Natalya (wrestler)

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Natalya
Natalya April 2014.jpg
Natalya in April 2014.
Birth name Natalie Katherine Neidhart[1]
Born (1982-05-27) May 27, 1982 (age 32)[1]
Calgary, Alberta, Canada[1][2]
Resides Tampa, Florida[3]
Spouse(s) Tyson Kidd (m. 2013)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Nadia Hart
Natalie Neidhart
Natalya[4]
Natalya Neidhart
Nattie Neidhart[1]
Billed height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)[4]
Billed weight 135 lb (61 kg)[5]
Billed from Calgary, Alberta, Canada[4]
Trained by Bruce Hart[6]
Ross Hart[6]
Tyson Kidd[6]
Tokyo Joe[3]
Clive Lewellin[2]
Debut 2000[1]

Natalie Katherine Neidhart (born May 27, 1982) is a Canadian professional wrestler. She works for WWE under the ring name Natalya.

The first third-generation female wrestler in the world, Neidhart is a member of the Hart wrestling family. She trained in the Hart family Dungeon under the tutelage of her uncles Ross and Bruce Hart. In 2000 and 2001, she worked for the Matrats promotion, before debuting for Stampede Wrestling in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, she wrestled abroad in both England and Japan. In June 2005, she became the inaugural Stampede Women's Pacific Champion, and won the SuperGirls Championship the following year in October 2006.

In January 2007, she signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and spent time in the Deep South Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) developmental territories. While in FCW, she managed her cousin, DH Smith, and her boyfriend, TJ Wilson. She debuted on the main roster in April 2008 as Natalya, allying herself with Victoria. The following year, she began managing Tyson Kidd, formerly TJ Wilson, and they were joined by David Hart Smith (formerly DH Smith) to form The Hart Dynasty. In September 2010, Natalya began focusing on singles competition, which culminated in her winning the WWE Divas Championship in November of that year. Beginning in 2013, Natalya has been featured as one of the main cast of the Total Divas reality television show.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Training and early career (2000–2007)[edit]

Neidhart received formal professional wrestling training in the Hart family "Dungeon" from her uncles Ross and Bruce Hart, becoming the first woman to do so.[7][8] In addition to her professional wrestling career, Neidhart has received training in amateur wrestling and mixed martial arts.[2][9] Neidhart is the first third-generation female wrestler in the world.[8]

Neidhart applying the Sharpshooter on Ariel at a Shimmer Women Athletes show.

In late 2000 through 2001, she served as the host and ring announcer of the Eric Bischoff led youth-promotion MatRats.[10] In 2003, she began working for the Hart Family's own promotion, Stampede Wrestling, beginning a long time feud with Belle Lovitz. The pair wrestled each other repeatedly, including a match for the Prairie Wrestling Alliance, where Neidhart teamed with her father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, against Lovtiz and Apocalypse.[11] In 2004, however, Neidhart and Lovitz formed a tag team, wrestling several intergender matches against The Meyers Brothers as well as against Anna and Ma Myers.[1]

Neidhart also began wrestling abroad. In mid-2004 she accepted bookings for a tour in England, and in March 2005, started on a two month tour of Japan where she used the name Nadia Hart.[7] When she returned to Canada she promptly turned into a villainous character, announcing that "Nasty Nattie" had been born. On June 17, 2005 she defeated Anna Marie, Lovitz, and Ma Myers in a four-way match to become the first Stampede Women's Pacific Champion, though she later vacated the championship.[12] In November 2005, Neidhart damaged her cruciate ligament while wrestling in Japan, and underwent surgery in early 2006.[13] She was sidelined for six months while she recovered.[2][13]

On October 8, 2006, Neidhart won the SuperGirls Championship from Lisa Moretti at a Big Time Wrestling show held by NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling in Newark, California. She held the championship for 19 days, before losing it to Nikki Matthews on October 27 in Surrey, British Columbia.[5] Also in October 2006, she debuted in the all-female promotion, Shimmer Women Athletes. She lost to Sara Del Rey at the tapings of Volume 7, but defeated "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel at the Volume 8 tapings.[14] The following month she competed in the tournament to determine Great Canadian Wrestling's inaugural W.I.L.D. Champion, and defeated Danyah and Aurora en route to the final, where she lost to Sirelda.[1][15] She had her last match for Stampede Wrestling on January 26, 2007, after she had signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), defeating Veronika Vice.[16] During the show, she also delivered a speech thanking the fans for their support.[16]

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE[edit]

Developmental territories (2007–2008)[edit]

Neidhart in 2007 at a Florida Championship Wrestling show.

