Nikki Bella is currently entrenched in a very heated feud with another female veteran on SmackDown, Natalya. Before Mickie James returned to the WWE, Nikki and Natalya were by far the most seasoned performers in the women’s division, regardless of brand.
And ever since the brand extension, women on both RAW and SmackDown have certainly been featured more prominently. Both shows are booking multiple programs within the women’s division, whereas before it, they were lucky to get significant time for one. SmackDown is set to break more barriers this Sunday when Elimination Chamber will feature three separate women’s singles matches.
Nikki Bella faces Natalya, Mickie James squares off with Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss puts her SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line against Naomi. Granted, the opportunity presents itself because the main event of the pay-per-view has the top six male superstars on the brand and the tag titles are up for grabs in a turmoil match with 12 performers, but all three of the female feuds are justified in earning prime pay-per-view time.
The same is likely for this coming April’s WrestleMania as well. Current plans call for the RAW Women’s Championship to be defended in a fatal four-way match between Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax. The SmackDown Women’s title will certainly be featured, but it has yet to be determined how and between whom. And then there’s the mixed tag match that has generated a ton of buzz over the last week. Nikki Bella is set to pair up with real-life boyfriend, John Cena, in a match against The Miz and his wife and valet, Maryse.
Plenty of eyebrows were raised when news of that match was leaked, considering Cena was coming off his classic match with AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble, resulting in his record-tying 16th world championship reign. Why would Cena agree to team up with Nikki when initial plans called for a mega-match with the Undertaker? Well, speculation swirled that the Bella twin would be retiring following WrestleMania 33 and this was John’s way of helping her go out on top.
Nikki was originally in line for a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the grand stage because she had emerged as the biggest female draw on the blue brand. Anything SmackDown was planning for the women’s division was almost certainly going to involve Nikki Bella.
There’s also been rumors that Cena would be proposing to Nikki after the match, with the idea that the proposal would gain much more mainstream traction than any other traditional wrestling match Cena might compete in. While we’ll have to wait and see whether John takes a knee in Orlando, Pro Wrestling Sheet reports that Nikki will not be retiring this coming April. She will, however, be looking to take some time off following the big event.
Nikki had neck surgery last year, forcing her to miss out on wrestling at WrestleMania 32 and leading some to believe that her in-ring career was over. But she returned to the SmackDown brand with a surprise appearance at SummerSlam after 10 months of inactivity. The plan for the Bella twin upon her return was to perform as a part-timer, but that didn’t quite materialize during this particular run.
Nikki Bella’s contract is also set to expire after WrestleMania, but she is expected to re-sign and continue working with the WWE. This time, however, she will work fewer dates and wrestle much less. Nikki has been experiencing more pain in her neck which has resulted in numbness on one side of her body. Cena alluded to that very thing during his segment on Talking Smack, clearly not a work.
A full-time schedule has become too much for Nikki, but she also doesn’t want to give up wrestling altogether. The two sides are working on a new arrangement that will only see her wrestle at WWE’s more marquee events. She will, of course, continue starring in Total Divas and Total Bellas, as she and her sister continue expanding the Bella brand beyond just a wrestling ring.
[Featured Image by WWE]