In June 2007, Bella signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and was assigned to developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) alongside her twin sister Brie Bella, forming the duo The Bella Twins. She made her debut on SmackDown in November 2008. Bella is a two-time WWE Divas Champion. Her second reign is recognized as the longest in the title's history at 301 days.
Bella ranked No. 1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated' s Female 50 in November 2015, and was named Diva of the Year by Rolling Stone in December 2015. She also won the award for Choice Female Athlete alongside her sister at the Teen Choice Awards in 2016.
Nicole was born in San Diego, California and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona in a family of Mexican and Italian descent. She played soccer up until college, when she started modeling, acting, and doing promotional work. She made their first national TV appearance on the Fox reality show Meet My Folks. Following this appearance, Nicole was hired to be the World Cup girl for Budweiser and were photographed holding the World Cup trophy. She then participated in the 2006 "International Body Doubles twins search". She participated in the 2006 WWE Diva Search but did not make the cut.
World Wrestling Entertainment
Debut; Brand Switches (2008–2010)
In Brie Bella's first few matches, beginning with her debut on August 29, 2008, she would roll out of the ring and go underneath it, emerging and appearing revived, and then win the match. On the October 31 episode of SmackDown, when Brie went under the ring Victoria grabbed her legs, but a second pair of legs kicked her off, implying that a second person was under the ring. The following week on SmackDown, Brie picked up a win against Victoria and then ran under the ring to escape Natalya and Victoria, but Victoria and Natalya both reached for Brie under the ring, resulting in both Nicole and Brie being pulled out. The twins then attacked them and celebrated afterward. Nicole was then introduced as Nikki, who officially made her debut. The twins had their first official match as a team on the November 21 episode of SmackDown, defeating Victoria and Natalya. They continued competing in tag team matches for the next few months.
Starting in November, Nikki and Brie developed an on-screen relationship with The Colóns (Carlito and Primo), appearing in numerous backstage segments with them, and accompanying them to the ring. On the February 13, 2009 episode of SmackDown, John Morrison and The Miz flirted with the Bellas backstage. As Morrison and The Miz were scheduled to have a match against Carlito and Primo that night, a stipulation was added that the winning team would win a date with the Bellas on Valentine's Day. During their date, Primo and Carlito were disguised as waiters and tried to sabotage the date, resulting in the Bellas getting angry with the two. The date provoked a rivalry between the teams of The Miz and Morrison and Primo and Carlito, with them competing for the affection of The Bella Twins, who were seemingly unable to choose between them.
On the March 17 episode of ECW, Carlito and Primo, accidentally spat apples in the face of Brie, which was originally aimed at Morrison and The Miz. Nikki started to laugh at Brie's misfortune, and a fight broke out between the two of them, which led to Nikki leaving with The Miz and Morrison, while Brie stayed with Primo and Carlito. In the process, Nikki turned into a villainess. In their first singles match, on the March 31 episode of ECW, Nikki defeated Brie after Morrison and The Miz caused a distraction. On April 15, 2009, The Bella Twins were both drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. On the April 27 episode of Raw, Brie made her Raw in-ring debut in an eight-Diva tag team match, which her team won. Nikki also made an appearance, reuniting with her twin, as she was under the ring to help out Brie during her match. Nikki then made her official in-ring debut on the May 18 episode of Raw in a battle royal but was eliminated by Beth Phoenix. On June 29, 2009, they were both traded to the ECW brand. They debuted on ECW on June 30, 2009 on The Abraham Washington Show, as the special guests. The following Tuesday on ECW Nikki defeated Katie Lea Burchill, by switching places with Brie behind the referee's back. The following week on WWE Superstars Brie also defeated Burchill after a similar switch. The Bella Twins were then featured on September 10 episode of Superstars, when Nikki defeated Burchill.
