Filmed around the last days of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, the Total Divas Season 8 Finale is both a farewell and a retrospective for the legendary Superstar and father of longtime castmember Natalya.
Anvil appears early in the episode, when it’s revealed he is suffering from a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s the family has chosen withhold so he can enjoy his final years without worrying about what’s happening. He’s starting to show some signs of decline, which is causing the Neidharts some stress (one bright spot comes when Natalya tests negative for the genetic marker), but he passes suddenly before the illness can progress further. The loss is abrupt and devastating, but Natalya retains a measure of peace knowing her father was still himself at the end. The funeral is a perfectly-organized celebration of his life, at the end of which Natalya is encouraged by her sister to compete at SummerSlam in his memory — a charge she ultimately accepts, wearing his jacket to the ring.
Elsewhere, Naomi and Jimmy Uso have their biggest fight yet after her wedding ring is stolen and Jimmy accuses her of being overly careless, if not outright negligent, of a symbol of their relationship. So, to make it up to him, they replace the ring with something that can’t be stolen: Matching tattoos.
Also, Money in the Bank is coming up and the Total Divas’ various pursuits this season all come to a head. Lana showcases her improvement in the ring; Nia Jax holds her own against Ronda Rousey and, pointedly, The Bella Twins watch from home and begin to realize they miss the ring more than they were initially willing to admit. Brie is even nurturing the idea of a proper comeback … but that’s a story for Total Bellas Season 4 on E! in January.
Ahh, Lake Tahoe. Stunning vistas, a fully-furnished cabin, and … a boiling fight between Paige and Lana?
Alas, serenity is nowhere to be found on Total Divas when the ladies travel to a lake house and Brie Bella — in a stunning misreading of the room — decides to mastermind a prank where Lana gets the worst room of the bunch yet again. Only this time, The Ravishing Russian strikes back, stealing Paige’s room and bringing years of tension back to the surface (it stems from, of all things, a Tweet). The upshot is, Lana’s a brat and she knows it, but Paige is past the point of taking disrespect lying down, so they get in a big fight that nearly spoils into actual fisticuffs until they tearily make up. (They get back at the girls by staging a prank of their own where Lana throws water in Paige’s face.) Nikki Bella’s attempt to get the ladies to use the trip as a reflective period doesn’t go as planned either, but she takes it in stride, and all is well.
Continue reading Total Divas Season 8, Episodes 8&9
You might think time with Birdie Joe Danielson would kick Nikki Bella’s baby fever into overdrive — but you’d be wrong. In fact, it’s Rusev who goes into full papa-bear mode when he and Nikki babysit, while Brie and Daniel Bryan train Lana for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Together, he and Nikki team up to plan a big Bulgarian birthday for the little one, despite Brie and Bryan’s objections—and missing Birdie’s birthday by a month. The party is still a blast, and the whole situation leads Rusev to pester Lana once again about having a baby, though he eventually accepts she still has goals to achieve and isn’t ready yet to put her life on hold for a child. Elsewhere, Paige, curious if there was ever a life outside of the ring for her, tries her hand at day jobs alongside Nia Jax. The friends turn things into a competition, just to keep it interesting, and Nia wins in the end, 2-1. Paige accepts defeat by admitting she’s not cut out for a regular gig, but that’s all right. She’s pretty good at her day job.