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    The Bella Twins Reflect on Their WWE Impact Ahead of A&E ‘Biography’

    When Nikki and Brie Bella first signed with WWE in 2007, female talent often took a noticeable backseat to the men. They were given a fraction of the time for matches, and were largely looked at as eye candy. And despite progress — thanks in part to trailblazers such as Lita, Chyna, Ivory, and Trish Stratus — the perception was that the ladies were more bathroom break filler than main attraction.

    That has thankfully changed. With fan support and a passionate roster, the “Give Divas a Chance” social media outcry led to what was dubbed the WWE “Women’s Wrestling Revolution.”

    Among the cornerstones of this new renaissance were The Bella Twins, who refused to be seen as just model transplants or gimmicks. Through hard work and perseverance, these leaders of the Bella Army took the women’s division by storm, winning championships, building a brand, and helping move women’s wrestling into the mainstream.

    The Hall of Famers’ journey from waiting tables to superstardom is chronicled in a Biography: WWE Legends episode, “The Bella Twins.” Ahead of the premiere, the twinning pair reflect on their history-making careers.

    This is the first time the WWE version of A&E’s Biography has focused on female talent. How does that feel?

    Brie Bella: When we were asked to do this, it was a huge honor.

    Nikki Bella: It just feels like coming full circle. Brie and I fought so hard for women in WWE for so long. [When you’re] at the forefront, you have those highs and lows. It can be difficult, yet rewarding. To be here now and still with WWE and to get all these rewards that have been coming, and to see where our hard paid off and the road we helped pave, and see what they are doing now [is great]. They keep raising the bar.

    You’re known for opening up your lives through reality TV, an autobiography, and a podcast. How do you think this documentary stands out from the other ways your story has been told?

    Nikki: This is definitely the first time that our wrestling journey in the ring is the focus. Everything has been so focused on our personal lives. We go into our childhood that made us the women we were when we started in WWE, but then the journey throughout the WWE. Our sweat, blood, and tears. We go so in-depth with that. People are going to see a story they’ve never heard before. They are going to see footage and photos. I think people will walk away with even more respect for what Brie and I brought to the industry.

    Brie: There are so many positive things about social media. The power of the platform. At the same time, there are so many stories you hear. You think about what is true and not true. What I love about the Biography, it gives you the facts.

    WWE Hall of Famers Nikki and Brie Bella

    WWE/A&E

    You’ve had careers together, but at the same time, accomplished a lot individually. How does the Biography episode find that balance?

    Brie: You’ll see when we were able to become individuals as a pivotal moment for our careers. We’re The Bella Twins, so you think of us acting alike, talking the same, being like clones. But what made us truly powerful was being twins and walking out as individuals. Showing the world you’re twins, but different. It’s crazy that it took us to a different level and grew our star power. It’s going to be neat for viewers to see that moment.

    Nikki: Here are two who are so different, but when they come together and unite, look at what they can do. The change they can help create. It’s an example set for women. “Brie Mode” and “Fearless Nikki” were so powerful on their own, but when they joined forces, there was so much magic made.

    Total Divas gets lots of credit for what it did for women’s wrestling. Do you think it’ll ever come back?

    Nikki: It doesn’t get enough credit. I believe it was also a reason why we had more girls showing up. Here were these reality fans that believed in us and our stories inside and outside the ring. They wanted to come to watch it live and grew into fans. It changed the game so much for us. It made people believe in women’s wrestling. I do hope it does come back down the line, being an executive producer. I’ve always had such strong opinions about it. I do hope it comes back because we have so many interesting and amazing women….I think we can make more magic happen with Total Divas, but it has to be the right people behind it. We started to go in a direction where it became more to do with bad girls’ club drama. It’s why we walked away. I was like, “That’s not what these women are about. That’s not why people want to watch. They want to watch because after they wanted that hour of TV they felt something. They felt belief, empowerment, strength, inspiration.” I think we can get back to that.

    Brie: It would be awesome to see a Becky Lynch on there. Does she cry after a match? Does she kiss her daughter before she comes out? I think if viewers saw the same moments you saw on Total Divas, you would connect to them in a different way and in a bigger light. I think it would make stars, too.

    Nikki and Brie Bella

    WWE/A&E

    I remember when Liv Morgan appeared on the show and how fans connected with her after getting to know her story a little more. Fast forward to today and she became the SmackDown women’s champion at Money in the Bank.

    Brie: I got all these goosebumps. We’ve always been huge fans of her. Even before Total Divas, knowing her personally. Liv is one of those people we saw all the time going to practice and working with Nattie and TJ [Tyson Kidd] in Tampa. The girl does not stop. She has so much drive. For years we thought, “How do they not put the title on her? Why isn’t she getting a push?” So to see her get that title, we were emotional. It was a true underdog story. There was no faking that. It was all real feelings. It was huge.

    Where do you want to see women’s wrestling go?

    Nikki: I hope one day it can be equal to women on the show as much as men. And it’s not like you’re sitting there for an hour to see the women and then get them for 10 minutes. That we don’t even have to talk about. I feel women have such good stories to tell. We have so much depth. Sometimes I feel we don’t tell that when it comes to the ring. We can go deeper into that at WWE. I think we will. I think we have the right women there. You have women fighting for these spots where [Universal Champion] Roman [Reigns] is at and all the women are at. I think we can do better in that way. We have such an incredible group of women and they are kicking so much butt. It’s so fun to watch. I just think it’s only going to get better.

    Seems now that women have more of a voice.

    Nikki: They are not afraid. You feel it, and it’s awesome.

    We loved seeing you participate in the Royal Rumble. Does watching this documentary light that fire for you guys to return to the ring?

    Nikki: Wrestling never leaves you. I hear that from all the past legends. Wrestling is always there with you. I’m told nobody ever retires….If it’s the right moment and it makes sense, we will be back. The one thing Brie and I have been so respectful of is the other women’s time. They are there every week. They work really hard. We never want to come in and take away an opportunity. If there is an opportunity where it enhances a female superstar, we would be there in a heartbeat.

    Biography: WWE Legends The Bella Twins, July 24, 8/7c, A&E Network

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