|Photo credit to NattieNeidhart.cjb.net
Wrestling families are becoming one of the best things to happen
to wrestling. When a fan thinks of wrestling families, the Hart family comes
to mind. From Stu Hart to his sons, in-laws and now Hart’s grandchildren
are taking center stage. The third generation of the Hart family is taking the
world by storm. But the one thing that shouldn’t come as a surprise is
that Stu’s granddaughter, Nattie, has started to make herself known in Stampede Wrestling and All Star Wrestling, now,
she’s gone global. Nattie, short for Natalie, has begun a two-month tour
Nattie was gracious with her recent interview about all questions
asked. From the concerns of her father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
about getting into the wrestling business, her family and what it’s like to be one of the first, if not the first, third
generation female wrestler. For more information about Nattie, visit her website
Without further ado, it’s my honor to introduce
Lekisha Oliver (LO): Let’s start with
the basics about yourself: stats, education, sports played, previous federations and titles held, who trained you and where,
Nattie Neidhart: I graduated
high school at Bishop Carroll in 2ooo. I never played any team sports, but I
was always into running, weightlifting, rollerblading, gymnastics and dance. I
have worked for Stampede Wrestling and All Star Wrestling. I have never held
a title because the promotions I have worked for have never had Women's belts. My
uncles Bruce and Ross Hart trained me, as well as TJ Wilson and Tokyo Joe. I
also work with an amateur coach by the name of Clive Llewellen. I have done all
of my training in Calgary.
LO: For the readers who cannot get you’re
the federations you wrestle for, would you tell them about your character and who came up with the concept?
Nattie Neidhart: My character is really
just a division of me. I bring Nattie Neidhart to the ring and I just let my
own personality shine through. I am a third generation female wrestler who is
strong and powerful and still feminine. Sometimes I can get a little nasty though
and a little bit of my dad comes out in me.
LO: What problems, if any, did you have when
you first started in the business?
Nattie Neidhart: The only major problems
that I have had when first getting started was just getting enough work with enough girls to gain experience and grow. There are very few females that can actually work.
LO: When you first began training, did your
family try to discourage you from wrestling or were they more behind you?
Nattie Neidhart: My family was pretty supportive
because they know that I am very sensible. My dad was a bit reluctant to support
me at first because he knows how hard this business can be and he doesn't want to see me get hurt. They all wished me luck, but through them, my eyes were open because I saw just how hard they had to work
to achieve success. I was also able to see that getting into this business was
not an easy road to follow.
LO: Why did you choose wrestling?
Nattie Neidhart: I chose wrestling because
wrestling makes me believe that I can do anything. It makes me feel empowered
and confident. After I have a good match, I really feel I can take on anything
and I just love the way I feel when I am wrestling. It's amazing to be a strong
female who can handle herself.
LO: In and out of the ring, who was your inspiration?
Nattie Neidhart: My grandfather, Stu Hart. Not only was he an outstanding and wonderful human being, but he is what every man should strive to be
like. He was a strait shooter who was loyal to his word. He came from nothing and he grew to gain the love and admiration of everyone that he came into contact
with. Not to mention that he was an amazing athlete who was never afraid
to show his guts.
|Nattie and her father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart...Credit to NattieNeidhart.cjb.net
LO: Being a third generation,
and I believe the first female third generation wrestler, what obstacles have you had to endure so far, and what has that
done to the drive that you have to be a wrestler?
Nattie Neidhart: Well, obviously
the standards are higher, because when you have to follow in such big footsteps, you are being watched much closer, and the
expectations are so much greater. I have had a lot of obstacles to endure in
and out of the ring. Mainly, I have had to prove myself so much more because I don't want to disappoint anyone, especially
myself. I have dedicated a greater part of the last three years to training with
my uncles, my cousins, a Japanese trainer and an amateur coach (more recently). You
have to keep going, and not give up. Once you reach one goal, you have to keep
climbing. This takes time and patience.
You have to persevere and know that although the road can get dark, only the strong survive.
LO: Being the granddaughter
or Stu Hart and the daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, you had a lot of history going along with your own career. In your opinion, does this lineage help in wrestling? Why or why not?
