Natalya is set to face off with Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Title at Extreme Rules this Sunday night. She also got to appear in the final segment on Raw when she had the contract signing with Charlotte while Ric Flair, Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon were involved in the segment. In an exclusive interview with the Sporting News’ Brian Fritz, she talked about that Raw main event spot and other interesting subjects. Here are some of her comments.
On being in the main event of last week’s Raw:
It was shocking to find out. I got to the arena and then we were told that you guys are on last. We were like, “Oh, my God.” Not only are we main-eventing “Raw” but we’re closing “Raw.” It was surreal. And it’s still surreal. I was on my drive last night from Greensboro to Greenville and I was just processing it all, taking it all in and going, “Wow, I can’t believe I did that.” Just being able to hold up that women’s championship and to think about wrestling for 15 years and after going through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows. Being in that ring with Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Ric Flair and Charlotte Flair. You have the McMahons, the Harts and the Flairs and it doesn’t get any bigger than that in wrestling when you think about wrestling hierarchy and royalty. Our families have done so much over the years for this.
I hear certain, not a lot of girls, but some people are like, “Well, I’m sorry I wasn’t born into this.” But I was born into this and I’m not sorry about it. To me, it wasn’t an easy ride to be born into a big, crazy world of wrestling. (Monday) night, holding up that championship on “Raw” and closing “Raw,” it’s a huge moment for myself, it was a huge moment for Charlotte, it was a huge moment for women in the WWE moving our division forward. It just shows that WWE is embracing their women with all their efforts.
On 2015 being a tough year due to a broken ankle:
Last year, 2015, was by far the hardest of my life. I was going through a lot personally. I had to take care of all that but I really wanted to be a part of the Divas Revolution because I had waited my whole career for something like that. I had waited my whole career to wrestle with girls like Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch and Charlotte. I wanted to be a part of that more than anything. Looking back on it now, I’m almost kind of glad that maybe it didn’t work out that way because sometimes better things are … Maybe if I had been a part of all that, I wouldn’t have been main-eventing “Raw” (Monday) night. It brought me to a level of clarity. Going through that hard time, I’m kind of sitting on the sidelines and having to handle the things that I was going through and then having to rise up and rise above all of it.
Coming back from my broken ankle — that’s why I was so devastated when I broke my ankle because I didn’t want to believe, I didn’t want to be hurt. I finally got back into the mix and I finally re-debuted after being out the whole summer and then I get hurt. Then I realized looking back on it now, all those things happened for a reason. Some of them I don’t know the reasons for but everything that happened to me last year made me stronger. And it’s going to help me come Sunday at Extreme Rules when I tap Charlotte Flair out. I will. I will beat her at Extreme Rules and I hope that she’s going to be as prepared for it as I am.
On her classic NXT match from two years ago:
That match was so special for a lot of reasons. At NXT, now it has a cult following and is becoming the hottest thing around; when we did that match at the very first TakeOver, NXT was just getting off the ground. It was brand new. They were just starting to catch fire. Charlotte was new; she was so new and she was sort of, nobody really knew the potential that she had. I hadn’t had the chance to showcase what I could do in a match of that caliber, given that platform. It didn’t matter to me that it was only in front of a few hundred people. What mattered to me was that I was getting a story. I was getting the right opponent at the right place at the right time. It was like the perfect storm of everything falling into place. I realized that night at TakeOver 2014 — May 29, I remember it all — that Charlotte is one of my soulmates in wrestling. She and I will always be connected because of the work that we’ve done and we’ve raised the bar in the women’s division.
On what NXT means to her:
My husband and I — TJ WIlson, aka Tyson Kidd — we love NXT. And we loved performing in NXT. It really was and is our favorite show. It just helped us find ourselves again because sometimes when you’re in the hustle and bustle of this fast-paced world that we are in with the WWE. It’s a moving machine and everything is moving so fast. For TJ, he connected with Dusty Rhodes in a way that people have no idea. TJ never had a dad. He never knew his father and Dusty kind of became a dad to TJ. TJ would drive two hours there and two hours back to do a one-minute promo with Dusty. That’s the thing about NXT, you have those resources and Dusty was one of those resources. Obviously, we all miss him today.
NXT has changed people’s lives that love this business because it helps them rediscover themselves and really shine. To be unafraid and color outside the lines. That was the same thing for me. Triple H believed in me. He gave me the opportunity with Charlotte. He didn’t really give me any boundaries because he believed in me and gave me this surge of confidence that, as a woman, is a priceless feeling when someone believes in you. There’s so many resources down there in NXT. Sara Del Rey, that’s somebody I worked with in Japan and now she’s working with the women and she loves wrestling. I collaborate with her still to this day on ideas for matches. I go down there and train and she helps me. I always want to get better. I actually heard Sasha Banks say that in an interview a couple of weeks ago. She said (she) never (wants) to stop training and learning and growing. I’ve been wrestling for 15 years and I just love moving forward and growing. And I love helping other people find that in themselves too. NXT just embodies that in every way.
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) May 17, 2016
It was a good interview and like I said there’s more to it, so head over to Sporting News to check it out now.