When last we left our high-lying, bedazzled damsels, the Divas had just survived Wrestlemania XXX, Brie and Daniel Bryan finally tied the knot, and Nikki’s secret marriage was exposed. Basically, it was a cornucopia of over-the-top drama. A quick montage of those events sets up a premiere that should be equally larger than life. Instead, what the audience gets is a well-done hour that is far more based in reality than it is in camp.
Sure, there are nude Divas and silly scheming, but there is also a very real look at issues that have very real consequences. From Eva Marie’s realization that her father is dying to Nikki’s desire to be a mother to a frank conversation about faith, tonight’s premiere reminded viewers why the ratings for this reality show continue to soar. As our trusty ring announcer would say, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
Inspired by Brie and Bryan’s romantic wedding, Eva Marie decides that she wants to have a ceremony of her own. She convinces her new husband, Jonathan, and the two decide that photos of Eva Marie clad only in bra, panties and stiletto boots would make the perfect Save the Date card photo. Later, Eva Marie shares the photos with Naomi and Titus O’Neil, who sums up the thoughts of audiences far and wide with an “Oh, hell no!”
Rosa Mendes returns after a year and a half in rehab, and quickly establishes herself as a fount of wisdom when she tells a disapproving Nattie that side-boob is the new cleavage. She then watches as 10 Divas throw down in an epic battle royale. We see Nattie take a dive over the top rope, Naomi drop-kicks Cameron, and a host of other women display an array of impressive physicality. It also reminds the audience that despite their makeup and heels, these women are first and foremost world-class athletes.
Back home in Phoenix, the Bella Twins, Brie and Nikki, talk about Nikki’s romance with John Cena. Apparently Nikki’s deception has been forgiven, with the commitment-phobic John even posing the hypothetical question of whether marriage to him would be enough for Nikki. Brie quickly throws cold water on Nikki’s romantic musings by suggesting that she freeze her eggs just in case things don’t work out with John. Brie reasons that it’s the perfect insurance policy should Nikki wind up 40 and alone.
The WWE comes rolling into Cincinnati and Mark Carrano, the senior director of talent, wastes no time in assembling the Divas and laying down the law. Thanks to Mark, we finally learn that Summer has not gone AWOL after last season’s beat-down by Nattie, but is instead off filming a movie. He also assigns Nattie to be Rosa’s “big sister,” much to the chagrin of both women.
Eva Marie and Jonathan travel to California, with Jonathan begging his wife to not throw him under the bus with her family. Clearly he remembers lasts season’s über-awkward dinner where they dropped the bomb of their elopement. But Jonathan need not fear, as Eva Marie’s family is beyond ecstatic about the news of their impending ceremony. Unfortunately, in the minds of her parents, this means a Catholic ceremony. Too bad Jonathan isn’t Catholic. They then show the family the Playboy-esque Save the Date photos, and their reaction is pretty much exactly what you’d expect.
Nikki is going full steam ahead with her egg-freezing plan and has decided not to tell John until after the procedure. You know, because keeping secrets from him has worked so well in the past. The family celebrates Nikki’s decision, and Bryan even offers to donate sperm to his sister-in-law because that’s not weird at all. Brie accompanies Nikki to the fertility doctor and gets more than an eyeful of what is involved in actually harvesting your own eggs. For her part, Nikki is equally taken aback when the fertility doctor tells her that she will have to refrain from sex and drinking until after the procedure.
Back with the family, Eva Marie accidentally discovers that her father’s cancer has returned and that it’s inoperable. It is at this moment that True Divas elevates itself above most other reality-show fare. Eva Marie’s reaction isn’t one of histrionics, but of controlled fear. Both her deep love for her father as well as her sheer panic at the prospect of losing him play out on her face. The result is one of the most honest reactions to cancer ever captured on television.
She decides to ask Jonathan to convert to Catholicism so that her dad’s dream of walking her down the aisle in a Catholic church comes true. Here again, real life takes center stage as Jonathan explains that the most important relationship in his life is with God and that he can’t betray that even if it disappoints Eva Marie. Seriously, when was the last time you saw an honest conversation about faith on a reality show? If you answered “Never,” then you’d be right.
Meanwhile, Rosa greets her new on-the-road roomie, Nattie, at the door wearing nothing but a smile. Nattie manages to squirm for a few minutes before finally caving and asking Rosa to put on some clothes. One episode in and it’s already clear that this is the start of a fabulously dysfunctional friendship.
Back at Casa de Cena, we learn that John doesn’t like window treatments and that Nikki is still bent on keeping him in the dark about her fertility plans. As John shows the interior designer around, Nikki engages in some cloak-and-dagger action with the fertility nurse, who is forced to draw the wrestling superstar’s blood in the closet.
It’s the night of Rosa’s big return to the ring and she’s in full freak-out mode. It doesn’t help that Titus is back and dropping more truth bombs, this time telling Rosa she looks beat. And it really doesn’t help that Rosa catches the other Divas making fun of her right before she hits the ring. She winds up losing her match against Nattie and tearfully tells the other Diva how disappointed she is in her performance. Nattie gives her a pep talk and tells her the one truth no one can deny: Every Diva wants Rosa to fail because they want to be the one to take her spot.
We wrap up this heavy premier with John discovering Nikki’s fertility injectable and Eva Marie vowing to her father that somehow, some way, she will have a Catholic ceremony!