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By Mike Johnson on 2017-08-23 14:30:00

The women's revolution within World Wrestling Entertainment has been an interesting story to follow over the last several years as the company has evolved how it presents female competitors and how those changes fit into the overall landscape of WWE's weekly TV series, PPVs and storylines.  

While a great portion of the credit for the way those women are showcased is deservedly given to talents who have migrated to the main WWE roster from WWE NXT, where the women's division was treated as a serious, athletic division, far less attention is given to the Total Divas reality series.

 Nikki Bella (who has grown from just being a cast member to an Executive Producer of Divas) doesn't feel the reality franchise gets the credit it deserves for helping to cultivate and grow the female WWE fan demographic.

"Absolutely not, I don't think it does at all," Bella told this past Saturday at the One World Observatory following an appearance where she and other WWE performers surprised several Make-A-Wish Foundation families. 

"What is unfortunate is that when Total Divas was succeeding and we became a hit reality show, they let people with a mic in the ring just bash it and us Total Divas never got a response.   So, with the fans, it began to give Total Divas a bad name, 'Oh, they are just reality stars.'  Actually, while the girls who aren't on the reality show are just wrestling, us girls on the reality show are wrestling, are filming, are never sleeping, going to appearances, making sure that the world knows how amazing women wrestlers are.  So, I don't feel Total Divas gets enough credit because the words 'reality show' has ruined it for people.  I think certain people also, characters for the company, have ruined it as well out of pure jealousy.  I'll admit that." 

There's no question the female performers of NXT get the lion's share of the credit for evolving the women's division when they came to the main roster and certainly, they have earned that credit.  The popularity of Total Divas (which at one point, hit an overnight viewership of 1.67 million) should never be discounted.  By intriguing a female audience that had previously ignored pro wrestling via the reality exploits of the cast, they funneled a demographic that traditionally had ignored professional wrestling and turned them into fans for the first time, sort-of a yin to the yang of the NXT crew's exploits that created a perfect storm, leading to the much talked about "women's revolution" on WWE's main roster.

"I think [Total Divas] helped start the women's revolution, " Bella said, "Total Divas [led to] more women started coming to our show, like,  'I gotta check this out.'  I remember when Brie was fighting Stephanie McMahon, so many women showed up because they were like, 'I can't believe she's fighting her boss, Oh My Gosh!'  It was crazy for them to even imagine, like, 'She's gonna hit her?  Like, This is nuts!' and so I think Total Divas has done so much for women's wrestling.  It was the first time that we got an hour of TV to ourselves, to really showcase what women do."

The influx of newer fans and their rapid support for the stars of the series shocked even Bella.

"It happened so quickly and so fast," admitted Bella.  "I want to say that when seasons one and two came out, both of which we were lucky in that they had 16 episodes each, after that season two....Bam!  Everyone wanted to know Natalya, Brie Bella, Naomi, Ariane.  Everyone was like, 'Who are these girls?' and when we go to events, there would be women wrestlers who weren't on the show and were getting more TV time than us and [the fans] wouldn't care about them.  They would be, 'I want to see those Total Divas girls.  Can you bring them back?'

The second season of Total Bellas hits E! in October with a seventh season of Total Divas currently in production.  The women's revolution, meanwhile, rolls on and on.

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