Four Years Later: The Rise & Rise Of #GiveDivasAChance & The WWE Women's Evolution
To contextualise quickly (because WWE certainly weren't donating any more time than was absolutely necessary themselves) Nikki was in the middle of what would eventually end up as a record-setting reign with the butterfly belt and utilised a revived relationship with sister Brie to run off former Champion AJ Lee. The pair had turned their fire on Paige, with the former NXT Champion over-matched by the bullies as they used the in-ring experience edge to dominate her on Raw in the run-up. Nah j/k, they sprayed her with instant tan and stole her clothes.
Paige was the closest WWE came to any sense of genuine female empowerment in 2015, but the in-built inequality was like a virus that seeped from its every pore. To get around her gear getting pinched, 'The Anti-Diva' sported a pantomime pixie dressed borrowed from one of Adam Rose's cartoonish Rosebuds. Commentator JBL, with earnest appreciation, said; "I thought she looked better." Jerry Lawler, not that long removed from getting caught taking a long stare at her a*se on Raw, agreed. "She certainly didn't look bad!" was the familiar reframe. It was still good to be 'The King'.
The pair wrestled for a generous-for-the-era 5:34, but f*ck the wrestling eh? Michael Cole might have been trying to commentate but Bradshaw and Lawler were informing the audience to look, look, look, rather than watch. "This is a battle of two completely different Divas" noted Cole. "Yeah, one has pigment", retorted the Texan. "They're the best-looking Divas on the planet", offered JBL, in an effort to justify Nikki and Brie's recent bouts of bullsh*t.
Though a million miles from a bikini battle, the match was no masterpiece. Subsequently the fans in the arena weren't terribly invested, but after decades of being force fed this patter on television, why would they care live?
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.