Natalya made the New York City media rounds on Monday morning and stopped by Hot 97 to speak with Peter Rosenberg, as seen in the clip below.
Natalya and Lacey Evans made history last Thursday by competing in the first-ever women's wrestling match to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at WWE Crown Jewel. Natalya won that match by submission. Natalya was also present for the flight debacle that came up after the show, which prevented the WWE crew from making it back in time for SmackDown, and has led to all sorts of rumors on WWE and the Saudi government.
Rosenberg asked Natalya how long she ended up waiting from the time she first got on the plane, until the time they actually took off to fly back to the United States. She recalled how they were told to deplane due to "a series of mechanical issues," and were then taken to a hotel.
"After the show in Saudi we went to the airport to board our flight and there were just a series of mechanical issues," Natalya recalled. "So, we were told by the flight attendants, 'Hey, everybody has to deplane.' So, we all deplaned and then they took us to a hotel. So, we stayed at a five-star hotel and ate some more amazing hummus [laughs] and for me, I just... we deal with so many travel issues all the time, so, like I said... I was just told to deplane because there was mechanical issues, and that's basically the extent of it."
Rosenberg then talked about how Natalya, a RAW Superstar, didn't have the same sense of urgency to get back to the United States because she wasn't appearing on SmackDown, but she did have a sense of urgency to get back because she was scheduled to appear at a Women's Alzheimer's Movement event with Maria Shriver on Saturday morning.
"But for me, just staying with the group and just making sure that... you know, we were all kind of in it together. We traveled on a charter there, so for me, being with everybody and staying in the group, and just kind of waiting until they fix the situation," she said.
Natalya then commented on how she's never been in a situation where a plane has gone down, like the 1975 flight that went down and almost ended the career of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. That crash killed the pilot and paralyzed Johnny Valentine. Natalya continued and talked about how the flight attendants worked closely with the WWE crew, and how she and others didn't want to take any chances with the mechanical issues.
She continued, "Until you experience something like that, the second that you hear from anyone, especially the flight attendants who were working closely with us, saying, 'Hey, you guys have a situation here.' No matter what, if there is one ounce of a situation going on with anything on that plane, I don't want to be on it. I wanna get off of it and I wanna make sure that we can get on, either another flight, or wait until it's ratified. Because to me, you can't have 175 people in the air and all of a sudden you go down. So, that was the long and the short of it, but I get it. I've been hearing everything and it makes for a really interesting story [laughs]."
Natalya's comment about "a series of mechanical issues" is in line with what WWE said in their original announcement on the Superstars not making it back in time for SmackDown. That statement included the following line: "More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours."
The statement from Atlas Air, the charter company WWE used to fly from the Kingdom back to the United States, did not indicate multiple mechanical issues. The Atlas statement read like this: "A chartered WWE passenger flight operated by Atlas Air is currently delayed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia due to a mechanical issue. The flight was scheduled to depart at 0300 local time on November 1. Our top priority is always to ensure our passengers arrive safely and on time at their destination. The aircraft is being repaired and will be inspected and certified before returning to service to transport our passengers to their final destination. We regret that operational disruptions delayed the flight and apologize to our passengers who were inconvenienced."
You can read our latest on the Saudi travel woes by clicking here and you can read a report on a pre-RAW backstage talent meeting held on Monday by clicking here. WWE announced on Monday that they have officially expanded their partnership with the Kingdom, and you can read that report by clicking here.
Below is the clip of Natalya and Rosenberg discussing the travel situation coming out of Crown Jewel: