This Sunday at WWE‘s Smackdown Live! event, TLC, former Divas Champion Nikki Bella looks to end her current feud with the Princess of Staten Island, Carmella in a No Disqualification Match.
Now…I have to be honest here. If you’d asked me two months ago if I’d be interested in watching Nikki Bella face off Carmella on an episode of Main Event, let alone a PPV, I would have given you this look.
But I have to say, that a change of character in both combatants has made me somewhat intrigued at what these two women may actually pull off.
When Nikki Bella left the WWE due to injury last year, she left as one of the last bastions of the Divas Era, the spoiled model who couldn’t wrestle and who was dating “The Golden Boy”, John Cena. In her absence, Sasha Banks and Charlotte honed a rivalry in just 8-months that the Bellas have never created in nine years. Becky Lynch has won World championship gold to lead Smackdown. And while many feel Nikki’s overshadowing Becky as the top woman in the division, I would argue the opposite. Nikki may have bigger star power than Lynch to the casual fans, but she’s actually elevating the bottom of the card. Her run with Carmella has made Carmella look more credible than any other point of her WWE career, and that includes being part of Enzo & Cass‘ crew during their peak in NXT. Nikki herself in recent interviews has mentioned she feels she’s best used to enhance others than will more accolades for her character. By being the first feud for Carmella on the Smackdown Live roster, she immediately elevated Carmella. Those who loved Carmella or Nikki Bella, watched for that reason. And those who loathed either, watched with the same enthusiasm (just to see how brutal it would be). And it all went down on August 23, 2016.
But it was surprisingly okay. It wasn’t brilliant, but it was actually quite captivating. During Nikki Bella’s return speech, from nearly a year away from neck surgery, Carmella attacked her out of nowhere.
And while it may have caught people’s attention, it was the segment that followed that night’s Smackdown Live! that got people’s intrigue. During a very real feeling discussion between Renee Young and Nikki Bella on Talking Smack, Carmella unexpectedly attacked her again. VICIOUSLY. It was Attitudesque even.
Since then, Nikki has emerged from the Total Divas princess shell into something a little tougher. The former prom queen who’d lost her shine and now had to show she was tough under all of that make-up. And while she’ll never be confused for being Charlotte in the athleticism department, her training with Daniel Bryan has definitely made her a better wrestler.
Carmella has shown a side of her that we didn’t know was possible. She was adorably snarky as the third member of Enzo & Big Cass’ posse, but she floundered on her own when the other two were called up. Her “babyface” felt too pushed and without the Certified G’s to bounce off, her charisma had dwindled. It became awkward.
But by turning on Nikki Bella – and so viciously – Carmella has been able to stop worrying about being likeable and can now focus on just showing us everything she’s got. And she’s been as physical as they come – while Nikki has been taking some solid bumps in this feud, there’s only so much her body can take due to her neck injury. But Carmella has been anything but a Princess – she’s been a Warrior. The photo of her eye the morning after Smackdown Live this week is proof she’s putting it all on the line right now. This is her moment. Silence the critics early.
This Sunday, the two are finishing their trilogy at TLC in a No-Disqualification Match. Carmella took part one when she eliminated Nikki Bella in the 6-pack challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Nikki took part two, when she defeated Carmella at No Mercy. And this Sunday, they have a slobberknocker of a rubber match where they can get as physical as they need to be.
For these two women, they have everything to prove – more so than Becky Lynch or Alexa Bliss do. Nikki Bella has returned to an indie invasion, of not only the roster but the fan base, where she’s viewed upon with similar eyes as John Cena. She knows the crowds are hostile, despite the cheers from the younger audience. And Carmella knows that people are expecting her to fail. The internet has been savage. But she has pushed herself hard these past few months. And this Sunday, everything is on the line. These two misfit toys of the New Era are going to show that they, too, belong in this Women’s Revolution.
At the end of the day, expect a tough fought match, with both women pulling off some unsuspecting spots (Nikki’s will be a little less physical for obvious reasons).
But Nikki Bella will ultimately prevail. She has to complete her redemption from injury story. But Carmella can hold her head high. Even if she ultimately loses, Carmella will have received a greater push in defeat than she would have in defeating Summer Rae.
And in hindsight, it might actually be a better story than the one involving Lynch and Bliss.
Main Photo: WWE.com