Last night on WWE Raw Nikki Bella officially beat AJ Lee’s record and became the longest reigning Divas champion of all time, holding the title for 296 days (as of today). This morning I’ve come across lots of hate and distain for Nikki Bella all over the internet. Apparently many wrestling fans on the internet were unhappy with Nikki retaining and surpassing AJ’s record of 295 days as champion. Many people use the argument that she isn’t a good in-ring worker therefore she does not deserve to hold the belt for as long as she did. People hate on the Bellas in general and often call them untalented, even insinuating that they are where they are purely because of who they are dating. I believe that’s a load of bull that couldn’t be further from the truth.
When it comes to pro wrestling, there are many factors that are important in creating a good show and developing superstars the right way. The three things I personally care about most are: character, story, and psychology. The LEAST important one of the bunch is in-ring work. I will break each one down and explain why it’s important.
Character is arguably the MOST important trait to have in the business. Now when I say character I don’t just mean a gimmick like putting on a plumber outfit or being the “deadman” What I mean is a wrestler has to be unique and extend his/her personality to become something greater than just -insert name- a character is defined by actions, be it verbal or physical. A character is somebody that stands for something, and you as a viewer should know what. I can say the name “Stone Cold Steve Austin” to most people my age, even non-wrestling fans and they will know exactly who he was and what he was about. That’s called character! Steve Austin’s antics and personality got him over, not his wrestling skills. That doesn’t mean Austin had bad matches, on the contrary Austin has been involved in some of the greatest matches of all time, but NOT due to in-ring work, rather it was due to the third thing on my list – psychology, more specifically ring psychology, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
The second item is very self explanatory and should be easy for most writers to understand, however it seems that the WWE struggle with this nowadays, and that’s writing good stories! I don’t know about you, but my main reason to tune in to a TV show or a movie is for the story first and foremost. You can assemble the greatest cast of all time filled with the greatest actors of our era….. If the story sucks, I won’t enjoy it. It’s really that simple. Even with video games and comic books, if there is no story then what’s the point? A good story is what keeps people invested. If I tune in to a wrestling show and all I see is cold rasslin’ without any background whatsoever and with no basis then I simply don’t care. WWE has gotten into a habit of booking lots of meaningless matches just for the sake of killing time, but the problem with that is that I as a viewer don’t care.
The last item on my list is psychology; specifically ring psychology which essentially means the way you interact in the squared circle during a match. In order to get the audience to care, there needs to be emotion and feeling put into a match. As a wrestler, you cannot just go out there and go through the motions or else it means nothing! As a viewer and long time fan I can tell when a performer gives it their all or not, it is very evident to me.
In her match last night against Charlotte, Nikki Bella owned the ring physically and mentally. She focused on Charlotte’s “injured” arm and kept working that into the match, telling a great story along the way. Charlotte did pretty well herself, but my problem with her is that the second she goes into wrestler mode, just like most of the roster today she forgets her character and just focuses on the wrestling. Nikki constantly taunts her opponents and flaunts her personality while in the ring, which is essential in making the viewers care. Say what you will about the Bellas work rate, but when they are in and out of the ring, you know exactly who they are, and what they stand for. They are the stars of Total Divas and they use that to play the role of heel b***h to perfection and reading all those comments online today was proof of that. Let’s be honest, when was the last time that people were even talking about the divas? The Divas division in WWE hasn’t been relevant for a long time. This supposed “Divas Revolution” was going to usher in a new age of female competition, but that’s all it’s really done. WWE has only been focusing on the wrestling with little in between. To me, the Bellas are more of characters than any girl on the roster with the exception of Sasha Banks, who absolutely owns her role and will get very far in WWE in the future.
I am a fan of the Bella Twins because they are entertaining! In today’s day and age where WWE only caters to the hardcore fans, all people want to see is RASSLIN’ and the sad truth is that it won’t get anybody over. As a viewer, I have ZERO interest in seeing “5 star” matches. I care about the drama, I want to see characters evolve and develop organically, and I want there to be meaning to matches! Nikki may not have defended her title a whole lot, but there was meaning in her defenses, because you could really feel her grow and improve with each successful defense. She grew as a champion and ultimately as a character to where she is today. So congratulations NIKKI BELLA!!! The road to 300 is done and over with, time to focus on the road to 3000!
….. Or am I?
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and remember whether you agree or disagree, it’s only my opinion.
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