Nattie Neidhart

Interview conducted: May 2005

SG> Steve Gerweck
NN> Nattie Neidhart

SG> Having been born into the Hart family, did you always know you would become a professional wrestler?
NN> No. I get asked that a lot, but I never even a wrestling fan as a kid. I just liked to watch my dad and uncles on tv. It has been over the last few years that I sort of fell into wrestling to try something fun and exciting, and I have grown to really love it. The more I wrestle, the more I want to continue to grow and learn and get better and better. I have been lucky enough to be raised in a wrestling family where my eyes are wide open to so many things...but all in all, wrestling has been one of the best things to happen for me in my life.

SG> What is the hardest part about being Stu Hartís granddaughter and Jim Neidhartís daughter? What is the most rewarding?
NN> The hardest is that so much more is expected from me because of my heritage. I always feel like there is no room to make mistakes as I have to be the best or else people will be dissapointed. I don't want to let anyone down, including myself, my grandfather, or my family. The most rewarding has been the way wrestling has changed me so much for the better. I am such a different person since I started wrestling. I am more relaxed, confident, patient and tougher. It feels so good to get in the ring and to just be myself. I love the release that wrestling gives me and in so many ways it sets me free.

SG> How would you describe your formal in-ring training?
NN> I did a lot of my training with my uncles Bruce and Ross, in the Dungeon. As well as doing a bulk of my training with TJ Wilson. As well, I work in the ring with Tokyo Joe, who is a world famous Japanese trainer. Just recently, I have expanded my training to Japan, where I trained with A to Z girls and NEO girls in their dojo. I also work with an amateur coach to improve my mat wrestling. My training varies on who I work with. I do a lot of excercises that help my cardio, strength and overall mobility in the ring. It is great to be surrounded by talented workers who really know what they are doing and can help you grow, like Harry Smith and TJ Wilson.

SG> Do you come from an athletic background?
NN> Yes. My father is a world class athlete. He played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders without ever playing college ball. He also was one of the best Shotputters in the world when he was only 18 years old. His record has not been broken yet in the state of California. He then moved on to become one half of one of wrestling's most beloved tag teams with my uncle Bret. My grandfather, on my mom's side, was amateur wrestling champion of Canada and was a real shooter. He also played football with the Edmonton Eskimos. He was one of the strongest people I have ever met, mentally and physically.

SG> At this point in your career, what do you consider your strengths? What do you consider your weaknesses?

NN> I am strong like my dad in the way that my body has a lot of power. I can lift a lot and I really feel that my training is helping to define my wrestliing style so that it is different from other girls. I also feel that I am driven and mentally foused which keeps me disciplined and gets me through the tough times. My weaknesses are that I apologize too much! I love to over analyze everything and dwell on it for days because something wasn't perfect on my part. I worry way too much about the small stuff and what people think. I just need to let it all go and simply do the very best I can for that moment.

SG> For those that have never seen you wrestle, how would you describe your in-ring style?
NN> My wrestling style is aggressive, solid and real. I am a very physical person and I really like to get in the ring and just give it all I have no matter who I am with. I wuold like to say after going to Japan and training with them for two months, I have a blended style of Japanese and American. I like to incorporate my amateur wrestling with power movesa and strong strikes.

SG> What is your opinion of the current state of wrestling?

NN> I think it varies on where you are. Wrestling is always changing and evolving and it always will. Each place I have been to (Japan, England and US) have different styles. I think that wrestling is cyclical and it forever will have its ups and downs. For me, I just try to find the good in all the wrestling I watch. There are so many talented wrestlers and it is inspiring to turn on my tv on Monday and watch a good match with Kurt Angle or Shawn Michaels and Eddie Guerrero. They are so seasoned and exciting to watch. In Japan, I am blown away by the talent of Kanemoto, Nakajima, Tanahashi and Heat. The women were in a world all their own and I don't even know where to start with how cool it was to see Manami Toyota, Kyoko Inoue and Lioness Aska work. What more could I ask for? Even in the states and Canada you have up and comers like my cousins Harry and Ted, as well as TJ Wilson who make you believe in wrestling when you watch them work. AJ Styles and Paul London are also fun to watch as they are so fresh and hungry to try new things.

