The year was 2008. Then-Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero introduced the WWE Divas Championship as an alternative to Raw’s Women’s Championship. Natalya Neidhart and, valet-turned-wrestler, Michelle McCool competed at The Great American Bash at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Uniondale, New York on July 20 to determine the inaugural champion. In what was considered an upset, Michelle McCool won the championship by forcing the submissions specialist to tap out to a Leglock.
Now fast forward to the present. Michelle McCool, current co-Divas champion, and Natalya met once again at Nassau Coliseum with the future of the Divas Championship at stake. If Natalya defeated McCool, then she would once again become number one contender to the Divas title. But if she lost, then her opportunity to become the first female Hart family descendent to wear championship gold in WWE could very well never come again.
When Natalya lost to McCool at The Great American Bash, she put her singles career on hold to manage her real life boyfriend Tyson Kidd in ECW, later joined by David Hart Smith to form The Hart Dynasty. Since Kidd and Smith lacked any adequate mic skills, Natalya became the mouthpiece for The Hart Dynasty throughout interview segments. Natalya, together with her uncle Bret “The Hitman” Hart, managed The Hart Dynasty to championship tag team gold. Even Bret, at the ripe old age of 53, managed to wrestle away a United States title. So being the only member of the Hart family to yet hold a WWE championship is very stressful.
But if training in the Hart family Dungeon has taught Natalya anything, it’s that one must wrestle through the stress. And as luck would have it, Natalya won a battle royal to become the number one contender to the Divas Championship on September 27. However, at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Natalya defeated Michelle McCool as a result of a disqualification. She was seconds away of submitting McCool to the Sharpshooter but Layla flung her shoe at Natalya, which is considered a foreign object. Since Natalya technically won the match, she received another championship match three weeks later at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, where she suffered a loss to Layla after McCool interfered.
So when LayCool presented Natalya with one final opportunity to earn another title shot, she made the most of it. Natalya tried striking first with a German Suplex, but was evaded with a series of elbow strikes. She then went for an overhead throw followed by a potential armbar takedown, but was ensnared in a body scissors predicament. Later, Nattie would attempt a Double underhook Butterfly suplex, but was the victim of a vicious snap suplex.
Throughout the match, Layla taunted Natalya with goatee gestures–teasing that she resembles her father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart–and calling her “special” because she’s unlike her family who were winners. Being the victim to LayCool’s underhanded tricks in her previous title matches, Natalya decided to work LayCool against one another. She used the distraction to pin Michelle, and earned herself another shot at the Divas Championship at the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
Final Thoughts: Whether it’s Michelle McCool or Layla that defend the title, Natalya has proven herself capable of working the 2-on-1 disadvantage in her favor. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that Natalya will become the new Divas Champion, earning the distinction of the first female Hart family descendent to wear WWE gold. Moreover, a championship victory could change the perspective of wrestling fans in regards to the Harts’ legacy when it comes to the Survivor Series.