The first season of Total Divas aired in 2013. The E! reality show initially featured seven female WWE Superstars, with cameras following their lives both in and out of the ring. The initial star cast of Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Cameron, Eva Marie, JoJo, Naomi and Natalya was later joined by Alicia Fox, Paige, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae. Later seasons have seen other big names like Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax join the fray, with UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey being one of the key figures in the latest season.
Though the show is quite popular amongst reality shows and wrestling fanbases, not every top female wrestler has agreed to become a part of the series. In this article, we will take a look at five WWE Superstars who said no to appearing on Total Divas, as well as the reasons behind their decisions.
#5 AJ Lee said no to Total Divas
Anyone who watched RAW in 2013 will know exactly why AJ Lee refused to be a cast member of the reality show. The three-time Divas Champion was among the most high-profile female talents on WWE’s main roster when Total Divas began, so it came as a surprise to Vince McMahon when she said she did not want to appear on the reality show.
Speaking in a 2017 Q&A, Lee revealed that McMahon “got a kick out of it” when he found out that she declined the opportunity to be part of the reality show. The former WWE Chairman decided to give Lee a live microphone on RAW to explain her reasons for turning down the offer.
“He came up to me at RAW and was like, ‘So you don’t wanna do the show?’ I said, ‘No,’ and he’s like, ‘Okay, well, tell us why today,’ and that was it. They gave me a live mic and I guess nobody knew I was doing it.”
Lee went on to insult the entire cast of the show, describing them as “cheap, interchangeable, expandable, useless women”, and McMahon later said backstage that he was “so proud” of her promo.
#4 Sasha Banks
Interestingly, none of WWE's ’Four Horsewomen’ have been cast members on any of the nine seasons of Total Divas. Speaking to Busted Open Radio in April 2016, Sasha Banks made it clear that she is a wrestler, as opposed to a Diva, and stated that she would never appear on the show as a cast member.
“There’s always gonna be, so to say, Divas. And I’m in a category of wrestlers. It’s not for me. I won’t ever be on that show. Saying it out there for a fact.”
The first five seasons of Total Divas were filmed between 2013 and 2016 – a time when WWE still referred to its female Superstars as Divas.
In April 2016, the company axed the Divas name when WWE Hall of Famer Lita reintroduced the Women’s Championship - as a replacement for the Divas Championship - ahead of the Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks title match at WrestleMania 32.
Nikki Bella revealed in 2018 that talks were being held about possibly changing the name of Total Divas, but they felt that viewers would still connect with the show even with ‘Divas’ in the title.
#3 Becky Lynch
Mandy Rose and Rosa Mendes went on to join the reality show cast shortly after Lynch arrived on RAW and SmackDown in 2015, but the WrestleMania 35 main-eventer chose not to appear on the show.
Speaking to Bleacher Report in November 2017, Lynch explained that she did not want to feature on Total Divas because she wanted to keep some mystique around the person behind her WWE character.
"It's not something I ever wanted for myself. It's a great opportunity for the women. But I never envisioned myself in that role. And there's a certain mystique about myself that I'd like to keep. I don't want to give out too much of Rebecca Quin."
Ironically, Lynch ended up becoming one of the most popular female superstars in the company mere months after making these comments. This meant that the fans found out a lot more about the real-life Rebecca Quin through her various media interviews during the rise of her “The Man” persona.
Unlike the other names on this list, Paige used to be a member of the Total Divas cast. She worked on four seasons of the reality show between 2014 and 2016, while returning as a cast member in 2018 after a two-year absence.
Unfortunately, due to her in-ring retirement, Paige was told by the show executives that the show only wanted active superstars as cast members, which is why she was not part of the cast for the ninth season.
Speaking on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast in February 2020, the two-time Divas Champion explained that she was offered a guest role on the show but turned it down:
"I was like, 'No, I totally get that [Total Divas wanting active Superstars], but I would rather not be part of the show at all, not just little glimpses of me. I'd rather not be part of it unless it's something important.'"
Paige also said during the interview that she hopes to have her own reality show with her boyfriend, Ronnie Radke, one day.
#1 Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair is widely regarded as one of the best in-ring performers in the history of WWE’s women’s division, but she has never appeared as a cast member on Total Divas.
“The Queen” explained on Better Together with Maria Menounos that she has spoken about the possibility of featuring on the show. However, due to some people’s assumptions that she only receives roles due to her father, Ric Flair, she has always avoided reality television:
"We talked about it. And, the only reason I was never really a part of Total Divas was because of the aspect of me and my dad, and trying to separate myself, and building my brand, and I just don’t know if I ever wanted Hollywood to take me seriously. I didn’t know if the reality route was the way to go, even though it’s such great exposure." [H/T WrestleZone]
Flair has discussed her life outside the ring in media interviews and WWE Network documentaries throughout the years.
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