Fan Photo Catches Nikki Bella Backstage at RAW

While the purpose is unclear, it looks like Nikki Bella is not only present, but geared up for tonight's RAW in Anaheim, California.

A fan from r/squaredcircle snapped the following photo of Bella and John Cena leaving his bus.

Nikka Bella RAW
(Photo:emperorgenghiskhan)

Conventional wisdom says that Bella is there to promote her upcoming appearance on Season 25 of Dancing With the Stars. However, that's not much more than speculation. She could be there for multiple reasons - except one: She won't be wrestling.

Despite adorning her typically in-ring getup, Nikki has been battling chronic neck issue for some time. Nikki herself recently addressed her future in WWE with Inside The Ropes:

“Definitely coming back. I want to come back when I have my sister by my side. It’s been over two years since the Bella Twins have been in the ring together, so I definitely want to make a comeback with Brie. I’m obviously still waiting for my neck to heal, so I’m hoping 2018 is gonna be the time when we come back. I hope before then, but I don’t know if that can happen. That’s the thing about bones, it’s like ‘c’mon!’”

Brie too has mentioned 2018 as a target but has yet to set a more specific goal. With Nikki being sidelined because of a neck injury, she will have to be more cautious in her return. In fact, it sounds like she's already set boundaries for her pending WWE schedule:

“Unfortunately because of my neck, my surgeon… he doesn’t even want me to come back and ever be in the ring again, but, he definitely said you can’t ever be in the ring full-time again. We kind of saw that when I came back last Summerslam when I went to full-time through Wrestlemania; I ended up getting injured. It’s very tough on my body working a full-time schedule, unfortunately.”

As much as her fans and WWE miss her, it's unlikely either of them would have objections to Nikki working a limited schedule. She's contributed so much to the sport already a full-time run for her would simply be excessive.

In the meantime, women's wrestling continues to improve. By the time the Bellas arrive next year, the women of WWE will have garnered even more popularity. outside of Natalya, there really isn't a true veteran presence in the women's division. Both RAW and SmackDown are anchored by women who are relatively recent NXT call-ups. Adding a pair of savvy vets like the Bellas should add another layer of intrigue to the division.