Brie explains that they did not debut in WWE like most other women who came before them:
“We were some of the first women ever to debut on the main stage as wrestlers, rather than as valets, managers, or love interests for the men.”
It was important for them to change the culture in WWE and empower women, and they are very proud of helping to inspire that change. On top of that, their role as the stars of Total Divas showed people outside the wrestling bubble that female wrestlers are strong badasses who can thrive all on their own.
Nikki practically broke her neck for the business, so when her in-ring career was winding down in 2018, she wasn’t happy at all to see that the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match was completely overshadowed afterwards by the debut of Ronda Rousey:
“It was nothing against Ronda—it is thrilling that she is at WWE—but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all the historic women wrestlers who had come out for the match, the main event, only to have the moment upstaged by the Ronda announcement. It just didn’t need to happen like that.”
Nikki went on to main event the all-women pay-per-view Evolution against Rousey, and she said it was a “career-justifying” night that was “worth breaking my neck for.”
There are way more serious topics to discuss than pro wrestling, however. Nikki acknowledges the horrifying truth that she was raped twice as a teenager:
“I was raped, by a guy I thought was a friend, while I was passed out at a party. It is fucked up—shocking in retrospect—that it never occurred to me to call the police. I didn’t even tell my sister because by admitting that it had happened, it became true, it became fact.”
The second rape occurred one year later, at the age of 16:
“I had clearly been roofied—I was groggy, and I couldn’t see straight, but I could see four condom wrappers littered across the bathroom floor and realized that I had been raped. I count myself lucky because I was unconscious for both rapes...If I had been aware of what was happening to me in the moment, I would never have been able to escape it, or get over it.”
She later explains how John Cena helped her change the way she views herself as part of a romantic relationship:
“I am attached to a very disturbing core belief that I am only lovable when I put other people first. That I only deserve their affection because I am useful and handy. I learned from my ex that this is a profound fallacy. He could see the real me and love me just the same. It felt too good to be true; I felt undeserving.”
Their eventual break up was a devastating thing to endure, particularly with it all playing out on television:
“The fallout was terrible, particularly the speculation within the news media and on social media that it was all for ratings. The thing about reality TV is that you don’t get to pick and choose what you show—and the pressure from filming inherently creates drama...Having our relationship fall apart on national TV was excruciating. I had to relive it all again, while also having my heart broken from missing my ex.”
The Bella Twins have overcome so many hardships and obstacles to achieve their success and fame, and they are still just as ambitious now as they were when they started out in the wrestling business more than a decade ago. Their memoir Incomparable sounds like a fascinating read, so head on over to EOnline to check out the rest of these snippets, and let us know if you’ll be purchasing a copy of their book.