Anyone see Raw this week? I mean besides the awesome stuff with CM Punk? I mean, the Divas match in particular between Kelly Kelly and Melina, with a post-match beatdown by the Bella Twins on Kelly and Eve Torres? Anyone see how Melina joined in with the beatdown? No?
That’s because it didn’t happen. The two-time Divas Champion and three-time Women’s Champion was left in the shadows after being defeated in 100 seconds by Kelly, having only got in three moves, and two of those were kicks. It could be claimed that the match was short – so short that Melina was introduced in the ring and din’t even get to do her signature entrance with the paparazzi and the splits – because the show was overrunning. Some would say it’s a big push for Kelly, given that she is the Divas Champ right now, and that she has a title defence this weekend on the Money in the Bank pay-per-view against Brie Bella - and that’s all true. However, Kelly could have beaten any number of women on the Raw roster in what was effectively a squash match – Maryse would have been perfect for that role. It is telling that WWE chose to send out Melina – its former golden girl, the woman who was the figurehead of the division for years and the woman who has seemingly been in the Diva doghouse for all of 2011 – to lie down…
Things were going pretty well for Melina Perez this time last year. She was almost 100% after rupturing her ACL at the end of 2009, causing her to forfeit the Divas title. Upon her return to Raw, she was thrust right back to the top of the heap by beating then-champion Alicia Fox in a non-title match, then pinning her for the championship a mere six days later at SummerSlam. No build-up, no long struggle back from the brink of retirement, nothing. WWE just gave her the belt at the first opportunity – much like when she jumped to Raw in 2009 and beat Jillian Hall for the title at the first bite of the cherry. Is it because she had proven herself? Hardly – the comeback match was pretty poor and the contest at the PPV was no better, but was overlooked because of Melina looking like Big Bird in a bright yellow pair of leg warmers. When it came to match quality, Melina hadn’t been that great before getting injured – seemingly more intent on showing her flexibility and any new moves rather than working with her opponent to produce a decent contest for the viewers.
The Sunset Split finisher is a prime example. It’s awkward for the victim to take because they’re horrendously off-balance, and is designed to produce a different pin for Melina rather than being a great move. Likewise, her Code Red is ugly as all hell, because few Divas know how to take it – but instead of getting rid of these moves, she keeps doing them because she wants people to think she’s standing out from the pack, whereas in reality, they look plain ugly.
Melina’s title reign lasted a month before she was defeated at Night of Champions by Michelle McCool to unify the Women’s and Divas titles, which led to her floundering for the next couple of months. But then, she was given the chance to inject some life into her career by turning heel. And boy, did she need it.
The problem with the Melina character is that it’s meant to be unlikeable. She comes out on a red carpet, surrounded by photographers, posing and mugging for photos. Excuse me for my naivety, but haven’t we been led to believe that the paparazzi are horrible, invasive, exploitative leeches who constantly stick their lens in the business of celebrities and hound them everywhere they go? Are they not one of the most disliked elements of the entertainment industry, and that the only people who are happy to see them are attention whores who feed off that sort of adulation? If that’s the case, if Melina is happy for these photographers to stalk her, is she not someone who we are meant to dislike – almost hate by association with the paps? Her imagery, demeanour and act is meant to make us think that she is better than us. Isn’t the markings of a great heel, not a babyface that we as fans are supposed to support? WWE massively miscast her as a babyface, but had thrown her a great opportunity to get back to being the bitch heel that made her so great when she was part of MNM and then as a singles wrestler up until her face turn in 2008.
Unfortunately, she had gotten too used to the cheers.
After becoming the number one contender on December 10 last year, Melina kicked off her turn to the dark side by slapping then-champion Natalya in the face and walking off. On the post Christmas Raw, she got the win over the Champ again in a tag team match, but things were afoot in WWE’s Universe. Melina didn’t want to be a heel.
Perez took to her Twitter and punted kayfabe into the stands by letting everyone know that she still wanted to be adored in the real world.
U guys r all great. U crack me up. This will b fun. 4 the 5 people who believe what they see on the show is real, don’t trip sweeties. Im gonna goof on Twitter to joke but know that I’m still me & I’m not my character on tv. But let’s have fun with this. I love my girls on the show and am happy for their success & opportunities. Those people who were concerned are so cute & sweet. Thanks for tweeting.
For the rest that are Being supportive of me whether I’m a heel or face! You guys are amazing and I love you with all my heart. I was afraid more people would be hating. You guys are the best!!! That love & encouragement is the best Xmas gift I can possibly get.
What a way to get your new heel persona over – by saying it’s all an act and she’s just pretending to be bad. Now, I’m not so blinkered to believe that people still think that heels are dicks in real life too, but to openly come out and say that you’re just playing a role isn’t wise, especially when WWE is somewhat suspicious of social networks in the first place. It’s a chink in the “Universe” that they have crafted for themselves.
However, Melina compounded the problem by discussing her real-life relationship with John Morrison – while not directly, it’s no secret that the two have been on-again, off-again for years:
Getting dumped must be the new trend this new years. The feeling sucks. I’d rather be baby face and b in love than heel & dumped.I wish I could b perfect enough. I wish I was him. I truly wanted to be the perfect woman for you.
At this point, it appears that WWE had decided enough was enough. If Melina was going to moan about her private AND professional life online, she wasn’t going to get the title match at the Royal Rumble like it appeared the storyline was heading towards. Instead, she was jobbed out by Natalya on January 24 of this year, and wouldn’t get close to the Divas Championship again.
She didn’t help herself when she complained that Trish Stratus and Snooki had taken what could have been her WrestleMania payday when they were booked in a 6-person tag with Morrison against McCool, Layla and Dolph Ziggler – which is totally implausible as she was a heel, so there was no chance of her being booked alongside her man – and was seen as a major wedge in that match by pressuring Morrison to veto Stratus’ suggestions. You can’t snub Stratus. She’s WWE’s crown jewel when it comes to the females, and for her to be given a hard time is the equivalent of taking a dump on the Oval Office carpet.
Wrestling Inc produced a piece earlier this year listing some of the frictions Melina has allegedly been involved in over the years, including fights with Booker T’s wife Sharmell and Candice Michelle, as well as Maria Kanellis, Brooke “Miss Tessmacher” Adams and Taryn “Tiffany” Terrell all having less than complimentary things to say about her. Couple that with her being publicly barred from a nightclub and her age – sure, 32 isn’t old, but it is when you’re a WWE Diva, as sad as it is to say – and Melina’s seven year WWE stint may be hanging by a thread.
Sure, she’s making some steps to evolve by changing her look to all-black and trying to engage in an online feud with Gail Kim, but a lot of it either smacks of desperation, or is a case of too little, too late. Had she fully immersed herself into the heel push that she was given, she may have won the Divas Title, been at WrestleMania and be the number one bad girl in the company. That’s not a ridiculous prospect since Kharma is out for the rest of the year and Michelle McCool has retired. Instead, she’s lying down in sub 2 minute matches and is being used as cannon fodder. It’s a spectacular fall from grace for the former figurehead of the division.
As a twist of irony, the WWE Divas calendar has Melina as the July picture. On the autograph, it says that she is the “most dominant Diva and sexiest woman on TV”. The second point is always up for debate, depending on your taste in women – as of this moment, the first point is utterly untrue.
– Lee Burton
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