If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have a WWE phase in your life, there’s no way you don’t know about The Bella Twins. They have been a part of everything concerning the Women’s Division. From being Divas in bikinis in the sexist (yet awesome, at times) Attitude Era to being Superstars in brutal matches today; Nikki and Brie have seen it all. And along with that, they are also WWE Hall of Fame inductees and stars of the hit E! shows Total Divas and Total Bellas. This year in May, they published a co-memoir titled ‘Incomparable.’ The book became an instant New York Times Bestseller. It traces their journey from an abusive childhood to a contemporary star-studded, independent womanhood.
Because we are twins, they didn’t have to use a lot of imagination when they
launched us on the main roster. We are identical, so their strategy was to treat us
like the same person.
WWE had made Nikki’s and Brie’s debut all about their twindom. They dressed identically, wore their hair identically, moved in the ring identically, and even achieved an identical body composition. They first made their twin magic mark on Smackdown in 2008. While Brie was the first one to walk the ramp, Nikki was the one to score a victory. WWE didn’t reveal the twin magic gimmick until much later. Thus, ever since their first match, it was obvious that their careers soon became co-dependent.
This laid the grounds for their competitive spirits; because one day or the other, they would want to be seen as two different entities and not one single person. And so, while competing with each other, they soon realized that they lived in a world of abundance and ‘the fact that someone else gets something that you want doesn’t mean that you won’t get it a different time, or that something equally wonderful won’t come along that you might want more.‘
Comparison of and between women is rampant in our culture, and with that
comes this idea and fear of scarcity—that there isn’t enough opportunity to go
around. and historically there certainly hasn’t been.
Unfortunately, the men have always outnumbered the women in the main roster. The latter didn’t even get enough in-ring time to showcase their full potential. Thus, the environment wasn’t conducive enough for more than one female superstar to rise on top. After all, the women had a single title while the men had at least five. But new titles have been introduced and women have started taking over the main event matches too.
The fans have also been receptive of this change as they get to see so much more of what the female wrestlers have to offer. We now have the Women’s Tag Team Titles, Women’s Royal Rumble and Hell-in-a-cell matches and even the first all-women pay-per-view titled Evolution. This has not only made the women in WWE more amicable to each other but has also eased their tensions as they now know that there is enough room for all of them to succeed.
Another lesson which seeped into me was how Nikki and Brie decided to use their victimhood as a power and not as an excuse. Grieving is a part of the healing process and there’s no shame in doing so. But to let go of the problem that is making you grieve, you have to stop taking credit for it. Do you want to be called a victim forever?
When you accept victimhood, then you are effectively letting the abuse happen again and again in real time.
Brie’s narration of her bond with Bear and Daniel Bryan, and Nikki’s fearless attitude, especially towards her sexuality were some of my favourite parts of the book. The choreography of matches and hacks professional wrestlers make use of to lessen the in-ring impact, also find a mention in the book. I see people dismissing professional wrestlers by calling the sport fake. But what they don’t realize is the effort and grace that goes into creating such perfect storylines and adrenaline-pumping matches. The sport may be fake, but it’s an art nonetheless.
If you have ever stayed up late to catch Wrestlemania live at 4.30 in the morning, this book is definitely for you. And even if you haven’t, no need to worry. Nikki and Brie are two of the most gorgeous and powerful women I have ever known. Don’t shy away from picking up this book and learning about them; because we all can use some light non-fiction on rainy days.