Former Nikki and Brie Bella, also known collectively as the Bella Twins, announced Wednesday that they are leaving World Wrestling Entertainment and embarking on “a new chapter,” under new names.
From now on, retired professional wrestlers, television personalities, and podcast hosts will be called professionally by their birth names, Nikki and Brie Garcia. The duo reflected on their decision to leave WWE after 17 years on the latest episode of their podcast, “The Nikki & Brie Show.”
“We are going to turn 40 in November. We are mothers. We are entrepreneurs. We are executive producers. We are… presenting programs. And when our contract with WWE came through, we mutually… knew we just needed to get into this new chapter,” said Nikki Garcia.
“We are very grateful for the last 17 years. I have learned a lot inside and outside of that ring. I have traveled all over the world. I have an amazing fandom from over 146 countries. … And sometimes you get to this part of your life where you’re like, ‘We’re going our separate ways.’ This doesn’t mean it’s forever, but we know it’s the right thing to do.”
Brie Garcia added that leaving WWE is something the sisters had “thought about for a while” and “it’s taken years.” Both women expressed their gratitude for their longtime alter egos as they looked forward to exploring their full creative potential.
it is not clear yes the garcia twins they plan to make an appearance at this year’s Wrestlemania event, which is scheduled for April 1-2 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. A WWE representative did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Wednesday.
“I just want to thank Brie Bella…the character that…I’ve been,” Brie Garcia said. “I want to thank that name because she caused many changes in my life and in many lives, and she did many wonderful things for me.”
“I am beyond grateful for Nikki Bella,” Nikki Garcia repeated. “She empowered me. she inspired me. She really made me fearless. And I found so much of what she had inside of her… I lost that person, and Nikki Bella brought her out. And so I will always be forever grateful for her and admire who that person was.”
At the top of Wednesday’s episode, the brothers also revealed the reason why they decided to go back to their “roots” and reintroduce themselves as the Garcia twins. Although they considered adopting their spouses’ surnames, the couple ultimately opted to “take it back to… birth.”
Nikki and Brie Garcia are married to “Dancing With the Stars” pro Artem Chigvintsev and wrestler Bryan Danielson, respectively.
“We didn’t want to go into our next chapter with our married names, (despite) how much we love our husbands,” Nikki Garcia said. “Our father right now is doing backflips. He is super excited. He is super happy. … We love our Mexican culture, and let’s go back to Garcia, how everyone knew us.”