On October 12, 2009, the Bellas were sent back to Raw as part of a tri-branded divas trade, where they predominately appeared in backstage segments with the weekly guest stars and occasionally competed in matches. On the January 4, 2010, episode of Raw, Brie participated in the tournament to determine the new Divas Champion tournament match, but lost to Maryse in the first round. During the match, the twins switched places behind the referee's back so it was Nikki who was pinned. In June 2010, they developed a feud with Jillian Hall, when Brie defeated her after switching with Nikki. The following week, Nikki defeated Hall after switching with Brie. On the July 8 episode of Superstars, the Bellas acted as the special guest referees during a mixed tag team match with Primo and Hall facing Yoshi Tatsu and Gail Kim. During the match, Hall attacked both twins, but lost the match when Kim pinned her and Nikki made a fast count. On the next episode of Superstars, the twins defeated Hall and Maryse in a tag team match.
Heel Turn; Divas Champion and Departure (2010–2012)
On August 31, The Bella Twins announced they would be part of season three of NXT, mentoring Jamie. Jamie was the first rookie eliminated on the October 5 episode of NXT. On the October 19 episode of NXT, Nikki teased a heel turn after she became upset after Kelly Kelly's rookie Naomi kicked Brie in the face during the match. Nikki attacked Naomi and eventually threw Brie (the legal woman) out of the ring and pinned Naomi. After the match, Nikki laughed evilly as she celebrated with her sister. A few weeks later, Nikki continued displaying her villainous persona as she faced off against AJ Lee in a losing effort. On the November 22 episode of Raw, Brie ran out to accompany Daniel Bryan to his match against Ted DiBiase who had Maryse in his corner. Following Bryan's win, Nikki ran out and the two fought over Bryan's affection only to have Bryan break it up and have both of them hug each other. They began to manage Bryan, frequently accompanying him to the ring.
On the January 24 episode of Raw, the twins discovered Bryan kissing Gail Kim backstage. After it was explained to them that Gail was Bryan's girlfriend, the Bellas assaulted her, turning both heel for the first time in their WWE careers. On January 30 at the Royal Rumble, they once again assaulted Gail Kim, and again the following night on Raw.
On the February 7 episode of Raw, they debuted in their first match as heels, teaming with fellow heel Diva Melina in a losing effort to WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres, Tamina, and Gail Kim. The Bella Twins began feuding with Eve Torres after they appeared as Lumberjills during a WWE Divas Championship match between Eve and Natalya on the February 14 episode of Raw. Following the match, they attacked Eve backstage before Gail Kim and Natalya made the save. The following week, The Bella Twins defeated Eve and Gail Kim in a tag team match after using "Twin Magic". The following week, Nikki won a Divas battle royal to become the number one contender for the WWE Divas Championship after Brie switched with her twin sister. Nikki cashed in this title shot on the March 7 episode of Raw, but failed to win. On the March 17 episode of WWE Superstars, The Bella Twins teamed up with Melina and Alicia Fox in a losing effort against Tamina, Gail Kim, Natalya, Eve Torres. The following week on the March 31 episode of WWE Superstars, The Bellas and Melina, defeated Eve, Gail, and Natayla after Brie pinned Eve following another "Twin Magic" switch. On the April 11 episode of Raw, Brie Bella defeated Eve to win the WWE Divas Championship from her, marking the first time that either twin had held a championship in the WWE. Brie went on to successfully defend the championship against Kelly Kelly at Over the Limit, after switching places with Nikki again.
The following night on Raw, they teamed with fellow heels Maryse and Melina against Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, and Eve Torres. However, the match ended in a no-contest following an interruption from Kharma. On the May 30 episode of Raw, The Bella Twins were defeated by Kelly Kelly and Eve. Later that night, they interrupted and mocked Kharma when she revealed that she was pregnant and that she was taking a year's leave of absence from the WWE.
On the June 6 episode of Raw, The Bella Twins were defeated in a divas tag team match by Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix after Brie was pinned by Phoenix. Their losing streak continued on the June 13 episode of Raw, when they lost a 7 on 7 divas tag team match teaming with Melina, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, Maryse, and Tamina in a losing effort to Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Eve Torres, Natalya, AJ, and Kaitlyn. On the June 20 episode of Raw, a special "Power to the People" episode, where Brie would defend her title against either Eve, Kelly Kelly, or Beth Phoenix, Kelly was selected by the WWE Universe as her opponent, who defeated Brie and won the Divas Championship. The following week on Raw, Nikki faced Kelly in a Raw Roulette match. A submission match was picked and Nikki lost after tapping out to a Boston crab. After the match, both of the Bellas attacked Kelly until Eve Torres came to the rescue, throwing both Bellas out of the ring. It was later announced that Brie's rematch for the WWE Divas Championship would take place at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view.
