Nikki Bella is known for a lot of things. She’s a two-time winner of the WWE Divas Championship. She was once one-half of wrestling’s favorite couple, having dated John Cena from 2012 to 2018.
She’s also one-half of one of the most popular female tag teams, the Bella Twins. What Nikki is not known for is giving up. After sustaining a neck injury that could have ended her career, she had surgery and worked hard to make her return to the ring. Now her health is causing her to step away from wrestling, possibly for good.
Nikki revealed that she would be retiring in the season finale of her and sister Brie’s show, Total Bellas. Many believed that complications related to her neck injury were the reason she would have to give up wrestling.
In a recent interview, Nikki revealed there was more to her decision than what met the eye. During a stop by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Nikki revealed that another herniated disc and a cyst on her brain were ultimately what made her call it quits.
The Bella Twins are among the most popular figures in the modern era of the wrestling world. The ladies first signed with WWE in 2007. Now the ladies’ days of in-ring competition are behind them.
Brie’s retirement was announced in March, as she turned her focus to her family. This left many fans wondering what Nikki would decide about her future in the ring. While the sisters wrestled as a tag team at times, they each also have careers in their own right.
Nikki already suffered a neck injury that jeopardized her future in the ring. She had to undergo surgery in early 2016 to fix a herniated disc. It kept her out of the ring for a while and ultimately put the future of her wrestling career in question.
While the surgery helped matters, it still made it dangerous for her to compete. A bad fall or a blow to the back of the head could end up paralyzing the star. She continued to compete, but the anxiety lurked behind her every appearance.
Nikki’s retirement was announced in the season finale of Total Bellas. Following the WWE European tour, she realized the travel and time commitment was taking too much out of her. It ultimately led to her decision to walk away.
News of the retirement of the two-time Divas Champion was a bummer to fans. Since many knew how difficult a time she had recovering from her neck injury, her announcement was largely accepted at face value.
Of course, the rumor mill also did its thing. There was speculation that Nikki’s decision to come back was less about her medical history and more about avoiding ex-boyfriend John Cena. The two were on and off from 2012 through 2018, when they broke it off for good.
Nikki and Brie recently appeared on The Tonight Show. The sisters opened up about why each of them made the decision to walk away from WWE after more than a decade with the organization, and they discussed how hard those decisions were to make.
Nikki explained that the decision was harder for her than for Brie because the choice was out of her hands. “For me, I really wanted to go back and fight for the tag titles,” Nikki explained. “I’ve always had my neck issues, and after neck surgery, it hasn’t been OK. I feel like I needed to get a checkup before we went back for the tag titles.”
The checkup revealed that continuing on in the ring wouldn’t be a possibility. “The results came back, and I herniated the disc above where I had surgery, I have all this inflammation around the metal, and then I have a cyst on my brain,” Nikki continued.
“They were like, ‘You’re done, no more,’ so I didn’t get a choice, which sucks,” Nikki concluded. It was the first time that Nikki admitted to having a brain cyst. Naturally, her fans were concerned about what that means for her.
She elaborated on the information in an interview with TMZ. She assured fans that the situation was being monitored, but so far she’s doing OK. “They found a cyst on my brain, which thank God, it’s benign,” she explained. “It’s super scary, of course. It’s just something you’re never gonna hear, but I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful for my health.”
On The Bellas Podcast, Nikki explained that prior to receiving the news, she and Brie had planned to return to SmackDown after Wrestlemania 35 in pursuit of the Women’s Tag Team Championship. While she’s gotten a no, for now, she remains optimistic.
It’s great to see Nikki prioritizing her health. While her WWE fans will certainly miss her talents in the ring, it will be exciting for them and for Nikki to figure out what’s next. There’s no doubt that her strength and determination will guide her to great heights.