Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative but, for various reasons, faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.
In the mid 2000’s, women’s wrestling in WWE was in a weird state of flux. Many of the talented, more experienced women wrestlers like Gail Kim and Mickie James were released and in their place were more model/fitness women like Layla El, Michelle McCool, the Bella twins and Kelly Kelly. The women were used both as eye candy and athletes….even though many of their matches were quick two minute segments. The very much maligned “Divas division” was in full swing.
By the time the year 2011 had rolled along, gifted, natural wrestlers like Natalya and Beth Phoenix were being used solely to “get over” Vince’s beauties like Maryse, Eve Torres and Alicia Fox. While some of these women were very talented…their matches were often used as filler to give fans a break from the action and either head to the restrooms or grab a snack. It may not have been intentionally designed that way, but fans were rejecting almost everything about the divas.
It only made perfect sense that two of WWE’s most talented wrestlers unite and form a team. A team that would be aptly titled, ‘The Divas of Doom.’ They even had a catchy slogan for their partnership….”Pinup Strong.” The gimmick was that both Natalya and Beth Phoenix were fed up with all the barbie doll looking, less talented women and formed an alliance to basically turn the Divas division upside down.
Beth and Natalya were both beautiful and powerful and would control the division using their abilities inside the ring. Despite being portrayed as heels, the Divas of Doom not so shockingly…became favorites of many fans. This might have been a little sneak preview of the whole WWE women’s revolution that would take place a few years later. The Divas of Doom would control ownership of the Divas championship in 2011.
The Divas of Doom would enter into a tag team feud with a talented baby face team called the Chick Busters that consisted of Kaitlyn and AJ Lee. The feud was very much one sided, as the DOD won match after match on Smackdown. In an interesting twist, WWE creative decided to grow the Divas of Doom faction by adding a new member. That women would be Kaitlyn, who turned heel on AJ Lee and sided with the DOD on an episode of Smackdown.
The alliance between Kaitlyn and the DOD was very short lived because WWE management wasn’t happy with the way the heel turn took place and wanted to re-shoot the angle the next week. Keep in mind, Smackdown was still being pre-taped around this time…so the angle was cut and never shown. The Kaitlyn heel turn was never re-shot either. A former WWE writer a few years later in an interview said that there was a lot of “Diva Drama” behind the scenes during this time.
What exactly was the drama all about? Apparently, a few women were not happy the way they were being portrayed against the likes of Natalya and Beth. One such female competitor was Nikki Bella. Nikki was tired of the Divas of Doom getting all this praise and credit for being hard workers…while Nikki felt that her and fellow “model types” like Kelly Kelly and others worked just as hard and maybe even harder.
Nikki Bella went on to Twitter and blasted the critics and said things like:
“First off…. Um you want me to slap you with all of my awards and championships I have won? I was a #1 athlete… Which other Diva was?
“Secondly, Bri & @RealKellyKelly have been the only entertainment that has happened 2 the Diva’s Division & have worked harder than anyone!
“Thirdly, I’ve seen 2 girls the past few weeks try as hard as they can to be ‘models’ while us ‘models’ have busted our butts…..
“Oh and good luck with the up and coming Divas…. Sure you’ll make a lot of money with them…. Um actually NOT!
The WWE locker room had reportedly become very hostile with wrestlers both male and female taking sides between the likes of the Bellas and the Divas of Doom. When word reached up to Vince McMahon that there was legitimate bad blood brewing between some of the women backstage….Vince allegedly decided to pull the plug on his anti-diva faction the Divas of Doom. Beth Phoenix and Natalya split up after only a year together. Kaitlyn and AJ Lee became a team again and all was forgotten about that angle. What could have been? What should have been? We will never know.
You can read all other ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’ here.