Nattie Neidhart: Yes. In pro-wrestling, it is better for telling a story.
Take the Gracie family/Shamrock family in UFC. Take the Von Erichs or
the McMahons in wrestling. When you have generations behind you, there is a certain
understanding, upbringing, pride and nobility that will follow in your own career if you make the grade, so to speak. When I wrestle, I'm always reminded about the trials and triumphs of my family in
and out of the ring. I remember what my uncles Owen and Bret went through. I remember what my grandfather endured and how he only came out hardship stronger
because of his strong desire to succeed. I am inspired by them, and I realize that if I am successful in this business, it
is because of the hard work that they have instilled in me. I carry this family
name with the utmost pride and respect. You have to be able to carry the name
with your head held high, and that takes hard work.
LO: With the injuries that most
wrestlers have, what is your injury list and what was the worst injury that you have had happen and what are the specifics
of the injuries?
Nattie Neidhart: I have
been lucky enough not to have too many injuries. I think the worst was a pulled lower back from practicing German Suplexes
LO: What was your best/worst
moment or memory of wrestling?
Nattie Neidhart: The best
was when my family was together for the Canadian Stampede pay per view in Calgary. It
was so nice that we could all be so close in the ring at the same time. The worst was when our family lost my uncle Owen so
tragically. That incident took a major toll on our family and was something that
none of us will ever get over.
LO: If you could wrestle anyone
in the entire sports entertainment/wrestling world, who would it be? Why?
Nattie Neidhart: I would
like to wrestle Trish Stratus one day. I think that we could have good chemistry
and I think that we both are pretty tough. I have a lot of respect for her because
of how far she has come in the last few years. She is not afraid of the pain
that comes with what we do in the ring.
LO: I see that you admire
Trish Stratus for her courage and “never say die” attitude. Does
that idea convey to more women that no matter what, we can make it in wrestling? Or
does it give women more of a block to overcome?
Nattie Neidhart: It depends
on what kind of a person you are. If you are weak, than you will not be able
to handle wrestling. It is that simple.
If you are strong willed and a warrior with a spirit that cannot be broken, then a "never say die" attitude is what
you should carry with you in life, even if you are not a wrestler. If wrestling
were easy, then everyone would be doing it. It's not, and that is why the weak
are weeded out. This is not a sport for weak people.
LO: With the lack of women
that actually wrestle, what would you suggest to ones that have thought about getting into the ring?
Nattie Neidhart: Wrestling
is not for everyone. I realize now, more than ever how real this sport is. So many people want to get into wrestling for the wrong reasons. They want to prance around, or they think it is easy to gain fame and fortune, or they are just big wrestling
fans. That is fine, but to actually want to get in the ring, and wrestle, it
is very trying on your body. You also have to have a certain mind set, too. When you take a bump in a ring, it is like falling and getting the wind knocked out
of you. It really hurts and you have to get over the pain fast. You have to be able to tell a story with your body and be in great shape to go,go,go. You need to be strong and you have to stay focused. If you
are disciplined and you want to learn and you are athletic, then I would say to give it a try.
You definitely need an open mind and a chiropractor.
LO: A growing trend in females in
wrestling is as soon as they hit television; a new image has to be created. Whether
it is with surgery or just a complete overhaul, what is your opinion of this trend?
Nattie Neidhart: Although
it takes a level of discipline through training to learn how to wrestle, once you make it to a larger scaled promotion, it
is just a natural evolution. When you are representing a certain brand, your
success is based on how you present yourself. When millions of people are watching
you, you have to look good. It can be cosmetic, but so is ballet, tennis, theater,
etc. It is up to that person whether they want to conform to what is expected of them.
If they don't want to, they better be able to wrestle like there is no tomorrow, present themselves well, or not get
a paycheck. That is just the way the world works. It's a cold hard fact. I think if you bring the goods, your talent will ultimately be what makes you successful.
LO: Who do you think caused
the most commotion in the business? Why?
