Though Nikki Bella is romantically linked to John Cena, unlike retired wrestler Michelle McCool, there is no animosity toward her among her WWE co-workers for dating a top star. It was noted within some circles recently that McCool had "tremendous heat" among some of her peers when she rose to the top years ago, but was "bullet proof" because of her romantic affiliation with The Undertaker. Nikki and twin sister Brie are well-liked among their peers, with organization officials holding them in high regard.
It's also said that with Nikki dating Cena, the twin duo can "get away with a lot."
McCool has been greatly criticized over the years for taking the fast track to WWE glory. After entering an intimate relationship with The Undertaker in late 2007 (who she married in June 2010), many critics attributed her position in the company to her influential partner rather than her ability to perform. Months after her spring 2011 retirement from the squared circle, the four-time champion was asked in an interview why she has received so much flack from her colleagues.
Dan Murphy of Inside Wrestling asked McCool, "I know you like to keep some things private and this was never announced, but you did marry The Undertaker. He's obviously a veteran and icon in the business with a lot of influence. Was it the Diva Search background or having the relationship with someone like him that's responsible for the heat and resentment you got?"
She responded, "Bottom line: People in our business are always going to look to find reasons to see the negative in somebody and to become resentful. I don't really know where it began: probably with me getting the tag as "Diva Search reject." But I don't know anybody who, if they had an opportunity like the Diva Search, they wouldn't jump at it. If they didn't jump at it, they'd be idiots.
"People can say what they want to say, but at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror. I know how hard I fought. I know how many storylines I pitched. I know how hard I worked in the ring. I can't tell you the number of times I was one of the first people at the arenas or at TV, constantly trying to better myself. I can honestly say that my hard work paid off. My resilience paid off. My persistence paid off. That's all there is to it. People are always going to say what they want to say and believe what they want to believe, but that's the bottom line."