On January 5, 2007,[1] Neidhart signed a deal with WWE.[17][18] Upon signing she was assigned to their developmental territory Deep South Wrestling for the first half of the year, competing against wrestlers including Krissy Vaine and Angel Williams.[1] She was briefly transferred to Florida Championship Wrestling when it opened in June, and then moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), debuting in a dark match at the television tapings on July 18, 2007, where she won a battle royal. She debuted the next week as a member of the Next Generation Hart Foundation, accompanying her cousins Teddy Hart and Harry Smith for tag team matches.[19] In September, she and the rest of the Hart Foundation were moved back to FCW.[20] Initially, Neidhart formed an alliance with Victoria Crawford to take on The Bella Twins, but in 2008, the pair began competing against one another, either in singles matches or in tag team matches with various partners.[20][21] She continued to make appearances in FCW in late 2008, after debuting on SmackDown, and managed TJ Wilson and DH Smith (Harry Smith) to the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship on October 30.[22]

The Hart Dynasty (2008–2010)[edit]

She made her main roster debut as a villain, under the name Natalya Neidhart (later shortened to just Natalya)[23] on the April 4, 2008 episode of SmackDown!, coming out of the crowd to aid Victoria in an attack on Michelle McCool and Cherry.[24] Her televised in-ring debut came three weeks later, in a win over Cherry.[25] When SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced the creation of the WWE Divas Championship on June 6, Natalya was the first Diva to qualify for the championship match.[26] At The Great American Bash on July 20, however, Natalya lost the match to determine the inaugural champion to McCool.[27] For the rest of the year she competed mainly in tag team matches, sporadically wrestling singles matches.[28][29] Allied with Victoria, she was also involved in a feud with The Bella Twins.[30][31]

Natalya (center) with the other members of The Hart Dynasty, Tyson Kidd (left) and David Hart Smith.

While still a member of the SmackDown brand, she made her debut for the ECW brand, via the talent exchange agreement, on February 10, 2009, managing her real life boyfriend Tyson Kidd (TJ Wilson).[32] In her ECW in-ring debut, on the March 3 episode, Natalya defeated Alicia Fox.[33] On April 5, Neidhart competed in a Divas battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, but the match was won by Santina Marella.[34] On April 15 Natalya was made an official member of the ECW brand, when she was drafted there as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft.[35] On the May 13 episode of ECW, Kidd and Natalya were joined by her real-life cousin David Hart Smith, forming The Hart Dynasty, although it was originally called The Hart Trilogy.[36][37][38]

On June 29, 2009, Natalya was traded back to SmackDown along with the other members of The Hart Dynasty.[39] Natalya's first match back for the brand was in a six-person mixed tag team match on the July 17 episode, when The Hart Dynasty defeated Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard) and Eve Torres.[40] Natalya, Kidd, and Smith went on to feud with Torres and Cryme Tyme, with Natalya also facing Torres in singles matches and tag team matches involving other Divas.[41][42] Natalya was on the winning team when the SmackDown Divas defeated the Raw Divas at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view in October.[43] On December 4, Natalya lost in a triple threat match to determine to number one contender for the WWE Women's Championship after she was pinned by Mickie James. The match also involved Beth Phoenix.[44]

