‘Dancing with the Stars’: Nikki Bella tangoed with Artem Chigvintsev and body-slammed him – twice! [WATCH]

“I cannot describe how happy I am to have Nikki as my partner. I’ve never felt such a rush,” said Artem Chigvintsev in the clip package before his first live performance with WWE diva Nikki Bella in the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars.” He might reconsider if she keeps body-slamming him — or maybe that’s part of her appeal. She introduced him in the squared circle on WWE “Monday Night Raw” and said, “Do you guys want a little taste of what we have in store for you this season?” Then she picked him up and tossed him on his back, so if nothing else he’s proved himself a worthy counterpart — “I body-slammed him and he survived. That means he can handle me.”

Then he showed he could handle her again during their first dance of the season, a tango (watch it above), and she showed she could handle him right back. “Tango is a great dance for Nikki because she’s very powerful,” said Chigvintsev. That translated to a live routine to Pink‘s “So What” that was distinguished by fiery pyrotechnics and blazing red costumes. And it ended with Bella demonstrating her physical power once again by flipping her partner onto his back. Don’t hurt yourself, Artem, the season just started!

Judge Len Goodman said that the performance was “well done,” but noted that Bella has a bad habit of looking down while she dances — “Lift your chin up and sizzle,” he said. Nevertheless it was one of the strongest performance of the night, scoring a 7 out of 10 from Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba, and a 6 from Bruno Tonioli, which gave her a total of 20. That was just two points shy of first place and good enough to place her fourth out of 13 competitors, behind only Jordan Fisher (22), Lindsey Stirling (22), and Vanessa Lachey (21). If she wants to improve her standing next week, perhaps she and Chigvintsev should consider a suplex.

What did you think of Bella’s opening night performance on “DWTS”? Vote in our poll below to let us know if it was the best of the night.

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

More News from GoldDerby