I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised the fiasco of Emma morphing into Emmalina placed so low in the 2017 Gooker Award voting. That’s not to say the winner, in which Jinder Mahal, a skinny jobber somehow magically became a jacked to the gills WWE champion, was undeserving. It was. Nor would I take exception to the hideous Bray Wyatt-Randy Orton feud garnering so many votes. Heck, I was so sure that was going to take the prize I inducted the week after it happened last year, and gave it the prize six months in advance to boot!
Still, while those storylines were bad, at least they went somewhere. Somewhere horrible, but there was a destination nevertheless. Contrast that with today’s induction, which may be the single biggest waste of time in the history of the business. I know a lot of folks reading this have been watching pro wrestling even longer than I have (thirty-three years by last count), so I ask you: has there ever been a longer build for something that had absolutely zero pay off?
We always talk about the infamous Baby Doll-Dusty Rhodes photos, but that took place over a matter of a couple of weeks. That’s nothing compared to this disaster.
Ok, I may be getting ahead of myself. Let’s introduce the star of our show today, Tenille Dashwood.
You may know her better as Emma.
I used that exact shot of her for a reason, as it was during her first stint in NXT when she was able to use her personality and connect with the audience. You know that whole deal where Bayley was in NXT and considered a “can’t miss” prospect? And how everyone was aghast to see her botched beyond recognition when she hit the main roster?
That type of things is nothing new. It’s happened many times before. And while Emma was always somewhat of a risk to the mainstream audience, she had an inherent likability that felt like it SHOULD translate wherever she went. After all, she was able to get over with the NXT crowd doing a goofy dance routine that absolutely screamed indy opening match. To her credit, however, she made it work so props to her.
Perhaps seeing that, WWE brought her to the main roster with no build, instead just throwing her out on Raw doing her silly shuck and jive routine. She more or less died in front of the live audience, and it took her a while to gain any footing whatsoever. She was paired with Santino, but even that didn’t seem to help much. Eventually she just kinda floundered with no direction whatsoever.
And then apparently someone bothered to look up her Instagram and saw this woman was in fact absolutely stunning. A hot chick on the roster? Maybe, maybe they could do something with her.
Oh, and remember when I mentioned her debut on the big stage came with no videos letting fans know who she was in advance? When WWE decided to freshen up her image, they wouldn’t make that mistake again.
In fact, they would do the exact opposite of it.
It all started on October 3, 2016, when we were told Emma was going away.
In her place?
So we got a video, and make no mistake about it – the formerly plain jane girl had become a total smoke show. This was straight out of one of those stupid John Hughes films where the ‘ugly’ girl suddenly becomes the hottest woman alive to the shock of everyone. She was stunning, and without question, attentions (and likely other appendages) were grabbed.
The following week, we got another tease. She no longer looked like some also ran on the roster, she looked like a complete, bonafide model. It was a change so jarring as to be jaw dropping.
Another week, another video. So we are at three weeks of hype, with us being given nothing more than further imagery of just how hot this woman could be.
Did I say three weeks? I meant four.
And did I say weeks?
Because I meant MONTHS.
Every single week, we would be informed that Emmalina would be “premiering soon.” It got to the point that not only were the same photos being used over and over, the exact same videos were too. Was any of this ever going to lead anywhere?
Let’s not complain though, but even though we were getting mostly the same pics as before, now we had something new: TEXT!
That’s right, WWE spared no expense firing up the Font-trolla and throwing verbiage all over the place to explain what this woman was all about. Gorgeous! Captivating! Irresistible! Glamorous!
(Does anyone else remember that period where anytime they mentioned a woman on the roster she was described as “sexy strong and powerful”? Why weren’t those listed on there?)
So this went on for two solid months, before finally, FINALLY, we were told she was going to debut. Good things come to those who wait, right? So the big week came and…
Don’t hit refresh, you’re not missing an image there. I’m giving you a blank screen. Which is exactly what the company gave us.
You see, despite this being the alleged big day, Emma or Emmalina or whatever she was to be called was nowhere to be found. The story coming out of Raw was there simply wasn’t time for her to debut.
You know, on a three hour show.
So a couple more weeks pass with no mention and then all of a sudden…
And guess what, she was still on her way!
By this time, it was becoming a running joke. The announcers had a tough time trying to play this off as anything legit, with poor Corey Graves appearing as the hype master trying to explain what was taking so long. God bless the guy, he did his best, noting how “she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world…she’ll show up when she’s ready!”
By December, Corey was running out of material, but he may have had the line of the year telling us, “I’m fully prepared to wait until 2018!”
At this rate, the odds may have favored him needing to do just that.
Another week, another dose of poor Corey.
“Emmalina can make us wait forever, and I’d be ok with that! We’ll be lucky when she gets here!”
So after sixteen weeks, we got a very slightly different video.
To be fair, it was identical to others, save for the final seconds. Go back, and let’s pause that.
Did you read that, kids?
Better yet, let’s get some cheap clip art arrows to point it out.
That’s right – next week, we were finally going to see what this was all about.
We were finally going to witness this amazing makeover.
Now sure, we’d been promised this before, but this time THEY MEANT IT.
And for once, this company actually delivered on its promise!
Emmalina had finally arrived!
With the microphone in her hand, she showed us just how glamorous she was, smiling and looking lovely. We all held our breath as she told us about her amazing plans. And that would be…
…that she was going to become Emma again.
And she looked absolutely thrilled.
Corey Graves, who had been a great sport and arguably the star through all this, hyping this woman up week after week, for over a third of a YEAR, had his greatest line ever.
She then turned around and walked sadly to the back. And that was the end of Emmalina.
As she proclaimed, she did in fact go right back to being Emma, this time with a slightly heelish makeover.
Why, she even got a couple more video packages!
Wait, wasn’t she already here?
She stuck around a few months, eventually losing to Asuka and then vanishing altogether.
So what was the real story? What really happened here?
Sources have told this reporter the idea was for Emmalina to become an over the top sex symbol. Those had not been en vogue in the company for a few years, and the idea was she could be a throwback to the likes of Sable and Stacy Keibler. During dress rehearsals, however, management felt she was not believable in such a role.
Apparently, this is not believable as a sex symbol.
I know I am out of the primary target demographic, but she kinda looks like one to me!