It's been a memorable Raw; an intense and disturbing physical encounter between Paul Heyman and CM Punk, a tremendous match-up between Christian and Randy Orton..and the looming danger to Orton's new Escalade (which, as of this writing, is still unscathed.) So why is it that I'm writing this post about the Divas division, feeling as if if I need to intervene and stick up for Bri and Nikki Bella - two young ladies who seem more than capable of sticking up for themselves?
First, before I speak up for the Bellas, how about I acknowledge that AJ Lee delivered one of the finest promos - male or female - that I've seen on Raw in quite a while. That's really saying something, considering that Paul Heyman and CM Punk have been doing some of their finest mic work on the show on a regular basis, and that Daniel Bryan has been (wait, the Escalade just got spray-painted) an absolute joy to watch, as he finds new depth in his persona on an almost weekly basis.
Yes, that was an amazing promo by AJ - primarily because she believed every word of it to be true..or at least it seemed that way to this 28 year wrestling veteran. After all, going back to the lessons I learned from Michael PS Hayes, a heel is always at their most believable and frightening and believable when they absolutely believe in their own words and actions. AJ's words were convincing and seem to be the ones being embraced by the WWE Universe. I know many people look at Bri and Nikki and see two beautiful women who have been given their spot in the company due to their beauty and choice in boyfriends.
That's not what I see when I look at Bri and Nikki. I see two strong, proud women who walked away from WWE in April 2012 following a legitimate business disagreement with the company. Bri and Nikki wanted to have more say in what they could and could not do outside of WWE. The company disagreed. I know that feeling. I've been there. The Bellas took a stand and walked away. I know that feeling too. But they didn't do it the Mick Foley way - whining and complaining, and (ask Layla about this sometime) even yelling a little bit. They did it the right way. They took a stand, did everything they were asked to do, and left with their heads held high; earning a heightened respect from everyone they dealt with on their way out.
And when they returned, they came back with a piece of the puzzle that had been missing from the Divas division. They returned with "Total Divas" - the vehicle the entire Divas division has driven to new heights of acceptance and mainstream recognition. I've often wondered why AJ wasn't part of the show. Obviously, she's a unique character and an an extremely talented wrestler. I would have really enjoyed the opportunity to see her outside the ring - to see how much AJ the performer and AJ the character had in common. I could completely understand any hard feelings she might harbor against the Bellas in that regard. But the idea that the Bellas haven't worked for everything they've received is just plain wrong from this Hall of Famer's perspective.