It seems that the WWE is always ahead of the trends. A couple of years back, the company noticed that reality TV was booming. So in the summer of 2013, WWE decided to launch their own reality show, Total Divas. Both Nikki and Brie returned to the company for the show and they instantly became stars.
The show continues on with lots of success. To date, Total Divas has released eight seasons with a total of over 100 episodes. In addition, thanks to Brie and Nikki’s popularity, the twins launched their very own spinoff, Total Bellas.
In order for the show to be successful, the cast members have a lot of rules to follow. It isn’t as easy as a camera crew following you around 24/7–a role on the show is a lot more complex than that. For that reason, a lot of other Divas have turned down the opportunity to join the cast.
Although it is a great way to get their names out there, it is also very time consuming and requires a lot of effort from the Divas. There’s a reason that the cast has a high turnover rate!
Enjoy the article as we take a look at 20 rules the cast of Total Divas must follow, starting with a bizarre rule that the Divas must follow–one of the many questionable rules.
20 Refer To The Divas By Their Wrestling Names
Although it is reality television, it is quite bizarre that the wrestlers still have to refer to their peers by their wrestling names. After all, the show is produced by WWE. Though you would think since it’s reality television, they would be given the green light to refer to each other by their actual names.
This isn’t the case. Take Nia Jax for example—her real name is actually Savelina, but she’s referred to as Nia throughout the show. The same goes for both Nikki and Alexa Bliss, who are referred to by their wrestling names. This seems to be a strict rule WWE wants the Divas to follow on the show.
19 Realize That The Show Is Filmed Well In Advance
While we’re watching season three at home, chances are the show’s really at season four when it comes to the taping of the episodes. Clearly, the show isn’t filmed in real time. That’s evidenced by the dialogue, as a lot of the discussion pertaining to wrestling involves things that happened months ago.
The Divas must be aware of this. It is important that they don’t leak anything related to the program in advance. We got a reminder of this during Nikki and John’s breakup; although the two split, we didn’t find out till the actual show aired. The two did a great job keeping it under wraps until then.
18 Drop The WWE Gimmick When The Total Divas Camera Are Rolling
Yes, they use their wrestling names but aside from that, WWE wants the Divas to drop their wrestling gimmicks completely. The company wants this to be a reality show with nothing that comes across as gimmicky.
Take Lana for example; on WWE programming she’s billed to be from Russia and she has an accent to go along with the gimmick. However, on Total Divas, that same accent is completely dropped and Lana is allowed to be herself. This was weird for wrestling fans to get used to at first. However, we fully understand why the show took such a direction.
17 A Lot Of The Footage Isn’t Even Used
The Divas must be aware that a lot of the footage won’t even be used altogether. The show has lots of ground to cover with various Divas on the show. This means that the dialogue is usually squeezed in. Only a small portion of the actual footage is used. In some cases, hours of filming can literally turn into five minutes of air time on the show.
WWE does try to salvage some of the footage. Via their website and YouTube, the company provides lots of bonus clips. Some are even of the dramatic variety like Maryse and Nia disputing backstage.
16 Understand It's A Short-Term Commitment
Appearing on Total Divas definitely isn’t a long-term commitment. For the most part, the company likes to keep the cast fresh, constantly changing the Divas on the show. Aside from the Bellas and a select few, the cast constantly seems to be changing.
A lot of that also has to do with entertainment value. If the producers feel that someone isn’t interesting enough, chances are they’ll be passed up for the following season. We’ve seen various short-term commitments in the past that included the likes of Cameron, Eva Marie, JoJo, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, and lots of others.
15 The Cast Must Unite Together For The Purpose Of The Show
In a lot of the episodes, the members of the cast are together. For the most part, this is all part of the show as Total Divas wants to shoot the women together. For a lot of them, they really aren’t that close in real life, so the camaraderie is really only for the purpose of the show.
We’ve even seen lots of episodes featuring the Divas taking trips together. Again, this was solely intended for entertainment purposes. In a lot of those episodes, things got stirred up quite quickly, starting with seemingly benign things like room selections. That’s exactly what the producers of the show want, the more drama the better. Just ask Lana and Paige!
14 WWE Divas Can Turn The Show Down
WWE Divas have the right to turn down the show. Now, it wouldn’t be the wisest idea, as it could advance their brand even further. Nonetheless, some would rather opt to leave parts of their lives behind closed doors.
Examples of those that turned down Total Divas include Becky, Charlotte, and Sasha. Banks has been the more vocal one stating that she’ll never appear on the show. Here’s what she had to say on Busted Open Radio; “There’s always going to 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.”
13 Be Willing To Be Filmed While With The WWE
Total Divas isn’t just about what goes on outside of the ring. In fact, a lot of the taping actually takes place backstage during a show. For the Divas that want to stay focused on the task at hand in the ring, that might be a little harder with the cameras rolling prior to the show and during the show as well.
We’ve seen a lot of scenes filmed backstage, including lots of drama featuring Eva Marie and the rest of the WWE Divas. Not only do the Divas have to focus on what goes on in the ring, but they must also keep things entertaining outside of it behind the scenes at the show.
12 Don’t Speak Negatively About The WWE
This might be one of the most important rules of all. It is crucial that the talent doesn’t speak negatively about the WWE. As you’ll see in the next entry, they can speak negatively about their involvement in the show. However, they can’t speak ill of the company in general.
We caught a glimpse of that during a discussion between John Cena and Nikki Bella. Cena made it clear that they need to carry the WWE name with as much respect as possible. The same goes for all of the Divas. The company has a lot of high profile investors, so it is imperative that they keep the WWE name in high regard.
