The term underrated is thrown around a lot in the world of professional wrestling for someone who never gets the recognition they so rightfully deserve. When considering someone who is underrated in WWE, Natalya Neidhart immediately comes to mind.
Natalya is the backbone of the women’s division and the backstage leader in the locker room. Now that the new year and a new decade has arrived, “The Queen of Harts” has officially been wrestling with WWE for three decades. That is quite an accomplishment for any wrestler, let alone a female wrestler in WWE.
Natalya debuted in 2008. She joined the company when the women’s roster became the “Divas” division. The infamous butterfly belt debuted in the same year. Even though WWE started to shy away from the over-sexualized women’s matches, they still hung over the heads of the women roster.
Neidhart was a breath of fresh air. She’s a member of the legendary Hart family, who trained in the world famous Hart Dungeon. Nattie was an athlete and a powerful woman. Years prior, she may not have got a chance to work with WWE based on their model of what a “diva” should look like.
Over the course of her 22 years with WWE, she has been in feuds and matches with almost every woman on the roster. She was a constant in the Divas Era when performers such as LayCool and Beth Phoenix retired and others like Mickie James and Victoria left for other promotions.
Natalya’s time on the roster hasn’t always been positive. In 2012, WWE gave her a storyline involving an unfortunate flatulence problem. Despite that pitiful creative decision, the company used Neidhart in much more productive ways in the remainder of the 2010s.
In 2015, WWE finally retired the Divas moniker and the Women’s Revolution emerged. Natalya didn’t enjoy the same success as the new kids on the block, The Four Horsewomen, but her role with the company was still significant.
She defeated Naomi to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam in 2017. Nattie only held the title for 86 days. Still, she etched her name in the history books as the first woman to have held both the Divas and SmackDown Women’s Championships.
Natalya has taken on a role much like John Cena, where she utilizes her experience to help the younger and unestablished members of the roster. She also worked alongside a slew of women to improve their in-ring skills. Ronda Rousey, Shayna Bazlser, The Bellas Twins and Nia Jax are just some of the ladies who have been helped by Nattie.
Putting the third-generation superstar in feuds with younger talent is where a veteran like Natalya excels at. Just this past year, she feuded with Lacey Evans, who is on her path to becoming a future champion.
Natalya and Evans made history last year when they wrestled at Crown Jewel. This was a monumental moment for women in Saudi Arabia, as well as WWE history. No championship or dream match could equal the honor and privilege it was for Neidhart to be one of the women to take part in this historic match.
She spoke of her experience in an article for The Calgary Sun.
“October 31, 2019, was a day that I’ll remember forever. In front of a packed stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I was able to take part in an incredible piece of history, as WWE Superstar Lacey Evans and I competed in the first-ever women’s wrestling match in Saudi Arabia. I had been dreaming of this moment for a long time, not just for myself, but for women around the world who also have a dream.”
Natalya only has two championship reigns under her belt. She hasn’t headlined WrestleMania, but her impact with WWE over the course of three decades is incomparable. She posted on her Twitter account that she has competed in the most matches of any woman in WWE history in the last decade.
Nattie has many years left as an in-ring competitor and will continue to prove her importance in the women’s division. When fans think of the greatest members of the legendary Hart family they should put Natalya on that list.
What do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite Natalya moments.