WWE's Bella twins find new fame and fans with 'Total Divas' reality TV show

WWE superstars Nikki and Brie Bella.

WWE superstars Nikki and Brie Bella. Photo Credit: WWE

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If you're not interested in coming out to the Nassau Coliseum on Monday night to see the pro wrestlers, maybe you'll want to come out to see the reality show stars.

When WWE's flagship show "Monday Night Raw" hits the airwaves live from Uniondale, it will feature two performers who have recently found new fame on a different cable network: "Total Divas" starlets Nikki and Brie Bella.

The program, which debuted over the summer, has been a ratings success on E! and created an entirely new fan base for the identical twin sisters.

"We were in the airport the other day and there were these girls who were probably 12 years old coming over with their mom and they were like, 'Oh my God! It's the Bella Twins from 'Total Divas'," said Nikki Bella, adding that she has noticed a shift in the amount, and type, of fans who recognize her since joining the reality television ranks.

"That's exactly what we wanted," Brie added. "We really wanted everyone to be introduced to WWE and to our world."

"Total Divas" airs on Sunday nights after "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and follows the lives of several WWE female wrestlers -- known as Divas -- as they try to climb up the ladder of the sports entertainment juggernaut.

Although it targets a female audience, the show has also captivated traditional wrestling fans by raising the curtain on some of the inner-workings of WWE like never before. It's not unusual to see the Divas battling in the ring in one scene, and laughing together backstage in another.

"WWE has gotten to the point that we're more open, and we wanted everybody to see for the first time how the magic is made," said Brie, trying to keep her composure backstage at a taping of Smackdown! while another WWE performer jokes with her. "We're a big family back here, which people don't realize."

The reality show deals with the Divas' personal lives as much as it does their professional ones. And, in the case of the Bella Twins, the two are interwoven. Brie Bella is engaged to multiple-time world champion Daniel Bryan, while Nikki is romantically involved with WWE megastar John Cena.

"Obviously when you're on the road so much, it's hard to keep relationships strong," Brie said. "But where we benefit is that we're on the road together."

Still, Brie, who turns 30 Friday, acknowledged that, eventually, she and Bryan will have to settle down.

"You can't wrestle and be pregnant," Brie said. "So there's definitely moments when you're thinking, 'Gosh, when do I give this up?'"

For Nikki, dating wrestling's biggest star comes with its own unique set of pressures. But, as a WWE performer herself, she gets her famous boyfriend's job better than most women could.

"I know at times you get a call and you have to be on a plane in an hour," Nikki said. "I'm understanding."

That's in part because Nikki and her sister made many of the same sacrifices that their male counterparts did in achieving their goal of working for WWE. Nikki said those sacrifices may be lost on the newest generation of Divas, who get to hone their skills in WWE's new state of the art performance center in Tampa, Fla. and on WWE's NXT show on Hulu.

"They're definitely spoiled," said Nikki, who recalled performing in small bars and church halls in front of a few dozen fans before being called up to WWE. "I prefer how we did it, because we knew we had to work hard. When we were finally on TV it was like, 'Holy cow! This is what we worked so hard for.' It definitely, I think, makes you appreciate it more."

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