Good friends have become better enemies as Natalya and Ronda Rousey have been involved in a personal feud that will culminate at WWE Money in the Bank for the SmackDown Women's Champion.
During her first run in WWE, Rousey and Natalya were complimentary of each other and constant training partners. Now, they are trading personal shots on social media and on television, which recently featured Natalya impersonating Rousey.
Speaking on WWE After The Bell, Natalya explained what changed between the two.
"Ronda and I, we were really close friends. I actually trained with Ronda and helped her before she ever signed a WWE contract. I remember getting off an overseas tour and flying straight from the tour and meeting with her at Santino's [Santino Bros] in California. That was the start of our private training sessions. In those sessions, I realized something really special about her. Yes, she's an Olympic athlete, she's a pioneer for women's MMA, she literally put women's MMA on the map, there might not be women in MMA without Ronda Rousey. She did that. I realized, in training with her, that she is so naturally gifted. I could show her something once, and she would pick it up. I knew she had a knack for it. Everything came very easy for Ronda, and in my experience, it was the complete opposite. Things take a long time for me to understand and grasp and I've been doing this since I was 18. For Ronda, because she picked it up so fast and was naturally good at it, there was an arrogance about her. She and I were great, we were great when she got signed, I took her under my wing in WWE and made sure everyone in the locker room felt comfortable and I think the girls felt more comfortable with Ronda when they saw that I endorsed Ronda. When Nattie endorses someone, I've been tried and true in WWE and I'm proud of that, I've been here 15 years, have experience, and girls trust me. When they see that I trust Ronda, I like Ronda, I let Ronda in our world, it kind of softened them up into liking Ronda. We were very close friends," stated Natalya.
She continued, discussing the change in Ronda when she returned at Royal Rumble 2022.
"Some of that changed when she came back because, without being a jerk, I think she's really arrogant. She just dismissed me and said, 'You didn't want to have kids and put wrestling first.' Well, maybe I don't want to have kids. Maybe that's that not what I want in my life. I don't think I should be shamed for that. I've never wanted to be a mom, it's never been in my heart. Don't dismiss every single thing I've done in this industry. I'm sorry that my love and my passion is way greater than yours will ever be. You're naturally good at something, that makes you arrogant, but don't dismiss me for the love that you don't have," she said.
Natalya earned her shot at Rousey and the SmackDown Women's Championship by winning a Six Pack Challenge match on the June 3 episode of WWE SmackDown.
Fans can check out the current lineup for WWE Money in the Bank by clicking here. Fightful will have live coverage of the show beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
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