The glitz and glamour of Broadway with added body slams, E!’s Total Divas is one of a kind. A window into the backstage personalities of the female WWE Superstars, both veterans and newbies, it followed their private lives and relationships outside the ring as well as behind-the-scenes action.
In an industry traditionally obsessed with kayfabe, a peek backstage was genuinely intriguing to both reality TV enthusiasts and wrestling fanatics who typically would not be caught dead watching a reality show in the style of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Onto its seventh season, Total Divas proved surprisingly popular, spawning a spin-off Total Bellas focusing on Nikki and Brie Bella, their family, and their respective partners - fellow wrestling Superstars John Cena and Daniel Bryan.
With a fluctuating roster, expert divas the Bella Twins and wrestling veteran Natalya have remained as regulars. Featuring contentious cast drops and plenty of on-screen rivalries, viewers came for the wrestling and stayed for the drama. As expected, a number of secrets were revealed, both in front of the camera and around the filming of the show.
Here are 15 Dark Secrets From Total Divas You Had No Idea About.
15 John Cena Does Not Want Kids With Nikki
Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan welcomed their first child, Birdie Joe Danielson, on May 9th this year.
Throughout her pregnancy and after welcoming their little bundle of joy, the subject of babies was at the forefront of conversations in Total Divas. Brie had always wanted children and expressed sadness that her twin would not be able to experience anything similar.
Tellingly, Nikki said, “John doesn’t want kids, so we’re not gonna have kids.” It seems likely that knowing he did not want children was one of the things that made Cena reluctant to propose to Nikki in case she wanted kids in her future.
Although looking alike, the twins are very different people. Nikki has been shown to enjoy the finer things in life, with a preference for settling down with a glass of wine and a fancy dessert with her man, while Brie leans towards a hippie lifestyle with her beau, enjoying vegetarian food and yoga. The twins are obviously destined to take different paths.
14 Jojo’s Affair With Bray Wyatt
Former WWE Champion and popular ‘cult leader’ Bray Wyatt lost a little of his mystique when his wife filed for divorce earlier this year.
His childhood sweetheart, Samantha Rotunda, filed for divorce in Florida, accusing him of adultery and misdeeds. Although the documents did not mention anyone by name, reports all spoke of how Wyatt and Total Divas star Jojo have been seen in "continuous contact" and had allegedly been involved since 2015.
Jojo began her time on the Total Divas with relationship issues, breaking up with her high school boyfriend as he struggled to deal with the time apart while she was working.
Although Jojo did not make it back to Total Divas for the second season, she became a ring announcer and backstage interviewer for NXT, Raw, Main Event, Smackdown, and pay-per-views.
It is true that it is difficult to know what was organic and what was staged for the cameras on the reality show, but the divorce proceedings and the backlash against Jojo are both very real.
13 Paige’s Miscarriage
Paige is the embodiment of the “anti-diva” with her gothic style and bad attitude. Yet she brought renewed energy and plenty of controversy with her when she joined the show.
During season five, Paige was forced to reveal a sad secret from her past that she had kept quiet for a number of years.
It was at Rosa’s baby shower that the diva was unusually distant and uninterested in the event. Eventually, she confessed that her attitude was not a reflection on Rosa’s happiness but due to her own experiences. At 18-years-old, Paige had been pregnant and suffered a miscarriage.
Paige revealed that due to medical problems surrounding that pregnancy, she was unsure as to whether or not she would be able to have children in the future. Obviously, celebrating a friend’s baby shower had brought back memories of her own experiences.
12 The show hurt Natalya’s career
Nattie is one of the shining lights in Total Divas. Her personality comes through as down to earth and genuinely proud of her family’s wrestling heritage. Her romantic ups and downs with her partner TJ were actually relatable as, after a decade together, the couple spent more time sat in front of the TV than on elaborate dates like the other divas.
Viewers watched Nattie suffered setbacks in her wrestling career, being constantly overlooked by WWE in favour of younger female superstars, and fans really connected to Nattie as an underdog.
Unfortunately, Nattie’s wrestling persona is somewhat different to this. Natalya is a heel and fans are supposed to dislike her. Natalya "Queen of Black Hearts" leads the other heels to make life as difficult as possible for the babyfaces and the crowds are meant to boo her, not root for her.
