Next week’s SmackDown will see Nikki Bella take on long-term rival Natalya in a Falls Count Anywhere match, however things could have been so much different for the Total Divas star had the initial prognosis of her recent serious neck injury come to fruition.
“With this surgery, the craziest thing was finding out, ‘Oh, by the way, you can never wrestle again, this is it for you,’ and I was like, ‘I’m just not going to accept that.” The 33 year-old told this week’s Gorilla Position, as part of host James Delow’s recent documentary Shattering Glass Ceilings: The Women of WWE.
“I was out for 11 and half months, my last match was at Hell in a Cell last year and I had that match but for a while I knew something was wrong. That’s why when you go back and look at that match, you’ll see I have shorter hair because I took it out and I knew change was coming and I was coming to the end of my career. Because when your legs and feet start to go to numb, you realise something is happening. So I was on Monday Night Raw the next night and that’s when I found out what I had. I was out for so long because we were hoping to avoid surgery, but every surgeon I saw said you can’t avoid this and that nothing will fix this.”
Thankfully for Nikki and her legion of fans across WWE and successful reality shows Total Divas and Total Bellas, the former Diva’s Champion did make a full recovery from the surgery and it’s fueled her recent babyface run on Tuesday nights – because she is just so happy to be back wrestling again.
“I was fortunate enough to have the best and that’s what got me back in the ring, something I am, so grateful for. My doctor was a miracle worker – I owe everything to him every time I step in that ring. It’s a blessing and that’s why I have a permanent smile on my face now. When something is taken from you and you get it back you have a new appreciation and I now look at things in a whole new way. That’s why I’ve been able to comeback as a babyface because I can’t stop smiling.”
It’s not just being back in WWE that has Nikki smiling however, she is also in full support of the current role the women are having in WWE. Having seen the females take a much larger spotlight across WWE television over the past twelve months – culminating in Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair main eveting last October’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Something for Bella, that has been a long time coming.
“I feel so happy because to me this road that women have been paving for so many years is starting to actually happen. It makes very blood, sweat and tear that myself and those before and after me has had and all the hard work was starting to pay off. I feel like even more women are being treated fairly and making history, and it’s not about being better than males or anything like that, it’s about being fair and wanting to treated equally. It give me chills just thinking about, because it’s been such a hard fight.
The women empowerment movement has not just been in WWE, it’s been happening all over the world. When you started to see women like Ronda Rousey main event UFC and really be a draw over there, and women in the corporate world wanting equal pay and in all other sports – I mean look what Serena Williams does in tennis. That empowerment that has been happening, and WWE had to step up and do it. I also feel like Total Divas as a reality show brought mainstream viewers in and all of a sudden we started to see our audiences have more women and little girls because they wanted to see their favourite reality star in a match. I think WWE started to notice that recognition and when the empowerment collided with Total Divas and it’s audience, and what Triple H had been doing with the women in NXT, I think those three made WWE look at it and they had to make a change.”
Hear more from Nikki as she talks in-depth about her injury and the WWE’s women division on this week’s Gorilla Position. Download for free and follow the show @WWEGP
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