When Monday Night Raw began advertising the return of Eva Marie, reaction was mixed. Shortly after the release of several more athletically credible female talents, bringing Eva back seemed like a tone deaf move on the part of World Wrestling Entertainment. When her June 15 debut came, Eva Marie had unadvertised accompaniment: wrestler Kimberly Benson, last known as Piper Niven on NXT UK. Her new character, Doudrop, easily dominated veteran Naomi in a controversial match on Raw that launched several days of #NaomiDeservesBetter tweets. Eva Marie took credit for the victory, despite the fact that she had barely spent seconds in the ring and it was Doudrop doing the heavy lifting.
The direction that the storyline was taking soon became clear: vain and oblivious Eva Marie sees herself as Doudrop’s mentor, but in truth looks down on her and takes all the credit for her victories in the ring. Both Eva Marie and Doudrop have played their parts in the comedic angle well, but Doudrop especially shines. Her expressions of alternating contempt, incredulity, resignation, or annoyance at Eva Marie’s Instagram-famous antics have been subtle but effective character work: the audience could see, little by little, Doudrop getting fed up with being a sidekick, and she’s both humorous and sympathetic.
In the ring, Doudrop is confident and dominant, and quickly meshed well with some of the women’s roster’s powerhouses, like Shayna Bazler, Nia Jax, and Asuka. As WWE returned to live crowds, the ongoing saga of the demonically possessed Alexa Bliss began to take a new turn. Although she had previously targeted Shayna Bazler with her magical machinations, throughout July and August 2021 Bliss’s new target seems to be Eva Marie. Adding Doudrop and Eva Marie to the mix has been good for all involved: Doudrop’s August 10 match against Bliss was a decent reminder of how great Bliss is in the ring, after spending much of the Pandemic era isolated in her fun house. For Eva Marie’s part, for better or worse she is one of the few performers who’s been able to play off Lilly the demonic doll. Her over the top fear and disgust of the doll compliment the ridiculousness of the storyline, and reveal its initial flaw: WWE had been asking the audience to take Bliss and Lilly as seriously as they once did the horror characters of Bray Wyat. However, a tinge of comedy makes the whole thing more palatable.
As SummerSlam 2021 grew closer, Eva Marie’s ill treatment of Doudrop grew more pronounced. When she failed to steal Lilly from Alexa’s Playground, Eva Marie slapped her. It was clear that Doudrop was about to get payback at last, and the moment came at SummerSlam on August 21. Bliss defeated Eva Marie in the ring, and instead of showing sympathy, Doudrop mocked her; strutting about flamboyantly in Eva Marie’s PVC kimono, playing up to the crowd as she announced Eva Marie the loser of the match. Doudrop’s revenge was well earned, and she’s spent the last two months since her debut rightfully earning the audience’s affection with some impressive turns in the ring and nuanced acting skills.
Following her SummerSlam betrayal, Eva Marie attacked Doudrop on August 23’s Raw. Whether Alexa Bliss will play a spoiler role in their nascent feud remains to be seen, but it seems to be counted on that Doudrop will continue to be a subtle but effective, and fun, addition to the Raw women’s roster.
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