Natalya, along with the other Hart Dynasty members, appeared at WrestleMania XXVI, helping her uncle Bret Hart during his match against Vince McMahon, turning them into faces as a result.[45] On April 26, The Hart Dynasty won the Unified Tag Team Championship from The Miz and The Big Show. The following day, as part of the 2010 WWE Supplemental Draft, Natalya was drafted to the Raw brand, along with Kidd and Smith.[46] On the May 24, 2010 episode of Raw, all three members of The Hart Dynasty were attacked by The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Tamina, who were making their debuts.[47][48] This provoked a feud between the trios, with The Hart Dynasty attacking The Usos and Tamina the following week in retaliation.[49] At the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view in June, Natalya and The Hart Dynasty defeated Tamina and The Uso Brothers in a six-person mixed tag team match, when Natalya pinned Tamina following a discus clothesline.[50] At the next pay-per-view, Money in the Bank, Natalya helped The Hart Dynasty to retain the championship against The Usos by stopping Tamina from interfering in the match, ending the feud.[51] In September, at Night of Champions, The Hart Dynasty lost the Tag Team Championship in a Tag Team Turmoil match.[52]

Divas Champion; Divas of Doom (2010–2013)[edit]

On the September 27 episode of Raw, Natalya won a battle royal to become the number one contender to the WWE Unified Divas Championship, and began feuding with self-professed co-Divas Champions Lay-Cool (Michelle McCool and Layla).[53] At the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 3, she defeated Michelle McCool via disqualification in a match for the championship, which meant that McCool retained the championship.[54] She received another championship match three weeks later at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, where she lost to Layla after McCool interfered.[55] On November 1, she once again became number one contender to the Unified Divas Championship after defeating McCool in a non-title match.[56] The Hart Dynasty split on November 15 after weeks of tension, when Kidd attacked Smith.[57]

Natalya at a SmackDown event in April 2012.

At the Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 21, Natalya defeated McCool and Layla in a two-on-one handicap match to win the WWE Divas Championship for the first time.[58][59] After the match she was attacked by Lay-Cool until Beth Phoenix came to her aid, with the pair forming an alliance. At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view in December, Natalya and Phoenix defeated Lay-Cool in the first Diva's Tag Team Tables match in WWE history.[60][61] Natalya was scheduled to defend her championship against Lay-Cool in a two-on-one handicap match at the Royal Rumble, but the match was changed to a fatal four-way, also involving Eve. Eve went on to pin Layla and become the new Divas Champion.[62]

On April 26, Natalya was drafted back to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2011 supplemental draft.[63] In her return match for the brand, she unsuccessfully challenged Brie Bella for the Divas Championship.[64] In May, Natalya began acting as the on-screen mentor to The Chickbusters of AJ and Kaitlyn, giving them advice and managing them during their matches.[65][66] Natalya, AJ, and Kaitlyn feuded with Alicia Fox, Tamina, and Rosa Mendes throughout mid-2011.[67][68]

On the August 5 episode of SmackDown Natalya defeated AJ before turning on her protégé, attacking her and declaring war on the "perky little princesses" that comprised the rest of the Divas division.[69] As part of the storyline, she aligned herself with Beth Phoenix, with the pair calling themselves The Divas of Doom, and the duo defeated The Chickbusters the following week.[70] Throughout September, The Divas of Doom feuded with The Chickbusters on SmackDown, while feuding with Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres on Raw.[71][72][73] Natalya accompanied Phoenix to the ring when Phoenix won the WWE Divas Championship at Hell in a Cell.[74] Natalya was banned from ringside when Phoenix was defending the championship against Torres at the Vengeance pay-per-view in October, after she and Phoenix had attacked Torres and Kelly backstage.[75] Following an eight-Diva tag team match at the Royal Rumble, the Divas of Doom quietly disbanded.[76]

Beginning in April, while on NXT Redemption, Natalya became allied with former Hart Dynasty partner Tyson Kidd again, and started feuding with former protégé Kaitlyn when she felt Kaitlyn was paying Kidd too much attention.[77][78] The pair faced off in both singles and tag team competition throughout mid-2012, including being on opposite sides of a six-Diva tag team match at Money in the Bank, which Natalya's team lost.[79][80][81] Their feud ended on August 31, when Natalya lost to Kaitlyn in a singles match on SmackDown.[82] In November, Natalya began an on-screen relationship with The Great Khali.[83] The following month, Natalya saved Hornswoggle from an attack by Rosa Mendes. This led to a feud with Natalya, Khali, and Hornswoggle facing off against Mendes and her allies, Primo and Epico in mixed tag team matches in early 2013.[84] On the March 27 episode of NXT, Natalya lost a Divas Championship match to champion Kaitlyn.[85]

