For all the snark, sass, and diva-tude that John Cena has — and for all the flak this writer has given him over the course of this season of Total Bellas, and arguably, rightfully so — it’s still a painful thing to watch the demise of a relationship.
“Work” or not, Nikki Bella — beyond a shadow of a doubt — truly loved John Cena, and to see their relationship come to its painful, inevitable end in this season finale, brings a small sense of relief, but a greater sense of sadness for the woman whose heart he broke in so many ways throughout these past few weeks.
This recap, then, will focus less on the snark that’s almost inherent in this show, and focus more on the ultimate demise of the relationship between Nikki Bella and John Cena. Even though it was inevitable that their “love story comes to an end” — as Nikki succinctly, and sadly, puts it — it also provides a sense of, dare we say it, relief that it’s finally over, for everyone’s sake.
We really see, for example, how far the couple has fallen from their proverbial grace in scenes like this one. This takes place about five weeks before their wedding, and like every other normal couple, they’re about to do their final food tasting to make sure the food doesn’t make the guests sick. But, John ultimately decides he can’t make it to the tasting, so Brie fills in for him.
But, Brie rightly points out that this isn’t something she should be attending. “John should be here, not me,” Brie says. “Your wedding is around the corner.”
Right after the tasting, Brie and Nikki head to WrestleMania, where Brie’s hubby Daniel Bryan makes his triumphant return to the ring. Even as The Beard’s eyes fill with tears as he looks at a picture of baby Birdie watching him wrestling (and yes, our eyes misted over a little, too), one can’t help but notice how parallel — in the opposite direction — the sisters’ lives are. While Brie and Daniel have finally overcome their troubles, and are a stronger couple for it, Nikki and John seem to be hurtling towards a brick wall, and much like watching a car wreck in slow motion, the two’s inevitable crash is nothing if not painful to watch.
And while it’s great that the two sisters are there for each other, no matter what, Brie can’t help Nikki with what she’s going through — and it actually gets quite distressing to watch Nikki interrupt her sister and brother-in-law in the middle of their anniversary dinner to inform them that yes, as a matter of fact, she and John are calling off the wedding yet again.
Bryan tries, in vain, to help by saying that there’s no “harm” in postponing the wedding again, but even he doesn’t believe what he has to say when he says it.
What’s most disappointing about this Total Bellas season finale is that the actual “act” of their breakup happens off-camera. In other words, we don’t see what happens to make Nikki arrive to her decision — we just know she does. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense as to why it happened, of course — Nikki is tired of giving up her life for John Cena, and no matter what his best efforts may entail (such as reversing his vasectomy to give her a child), she and he cannot seem to get on the same page.
And of course, his ultimatum about taking “one day” to make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives — combined with the subtweets about their breakup (just as a WWE diva is wont to do) — doesn’t help the situation.
“I feel like I’ve ruined everyone’s fairy tale. My heart hurts so bad,” she says, before acknowledging that she didn’t give enough “time” between their breakup and reconciliation, and that was mostly because she was excited that John changed his mind about wanting kids.
“I wish it could be different, and I think that’s why I’ve had almost six years of working on us and fighting and just taking in a lot. I just feel like I’ve hit the point that I’m just so exhausted and done,” she says. “It’s just hard when you love someone so much and care for them so much, but you just can’t do it anymore. It’s not his fault, it’s not my fault. We’ve had this amazing love story and it’s just come to an end.”
The episode ends with the sisters on the beach, reflecting on all that’s happened, and Nikki finally acknowledges that she spent way too much time living for others and not enough time living for herself.
When, she says, she finally figures out what she wants in life, if John is waiting there for her, then she’ll see what happens then — but if he doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be.