Well, Crappers, it seems that after a rocky start, the Divas Revolution has finally achieved its first major success: namely, getting WWE to stop calling it “The Divas Revolution.” In fact, WWE abruptly dropped the whole “Divas” branding entirely, creating a new Women’s title to replace that ridiculous butterfly belt the ladies had been fighting over for years.
One thing that bothered me about the unveiling of the new title, however, was that Lita and the WWE announcers implied not only that the Divas Title had always been around, but that the women of WWE had always been called, “Divas.” No, ma’am.
There was a time before the term, “Divas” became ubiquitous; a time when badass, no-nonsense women like the late Chyna and Hall of Famer Jacqueline ruled the ring; a time when women wrestlers were respected, dammit.
Well, not exactly. The time I’m referring to is 1999, and those badass, no-nonsense women shared precious TV time with this week’s inductee, Ms. Cathy Dingman.
|For months, Dingman would appear as an unnamed, buxom EMT who would occasionally arrive at ringside to tend to wrestlers with kayfabe injuries.|
|The EMT’s name, we eventually learned, was B.B., as in, “Big Boobs.”|
|But officially, her name was Barbara Bush, as in the former first lady.|
|But for now, let’s ignore the unpleasant mental image of George W. and Jeb’s mom dressed up as a sexy nurse; the name, “Barbara Bush” was rather porntastic, as we like to say on Wrestlecrap (Porntastic, for the uninitiated, is a portmanteau of “pornography” and “fantastic”). Still, it was nothing compared to the original name the Russo-led creative team had planned for Cathy Dingman.|
|No, the original plan was for the character to be named Nurse Connie Lingus. Imagine having to explain to your kids why Jerry Lawler’s voice cracked every time he said her name, or why they should never ever repeat it in public.|
|BB was formally introduced to the WWF Singularity (which is what astrophysicists believe existed before the WWE Universe) after the Thanksgiving 1999 episode of Smackdown…|
|…when she performed a life-saving Heimlich Maneuver on the Kat, who was choking on a mushroom. Such are the hazards of the Gravy Bowl match.|
|This is going to sound unbelievable to some readers, but our fair BB actually ended up getting her clothing removed. Yes, on a wrestling show, of all things.|
|So indignant was our favorite volunteer EMT at being exposed on TV that she challenged Ivory to an evening gown match, just like any normal woman would (in a porno).|
|Ivory told it to her straight, cutting through the unsolvable riddle of BB’s name like the Gordian knot. Did I ever mention how awesome Ivory was?|
|And would you believe what happened next to BB?|
|“That’s a large bra she’s wearing,” noted JR. However, despite his encyclopedic knowledge of boot, ring, and head sizes, her exact measurements eluded him.|
|In fact, Ivory cut a number of brutally honest promos on BB, who could never muster a comeback. Perhaps she was instructed not to let her personality distract the audience from her gazongas.|
|One night, Ivory ran down her lack of intelligence in a promo on the way to the ring. With no response from BB forthcoming, Ivory then broke the awkward silence by remarking with frank astonishment, “Your boobs really are quite enormous.”|
|Ivory might not have been a fan, but Jerry Lawler sure was, and unlike Ivory, he never once crassly mentioned her “boobs”. “Dairy farms” were his precise words.|
|BB never actually wrestled, but she still managed to compete in a variety of contests, all of which involved taking her clothes off in some way.|
|There was the Holiday Topless Top-Rope match, where she would take off a piece of clothing every time Val Venis was thrown over the top rope…|
|…the Miss Rumble bikini contest…|
|…and of course, the four-corners evening gown match for the Women’s title. Now, I said earlier that BB never wrestled in the WWF, and this match was no exception: the fact that it took place in a pool precluded any actual wrestling moves being used, and most of the offense in this title match consisted of splashing. Gee, it’s hard to believe WWE doesn’t want to associate its new Women’s title with the old Women’s Title.|
|The biggest pop of BB’s career came when Ivory tried to pull her bra off after officially eliminating her, much to the delight of what Ivory called the “perverts” in the audience.|
|But did you really have to be a pervert to want to see Barbara Bush out of her evening gown?|
|It turns out that Kelly Kelly wasn’t the first woman in company history with an impossible-to-remove brassiere (or to have a really dumb name).|
|The pool evening gown match wasn’t BB’s last chance at Women’s gold, either. She was very close to earning a one-on-one match against the new Women’s champion, but Jacqueline ended up drawing the short straw.|
|Yes, in the Attitude Era, one could earn a Women’s title shot by lot. Harvey Wippleman was the reigning champion, by the way. And somehow Chyna didn’t want anything to do with the Women’s division.|
|Before she could rock-paper-scissors her way to her next title shot, however, BB’s career in the WWF was cut short when allegations surfaced. No, not Ivory’s vicious allegations of a breast enlargement surgery…|
|…but rather, that BB and a still-married Bob Holly had a relationship unbecoming of a woman hired solely for her breasts, resulting in pink slips for both guilty parties (except Bob).|
|It looked like the WWF would send BB out in sickening fashion when the Dudley Boyz tried to put her through a table the following Raw, but Edge, Christian, and the Hardys made the save.|
|Then the Dudleys did it again for real on Smackdown, and BB was never seen again in the WWF.|
So why didn’t her biggest fan, Jerry Lawler, get up out of his announcer’s chair and save her?
Because BB was, after all, a “WWF Superstar.” Not a “Diva,” but a Superstar, the same as him or Bubba Ray or D-Von.
Gee, do you hear that, WWE? Lawler had this whole equality thing figured out 16 years before you did.