Natalya Neidhart, better known by her ring name Natalya, has established herself as one of the most iconic female wrestlers in WWE history. Born on May 27, 1982, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Natalya is the first third-generation female wrestler in WWE, representing the Hart wrestling family’s proud legacy. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at her journey from humble beginnings to becoming the “Queen of Harts” and a role model for aspiring female wrestlers everywhere.
Early Life and Training
Natalya comes from a family of wrestling royalty, as the daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and the niece of Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Growing up around wrestling, she was exposed to the world of sports entertainment from a very young age. Natalya was trained in the legendary Hart Dungeon, a wrestling school run by her grandfather, Stu Hart. There, she learned the fundamentals of wrestling, grappling, and submission holds, alongside other well-known wrestlers such as Tyson Kidd and Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Natalya’s First Steps in the Wrestling World
Natalya started her professional wrestling career in 2003, wrestling on the Canadian independent circuit. She soon signed with NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), where she gained experience and honed her skills. In 2005, Natalya signed with WWE and began training at Deep South Wrestling (DSW), one of WWE’s developmental territories. She then moved on to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where she continued to develop her character and ring skills.
WWE Debut and Early Years
In April 2008, Natalya made her main roster debut on SmackDown, aligning herself with Victoria and becoming her on-screen protégé. She quickly made her presence felt by attacking Michelle McCool and Cherry, setting the stage for her future feuds. Natalya’s first major accomplishment came when she became the inaugural WWE Divas Champion on July 20, 2008, defeating Michelle McCool at The Great American Bash.
The Divas of Doom and the Women’s Revolution
In 2011, Natalya formed a tag team with Beth Phoenix called The Divas of Doom. The duo dominated the women’s division, with their power and technical prowess. Natalya’s role as a villain during this period allowed her to showcase her versatility as a performer.
As the Women’s Revolution began in WWE, Natalya became an important part of the movement. She played a pivotal role in elevating the status of women’s wrestling by competing in historic matches, such as the first-ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match.
A Wrestling Legacy and Accomplishments
Throughout her WWE career, Natalya has achieved numerous milestones. In addition to being the inaugural Divas Champion, she has also held the SmackDown Women’s Championship and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with her partner Tamina. Natalya has been a key player in the women’s division, often serving as a mentor and role model for younger talent.
Natalya’s journey in WWE has been nothing short of extraordinary. As the first third-generation female wrestler, she has carried on the Hart family’s legacy with pride and determination. From her debut in 2008 to her current role as a respected veteran, Natalya has proven herself as a trailblazer in the world of women’s wrestling. Her contributions to the industry will undoubtedly be remembered for generations to come.