What I’m seeing from the people of Tumblr are 2 reactions from tonight:
1. AJ Lee is back solely because they want to appease the fans
2. Roman Reigns is finally proving himself
I frankly don’t agree with either of those things.
Both points fall under the category of giving the fans what they want. No matter what you think of the decision makers of WWE, they utilize social media so much for a reason. They feed you hashtags, and while, yes, they only show the positive stuff on TV, they see it all. They know when the fans aren’t happy and they do things about it. In the same vein, this is professional wrestling, and killing a storyline to do what the fans want isn’t going to help anything, it’s just going to make other people mad when they don’t get what they want. Conflict is quite literally the central point of “sports entertainment,” and that definitely includes conflict between fans and the product. Even if you type up a full manifesto about every moment of Raw you despised, as long as you put #wwe at the end, you’re playing in.
So, when #givedivasachance trend #1 on Twitter, they know the WWE Universe wants to see more divas. This being an issue in the
company industry for years, it was obvious that a movement that big needed to be addressed quickly. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 20 second tag team match was there to be a catalyst to get fans fired up. So they give the people what they want by letting the girls shine in a mix tag match, letting Steph rip into misogyny two weeks in a row, and giving a great match/promo for the ones they’re pushing the most. People have been asking for AJ back for weeks, and what better time to bring her back than right after she caused some fire on Twitter with Steph and the Paige/Bellas rivalry was starting to feel stale.
I hesitate to make this comparison because they are not the same type of superstars, but AJ is like John Cena: she’s gonna get a pop from the crowd—negative, positive, or both—every night, so she needs to be on TV. That’s just a fact, love it or hate it. People want AJ out there so, why not double up with the movement and bring back your top female star? It’s a genius move, even if its transparent. Oh, and her using “give divas a chance” in her promo was meant as a nod to the movement, that wasn’t her stealing it for herself, you ignorant loafs.
And with Reigns “getting better.” Come on. It’s like everyone forgot how dominant he was as part of The Shield. He knows how to wrestle, and he can cut a team promo with the best of him. But this is called on-screen development. If they make him look like a king on the mic and in the ring from the get-go, it doesn’t make sense for the Fastlane match to happen, or for him to be questioned at all. For him to look 100% ready to go a month before Wrestlemania would render the next 4 weeks moot for him. He proved himself to the company as a member of The Shield, and they made their decision before he even got hurt. Once he got back, they knew what they were gonna do with him, and are going for it. And the fans are now talking about him. Love him or hate him, I bet anyone would rather see Roman the champ instead of “the BEAST.”
In his interview with Stone Cold, Triple H made it clear that he knows kayfabe is dead. So now, he’s going meta and playing with the real-life opinions of fans. He’s making them part of the game involuntarily, using any opinion you give to feed the overall storyline. The WWE storyline really does include Twitter, and #givedivasachance and Brock’s contract dispute and the Ambrose love, even if it doesn’t show clearly on TV.