Nikki Bella has endeared herself to fans -- something many once thought was unthinkable.
The longest reigning WWE Divas champion made strides both in the ring and outside of the ring, as she battled neck surgery and made a return to the ring. She and her sister talked about Nikki's return on Busted Open Radio. You can check out some submitted highlights below.
The Women's division has completely changed so much in that time. You're on the show "Total Divas" and there's that "divas" and you're coming back and going into "Women's Wrestling," how did that feel for you to be at SummerSlam and also to get that crowd reaction that you got?
Nikki: "Oh my gosh. It gives me chills thinking about it."
Brie: "Me too."
Nikki: "I think that's what made me more nervous than ever was I didn't want, when I did make my comeback and was able to get in the ring, I didn't want it to be like 'oh… she's back.' I wanted to be impressive. I wanted to be at the same level as all those girls. So, only being able to get in the ring for two weeks before that, because I wasn't planning on coming back until October. So, I was like, 'OK, I'm going to have all this time to really train hard, be at the level where these girls are at.' But, I knew that I had to change my style as well. I wanted to be able to stay on the same level as all the girls in the new era, but knowing that I had to protect myself as well.
"It was a lot of pressure. Even on the Sunday of SummerSlam, I was hidden all day. No one could see me. I literally didn't come off the bus until the middle of Dolph [Ziggler] and Dean's [Ambrose] match which was on right before us….I was so nervous, but when I came back and to that reaction, it was weird it was like 'I'm home.' It gave me this feeling and it was good and even though I didn't do much because they were like 'OK, we don't know what you can do.' That was my first match back. I had trained, but… so that's why I did just very little. I didn't want to come back and then 'oh, I'm injured again.'"
And for you, Brie, regardless of the back and forth and bickering, your love for your twin, you can't measure that. Was there ever the conversation with Nikki not to go back?
Brie: "There definitely was because I was there for so much of the rehab and seeing her in pain and I was also there before it all went down. I'll never forget in Australia we were wrestling Natalya and Emma and she had to stay with me in my room every night because she kept getting all these bumps on her back and she was in so much pain that she couldn't sleep. So she would just cry all night and I didn't know what to do. So in our match we would try to protect her. And we were heels. So I was like 'Let me just take all the bumps, lets protect your neck.' [After the surgery and rehab] and then finally when they did clear her, I was thinking to myself 'do you really want to get back in all that pain I saw you in the last year?' So I started freaking out. But then, at the end of the day, I understand the passion and the love for wrestling, and I have the same exact passion like she does. I never want to hold her back and I'd never want to hold [Daniel] Bryan back. So, for me, I was like 'go get 'em.' I watch now and I get nervous but I'm so proud."
Nikki: "You see that in "Total Bellas" this season. You actually see a lot of those conversations of how my mom feels, my brother, John [Cena], [Daniel] Bryan and then I even have friends come in town and when they hear that I'm going back they're like 'wait, what? You did everything you could!' I think that's what everyone thought was: 'What more do you want? You're the longest reigning Diva's Champion, you were #1 on PWI, and you've achieved all these amazing goals, you were Diva of the Year, why do you want to go back?'
"I had so many historic moments up until then so I think for people they're like 'you did everything you could, why do you want to go back?' And I was like, 'I don't even care if I go back as a jobber. I love wrestling and I miss it. And that's what I want to do in coming back. That's what I told them, I was like, 'Use me to make the Women's division stronger. Let me help them take it to the next level.' And that's been the goal."