‘Total Divas’ Premiere Recap: Nikki Bella Struggles to Make Career Comeback, One Couple Breaks Up

All is fair in love and war — and wrestling. On the Wednesday, April 5, midseason premiere of Total Divas, pretty much everyone was freaking out about the upcoming draft, which would split the stars into Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live (or potentially leave them out completely). Couples were particularly concerned about being separated because it could mean that they would hardly ever be able to spend any time together.

Eva Marie was nervous that she wouldn’t be drafted at all, noting that she would “heartbroken” if that happened. Trinity McCray was super stressed about potentially being separated from her husband, Jonathan Fatu, and Renee Young swore that if she got split from Dean Ambrose, she would consider taking meetings to find a different job.

Nikki Is Desperate to Get Back in the Ring

The biggest story, by far, however, wasn’t the draft: It was Nikki Bella‘s comeback. Though Nikki had been cleared by her surgeon to wrestle, she hadn’t yet been cleared the WWE, which meant that she couldn’t be part of the draft process. Brie Bella, now retired to pursue other things (like starting a family), still understood her sister’s desire to get back in the ring despite the danger. “I just want to wrestle,” Nikki said to Brie.

Nattie Struggles to Fight Nikki

Natalie Katherine “Nattie” Neidhart-Wilson acknowledged that Nikki was “proving to be one very tough girl,” but still had clear hesitation about training with her at full force. After a training session where Nattie took it easy on Nikki, Nikki enlisted a famous MMA fighter to train with her. Nattie arrived for practice, but paused.

“Just get in the ring. We’re fine,” said Nikki, who got engaged to John Cena on Sunday, April 2. “I’m OK. Just get in the ring, honestly!” Nattie admitted she was “scared of hurting Nicole,” prompting Nikki to reiterate that she wanted Nattie to push her. “I am choosing to have a comeback,” Nikki said. “All of this was taken away from me, and I have a chance to get it all back and actually decide when my last day is, and I want that.” She added, “If you don’t want to be my opponent, I will find somebody else to work with.” 

The Night of the Draft

The night of the draft finally arrived, and some fared better than others. Eva Marie was relieved to be drafted, though she at first thought she had gone to Raw only to be cut off from her celebration to learn that she was actually going to Smackdown. “At least your girl got drafted,” she laughed to the camera. Trinity was thrilled that she and Jon ended up together, but Lana was upset because she was separated from Nattie. Renee, who was still recovering from an injury, was also separated from her boyfriend, Dean. Making matters worse, shortly after the announcement was made, Dean apparently broke up with her.

“It really makes me sad because he’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved in my life,” she cried. “I never wanted to be in a relationship like that, be committed like that,” she added. “It’s heartbreaking.” He’d also told her that there was no way they were going to get back together. Ouch. “I’m so miserable,” she said. “I just need to get away from everyone. I need to reevaluate everything in my life.”

John Cena and Nikki Bella attend 'Featured Speaker: John Cena' during 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 13, 2017 in Austin, Texas.
John Cena and Nikki Bella attend 'Featured Speaker: John Cena' during 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 13, 2017, in Austin. Katrina Barber/Getty Images for SXSW

Brie Visits Nattie

After receiving a phone call from her sister about how Nattie was making her doubt herself, Brie headed to Nattie’s house to try to set the record straight. “I fought a lot in the beginning with her, and I was really worried,” Brie told Nattie. “But I understand wanting a comeback.” Nattie nodded but said that she had never wrestled with anyone who had an injury like the one Nikki had sustained before. “We all have to be on Nicole’s side,” Brie replied. She then told Nattie that she had to be Nicole’s rock now that Brie wasn’t able to be there for her all the time.

“I have to trust Nicole,” Nattie said to the camera after. “She knows her limitations. She knows her boundaries, and I want her to know that I have her back.”

Nattie and Nicole Make Up

Nattie then found Nicole and told her how she felt. “I never wanted to put any doubt in your mind,” she said. “For me, all of this is just very personal.” She then reiterated that she just wanted to make sure that Nikki was safe. “It’s kind of close to my heart,” Nattie said as she teared up. Nikki said it meant a lot to her because it showed her how much Nattie cared. “I remember the people that were there for me before all of this,” she said. “I look at that ring and I see everything that I’ve overcome. That’s home. That’s where I belong, and I just want to get back to it.”

Tell Us: Do you think Nikki is right to charge back into the ring so quickly?

Total Divas airs on E! Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET. 

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