Natalya reflects on her time in NXT.
On Sept. 18, NXT will debut on USA Network, marking the next major step forward for the brand that was thought to be nothing more than a developmental system when it was founded by Triple H in 2012. In the seven years since its inception, the brand has been used as a feeder system for Raw and SmackDown, a rehab center for some superstars, and a brand that can stand on its own.
In her latest blog for the Calgary Sun, Natalya reflected on her time in NXT and how it helped her as a performer.
“Grateful” is the one word I would use to describe my feelings for NXT. I’m grateful in so many ways because, without NXT, I may never have gotten the opportunity I needed to show the world what I was capable of in the ring," said Natalya. "NXT gave me a fighting chance, long before there was ever a Women’s Evolution. I still get excited at the thought of giving back to so many talented NXT female Superstars like Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai, for all that this brand has given to me. I look back on defining moments at NXT where I’ve walked down to the ring with my Uncle, Bret Hart. I think back to when I stood by my husband TJ Wilson’s side as he fought some of his greatest battles in an NXT ring. I cherish the moments where I helped recognize the dream of a woman named Charlotte Flair, who like me, needed a chance to show the world what she could do in 2014."
Natalya, who had already been a former Divas Champion, went to NXT in 2014 to compete in the NXT Women's Title tournament. She lost to Charlotte Flair in the finals at the first-ever NXT TakeOver in a match that made WWE's "The 100 best matches to see before you die" list in 2017.