero by refusing to listen to Vickie hurtful and unwarranted jibes (especially seen as she had earlier won the wheelbarrow challenge) and challenging her to a match next week. Lets not expect too much from the match, but i’m sure we can expect a furtherment of what has been an interesting storyline.

Now, as next week is the first elimination week, I will rank the divas and put them in leagues before predicting who will be eliminated.

1) AJ – The next Mickie James (though not a copy)
2) Kaitlyn – Another ‘new kind of diva’ and an interesting character

3) Maxine – Has a worthy character as an independent and strong woman – dropped back somewhat over the last couple of weeks though
4) Naomi – Has it all in terms of athleticism, and seems to care about the wrestling – a step behind in terms of charisma though

5) Jamie – Though this has improved, her mic skills are still very contrived. I don’t like her look and not much of a character
6) Aksana – Certainly remarkably beautiful, but that’s the only reason she’s there and that’s what we need to move away from

As for who will be eliminated, obviously i’m pulling for Aksana, and I think there’s a reasonable chance of it being her with her not really getting over. I think only AJ is truly safe (the Vickie Guerrero story may necessitate a Kaitlyn ‘firing’ or something). I’d say it will probably be Aksana or Maxine, and i’m plumping for Aksana.

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