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Nikki Bella addresses her return from injury
Nikki Bella is back in action, and this is a fairly big deal. Only a few months ago, the former Divas Champion’s future seemed up in the air after she suffered a leg injury during a match on Raw. Now Twin Magic is flowing again and Nikki has returned to the ring alongside her sister, Brie, to battle Divas Champion AJ Lee. As the new and improved Bella Twins pick up momentum, WWE.com caught up with the senior sister to see how her recovery was going, and how much of it we’ll get to witness on the upcoming new episodes of “Total Divas” when the reality show hit returns to E! Nov. 10 at 10/9 CT.
WWE.COM: Can you tell the WWE Universe how your leg feels?
NIKKI BELLA: My leg is feeling good. It’s not quite 100 percent yet; I still can’t jump on it and feel too much impact from running the ropes. But other than that it’s definitely getting stronger every day. I definitely am more on the healing side than not the healing side, so as long as I’m ready to fight, I’m good to go to fight. I’m still limited in what I can do, but I’m feeling great.
WWE.COM: What was going through your mind knowing in your first match back you were teaming with your sister?
NIKKI: You know, I was nervous, but I have to say knowing Brie was going to be by my side I felt a lot better. Brie has just been killing it in the ring; it made me feel really comfortable knowing that she’s been going two hours before every show and training really hard with her fiancé, Daniel Bryan. This past week, when I was given a green light to do just a tiny bit of stuff, I was going in early with them just to move around the ring and get the feel for it. She definitely helped calm my nerves because I knew if I got in trouble she was going to be right there to save the day.
WWE.COM: Can you talk about what helped get you the injury and your time on the sidelines?
NIKKI: It was very tough. Even when I played competitive soccer for 11 years I never liked being on the sidelines. When I broke my leg my senior year in high school it was just the worst feeling to sit and watch when you can’t be a part of something.
One of the things that helped me get through this was John Cena. He is like a life coach to me. He just consistently gave me good advice, like, what I could do to make myself better while I’m out. He was getting me in the gym working on upper body strength every day. His advice was so motivating. I realized, “Hey, this isn’t the end of the world. How else can I make Nikki Bella better, and how can I still be a part of the show?” So that really kept my spirits up.
I have to say, Brie and I have always been looked at as the twins in WWE, and my injury kind of gave Brie this passion and fire to say, “Hey, I’m on my own, and I have to prove to everyone I’m still someone without Nikki.” I think watching Brie transform into who she is now – I don’t want to say it’s made my injury worthwhile – but it’s made me feel better about it. We’ve proven that we can be individuals, but it shows that the twins don’t always have to wrestle together or talk together or dress alike or be together. That has made me get through it; a lot of people see us more as individuals and it’s because of my sister and this fire that I’ve never seen from her before. It’s really, really fun to watch.
WWE.COM: Did bouncing back from your injury so fast help change your perception in the Divas locker room?
NIKKI: Oh definitely. When you’re a professional athlete and you have passion for whatever sport you’re a part of, you get a hunger and a passion to come back quicker when there’s something worth fighting for. Knowing that my sister was trying to get that Divas Championship and now that AJ Lee has Tamina on her side, it’s given me more fire to come back, be by her side and be strong.
It’s also kept me relevant. Sometimes we get injures and we disappear; it’s like we’re forgotten about. So I definitely have to say that now that there’s something worth fighting for, you get this hunger and it makes you mentally stronger. It’s like, “OK, I’m going to heal, I’m going to come back and I’m going to prove to the world that I’m stronger than ever.”
WWE.COM: Did your “Total Divas” cast mates give you any support while you were out?
NIKKI: They definitely did. You get support, but you do have to think in the back of your head, there are only a few spots, everyone wants TV time. So when people [get hurt], there’s a part of you that thinks, “OK, now we have to step it up, because there’s a spot open.” Other than that, I definitely got support. I still have to say my sister, John Cena, my mom and my grandmother were my biggest supporters. When I was on crutches for eight weeks and traveling on the road I know I wasn’t that fun to be around, because everyone had to carry my [luggage] and my food.
WWE.COM: How much of your recovery will we see on “Total Divas”? What can we expect to see?
NIKKI: You know, what’s funny is you actually don’t get to see too much of the recovery. When I got put on crutches we were a few weeks into filming, and I feel as if you’re not going to see too much of my recovery because they don’t want to date themselves.
I don’t know if it made the show but they came with me one time to physical therapy, and I was doing stuff I’d never done before. It was really cool; I worked on a reformer and anything to strengthen my leg without standing up and putting so much weight on it. It was a really cool process but I don’t think you’re going to get to see too much of that, and I don’t think you’re going to see my days at the WWE Performance Center either because no cameras were there. So you’ll see me do a few things, but you’re not going to see that much.
WWE.COM: If Brie can’t capture the Divas Title from AJ, how soon before you make a run at it?
NIKKI: If Brie can’t do it, well, then older sister Nikki is going to be right there and it’ll be quick, because I’m feeling pretty unstoppable. I have faith that my sister will be able to do it. I think she’s already proven to me she’s better in the ring than AJ. Brie’s just getting better and better. I’ll be shocked if she never takes it away from AJ, but if she doesn’t I’ll be there immediately after, and I’m taking it.