Calgary's Nattie Neidhart is coming home
TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
|Natalya in action at WWE Fan Axxess the day before SummerSlam in Los Angeles. Photo by R.P. Strickland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nattie Neidhart may have had a recent in-ring attitude change -- as one half of the Divas of Doom.
But she hasn't lost her way.
The WWE superstar, part of the storied Hart Family, can't wait to come home, as part of Tuesday's Smackdown! TV tapings at the Saddledome.
"I've been in WWE three years and I've evolved ... I've grown a lot," said Neidhart. "There's been an evolution and that evolution turned into the Divas of Doom, with Beth Phoenix.
"We stand up for what we believe in. It's our point of view that we're role models and we're revolutionizing what Divas should be, much the same way as Trish Stratus did."
"We're not Barbie dolls. But we are still strong, bold and beautiful. It's like Beth said, 'We're here to stop the stinkfaces and booty popping.'"
Attitude aside, she's still a proud Canadian -- passionate about what she does passionate about her country ... and passionate about her hometown. She knows that Canadian wrestlers usually get a hero's welcome, no matter how hated they are by fans in the U.S.
"Going back to the Saddledome is like going back home," she said. "I lived in Calgary for a good part of my childhood. My grandfather (Stu Hart's) home was like Grand Central Station (with people coming in and out). We felt like Calgary's version of royalty. We go to so many places, more than 250 days a year. But when I go home to Calgary, there's just a certain smell in the air. It's hard to find an unfriendly person and I have so many childhood memories.
"I was a student at Vincent Massey junior high. My whole family went to that school. My grandfather would drive myself and my sisters to school in an old Cadillac."
Neidhart later went to high school at Bishop Carroll. When she was younger, while other kids found comfort in the sandbox, the aspiring wrestler found hers in the infamous Hart Dungeon.
With the Hart bloodlines come expectations. And Neidhart does her best to live up to those, throwing everything she has to not only her in-ring personna, but being a good person away from the business. On a recent visit to an orphanage in South Africa, she was approached by a young girl, who had made herself and was wearing a Nattie Neidhart costume.
"She said I had inspired her. It was extremely touching to know I had that kind of impact," said Neidhart.
Natayla and Beth Phoenix head to the ring at SummerSlam on Sunday in Los Angeles. Photo by R.P. Strickland, email@example.com
"My grandfather was given the Order of Canada and he was recognized for all of the things he did outside of the business. And my uncle Bret Hart
was named the WWE's fourth greatest wrestler of all-time.
"I knew when I started this, I would have to be excellent. My grandfather told me to find something I loved and I would never have to go to work."
No question she has found something she loves. Something she pours her heart and soul into.
Diva of Doom or Calgary sweetheart ... Canadian fans will love her just the same.
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Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org.