After 12 years as a WWE icon, Nikki Bella has announced her retirement from the ring.
The 35-year-old two-time WWE Divas Champion is reportedly stepping back as her body can no longer take the strain of the travel which comes with professional wrestling.
Nikki – real name Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace – apparently came to this decision during a recent tour in Europe, joining her twin sister Brie who retired earlier this month.
As reported by the New York Post, Nikki confirmed her retirement plans during the season finale of her reality show, Total Bellas, stating:
The [European] tour was good but I feel like I’m too old for the travel, the travel was really rough.
I was like, why am I doing this? I don’t feel good. The girls are doing amazing things over there. I really am ready to hang up the jersey, I can say it fully.
Being on the European tour, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Just how my body feels, being away from my company, how time consuming this is.
It’s making me realize I am ready to fold the jersey and put it away. I’m ready to put the kicks aside and I’m ready to take Nikki Bella into a different direction.
As announced on Total Divas, Nikki Bella is now officially retired from WWE. After 12 years in the ring, Nikki joins her sister Brie and hangs up the boots. Nothing but ❤️ for the Bella Twins. Say what you like but their popularity has helped pave the way for the female stars pic.twitter.com/lFG9oThz2x
— Gorilla Position (@WWEGP) March 25, 2019
— 🌺 (@NiaJaxWWE) March 25, 2019
Going forward, Nikki is expected to pursue her various business endeavors, including her fashion brand and wine label.
Showing enthusiasm for her post-wrestling future, Nikki declared:
Here’s to closing one chapter and the next one opening.
Twin Brie was on hand to offer some sisterly support, telling Nikki she could hang her WWE jersey up ‘right next to mine’.
We’ve shared so many great memories in and out of the the ring. I’m so grateful for my friendship with @BellaTwins and so incredibly proud of how far they’ve come. Best is always yet to come! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/mCTGOjvzBJ
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) March 25, 2019
— Al Tyson (@AlTyson15) March 25, 2019
Emotional fans have flocked to social media to show their admiration for Nikki, who – along with Brie – has left an impressive legacy, inspiring countless female wrestling fans with her skills, strength and showmanship.
One wrestling fan tweeted:
Thank you Nikki Bella for everything you did. Whether your a Stan or hater you can’t deny she brought so many news eyes to the division and created her own revolution. I hope she comes back but if not, glad she got to end her career in the main event of Evolution. #ThankYouNikki
The Bellas have single handedly changed my outlook on so many things in life. I will forever be grateful for everything they’ve done. There aren’t enough characters to describe how much love and appreciation I have for those women. Thank you for everything.
So excited to see what’s in store for @BellaTwins future! Such amazing boss ladies, love them so much ! ❤️
— Jamie elizabeth (@Jameelizabeth13) March 25, 2019
— LauraBossHugFan (@BHugconnection) March 25, 2019
Nikki signed up with the WWE in June 2007, making her debut on SmackDown in November 2008.
During Nikki’s final televised bout in October, she was defeated by Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey at Evolution. However, WWE reporters were impressed by her solid performance.
It’s a shame to see another WWE legend hang up their jersey, but no doubt this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the multi-talented Bella sisters.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.