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The Bella Twins retire from in-ring performing

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In news you may have missed if you’re not one of the hundreds of thousands who are watching the fourth season of Total Bellas on E!, Brie Bella announced her retirement from in-ring performing a few weeks back. Brie is going to focus on giving Birdie Joe a sibling.

Mrs. Daniel Bryan said she decided she was “fully done” after Evolution.

On the Mar. 24 season finale, sister Nikki says she made the same decision a short time later. It was during last fall’s WWE tour of Europe when the Fearless One - who already pulled off an amazing comeback from spinal fusion surgery on her neck - realized she didn’t want to put her body though the travel required of WWE Superstars, let alone the bumps and bruises of wrestling itself:

“I just feel like I’m too old for that travel. The travel was really, really rough. So I realized, I was like, ‘Why am I doing this anymore?’ I don’t feel good and I can’t — I mean, the girls are doing amazing things over there. I really am ready to hang up the jersey. I can say it fully.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Bellas impact on WWE can’t be overstated. The popularity of their reality franchises Total Divas & Total Bellas were a big part of the rise in popularity of the company’s female performers, and a factor in fans pushing for them to be treated as more than a bathroom break on Raw & SmackDown. They both worked to improve as in-ring performers throughout their career, with Nikki in particular turning herself into a very good wrestler - something that was rewarded by WWE when they booked her to be the longest reigning Divas champion in history.

That the twins’ decisions were made last year and saved for episodes of Total Bellas, along with the low-key way WWE is handling their retirement announcements, makes the cynic in me wonder how final they are. But that’s true of all wrestling retirements, and Brie & Nikki are nothing if not tireless promoters.

As evidenced by the fact they followed up the news from Total Bellas with the announcement they’re launching a podcast this Wednesday!

So raise a glass of your favorite Belle Radici red or white to Nikki & Brie. Thanks for the memories. We know we haven’t seen the last bit of twin magic.