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Brie and Nikki Bella on almost quitting WWE in 2008, women’s matches getting more TV time because of Total Divas

Brie and Nikki Bella joined the “Wrestling with Freddie” podcast to talk about their run in WWE, Total Divas, their early days in the company and more.

Brie Bella on telling WWE they were walking if they weren’t going to be called up to the main roster in 2008:

“We actually do give you (Freddie Prince Jr) a lot of credit because when we were down in FCW for so long, they kept saying, ‘Well, we just don’t know what to do with twins.’ We’re like, it kind of just seems to write itself. It was your ideas that kept pushing that I think made a lot in the company at the time see that there is something special. The best thing is there was no social media. We could hide the fact, I mean FCW didn’t have television at the time. Nobody knew Nicole and I at all. Locally in Tampa, yeah, they knew there were twins wrestling down there, but in the whole global WWE world, people didn’t know. It was really the timing. It wasn’t Nikki as much as it was me, because they kept saying they had no idea. I had at the time a boyfriend who said, ‘You gave up everything for wrestling. At one time do you start to give back to the people who were there with you? You never see your family. I’m here alone all the time.’ I was like, that’s a really good point. So, I’m the one that pushed it. I said, ‘Listen. Let us know. You told us at Diva Search that you weren’t looking for two. We begged to try out again. We drove here. We’re getting paid peanuts. Be honest. If you have no idea what to do with twins, we can go somewhere else.’”

Freddie Prince Jr credits The Bella Twins and Total Divas reality show are what started the move to have longer women’s matches:

“When I was writing segments for you guys, and you had matches, the women’s matches were five minutes long and two minutes of it were the entrances. So you had three minutes to tell some kind of story in a wrestling match. That was as much as we got, and at PPVs, they would be slotted for 10 minutes, and a lot of times, those matches would be cut from the whole PPV, so we went from 10 to zero. Then the two of you sold a show to E! called Total Divas. This show started getting a lot of traction, and a lot of people started viewing it. All of a sudden, it was getting a higher rating than some of what WWE was putting out there. This was right after I left the company. I’m watching the matches and I’m like, this feels like a longer match, but I didn’t time it. All of a sudden, and I’ll never forget this, you two were wrestling against Nattie and someone, and there was a commercial break. I’ve never seen a women’s match get a commercial break in a match in my life. I went back to the company a second time. I talked to Vince a lot about this. That was the reason. I know this for a fact because he said the words. That was the reason why the women’s matches started getting more time. The foundation that women are wrestling on today, and other people tried have tried to take a lot of credit, or maybe put more spotlight on themselves than they deserve, like Ronda (Rousey) said some stuff to me that was weird that I was like, ‘I don’t know if you’re as aware of your influence or not.’ But the reason women’s wrestling is where it’s at today is because of what you two built. Then the other women you brought into that show helped also build.  But that’s why there are women headlining WrestleMania. That’s why there was an Iron Women’s match in NXT. That’s why all the women are allowed to do much more with their bodies as far as work. I’m not joking. It’s 90% because of the concrete that you laid down before.”

Brie added:  “We all know Vince is about putting a**es in seats. He cares about money, like buying the tickets and all that stuff. The one thing Total Divas did is it showed Vince that people are coming to the show to see women. It was more than just men coming. It started to be young girls and women buying tickets just to see the Total Divas. He doesn’t count it by, oh, there’s a sign. It started to get to the point where you would see these crowds.”

Nicole said, “That’s when you started to see the demo change.”

Brie continued. “I think that’s when Vince was like, we have to give them more time because people are actually coming now.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit “Wrestling with Freddie” with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.


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