The more intrepid wrestling observers amongst us have figured out that the Nikki Bella/John Cena "break-up" is little more than a kayfabe storyline. Even though Nikki Bella swears on a stack of all that's holy and sacred that yes, as a matter of fact, she's really broken up with WWE diva John Cena is totes really happening (like, really), it's really interesting that this "breakup" all came ahead of the Total Bellas S3 E1 premiere -- and, the day before, John Cena and Nikki Bella "stepped out" for the first time since their relationship ended.
We know, we know.
We're still watching anyway.
Let's get to the nitty-gritty of the season premiere.
When first we see our not-so-happy-anymore couple, they're on the road to getting married, and Nikki is as happy as the proverbial pig in slop, but they're also spending a lot of time apart because John's on the road. (Doing what? God only knows. Working, allegedly.)
This is the part that gets a little uncomfortable, really, because whether kayfabe or not, we're watching the demise of a relationship in real time, and we know how it's all going to end -- so we get to watch the train-wreck for the next hour, knowing that we're all powerless to stop it.
But one cannot help but notice that it's John Cena's world, and the rest of us -- including Nikki Bella -- are just guests in it, as Nikki starts to make more concessions than is advisable or necessary so her marriage can happen. And rather than "woman up" and tell Cena what she wants and when she wants it, she's reduced to conceding to his every whim as he smirks and smarms his way through life. It's aggravating to the extreme, especially since Cena seems so insufferable off-screen, that one cannot help but want to shake Nikki Bella and beg -- no, demand -- that she do better than this. (The only thing that could be worse than this is Chris Benoit...seriously...)
For example, Nikki always wanted a wedding in the Napa Valley, but WWE diva John Cena has decided that they're going to have it in the backwoods of Massachusetts somewhere, so Nikki goes along. This, of course, doesn't sit well with Nikki's twin sister, Brie, who has finally had all she's ever going to take from Cena.
Already pissed off about the fact that Nikki has to give up her dream of motherhood to pacify the groom-to-be, and the fact that Cena has more house-rules than a Benedictine monastery, she gives Cena a piece of her mind when Nikki gives up her dream wedding venue, too. This prompts Nikki to reveal that she actually had to beg Cena to marry her in the first place (girl...!), and she's just agreeing to all of his ridiculous demands so he doesn't change his mind and get cold feet (girl!!!!).
Brie informs her dear, sweet, slow-to-catch-on sister that marriage requires work, compromise, and communication, not blind obedience. Nikki concedes that she originally agreed to the "no kids" policy when she first got with Cena, but after she saw Brie and Lauren with their own children, she realized that not having little Bella-Cena's running around would be very "lonely" indeed, and she's starting to have second thoughts.
But Brie is no better off in her marriage, either, because between her various business ventures, her desire to return to the WWE, and hubby Daniel Bryan's own projected return to the ring, she realizes that she's going to miss out on a lot of time with baby Birdie (who is as adorable as ever this season -- looking like a straight-up-and-down Cabbage Patch Kid!). And it really gives her the old gut-punch when Birdie has her first-ever swim lesson, and she goes with Daddy instead of Mommy to the pool.
The good news is, the Danielsons are talking through it and becoming stronger as a couple (how cute).
The bad news is, they're the only Bella couple that's doing so -- because WWE diva John Cena believes everything is A-OK with his relationship with Nikki (denial is not just a river in Egypt, apparently), so much so that he lets up on some of his stuffy house rules, and even acts a plum fool over picking out a new rug for their house in San Diego.
Of course, Cena's assertion that his "Hollywood career is taking off" (BISHWHERE?!) merited more than a few chuckles from this reviewer, but the strain in their relationship is no laughing matter: between Cena's various gigs voicing cartoon bulls and Nikki's obligations with Belle Radici and Birdiebee, the couple isn't spending as much time together as they should be. This reviewer is of the belief that one spend as little time around John Cena as is humanly possible, but Nikki Bella actually loves the plum fool, so she gets to thinking that a lonely house without the sound of the pitter-patter of little feet doesn't sound so good after all.
Total Bellas airs every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST on E!