On the August 1 episode of Raw, Brie and Nikki both took part in a battle royal to face Kelly Kelly for the Divas Championship at SummerSlam. They both failed to win but were eliminated last simultaneously at the hands of the victorious Beth Phoenix. On the August 29 episode of Raw, The Bellas' losing streak finally ended when Brie Bella defeated Kelly Kelly after switching places with her sister Nikki. On the September 29 episode of WWE Superstars, The Bella Twins defeated Chickbusters (A.J. and Kaitlyn). On the October 27 episode of WWE Superstars Eve and Kelly Kelly defeated The Bella Twins, when Kelly pinned Brie. On the November 29 episode of SmackDown, Brie Bella won a Divas "Mistletoe on a Pole" match. At the 2011 annual Tribute to the Troops, The Bella Twins teamed up with Beth Phoenix and Natalya in a losing effort to Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Eve & Maria Menounos.
They would then enter into a storyline where they pursued Alberto Del Rio. On the January 2 episode of Raw, The Bellas defeated Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres in a tag team match. On January 16 episode of Raw, they were defeated by Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox, since Raw's special guest, Perez Hilton thwarted their attempt at Twin Magic. After the match, Nikki and Brie would go and try to attack Perez but Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox would come to the aid of Perez. The Bella's began to show friction for the second time since joining WWE after both twins had lost to AJ in singles competition. After Brie's match with AJ, Nikki revealed that Brie was rooting for Team Johnny in the 12-man tag team match at WrestleMania XXVIII, whilst Nikki was rooting for Team Teddy. In the process, Nikki developed a babyface persona, while Brie remained a heel. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Nikki was in the corner of Team Teddy, who lost to Team Johnny, thus furthering the twins' dissension.
On the April 6 episode of SmackDown, Nikki Bella (without the assistance of her twin sister Brie), took on the Divas Champion Beth Phoenix. Before the match started, Kelly Kelly came out to distract Phoenix, which then allowed Nikki pick up the win. On the April 23 episode of Raw, Nikki defeated Beth Phoenix in a Lumberjill match for the WWE Divas Championship, ending Phoenix's reign as champion at 204 days. Brie lost Nikki's championship to Layla at Extreme Rules, after attempting Twin Magic. The following night on Raw, they competed in their last match with the WWE, failing to win back the Divas Championship from Layla in a triple threat match. Later that night, WWE announced on their website that the twins had been fired by Executive Administrator Eve Torres. This storyline was reportedly used to facilitate the expiration of their contracts, which the twins had decided not to renew.
Independent circuit (2012–2013)
On May 1, 2012, Nikki and Brie, formerly known as The Bella Twins, appeared at their first independent wrestling show in Newburgh, New York at Northeast Wrestling. Appearing as special guests, Nikki and Brie argued over who was the better man, Luke Robinson or Jerry Lawler, resulting a match between the two. During the match, Luke kissed Brie only to get slapped from both twins, leaving Lawler to roll up for the win. After the match, both Brie and Nikki left the arena with Jerry Lawler. Nicole and Brianna made their debut for CTWE Pro Wrestling] at their Season Beatings pay-per-view on December 15, where Nicole accompanied "Platinum Playboy" J-Busta where he defeated Anthony Greene who was accompanied Brianna. After the match, Brie Bella turned on Anthony Greene and slapped him across the face, followed by a post-match Super Kick from J-Busta.
