THS: In Defense of the Bella Twins Submitted by The High Spot on 09/24/2018 at 02:12 PM
By J.D. Bachman
In 2015, during the Feb. 23 edition of Monday Night Raw, the Bella Twins faced off against Paige and Emma. While the Bellas were victorious in the contest, the match was only given a whopping 30 seconds.
Soon after, Twitter was ablaze with the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag, and a call for more respect for the women's division was shouted from the proverbial rooftops. Paige and A.J. Lee continued the movement on various social media platforms, while Nikki and Brie spoke about this hashtag in various interviews.
Two days later, NXT aired on Feb. 25, 2015, and the episode featured then NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks preparing for her next title defense against Charlotte, while Bayley faced off against Becky Lynch for a likely shot at the winner of Banks/Flair.
It was only months later, after continued buzz in NXT that Charlotte, Becky, and Sasha made their Raw debut on July 13, 2015 to confront the "divas" in Nikki, Alicia Fox, and Paige, in what would essentially be the start of the "Women's Revolution".
On this episode, in this very moment, was a clash of two very different universes.
Sasha Banks wasn't always Sasha Banks, but Mercedes KV when she debuted in Chaotic Wrestling in 2010, and Becky Lynch wasn't always Becky Lynch, but Rebecca Knox, when she debuted in 2002 with the help of Fergal Devitt, also known as Finn Balor. Flair has wrestling in her genes and gets a pass, but these talents did not come from the same "Diva Search" era as the Bella Twins, Michelle McCool, Melina, Maryse and Alicia Fox, to name a few.
For over a decade, either unbeknownst or ignored by WWE brass existed a universe where women's wrestling was alive and well. Shimmer Women's Athletes became the hotbed for women's wrestling, featuring talents that quietly set the groundwork for this "revolution". Names like Allison Danger, MsChif, Daizee Haze, LuFisto, Sara Del Rey, and Melissa Anderson ring a bell, here. TNA picked up on this in 2008 with their Knockouts division, featuring legitimate wrestling between women's athletes with the likes of Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, Sarita, Taylor Wilde, Ayako Hamada, Nikki Roxx, and many others.
However, this mini-revolution went largely unnoticed by the largest wrestling company in the known universe, and hence, quietly faded into the fog of the wrestling business.
When Stephanie McMahon decided that it was time, (and profitable) to bring in legitimate women's talent, she reached out to a universe that has been ignored by WWE management. This a universe where women busted their asses to get to where they were, and likely worked harder than most male counterparts. This universe is only now slowly merging with the WWE Universe. Two names already mentioned: Sara Del Rey (Sara Amato) and Sarita (Sarah Stock) now work in the NXT performance center developing future talent.
That being said: Nikki and Brie Bella...
I am not a Bella Twins fan, nor will I ever be. They are mediocre-at-best in the ring, with gimmicks best described as, well, "divas". However, this doesn't mean they want to be treated as objects of womens wrestling's past, and it doesn't mean that they don't deserve a chance to at least be a part of this new universe.
The Bellas simply want to be a part of the first pro-woman movement within a historically misogynistic company -- and I really don't have a problem with that. Perhaps there was more genuineness in their #GiveDivasAChance mini-movement than we may think.
However, there are two contingencies with this:
1. They should not be anywhere near the main event anytime soon.
-They are still new to this universe, and while I can accept a lack of ability with room for hopeful improvement, I cannot accept them with the likes of Charlotte, Becky, Bayley, Ruby Riott, and many more on the main roster with loads of talent. In this new universe, the Bellas should earn their spot.
2. They need a desperate gimmick change.
-Enough with the backwards-hat-wearing, scantily-clad "athlete" garb while Nikki still shakes her ass during her entrance. Do you want to be taken seriously? Because shaking your ass during the "women's revolution" is how to not be taken seriously. If the Bellas are truly "athletes" - prove it, and stop botching simple suicide dives that most of the women's roster can do in their sleep.
If the Bellas ever want to be taken seriously, they need to drop the "divas" gimmick, and form their own identities rather than "perceived annoying reality-show divas". Brie Bella did at least change her outfit, but mostly to match her husband.
Much like the hashtag in 2015, I am willing to give the Bellas a chance, and they deserve that much with the new women's revolution on the continued rise. However, if in-ring ability, gimmick, and overall progress continues to remain stagnant, I will quickly start the hashtag #GiveAnyoneButTheBellasAChance