These contradictory narratives have meant her in-ring persona is difficult to believe for some fans. Total Divas has made her bookings awkward and her in-ring storylines fail to land
11 Eva Marie’s Alcoholic Past
Eva Marie stormed into Total Divas with a fiery attitude to match her crimson-colored hair.
After four years, she parted ways with WWE, but not everyone shed tears over her exit. Eva Marie has never been liked by the WWE Universe. She was suspended from WWE for violating the company’s drug-testing Wellness Policy in 2016 and fans vehemently hated her in-ring style.
Eva’s alcoholic past came to light on an episode of Total Divas. She opened up about not drinking anymore and being a part of a recovery program with a sponsor who checked on her weekly.
After that blunt truth, the WWE Universe used it as another reason to dislike her but it took real heart to open up about something so personal. Perhaps her positive experience can encourage others experiencing similar struggles.
10 Nikki’s Past Marriage
One of the more shocking revelations of Total Divas was Nikki Bella’s secret first marriage.
Nikki kept it secret even from her family, eventually explaining that she was ashamed to tell them. Even more astonishingly, she kept it secret from her boyfriend John Cena.
Nikki Bella and John Cena’s relationship is one of the parts of Total Divas closest to fans hearts. Nikki was never quiet about her desire for John to put a ring on her finger and it seems odd that she never mentioned her first marriage throughout all the conversations they had about marriage.
Very little is known about her first partner. He was her childhood sweetheart and they married when she was 20-years-old in Las Vegas. There was never a ring and the pair never lived together. They divorced three years later.
9 It Wasn’t Naomi’s Choice To Leave
Trinity, known as Naomi in the ring, was a regular in the first four seasons of Total Divas but dropped for season five.
According to the superstar’s social media, her removal from the show was “not by choice.”
There has been speculation that the drop was due to Naomi’s recent marriage to Jimmy Uso. With the couple now happily married, producers feel Naomi and Jimmy lost some of their appeal. They can no longer take part in any kind of love triangles and other couples have the dysfunctional marriage drama down pat. New divas were brought in to explore fresh storylines and relationships.
Luckily for those who enjoyed the light relief and humor that Naomi and Jimmy brought to the show, they returned for season six.
8 Renee Young and Dean Ambrose's Relationship Didn’t Have Enough Conflict
This year was a year for WWE love as John Cena and Nikki Bella finally got engaged in the ring at WrestleMania before millions of screaming fans.
With considerably less fanfare, fellow wrestlers Renee Young and Dean Ambrose tied the knot this year as well.
According to Young, the couple were in bed one evening and Ambrose just turned to her and pulled out an engagement ring. They found a 24-hour pastor and rang up some friends to act as witnesses. Just like that, the couple were married.
It's a somewhat unconventional way to marry, and the last-minute secret nuptials also lacked the public appeal Total Divas looked for. Renee Young had been a regular on the show briefly but she admitted her relationship with Dean did not have the conflict that the showrunners wanted and she will not return for the next season.
7 Albert Del Rio Thinks No Paige Is Reason for Low Ratings
Paige has always been a magnet for controversy in WWE. Out for months with an injury, she was then suspended for Wellness Policy violations on more than one occasion, is infamous for her leaked sex tape, and is dating former Superstar Alberto Del Rio.
Alberto Del Rio, who departed the company on what looked to be unfavorable terms in September, has never been quiet in his criticism of WWE, especially in connection to the treatment of his girlfriend.
One of the highlighted storylines on Total Divas has been Paige’s relationship with Alberto but she is hardly featured in more recent episodes, possibly due to a build-up of controversies that did not sit well with the WWE brand.
True to form, Alberto declared on Twitter that Paige’s absence was responsible for the drop in ratings and that they would improve if they stopped deleting her scenes.
6 Summer Rae and Fandango's Break Up Was Fake
Summer Rae joined Total Divas in Season Two and asserted herself as the expert heel, bringing fresh and zesty conflict to the divas.
Summer was dating fellow WWE Superstar Fandango until he very publicly broke up with her via Twitter. Summer responded, equally visibly, with a meltdown across social media, featuring input from other Superstars.
