Last month Nikki Bella announced her retirement from in-ring competition on an episode of Total Bellas. Nikki had last wrestled at WWE Evolution when she tapped out to Ronda Rousey in a match for Rousey's Raw Women's Championship.
Nikki says she is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life and has many thriving businesses she wants to focus on. On The Bellas Podcast, Nikki talked with Brie about why now is the right time to step away from the ring.
"I will admit, I was not expecting as much noise that came from that on the retirement," said Nikki. "It's weird because I got so many gratitude text messages and tweets. I felt that I was almost like 70 years old and that was it for me and I needed to retire somewhere in South Florida or something. I was like, wait, okay you guys, let's use this 'retirement' word a little different."
After a six-month hiatus last year, the Bellas made their returns in September to build up the feud with Rousey for WWE Evolution. But Nikki admits that she was depressed during this time as she was still dealing with her breakup with John Cena.
"When I came back to wrestle for WWE Evolution storyline, and we didn't get a chance to discuss it in detail on Total Bellas, but it was really hard on me because of having a breakup. I felt like I went back way too soon, and every week I was so depressed and miserable, and every time I entered that arena I had to force a smile on my face," stated Nikki. "I was just so sad because the person that was the love of my life [John Cena]… that was my home, that was where we started, so I was actually happy that we became heels because then I didn't have to put that forced smile on my face and I could act like a b---h, you know what I mean?
"Having that comeback, filming Total Bellas, running three companies and then fighting Ronda Rousey and beating up my body… I just remember when we were sitting there on our 35th birthday. I just sat there and said to myself that I was done. I started thinking about my health and my age. I need to put more focus on my companies, so honestly, that was the reason why I retired. This is the thing about WWE though; the doors are truly never closed."
Brie then asked Nikki to clarify if she was really "retired" or if she was just "burned out."
"So, I am retired," replied Nikki. "I just feel like now is my time to see what I can grow Nikki Bella into and where else she can go. How far can she grow companies? I want Nikki Bella to be on the cover of Forbes Magazine and then 50 Cent can Facebook about that with a smile on his face."
Brie mentioned that she came out of retirement twice before so that could always happen down the line. But Nikki confirmed again that she was done competing.
"Yes, everyone. I am retired. Right now I feel like I need to prioritize my life and my companies: Bella Radici Winery, Birdiebee Clothing Line, and Nicole and Brizee. They're number one as well as this podcast because I love connecting with you in my life. So, I can't connect with you guys in the ring. I can't connect with you guys on TV, but I can connect with you on this podcast, and that is prioritizing that my fans come first. But I'm thinking my life in a different way. I'm 35 and that is how I want to think of it, so yes, I am retired," said Nikki.
"But if Stephanie McMahon wants to call me out you damn right I will get back in that ring and take my boss on."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Bellas Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.