With over twenty years of WWE experience, Natalya Neidhart and Tamina Snuka have waited a long time for an opportunity for a moment like winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Appearing on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, Natalya detailed how the long wait paid off.
“It’s not that we were never happy for other people that got opportunities,” Natalya said when asked how difficult it was to watch others pass by them. “We were waiting for the right moment, we were waiting for the right time. Timing is really everything. I’m so grateful that everything happened the way it did, even though it was hard sometimes sitting back and being like ‘okay, when’s our time going to happen?’ Because I feel like somebody like myself and Tamina, especially Tamina, she was ready for the Women’s Evolution before it was ready from us. She’s somebody that’s so different. She’s such a unique player in our division.
“My husband, TJ (Tyson Kidd), he’d always talk about how great Tamina is. ‘She’s so strong, she’s so good, she’s so capable, she’s so unique, she’s such a beautiful person.’ I feel with Tamina, not that this a bad thing by any means, but she’s always been so kind and selfless and giving. She’s been like the mama bear of the locker room. Sometimes in giving so much, she almost put herself less. And I was just like ‘you know what Tamina, this is your time. And we’re going to make this happen. This is your time to get in the front of the line.’ And to watch her really take shape and become the performer I know that she’s always been, and she’s now become a little bit more selfish. It’s just so cool. There’s nobody more deserving.”
Tamina seconded the notion that she put others before herself, saying that she would pick and choose her battles while being content in the role she was in. She also tries to approach the job by trying to be the best example to other performers in the locker room.
“I feel like when you get to that point of always, you get what the company is about and you get what you’re role is sometimes,” Tamina said. “So when you kind of get stuck in that role of ‘this is what I’m going to be doing and this is how I’m going to be’, that was okay with me. I want everybody to succeed. So if this person succeeds, I’m going to succeed; if this girl goes forward, I’m going to go forward. That’s the way I was thinking in my mentality. And I always felt like I will pick and choose my battles when I need to fight them. But then you go home and you’ve got to fight other battles with your kids, with your family.
“So you’re kind of just, not that you don’t care, you care so much, but you also know, you know your role sometimes, you know? And you also know ‘hey I’m going to have to do this and this and this to help get this person over’, or do this, this and this to get myself over. But it was never really about me. You get how things are supposed to be and then you just do it, without complaining, without being boo boo face. I feel that happens a lot, where a lot of people complain and complain and complain. But that’s the problem though. If you really love something and you’re really driven and passionate about it, you stick with it and you stay with it. But then you be a good example for others.”
Natalya then went into detail on the support the team received from the locker room, revealing Bayley even organized the women’s locker room to be in Gorilla for their match. She believes the pandemic helped bring the whole locker room closer together.
“This is a hard industry,” Natalya said. “It’s show business, it’s entertainment. Yes we are a family, but like it’s still a business, and entertainment is very competitive. And every single day evolves and changes. Even with this pandemic we got a lot closer, we spent a lot of time together. We had to perform with no fans. It’s funny because it’s been so incredibly challenging to do that, because the fans are a part of our story, they’re part of our journey. But without them being ringside with us, I feel like I’ve had to dig so deep to find adrenaline. And adrenaline keeps you safe, especially in performance. It keeps you on your toes.
“The girls have become that emotional support system that we rely on to give us adrenaline, to boost us up, to pump us up, to give us energy. I had no idea that Bayley had rallied up all the troops and got all the girls into Gorilla the night we won our championships. Every single girl in the locker room, whether they were good or bad, no matter what role they were playing on TV. From Ruby to Liv to Bianca to Carmella, everybody was there and they were like jumping up and down. TJ said the girls were creating a fan like environment in Gorilla when we won the titles. Even Vince was like ‘holy s--t.’ We’re ride or die. We’ve all just grown so close to each other, we all want to give and we all want to see each other succeed.”
Despite the success, Natalya admitted to feeling guilty over winning the titles while other talent remained on the sidelines.
“As much as I felt Tamina and I deserved these championships, especially Tamina since she’s never had a women’s championship in WWE, you know I look at Ruby and Liv,” Natalya said. “They’re the longest formed tag team in the women’s division in WWE. They’ve been together for years. We want them to have a chance too, we want them to have a moment. And like, I’m super excited about competing against Ruby and Liv because I believe they’re two of the best women in our entire division, across the board. Liv and Ruby have so much passion. In us winning these, it’s also going to be a part of their success. Because Tamina and I, we always know how to pay it forward.”
When asked what she and Tamina would like to do as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Natalya again circled back to talents like Liv Morgan and Ruby Riot. Ultimately she would like to give talent like those two the same chance her and Tamina waited so long to get.
“We really want to give every single women’s tag team a chance,” Natalya said. “Everybody from Naomi and Lana to Ruby and Liv to Mandy and Dana. I know Indi and Candice are already champions in NXT, but why not do champions vs. champions? Tamina and I will go to NXT. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; these championships aren’t just gold, they are a passport to every single corner in the WWE. Every single brand, across every single women’s division in this company. And we will take on anyone. We want to give everybody the same chance we had. So I look forward to that. We’ve had a great time working with Nia and Shayna. I love kicking Shayna’s ass (laughs). But we also want to give everybody else a chance to rise to the occasion, a chance to reach their fullest potential.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription