The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
April 11, 2023

Natalya Is The BOAT! Her WWE Legacy, Canadian Mount Rushmore, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

Natalya Is The BOAT! Her WWE Legacy, Canadian Mount Rushmore, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

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Natalya Neidhart (@natbynature) is a professional wrestler who has been signed to WWE since 2007. She chats with Chris Van Vliet at WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles about her record-breaking 13th WrestleMania appearance, her favorite WrestleMania moments, what makes her the BOAT (Best Of All Time), her thoughts on Owen Hart's WWE career, who is on her Canadian Mount Rushmore of wrestler and more!


For more information about Chris and INSIGHT go to:

How many WrestleManias have you been to?

“So this is actually a world record. I have a new world record, I have the most matches of any woman in WrestleMania history. This is my 13th appearance and my 11th match. It’s something, honestly Chris, I never take it for granted. Because my dad was a part of the 2nd WrestleMania with Bret and Andre The Giant, they were in that Battle Royale. My dad, up until his last year on this Earth, he was talking about that match, that moment, that was Wrestlemania, and how it was special and it meant something to him. I always just feel like it so important. I know that it is a crazy, crazy time in the world, it’s so fast paced and we are scrolling through social media, turning on the news and racing to get from one place to the next. But you never take it for granted how hard it was to get here, how hard it is to stay here, how hard it is to have competed against, you know, across so many like different generations of these, you know, I went through the Divas era, I went through the women’s evolution, we are here right now, and I don’t take it for granted. To be a part of this WrestleMania in particular, it is the biggest WrestleMania in WWE history, it’s the highest grossing gate. Every year we smash records, we are about to smash a new record with this one. To be a part of it and to be doing what I love, my 16th year in WWE, it is just a massive honor.”

What do you attribute your longevity to?

“To be perfectly honest, I take care of myself like it is a religion. It’s so crazy to say that, but I think that it is important for people to know. Look at Tom Brady for example. I don’t watch football, or I tried to but I don’t understand it. Tom Brady, it's not a secret, Tom Brady, LeBron James, they take care of themselves. They are on a table several times a week, I’m on a table 4 times a week. I work with an active relief therapist, I work with an adrenal specialist, I work with a massage therapist, I work with a professional stretcher who stretches people in the NFL. I am religious about my vitamins, I am religious about my diet, my workouts. I take it very seriously because not everybody should do this. There is only a handful of men and women in the world that can do this at this level. For me to have had thousands of matches in WWE, thousands of bumps and bruises and broken bones and broken ligaments, you can’t stay doing this unless you take care of yourself. My health is key, and also staying safe, staying safe in the ring. I take a lot of pride in safety with each other, you know, having fun and taking risks, but above all else, you gotta protect each other.”

It’s always great talking to a fellow Canadian. This is always such a difficult one, but give me your Mount Rushmore of Canadian wrestlers.

“First and foremost, Bret Hart. Bret is, to this day, he inspires the new generation. To inspire, you know, your favorites, that Bret was their favorite. It’s funny hearing Roman Reigns say it was, because you know, Roman grew up in a dynasty of wrestlers as well, with the Samoan dynasty. But I have heard Roman say so many times that Bret made him want to do this. So Bret Hart, I would say Stu Hart, because my grandfather was the amateur wrestling champion of Canada, God this is going to get really good. Bret Hart, Stu Hart, Owen Hart, and if I were to pick one more for that Mount Rushmore, I am not going to be arrogant, I am humble Nattie. I won’t put myself in that list because I am the best of all time. I will throw in Edge, 31 time champion in WWE. His longevity, he is in his late 40’s, he looks phenomenal, he makes you forget about his age, age is just a number. But Edge, I think that every time he performs, you always go wow, he has still got it, he’s still got it after everything that he has been through. So yes, Bret Hart, Stu Hart, Owen Hart and Edge.”

Do you have a favorite Bret Hart match?

“Oh I have so many. It’s funny because my husband and I have a dungeon, we call it the dungeon but we model it after where we trained. I mean, it’s not only cats [laughs]. My grandfather had a place where he would train the greatest pro-wrestlers in the world, it was called the dungeon. But we have a dungeon that we train in, we have a ring set up. We love our training, it is very special to us, we just stay ready. I always say to people don’t get ready, stay ready. I feel like I am so blessed to have that ring, it is a WWE ring, my husband, he asked for it, and TJ has such a great relationship with talent, it is so nice for people to go hey, I need help. He especially works with them and helps them.”

So you completely avoided the question of what is your favorite Bret Hart match?

“Oh my gosh, I forgot what the question was, I got off on a tangent. I would say my favorite Bret Hart match, I am so biased, I would say Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, WrestleMania 10, Madison Square Garden, it was the greatest opener of all time. I always tell people that if you want to be a wrestler and want to get into this then watch that match. A lot of people would say Bret vs. Steve Austin or Bret vs. Shawn Michaels, because only Bret would make a 61 minute ironman match, Bret and Shawn could make that exciting. Everyone else was like oh my God, how are we going to get through an hour of wrestling? Then they did an extra minute, that was a phenomenal match. But I just think that from a storytelling standpoint, the simplicity of Owen vs. Bret, and Owen getting that [victory], I’m always cheering for the underdog. A lot of people don’t know this, Bret was a huge catalyst for Owen getting a huge push in WWE. Vince McMahon, there was a different direction they were going to go with Bret that year, and it wasn’t with Owen. Bret stood up and said no I want Owen to have this moment, to be a part of this match, I want him in this. I love that he stood up and fought for his brother, but the storyline was that they were fighting each other when Bret was creating this magical moment that has lived on forever when you think about great humans. Owen played the role of this bad guy but he was such an amazing person. He and Bret manifested that magic, so that is my answer.”

I feel like if you ask someone what is their favorite Bret Hart match, the answer is just yes.

“He just had a way of elevating everyone that he worked with, and that’s true leadership. You look at his work and it stands the test of time today. You see it and it is so real and believable. I know people think sometimes too that Bret, and Bret is so serious about his career, every single match he took so seriously, and I think that is important to have that pride.”

Do you think that if Owen was still with us he would have won the WWE Championship? 

“Yes, I do. I think Owen has on par. It’s funny, Bret was the most serious and Owen just wanted to have fun. But Owen had this character, look at Dominik’s [Mysterio] character in WWE and I see little shades of Owen, that little mischievous side in Dom. I think Owen would have definitely won a World Heavyweight Championship. Owen, he won in so many other ways and did so many other things that a lot of people didn’t say. When he had 2 days at home he would go to a children's hospital and visit sick kids. No cameras, no Twitter, no media attention, something he would do privately. He helped so many family members and it was so unsung with the things that he did. He was an unbelievable person.”