In a recent interview with "Insight with Chris Van Vliet," CJ Perry expressed her desire for wrestling juggernauts WWE and AEW to revisit reality television programming akin to WWE's "Total Divas." Perry underscored the significant cultural impact such shows have had, not just within the wrestling community, but in broadening the fan base to include those who wouldn't traditionally tune in to wrestling events.
"It's crucial to bring such formats back. They've done a marvelous job attracting a female audience to the wrestling world, which is imperative for the industry's growth," Perry opined. The much-acclaimed "Total Divas," which last aired in 2019, revolutionized how fans perceive the wrestling business, peeling back the curtain to showcase the lives of WWE's female talent both in and out of the ring.
While the series initially garnered skepticism for potentially "exposing the business," it went on to achieve impressive ratings and unquestionably elevated the status of the WWE women's division. Post their reality TV stint, many female wrestlers saw an exponential rise in their on-screen roles, thereby validating the show's significance.
Ripple Effect Cited
Perry further cited the story of Maxxine Dupri as a testament to the show's influence in encouraging new talent to join the wrestling business. "It's not just about ratings; it's about the positive ripple effect a show like 'Total Divas' generates," she emphasized.
As of now, WWE has continued to make strides in reality TV with their popular "Miz & Mrs." series, but nothing solely focused on their women's division has emerged since "Total Divas." AEW, on the other hand, has had a few reality TV endeavors like "Rhodes to the Top," which zooms in on Cody and Brandi Rhodes' life, and "AEW: All Access," offering an unprecedented look at the backstage operations.
However, none have yet concentrated on portraying the experiences of female talent in the AEW ring. With the wrestling industry always in search of innovative ways to expand its viewership, the call for the return of such reality programs is not just nostalgic but a strategic business recommendation.
Whether or not WWE and AEW heed Perry's advice remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure—reality TV could serve as a potent avenue for growing the female fan base and promoting inclusivity in professional wrestling.