The BOAT is forging her own path to WWE greatness

By Anil Jhalli

Natalya Neidhart was destined to become a pro wrestling star and follow in the footsteps of some of her legendary relatives. 

Known to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fans around the globe by her ring name Natalya, Neidhart is the daughter of the late Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart and the niece of Bret 'The Hitman' Hart who together formed the original Hart Foundation, one of the wrestling industry's greatest tag teams.

The two men have entrenched their places in pro wrestling history, with their inductions into the WWE Hall of Fame. 

Neidhart, who trained out of the infamous 'Hart Dungeon', said there was nothing else she wanted to pursue other than one day becoming a WWE superstar. 

And today, she's been dubbed as the best of all time, or simply the BOAT. 

“I just discovered how much I loved it,” said Neidhart in an interview with CityNews Ottawa earlier this month. “I was hooked from the very first day I started training. I have been surrounded my whole life and I have a deep love and passion for WWE and the sport of professional wrestling.”

The Canadian born wrestler is forging her own path to WWE greatness, and has established herself as one of the best female wrestlers the company has ever produced. 

She is a two-time women's world champion, having won the Divas Championship and SmackDown Women's Championship once each. She has also captured the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship on one occasion. 

She is the first woman in WWE history to hold both the Divas Championship and the SmackDown Women's Championship, and holds three Guinness Book of World Records for female WWE wrestlers – most pay-per-view appearances, most matches and most wins. 

“It's just a testament to my body of work,” said Natalya regarding her inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records. “The fact that I show up and I work hard and I am very driven. I have had one injury in my career that sidelined me for three weeks. My work ethic and my body of work, and my ability to show up and work hard is second to none. I am proud of that.”

Throughout her 14-year WWE career, she has gone toe to toe with some of the WWE's top female performers  — from Becky Lynch to Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey — and has put on some show-stopping performances in the process. 

She called her 2014 NXT Takeover showdown with Charlotte Flair the match she is most proud of because it gave wrestling fans a glimpse into the future of the company. But it also helped establish Neidhart as one of the industry's hardest working performers, and showcased her abilities inside the squared circle. 

“It was a match that was in front of 250 people but I say that match is like my Wrestlemania moment,” she said. “People at that time didn't know what Charlotte Flair was really capable of and I was coming from a different era in WWE where women weren't given many opportunities. So when I was given the chance to have no time limit and do whatever I needed to do in the ring with Charlotte, it was a real turning point where people can see what I could do and see this new up and coming talent in Charlotte.”

She called Becky Lynch her favourite opponent, adding the two have clashed on so many occasions, but their Summerslam encounter in 2019 was one for the ages and was a special one for Neidhart as the event took place in Toronto.

“We opened the show in front of 20,000 people,” she said. “That was such a fun match. I love working with Becky she's such a true professional.”

While her accomplishments inside a WWE ring have been impressive, the 40-year-old said there's still a lot left for her to do. 

She has her sights sets on winning the Raw Women's Championship. Neidhart recognized the talent on the NXT roster and hopes to step in the ring with the up and coming stars and the future of the WWE. 

“As much as I am so grateful of what I have accomplished in the WWE, and for me, there's so much more for me to get done,” she added. 

The WWE is making a stop in Ottawa on Aug. 20 at the Canadian Tire Centre, and Natalya is scheduled to be part of the show. She said always enjoys performing in Canada's capital when she has the opportunity.

“I am a Canadian girl at heart,” she said. “I love performing and I love coming back to Canada. Ottawa has some of the best crowds and fans, and I love the chance to perform in front of our passionate fans in Canada's capital.”


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