This time around, things are going to be different. Nikki will make sure of it.
Sure, once again it’s matching ring gear that’s being presented to them for their matches, but as soon as there’s the opportunity, it’s going to be out with that and in with whatever the two of them actually want. The gear itself is gorgeous – whoever made it clearly put a lot of work into it – but it isn’t what they asked for. Plus, even though they’re still supposed to be identical, commentary continue to chuckle over the new difference between her and Brie when they’re supposed to be calling a match rather than judging a woman’s own choice to get the surgery she wants.
Still. At least there aren’t constant celebrity guest hosts to be thrown at anymore.
They’re told to continue using Twin Magic as well, which – OK, which usually was of some use back in the day, even if it was the reason why Nikki didn’t even get a week as champion last year. It just isn’t going to be as effective now, is all. They’ve learned new things since leaving the company, too: moves more impressive than just switching around and taking each other’s place in matches. They try to argue it with anyone who’s cutting them down, but they’re not even getting the time to show off everything they’ve been working on in the first place.
Clearly, things haven’t changed much since they’ve last been here. Even if it was hardly a year ago.
No-one seems to get it: that they’re not clones – just twins. Different people, even if they’ve always been presented onscreen as being one and the same.
They all are, actually. A revolving door of pretty faces that don’t have any influence on the bigger picture because apparently people don’t care enough for them to get to do anything interesting or challenging or game changing.
(People would, Nikki thinks. If they were actually allowed to do that, people would care. Besides, they care, and that should be enough.)
Except for AJ, of course, who actually gets to talk, who gets to say that she’s special and different and not like the others.
And Nikki and Brie just have to deal with the misfortune of getting boxed into being the same person – a person who neither of them even are.
Nikki doesn’t expect it to be a career threatening shin injury that truly sets them on the course to being individual performers, and she wishes with every part of her that it wasn’t, but you can’t change things like this. You can only make the best of them.
So she trains. Harder and more vigorously than she ever has before, because she’s hungry. For a chance at the title, for a chance at showing who she is and how much she’s grown. To be seen as herself, as Nikki Bella, not just as one half of a package deal as the Bella Twins, of Nikki-and-Brie. To just be seen as something other than what the company seems so desperate to present her as, to get to be who she wants and who she is.
She watches Brie face off with Natalya at Summerslam, watches her fight for the Divas Championship at Night of Champions and at Battleground and at Hell in a Cell. Brie might not win the title on any of the occasions, but she’s still proving herself to the crowd each time, showing that she can hold her own just fine without Nikki there to take her place.
Soon enough, Nikki will be able to do just the same.
At Survivor Series, she gives herself a year to win the title. And if not her, then Brie, but Nikki wants it – wants what she never really got to have the first time around.
The last few months have just been for getting used to things again, really. For regaining their bearings, taking in the way things have changed in the time they’ve been gone.
Now, it’s time to turn things around.