Yet, in a recent interview she said that all between her and Fandango was cordial. This, coupled with the fact Summer took time out almost immediately after the charade to film for The Marine 4: Moving Target, has led to conjecture that the elaborate falling out was simply the culmination of a storyline. It served as a way to explain her absence filming.
It is difficult to know what to believe anymore.
5 Dolph Ziggler Used To Date Nikki Bella
One of the more eyebrow raising moment on Total Divas is the attempted advances of Dolph Ziggler on Nikki Bella.
Few can have missed that Nikki and John Cena are the power couple of Total Divas. Almost every other storyline is about Nikki’s desire for marriage and Cena’s reluctance to put a ring on it, with the momentum building up to their public proposal at WrestleMania.
During the show, Dolph basically proposes marriage and children and tries to kiss Cena's girlfriend, earning a slap from Nikki. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how easily Cena takes the news when Nikki finally tells him. No shooting off to challenge the other wrestler to a match at the next pay-per-view? It was almost a little disappointing.
Dolph and Nikki were certainly an item earlier in their careers, so the reveal that Dolph still had feelings was perhaps not unexpected.
4 Paige and Del Rio Airport Incident
Since the beginning of her WWE Career, Paige has proclaimed herself as the "Anti Diva." She has certainly had her share of provocative press. One of the latest incidents involved a domestic argument with her partner Alberto Del Rio at an airport in Orlando.
Paige threw a drink over Del Rio, F-Bombs were dropped, and heated words were exchanged loudly in a restaurant.
Speaking about it in interviews afterwards, Paige laughs it off, saying all couples argue and should not be ashamed to let lose in public if needed. The real issue in their mind was that they are in the public eye, strangers got involved and the media embellished the incident to be worse than it was.
Most people would consider an argument where the police became involved slightly more than the usual lover’s tiff but obviously Paige doesn't.
3 Natalya's Sister Hooks Up With Big E
In an episode where Daniel Bryan gets a self-composting toilet, it might come as a surprise that the most household drama comes from TJ and Natalya’s home.
Nattie's sister, Jenni, has been living in the Superstar’s house. As Jenni was going through a tough time, Nattie did not have the heart to ask her to leave, but TJ is shown getting increasingly frustrated as Nattie and Jenni shop for furniture, excluding him from the planning for his own home.
In a bid to encourage Jenni to move on, Nattie campaigns to set her sister up with Big E. Nattie and TJ go on a double date with Jenni and Big E and all seems to go according to plan.
Nattie less than subtly proposed that Jenni, an avid cook, should go cook at Big E’s place but instead Jenni invites Big E to the hot tub back at Nattie and TJ’s place.
TJ is far from pleased but Nattie admits she brought it on herself by trying to set her sister up.
2 Natalya Hires a Dominatrix
In season 4, Natalya is seen hiring a dominatrix to help teach her some moves to use in the ring.
Utilizing every tool at her disposal in her quest to better epitomize her in-ring persona as the Queen of Black Hearts, Natalya invites hearing-impaired dominatrix Adina into her home and ropes her husband TJ in to help. Despite being given "cat" as a safe word, poor TJ ends up storming out of the house, far from comfortable with the experience.
No doubt this whole eye-roll-inducing segment was inspired by a lawsuit against Natalya in 2014, where a prisoner from Pennsylvania accused her of being “an evil dominatrix.” The lawsuit was dropped on several grounds. Too bad for TJ that the dominatrix did not disappear as quickly.
1 It’s Not all Scripted
The first question anyone asks when they watch Total Divas is how much is real.
It’s a reality show. Everyone knows that the scenarios are set up and the sequences are edited to reap maximum drama.
After a while, rather like with wrestling, people stop asking and just start enjoying the rollercoaster ride. We know the divas' romantic relationships with their wrestling Superstar partners are real. Many of the scenes, especially the tender moments between the couples, do feel genuine.
In an interview, Natalya opened up about how therapeutic she found filming the show had been for her and her partner, TJ. They had realized the parts of their relationship that were not working and found aspects they needed to work through.
At the end of the day, the best parts of the show are the sections that are believable.
Have any other Total Divas trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!