Return to WWE
Total Divas Storylines and Face Turn (2013-2014)
The Bella Twins returned to WWE on the March 11, 2013 episode of Raw, in a backstage segment with Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow also confronting Divas Champion Kaitlyn, beginning to associate themselves with the Rhodes Scholars. On the March 15 episode of SmackDown, The Bella Twins attacked The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) in a backstage segment. On the March 22 episode of SmackDown, The Bella Twins interfered in Rhodes and Sandow's match against Brodus Clay and Tensai, but they were attacked by Cameron and Naomi. The Bella Twins made their in ring return on the March 27 episode of Main Event facing the Funkadactyls following interference from Rhodes and defeating them on Raw. The Bella Twins were scheduled to participate in an eight-person tag team match with Team Rhodes Scholars against Tons of Funk (Brodus and Tensai) and the Funkadactyls at WrestleMania 29, but the match was cancelled due to time restraints. The match instead took place the following night on Raw, with Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls emerging victorious. They continued to feud with the Funkadactyls, defeating them in standard and six-diva tag team matches. In June 2013, Nikki suffered a fractured tibia.
Upon the debut of Total Divas in July 2013, The Bellas began feuding with their co-star on the show, Natalya. Brie and Natalya went on to trade victories in singles competition on Raw and at SummerSlam. The cast of Total Divas then transition into a feud with Divas Champion AJ Lee, who mocked the show and cast. At Night of Champions, Brie unsuccessfully faced Lee for the Divas title in a four-way match including Natalya and Naomi. Following Brie's real-life engagement to Daniel Bryan, their relationship began to be acknowledged on WWE television, which turned both Bellas face in the process. Nikki returned to in-ring action on the October 25 episode of SmackDown, losing to AJ. At Survivor Series the following month, Nikki was part of the victorious Team Total Divas. The twins failed to win the Divas Championship again at WrestleMania XXX on April 6 in the Divas Invitational match, which was won by AJ.
Singles Competition and Heel Turn (2014-2015)
After Brie quit WWE and slapped Stephanie McMahon at Payback, Nikki would be forced by Stephanie to compete in various handicap matches for several weeks, while also being set up in various other situations that resulted in Nikki being beaten down by heel Divas doing Stephanie's bidding. After Brie returned and challenged Stephanie to a match at SummerSlam, both she and Nikki were attacked by Stephanie at a contract signing on the August 4 edition of Raw.
At SummerSlam on August 17, Nikki turned villainous and attacked Brie during her match against Stephanie; allowing her to defeat Brie with the Pedigree. Nikki explained her actions the next night on Raw by saying that she and Brie were supposed to be a team but it never turned out that way, and also accused Brie of betraying her. After being confronted by Brie, the evil Nikki slapped Brie and shouted that she would never forgive her. Nikki competed in her first match since her villainous turn on the August 19 edition of Main Event; defeating Emma in singles action. On the August 25 edition of Raw, Jerry Lawler attempted to get the Bellas back together, but Nikki continued to deliver verbal and physical attacks toward Brie. On the following week, Nikki was awarded a match for the Divas Championship by Stephanie McMahon and demanded to Brie that she quit for her forgiveness, only to be shoved by Brie. On the September 15 edition of Raw, Nikki teamed with Paige in defeating Brie and AJ Lee, and then delivered the Rack Attack on Brie after the match ended. At Night of Champions, Nikki was defeated by AJ Lee in a Triple Threat Match for the Divas Championship when Lee made Paige submit to the Black Widow. At Hell In A Cell, Nikki defeated Brie in a singles match, forcing Brie to become Nikki's personal assistant for the next month.
Nikki won a #1 Contender's Battle Royal on the October 31 edition of SmackDown. She received her title opportunity at Survivor Series, and defeated AJ Lee to win her second Divas Championship. The win came seconds after Brie kissed AJ to provide a distraction. In the process, Brie turned heel and the twins reconciled. Nikki defeated AJ in a rematch at TLC after spraying a substance in AJ's eyes. Nikki and Brie entered in a feud with Natalya and Paige, with Nikki losing non-title singles matches to both women.
After a successful defense against Paige at WWE Fastlane, Nikki & Brie continued to torment The Diva of Tomorrow, with Brie helping Nikki cling to her championship in a rematch with Paige on the March 2 Raw by getting the titleholder disqualified. When The Bella Twins double-teamed the unorthodox Diva after the bell, AJ Lee returned to help her longtime nemesis even the odds. At WrestleMania 31, Nikki and Brie were defeated by Paige and AJ.