11 Can Speak Negatively About Roles On The WWE Show
On the flip side, the cast can speak negatively about the WWE, but only pertaining to their roles on the show. We saw lots of examples of this in the past. Paige was the obvious example as her relationship with the WWE soured and she was off TV for quite a bit. We also saw Lana grow frustrated with her role on television. The Divas also lashed out at Eva for her involvement on the show.
Basically, if it’s going to stir up more drama, the WWE isn’t against it—as long as it doesn’t portray them in a negative light.
10 Must Include Husband Or Boyfriend If He’s With The WWE
If the WWE Diva is dating a wrestler within the company, that wrestler must be included on the show. This is a wise tactic that can add some extra eyeballs to the show, especially from the male demographic.
We’ve seen lots of examples. Perhaps the most surprising was Dean Ambrose, the real-life husband of Renee Young. Ambrose usually keeps to himself, so seeing him on the show was definitely a treat. John Cena also appeared on several episodes, though according to Cena’s contract, he could only be filmed when he chose to be filmed. The others didn’t get that kind of treatment!
9 Be Willing To Show Your Home
It is reality TV and the fans want to see everything that goes on behind the scenes when the Divas are out of the ring. That means the Divas can’t be afraid to show their personal spaces, especially their homes. A lot of the taping is actually done when the Divas are home as it gives the fans a closer look at who they are outside of the ring.
Letting an entire camera crew into your home is a common occurrence on the show. For those that want to keep their boundaries, Total Divas definitely isn’t the program they should be joining.
8 Be Willing To Show Your Friends & Family
Again, everything needs to be wide open and that also includes friends and family. We’ve seen this trend with even the new Divas on the show. Take Mandy Rose, for example—we saw her entire family including her brothers and separated parents. Mandy wasn’t shy when it came to her personal life as she opened up on how difficult it was to see her parents divorce after so many years.
WWE expects the same from the other members of the cast. It is all about transparency and that includes family and friends as well. In some cases, the family members can turn into actual characters on the show. Nikki and Brie’s brother JJ is an example of that.
7 Accept The Camera Crew Everywhere
For those that live a low key life, this can be hard to deal with. Take Total Divas cast member Alexa Bliss as an example. She lives a quiet life away from the ring, usually enjoying the simpler things in life like taking care of her pet pig. One can only imagine how different it must’ve been for Alexa to be constantly followed around by a camera crew.
That causes a lot of unwanted attention–but this is something that the Divas must get used to. And of course, the Divas cannot acknowledge the camera crew either. Let’s not forget, it is supposed to be reality television after all!
6 Use Social Media To Promote The Show
In this day and age, it is all about social media when it comes to promoting just about anything. WWE knows that really well, and the company continues to push the bar way high whether it be on IG or via YouTube.
Cast members on Total Divas must follow this guideline. Of course, an IG account is mandatory. The company relies heavily on the Divas to push the message of the show. For that reason, prior to episodes, all the cast members post previews of the show to their accounts. They definitely have to do their part in getting the fans excited about the program.
5 Extra Parties To Be Filmed Must Sign An Agreement Form
When the audience sees a new character or a onetime type of scene, those involved must sign a contract that they oblige to be filmed and to be on the show. We’ve seen examples of people turning Total Divas down. In these cases, the show either blurs out their faces or doesn’t use them at all. If the show can’t get their consent, they won’t be on the final cut of the program.
For the most part, most agree and sign the consent form. We saw a lot of examples last season with Nikki Bella as she started to meet new people since separating from John.
4 Stirring Things Up Isn’t Necessarily Bad
Like the WWE, stirring things up on the show isn’t a bad thing and in fact, it is actually encouraged. We’ve seen so many disputes start off small and just completely blow up, and a lot of that has to be because of the show. Although it is reality television, the Divas tend to get turned up whenever there's a dispute.
We saw that with Nia and Maryse backstage. Nia asked Maryse the simple question of whether she had ever been in a gauntlet match. Maryse blew up claiming that Nia was trying to disrespect her by asking such a question given that she’s been with the company for a decade. That conversation escalated worse than it should have, just like a lot of the other scenes on the show.
3 Cameras In The Car
The camera crew needs to be everywhere at all times. Not only are the Divas constantly filmed but the same holds true for when they’re riding in the car. The Total Divas crew places a dash cam on the front end of the car. This is another rule the cast needs to get familiar with, because it can make traveling a bit more complicated.
Turn out, this might be a successful formula as the company even has another show dedicated to conversations that take place while on the road, WWE Ride Along. Maybe conversation in the car is a lot more interesting than what we thought!
2 Keep It Exciting
This is the biggest rule that the cast must follow. The producers of the show expect that the Divas keep it fresh and exciting at all times. For those that just want to go home and chill out, that attitude won’t cut it on the show.
Alexa Bliss found herself in that conundrum while on the show as she lives a simple life. In order to draw a little more interest, she actually bought a pet pig. She admits it was done for the show but she eventually became really attached to her new pet. Had it not been for Total Divas, who knows if fans would have ever gotten to see Larry Steve.
1 Discuss Personal Relationships
On WWE television, discussing personal relationships tends to be frowned upon. However, the same doesn’t hold true for Total Divas and it is actually encouraged. Paige is an example of this rule as she tends to talk about her personal relationships rather openly on the show.
Of course, Nikki Bella and John Cena took this to the next level by actually having an emotional breakup on the show—and it created a lot of buzz, which is exactly what the producers of the show wanted. This is one of those unwritten rules the show encourages from its cast—but it's only one of many!