Nikki Bella on why the “Diva” moniker shouldn’t be vilified

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At WWE’s Evolution, Nikki Bella will challenge Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Title. Throughout the week, the stars have been making the media rounds and during an interview Newsweek, Bella discusses about her upcoming match with Rousey, her return to in-ring action and why the “Diva” moniker shouldn’t be vilified. Highlights of the interview below.

Feelings heading into her match with Rousey: I love working with Ronda Rousey. It’s been the biggest challenge of my career, I would say. There’s a lot of pressure because of Ronda, and how big she is and how Brie and I crossed over. There’s a lot of pressure on us women, but it’s been incredible. This is the most nervous I’ve been walking into that ring. It’s like “dayum, I’m about to fight Ronda Rousey.” This is insane, I never in my life would have thought it would happen. It’s really cool, because not only has Evolution been so empowering this week and my comeback and my journey, but then to know who I’m facing. That’s been even more empowering and I feel so grateful. One day, I’m going to be able to tell my kids “not only was mom a part of an amazing group of women who worked so hard for so long to have this all-women’s pay-per-view. Your mom was main eventing against this woman named Ronda Rousey.” How lucky am I to be able to say that?

Whether she prefers being a heel or a babyface: I love being the villain. Being a villain is so much more fun and you are given more freedom than if you were a babyface. The babyface, they always have to smile and wave, and they always have to be happy. Come on, that’s not life. There’s something so creative about [being a heel], it’s so easy to make people hate you. Babyfaces have it way harder. But [as a heel] you’re allowed to be more creative and say “how am I going to take this person down?” Babyfaces are going to show us the best they got in the cleanest way, but think how fun it is to figure out ways to beat you because I can do whatever I want. I love it.

On her personal life being used in traded promos with Rousey: I mean, it hurt. At the end of the day, we’re still human. That is something that is still one of the most important things in my life, my past relationship. I still have so much love for that man and he’s an incredible human being. But not only him, but my sister, my family, my friends—they’ve all seen how hard I’ve worked over the past 10 years. Does it hurt when people constantly try and take away your hard work because of someone you’ve been with? Of course. I was so lucky to share six amazing years with a truly incredible man. But that doesn’t mean he made me. I was in the company for 12 years and with him for six. There’s been so many years of being on my own with the blood, sweat and tears, and turning my no into yes, negatives into positives. That was me. All my hard work was me, but I know it. So that’s where it can hurt, but it doesn’t affect me because I’ve heard it so much. The right people know my worth. God’s the only one who can judge me. So at the end of the day I show up with a smile, which I think can really annoy people [laughs]. Once you know your worth, no one can take it away from you, and I know my worth.

Feeling on the term “Diva” almost being taboo in the WWE: I think it should be accepted. The one thing that I love is that we’re called what the men are called. We’re WWE Superstars, and there’s not the distinction of Superstars and Divas. I like how we’re all together equally, but we never should have made it a bad word because I think of what that word meant. The women now weren’t there when we were creating that. We were told in so many meetings that this is what we’re going to be called—you’re strong, beautiful and powerful—and that’s what we did. And the women on SmackDown had nothing to compete for. We were just doing matches, and then we got this Divas championship and it was amazing that we had something. We had something to challenge each other with. I saw all the hard work that went into the Divas Championship and all the little girls who wore it and loved it and still bring it to live events. For me, that’s where it’s difficult because I’ve seen the hard work that went into that era, I have wrestled with the amazing champions of that title and we could have had the change without dissing that generation of woman. That’s not revolutionizing, that’s not empowering each other. That’s the only disagreement I’ve had with this, and that’s why I’m coming back to remind people of how beautiful that history was. That history was special. Just because you weren’t a part of it doesn’t mean it wasn’t iconic or historic. And you’ve heard past women speak out about it. That’s what’s special about Evolution, there wouldn’t be change without the Divas championship. It wouldn’t exist and there would be no meaning because you need something to go against. But the [Divas era] women never should have been attacked, because they were doing their job. I’ve been at the forefront of how it fell on the women who were trying to make it work. [..] I said on Monday night about a Diva beating [Ronda] for that championship. And yes, it’s being sarcastic because of what that term has meant. But I would love for a Diva to win that title in the main event of Evolution, to show people that it was a beautiful era in front of the women of that era, every Divas champion.

Bella also discusses her in-ring future after Evolution, support from her Bella Army and projects outside WWE.

You can read the full interview here.

What did you think of the interview? Do you prefer Nikki Bella as a heel or babyface? Who are you rooting for on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below!