Team Bella (2015)
Both Nikki and Brie turned face heading into Extreme Rules due to Naomi's heel turn on the April 13 episode of Raw. After defeating Nikki twice in tag team matches, Naomi earned a title shot at the PPV, with Nikki retaining. On the following day, the Bellas were attacked by Naomi and the returning Tamina Snuka, leading to a tag team match at Payback, which the twins lost when Nikki was pinned by Naomi. Two weeks later, at Elimination Chamber, Nikki retained her championship against Naomi and Paige in a triple–threat match, with Brie banned from ringside.
Nikki turned villainous once again, as did Brie, by employing Twin Magic, which helped Nikki retain the championship against Paige on the June 1 episode of Raw and at Money in the Bank. During the feud with Paige, Alicia Fox aligned with The Bella Twins to form Team Bella. At the The Beast in the East pay–per–view event on July 4, Nikki retained the championship against Paige and Tamina. After weeks of Team Bella outnumbering Paige, Naomi, and Tamina, Stephanie McMahon called for a "revolution" in the WWE Divas division and introduced the debuting Charlotte and Becky Lynch as Paige's allies. NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks would debut as an ally to Naomi and Tamina, which led to a brawl between the three teams. Nikki would then lose by submission to Charlotte in a tag team match on the August 3 episode of Raw and to Sasha Banks on the August 17 episode of Raw in a non–title match. The three teams would ultimately face off on August 23 at SummerSlam in a three team elimination match, in which Team Bella first eliminated Team B.A.D. when Brie pinned Tamina, before Team PCB's Becky Lynch pinned Brie to win the match for her team.
On the September 14 episode of Raw, Nikki defended the Divas Championship against Charlotte, who pinned Brie after the twins had switched places to win the match, however, since the title cannot change hands by disqualification, Nikki retained the championship, becoming the new longest reigning Divas Champion in history, surpassing AJ Lee's previous record of 295 days. Charlotte received a rematch on September 20, at Night of Champions, where she defeated Nikki to win the championship, ending her reign at 301 days. In a rematch between the two, Nikki failed to regain the championship from Charlotte on October 25 at Hell in a Cell.
Shortly after, Nikki went on a hiatus from television due to a neck injury which would require surgery, but returned for one night on December 21, to accept the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year. Nikki made a brief cameo appearance at the WrestleMania 32 event in April 3, 2016, celebrating with Brie after winning a 10-Diva tag team match. In June, Nikki confirmed that she would no longer use her Rack Attack maneuver and began training with her sister's husband Daniel Bryan, with whom she announced was learning a new finishing move. On July 21, she was revealed to be cleared for in-ring competition and continued her training at the WWE Performance Center.
After ten months of inactivity, Nikki made an unannounced return as a heel at SummerSlam on August 21, when she was the last–minute replacement of Eva Marie, who was removed from the event after her suspension, becoming the tag team partner of Natalya and Alexa Bliss. The trio defeated Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Carmella, with Nikki pinning Carmella to pick up the victory for her team. Two days later on the August 23 episode of SmackDown, after being established as part of the brand, Nikki began a feud with Carmella and would be attacked by her, while re–establishing herself as a face in the process. At Backlash, on September 11, Nikki competed in a six–pack elimination challenge to determine the inaugural WWE SmackDown Women's Champion, where she would eliminate Natalya before being eliminated by Carmella. After months of being attacked by Carmella, and competing against her in multiple tag team matches, Nikki defeated Carmella at the No Mercy. Later that month on the October 25 episode of SmackDown, Nikki competed against Natalya to become the team captain of the SmackDown women's team at the Survivor Series, which Nikki was successful in defeating Natalya. At the Survivor Series, Nikki was mysteriously attacked backstage, causing Natalya to become her replacement for the match, in which the SmackDown women's team was unsuccessful in winning the match. In an attempt to finally end her feud with Carmella, Nikki competed in a no-disqualification match against Carmella at the TLC, which Nikki was victorious, and would afterwards be revealed by Carmella that her attacker at Survivor Series was not her, but her fellow Total Divas co-star Natalya.
