If you type Total Divas into a search engine, there is a good chance that you will quickly be able to find articles questioning whether certain aspects of the E! reality show are real or scripted.
Launched in 2013, Total Divas followed seven of WWE’s female talents – Brie Bella, Cameron, Eva Marie, JoJo, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella – as they balanced their busy work schedules with their social lives outside of the ring.
Since then, another 13 WWE Divas – now known as WWE Superstars – have appeared on Total Divas, including Alexa Bliss, Lana and Paige.
There is no denying that Total Divas has showcased some very real moments over the years, with Jim Neidhart’s funeral being one example, but many of the heated disputes on the show have blurred the lines between fiction and reality.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some out-of-character interviews from cast members to count down three Total Divas arguments that were real and two that were staged.
#5 Real Total Divas argument: Maryse and Brie Bella
In 2013, Maria Kanellis insinuated in a since-deleted tweet that The Bella Twins used their political power backstage to prevent her from returning to WWE.
“I was offered a @wwe contract and the Bellas made sure I didn’t get it. I’m not bitter. I just don’t like people that mess with my career.”
Three years later, the subject was brought up again on an episode of Total Divas when Brie Bella explained that The Bella Twins and Maryse were offered a “really great work opportunity” but it was decided that only The Bella Twins were needed.
“Unfortunately, they decided they only wanted my sister and I. Now, business is business but, somewhere along the line, Maryse thought my sister and I blocked her from a contract.”
Maryse accused Brie Bella of breaking their pact and said The Bella Twins “did not look at me, call me, text me, for three-and-a-half years” after their disagreement.
“I am so happy for her - I think it's a beautiful thing. Put aside whatever our thing was. Going through a pregnancy and being a first time mom, it’s crazy what it does to you. You just love your baby so much and it's such a beautiful journey.”
#4 Staged Total Divas argument: Natalya and Summer Rae
Speaking in a 2019 interview with Ring The Belle, Summer (real name Danielle Moinet) said she was portrayed as “horrible and really mean” on the reality show. She added that, for the avoidance of doubt, the slap scene was simply part of the Total Divas script.
“People that know me in real life know who I am and know I would never do anything like that. But, you know, it’s your first season, you’ve got to stir the pot! It was a scene heard from around the world!”
The Total Divas ‘argument’ came about after Summer and Natalya exchanged words over gossiping in the locker room. Summer then confronted the former SmackDown Women’s Champion at her house and told her that there is no need for her to gossip to other people.
Natalya responded by mocking Summer for being single at the age of 30, leading to the storyline slap taking place.
#3 Real Total Divas argument: Natalya and Tyson Kidd
Although Total Divas cameras were present at their wedding in 2013, footage from the show also captured several arguments between the couple.
Writing in his website blog in 2014, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross was among those who questioned whether the disagreements were part of a storyline.
“Yes I did [think the Total Divas arguments were scripted]. You know that the presentation is fictional, right?”
Interestingly, speaking to the Daily Mirror in 2014, Natalya addressed speculation about her marriage and confirmed that her marital problems with Kidd (aka TJ) were not scripted for Total Divas.
"I’m glad you asked that question. There was some speculation from people, and I took it as a compliment because people didn’t really want to think TJ and I had problems because they liked us as a couple. Some people were saying, ‘Oh, it’s all fake, Nattie and TJ aren’t fighting.’ I thought it was touching. I wish that was the case, you don’t realise how real things are until you go through it."
#2 Staged Total Divas arguments: Renee Young and Dean Ambrose
The sixth season of Total Divas saw WWE interviewer Renee Young join the reality show as a cast member.
WWE Superstars’ relationships have featured heavily on Total Divas since the show began, with the likes of John Cena & Nikki Bella, Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella and Jimmy Uso & Naomi occupying much of the airtime in the first few seasons.
When Young agreed to join Total Divas, she knew it could prove difficult to showcase what her life with Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) is really like, as he wanted to stay true to his WWE character on the show.
Speaking on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, the former RAW commentator admitted there was “not a ton of authenticity” to her Total Divas scenes, which included minor disagreements with Ambrose because she felt like she had been reduced to playing a “nagging girlfriend” character.
“It was hard for us – for me, at least. We had to very much protect the Dean Ambrose character, which I get, of course, but it made our dynamic not what it is because I felt like I was always going, ‘He’s so crazy! What am I going to do?!’
“That’s not our dynamic at all, so it was hard for me to play into that. I felt like I wasn’t myself on the show, so when I look back at it, I’m like, ‘Urgh. What is this?’ I feel like I look like this nagging girlfriend. It was just odd. It was very odd. I didn’t feel like there was a ton of authenticity with what we were doing.”
The video above, which shows Young complaining about Ambrose’s behavior during a shopping trip, is just one example of the unauthentic Total Divas scenes that the WWE Backstage host was referring to.
#1 Real Total Divas argument: Lana and Paige
In 2018, a Total Divas episode showed footage of Paige saying she hated Lana as a person following a fight about who would be allowed to sleep in which room during a visit to Lake Tahoe.
As you may have noticed throughout this article, it is sometimes difficult to tell for certain whether some incidents on Total Divas are legitimate or whether they have been exaggerated to make for better television.
In this case, Paige revealed in a Twitch stream in May 2020 that she did not like Lana at the time of the Lake Tahoe row due to “The Ravishing Russian” accusing her of being a bully in an in-character tweet from 2015.
She also clarified that the Total Divas disagreement over sleeping arrangements was “100% percent real”, but they have since become great friends.
In January 2020, Lana also opened up on their friendship in a YouTube video. She reiterated that the Lake Tahoe fallout was real and revealed that she received a friendship bracelet from Paige following their row.