Total Divas (2013–present)[edit]

See also: Total Divas
Natalya in May 2014

Upon the debut of the Total Divas reality television program in July 2013, Natalya began feuding with her co-stars on the show, the Bella Twins. Natalya and Brie Bella went on to trade victories in singles matches on Raw and at SummerSlam.[86][87][88] The cast of Total Divas then transitioned into a feud with AJ Lee, the WWE Divas Champion, who ridiculed the cast and the show.[88] This resulted in a four-way match at Night of Champions in September, where AJ successfully retained the title against Natalya, Brie, and Naomi.[89] Simultaneously, she continued to appear alongside long-time ally The Great Khali, and the pair began a feud with Fandango and Summer Rae. She and Khali lost a mixed tag team match to them at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.[90] After forcing AJ to submit on the November 1 episode of SmackDown during a six-Diva tag team match, Natalya unsuccessfully challenged AJ for the Divas Championship on WWE Main Event two weeks later.[91][92] At Survivor Series, the cast of Total Divas faced off with a team led by AJ; Natalya and Nikki Bella were the sole survivors in the match.[93] In December, Natalya unsuccessfully challenged Paige for the NXT Women's Championship.[94] After pinning AJ again in a six-Diva tag team match on Raw, Natalya was named number one contender to the WWE Divas Championship, but failed to capture the title at Tables, Ladders and Chairs.[95][96] In April 2014, at WrestleMania XXX, Natalya was a participant in the Divas Championship Invitational match, in which AJ retained the championship.[97] In May, Natalya was entered into a tournament to determine the new NXT Women's Champion. She defeated Layla and Sasha Banks en route to the final at NXT Takeover, in which she lost to Charlotte.[98][99][100]

In late 2014, Natalya entered a storyline with her real-life husband Tyson Kidd, in which their relationship was openly acknowledged on-screen. She regularly accompanied Kidd to the ring, where he often used her as a distraction to win his matches.[101][102] In November, Natalya was part of Alicia Fox's team at Survivor Series; the team was victorious in a clean sweep.[103]

Other media[edit]

Neidhart is part of the main cast for the reality television show Total Divas produced by WWE and E!. The show began airing in July 2013.[104]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
2013–present Total Divas Herself Main cast[104]
2014 Chasing Maria Menounos Herself Guest role; 1 episode[105]

Personal life[edit]

Neidhart is the daughter of wrestler Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Ellie Hart, who is the daughter of Stu Hart, making Neidhart a third generation wrestler.[3][8] She has two sisters; her older sister, Jennifer, is a gourmet chef and caterer, and Kristen (nicknamed "Muffy") is her younger sister.[106] Neidhart cites her grandfather, Stu, and her uncle, Bret, as her inspirations, both in and out of the ring.[6] As a member of the Hart wrestling family, she is a cousin to Harry Smith and Teddy, Matthew, and Michael Hart, who are all also professional wrestlers.[8][107] She is close friends with Smith, and the two lived together for a short time as children while their fathers were wrestling as a team.[108]

Neidhart attended Vincent Massey junior high school and Bishop Carroll High School, from which she graduated in 2000.[6][109] She owns a home in Calgary, but resides in Tampa, Florida.[3] Neidhart is trained in Jiu-Jitsu.[9]

Neidhart has known TJ Wilson since she was 12 years old and they began dating in November 2001.[110][111][112] The pair married in June 2013.[113] Their wedding was featured on the first season of Total Divas.[107]

In wrestling[edit]

Natalya applying the sharpshooter on Aksana.
Natalya applying an abdominal stretch on AJ.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Natalya as the WWE Divas Champion.

References[edit]

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