On the December 20 episode of SmackDown, after Carmella again revealed more secrets about Natalya to Nikki, Natalya would attack Carmella then admit to attacking Nikki at Survivor Series, revealing her pent-up jealousy of her success for years. The two then spent the next few weeks exchanging offenses and attacking each other in several different locations. They would compete in a match on the January 10 episode of SmackDown, but the match would not officially start when the two would brawl it out, with referees coming to break them up. At the Royal Rumble, Nikki competed in a six-woman tag team match alongside Naomi and Lynch against Natalya, Bliss, and Mickie James, with her team coming out victorious after Naomi pinned Bliss. On the January 31 episode of SmackDown, the SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan announced that Nikki will face Natalya in singles competition at the Elimination Chamber, which would end in a double count-out at the event. To end the feud between the two, Daniel Bryan announced that Nikki Bella will face Natalya in a Falls Count Anywhere match, which Natalya would win on the February 21 episode of SmackDown after Maryse interfered attacking Nikki.
On the February 28 episode of SmackDown, Nikki joined her real life boyfriend, John Cena's side after Maryse slapped Cena on MizTV and escaped the ring with The Miz, leading to Daniel Bryan making a mixed tag team match between Nikki and John Cena against The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania 33. Cena and Nikki went on to win the match; Cena then proposed marriage to Nikki in which Nikki would accept the proposal.
In March 2019 on the Bellas reality show Total Bellas Nikki announced her retirement from in ring competition.
Nicole previously dated wrestler Nick Nemeth, who is known on-screen as Dolph Ziggler. In May 2014, Nicole revealed on Total Divas that she had married her high school sweetheart at the age of 20; the marriage was annulled three years later. Nicole also announced on Total Divas in 2014 that she is a qualified real-estate agent.
Bella began dating John Cena in 2012. The couple became engaged on April 2, 2017, when Cena proposed to her after their mixed tag-team match at WrestleMania 33. On April 15, 2018, the couple announced their separation.
- Finishing moves
- Bella Buster (Sitout facebuster) — 2008–2013; used as a signature move thereafter
- Rack Attack (Argentine backbreaker drop) — 2013–2015
- Rack Attack 2.0 (Fireman's carry cutter) — 2016–present
- Fearless Lock (STF) — 2016–2017; adopted from John Cena
- "Ass Attack" (Banzai Drop) - 2017-Present. Nikki usually executes two Banzai Drops in the same match
- Signature Moves
- Back body drop
- Bella Spear (Spear followed by Multiple Punches)
- Cross armbreaker
- Double Leg Slam
- Front powerslam, dropped during application of a hammerlock
- Handstand cornered backflip calf kick to an oncoming opponent
- Headscissors sometimes transitioned into a figure-four necklock and followed by multiple push-up facebusters with theatrics
- Leaping shoulder block
- Modified Achilles lock
- One-handed Thesz press, followed by multiple mat slams
- Running elbow or forearm smash ,sometimes to an oncoming opponent
- Snapback (Snapmare facebreaker)
- Spinebuster, sometimes to an oncoming opponent
- Springboard roundhouse kick
- Tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedown
- Waterwheel Slam
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
|2015 PWI Top 50 Females|
|Nikki Bella • Paige • Sasha Banks • Santana Garrett • Gail Kim • Charlotte • Naomi • Cherry Bomb • Courtney Rush • Taryn Terrell • Bayley • Brie Bella • Sexy Star • Cheerleader Melissa • Lufisto • Nicole Matthews • Becky Lynch • Kimber Lee • Natalya • Jessicka Havok • Awesome Kong • Candice LeRae • Brooke • Athena • Ivelisse • Jade • Madison Rayne • Leva Bates • Barbi Hayden • Angelina Love • Emma • Saraya Knight • Veda Scott • Velvet Sky • Madison Eagles • Kay Lee Ray • Marti Belle • Kellie Skater • Nikki Storm • Evie • Heidi Lovelace • Tessa Blanchard • Portia Perez • Alicia Fox • Cat Power • Crazy Mary Dobson • Xandra Bale • La Rosa Negra • Malia Hosaka • Vanessa Kraven|