Natalya is the Queen Of Harts and one of SmackDown Live’s top female heels. She’s participating in the first-ever Woman’s Money In The Bank ladder match this year and has had an amazing career. At this point it is hard to imagine WWE without Nattie. But there was a time when she couldn’t even get a second look from WWE.
Her roots are very Canadian and she has the Hart Family lineage to prove it. After all, pro wrestling is in her blood. But it wasn’t the easiest thing for Nattie to get a call from WWE.
Natalya recently spoke to Edge and Christian on their Pod Of Awesomeness about how hard it was for her to get noticed by WWE and how she received help from an unlikely but close family friend.
“[Tyson Kidd and I] got hired by WWE and it took us five years to get hired. It was a really big production” Natalya recalled. “For years and years I kept getting try-outs and sending in tapes and you know, when I look back at some of the tapes I was submitting they were terrible. I didn’t have an ounce of makeup on, I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail with a wife beater on. And I thought those were great promo pics. I didn’t even think anything of it. I was very wholesome and like I didn’t know. I was just Nattie.”
“So I had a really hard time getting hired and at the time things were different. It was more like the Attitude Era. I was sending in stuff and trying to get hired but I wasn’t really fitting into the mould of what they wanted. And so I basically didn’t get out of their face, I stayed in there. And John Laurinaitis was the one who hired me. I just kept on persisting, and finally, finally, finally then I got hired.”
One would assume being a member of the Hart Family would make it easier to get noticed by WWE. But as luck would turn out Natalya’s uncle Bret and WWE weren’t going through the best time in their relationship due to some shenanigans stemming from the 1997 Survivor Series.
But Natalya had someone else she could count on to help her get a shot in WWE. Of course, that man would later find himself in an even worse place in WWE’s history than Bret “Hitman” Hart could ever imagine.
“I don’t know if you’ll include this or not, but I was lucky enough that there were people in the industry — at this time when I got hired Bret [Hart] still wasn’t talking to WWE. They weren’t on good terms, or they just weren’t talking at all. And everybody knows [what they’ve] been through, Bret and WWE after the Montreal Screw-Job so it was a tricky time for the Harts to get hired. So Chris Benoit, who was a good family friend — and our family helped him break into the industry. So Chris Benoit is actually one of the people who helped me get hired. And he really pulled for myself and [Tyson Kidd] and put pressure on Johnny [Laurinaitis] and said ‘I want to help these two people get hired.’ So I feel like it was really Chris that helped us get hired.”
We all know what Chris Benoit later did to erase himself from WWE’s history. But before he committed those unthinkable acts he reached out and helped the young couple of Natalya Neidhart and Tyson Kidd break into WWE. For that, we are very thankful for Chris Benoit’s influence.