Nattie Neidhart: I don't
know for sure. I think that there are all sorts of different wrestlers that have
diverse but equal contributions to this business. Bret Hart was an amazing mat wrestler and story teller. Davey Boy Smith was a heavyweight who could move like a junior. The
Rock has charisma like no other and took the theatrics of the business to a whole new level.
It just varies.
LO: If you had one wish, what
would it be and why?
Nattie Neidhart: If I had
one wish, it would be for my family to be happy and healthy and together in our old Hart House for just one more Sunday dinner.
LO: Since your grandfather’s
death several years back, his strength has been passed onto the younger generations of the Hart family, including you and your cousins. What do you see as the future of the
Nattie Neidhart: I see the
third generation hart family one day changing the wrestling business. Bringing
wrestling back to a grass roots style that my family made so famous, but also implementing our work with an innovative and
original style that no one else can duplicate. We will carry the torch that my
grandfather has passed on to his children and now to us, and we will shine. Trust
me. We have some angels in our corner, too.
LO: I know that in the past,
your family’s problems have been announced worldwide. Knowing that part
of your family is always either in the spotlight or not far from it, what advice have you been given about that situation?
Nattie Neidhart: I don't
take it personally. Every family has their problems; ours have just been aired
to the public. People who know us, respect us.
They don't care about what they hear in the papers, because sometimes what you read isn't always the truth. I take it with the grain of salt and appreciate all of the privileges that we have as a strong, united
family. My family is a wonderful group of people, the classiest that you will
|Credit to NattieNeidhart.cjb.net
LO: Having some of the best wrestlers
in your family, the stories have had to be flowing about the road. Through all
of this, what have you learned from these stories and would you care to share your favorite one.
Nattie Neidhart: I think
that I have learned that when you are just yourself, you can make friends and create bonds so easily. This is important when you are away from home, because these people become like your family. It is the bonds that you create and the way that you touch people's lives, that make it all worthwhile.
LO: Let’s move to a
more personal side of Nattie Neidhart. What do you do when you are away from
Nattie Neidhart: I love
spending time with my boyfriend, TJ Wilson. We both enjoy the gym and going out
for a nice dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurants. We watch tons of wrestling
tapes and we like to spend time with our families. We are very close to our families
and we have social gatherings almost everyday. I like to amateur wrestle in my
spare time, and shop, of course. I also like to bowl, read, write, and paint. I spend a lot of time shadow boxing with my cat, Mr. Theodore Wolf. That is quite fun.
LO: What kind of exercise program and/or special diet do you have to keep in shape?
Nattie Neidhart: I run about
five days a week for different intervals, and I lift weights at BJ's gym. I also
amateur wrestle and pro wrestle through out the week to keep myself in great ring shape.
I don't have a special diet, I just try to eat healthy and treat myself in moderation.
LO: Do you have any regrets
or hopes about your career?
Nattie Neidhart: I hope
for the best and I expect the worst. I do believe though, that you get what you
give in life, and wrestling is no different. I hope to just be happy in whatever it is I do.
LO: What are your plans for
Nattie Neidhart: I am hoping
to do well in Japan and maybe go back. I would like to continue with my amateur
wrestling and make my family proud of me. One day, I would like to change the
way people look at women's professional wrestling
LO: Favorite Book, Actress,
Actor, Movie, Timekiller, Food.
Nattie Neidhart: My favorite
book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Actress: Hillary Swank
Movie: Shawshank Redemption
Food: Korean BBQ in Tokyo!!
Wrestler: Kohji Kanemoto
LO: For the fans that want to come
and see you wrestle, give them an idea or locations of your upcoming trips and/or tours.
Nattie Neidhart: I usually
wrestle every Friday at the Ogden Legion in Calgary. I am also heading over to
Japan and I know that my Debut match is in Tokyo on March 14th.
LO: Any comments or anything for
the readers that you would like to express.
Nattie Neidhart: I would
just like to say that wrestling is a great stress release and is very therapeutic...but to those who think it is easy or fake,
I'd like to see them get through a two-minute match without changing their minds.
Many thanks go out to Nattie and
her website crew for the pictures and the updates about Nattie’s tour. For
those in the Calgary area, make sure to check out Nattie in the future.