On the Renaissance of the Divas (Part I)

In a Divas division stocked primarily with vacant hotties, Paige and AJ are finally telling an honest catfight story. Most of WWE’s divas are delightful performers, but as actresses they lack depth of character. They are straightforward male fantasies – cheerleaders, bimbos, silly pretty girls, etc. – all of which is fine, a perk for wrestling’s target audience, but this sort of character struggles to ascend beyond the confines of the male gaze into literary complexity. Paige and AJ have made this leap, laying the groundwork for a storyline of archetypal girl drama with universal resonance.

Here we have two iconic cool girls – the goth femme fatale and the bitchy cute girl next door. Paige is stunning and intriguing, a bad girl with dyed black hair, and a young upstart at that. Even though she’s the new alpha female, she finds herself a challenger when the established cool girl, this one with big coy doe eyes and a mean streak, arrives back in town after the goth chick stole her thunder. The goth girl is taken aback by this new threat to her alpha position, and she stumbles when it comes time to show what she’s about. This bitchy cute girl next door is a genius when it comes to weaponizing her cuteness for the head game. She skips out to the ring, of all things! Oh, the confidence in this one! How on earth will the edgy darkness of the goth femme fatale compete with weaponized cuteness?

Answer: she makes the bitchy cute girl next door her frenemy.* Didn’t Nietzsche and Shakespeare both talk about keeping your enemies close? Still, we weren’t prepared for this, usually a feud means enemies, but these two were prancing around together backstage, tag-teaming the Funkadactyls even. So we were flying blind, no clue as to what would happen next, a rare moment of true unpredictability in wrestling. This allowed us a genuine moment of bafflement when, after a fine tag-team win, the goth femme fatale turned on bitchy cute girl next door for taking her title: pulled her hair, threw her down and her words back in her face (“This is my house, AJ!”). Then she skipped mockingly out of the ring. I also didn’t expect the goth femme fatale to offer an obviously fake apology, but was impressed when the bitchy cute girl next door went all dark-eyed with rage in response. Perhaps now, finally, it’s ON.

*Note: When I composed this post in a Word .doc, the spell checker had a problem with “weaponize” but was totally fine with “frenemy”. WordPress, on the other hand, takes the more traditional stance, red-lining frenemy but allowing weaponize a pass. Curious, the politics of adversarial language!

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