SG> What is your opinion of the current WWE product?
NN> I think that WWE is obviously doing something right, or else they wouldn't be where they are today. It is refreshing to watch WWE and see some great matches with Benoit and Eddie or Shawn and Kurt Angle. You have to appreciate how hard these guys have worked, for so long, and they are still able to deliver as only true professionals can. I would like to see more women's wrestling, as I really enjoy watching Trish and Victoria.

SG> Growing up around the Hart family, what do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learned from them?
NN> To perservere. My grandfather instilled in us that no matter how hard life may get, the only choice you have is to move forward and do the best you can with what you have. My grandfather believed that life always unfolds as it should, and that what doesn't kill you will only make you a stronger person. It is like wrestling, it is hard mountain to climb, but in time, you can only get stronger.

SG> What has been your career highlight so far?
NN> Going to Japan. Just getting the chance to train and wrestle with those women was surreal. They are the best in the world and they taught me so much about staying strong, focused and showing my guts. I was tested in so many ways, and sometimes it got so tough that I didn't know how I would make it through. I was pushed mentally and physically, but I grew so much because I confronted many of my fears and put everything I have learned to the test.

SG> What has been your best match?
NN> My match with Amazing Kong in Korokuen Hall. It was in front of a large crowd and it was my last match in Japan. I was scared to wrestle her as she is so big and strong and powerful. She is not a woman you want to mess with as she will take your head off with one foul swoop. My body was drained after the match but I felt like it was justified as this was my hardest and most challenging battle with a wrestler that I coudn't cage. I just had to take all my hard work from my stay in Japan and apply it to that one match as I needed all the help I could get. I was given a run for my money, but I felt like I moved mountains by just wrestling a woman of that caliber. As I said earlier, I faced my fears and had to believe in myself like never before.

SG> Who is your dream opponent?
NN> Trish Stratus. I have always wanted to work with her as I think we would have good chemistry. We are both hard workers who are not afraid to give it their all for the love of this sport and for the thrill of the fight. I respect the fact that she has stuck it out so long and never given up in an industry as demandind as this one.

SG> What are your career goals?
NN> I want to take it the top in wrestling and show more people what women's wrestling is about. I want to honour my family and carry on the legacy of my grandfather by being the very best I can be in this sport.

SG> How are cousins Teddy Hart and Harry Smith doing wrestling wise?
NN> They are great. Teddy is doing a lot of work in the states and always entertains his fans with his crazy antics and offbeat personality. Harry is heading off to Japan to join the Stampede Kid, TJ Wilson, with NEW JAPAN. Harry is getting bigger by the day, but his body is only a testament to the rigorous training he does every day.

SG> I have heard that you are married to TJ Wilson (Stampede Kid). How is he doing?
NN> I am not married to him, but we have been together for a long time. He is great. He just came home from five months in England, Germany, Ireland and Holland. He left the other day to compete in the Best of the Super Juniors 12, where he is the only gyjin on the tour. His wrestling ability and work ethic inspire me all the time and I couldn't ask for a better friend.

SG> Do you wrestle more as a heel or babyface? Which do you prefer?
NN> Both, depeding on where I am. In Calgary, no matter what I do, I will always be a baby face. I prefer to be a heel, because it is more natural for me to be like my dad. It is so fun and such a great stress release. Also, it is a good creative outlet to be an outrageuos character.

SG> I read where you have accepted some Japanese bookings. How did these come about? What are your expectations of working in Japan?
NN> I obtained these Japanese bookings on the recommendation of my uncle Ross Hart and Tokyo Joe. I worked for several promotions in Japan and each promotion, exceeded my expecatations with its vast array of talented girls who made your head spin as they were so damned good. I expected these girls to be good, but when I saw it for myself, I was blown away.

SG> What is your opinion of womenís wrestling currently?
NN> I would like to see more of it in the states, even as far as the indy scene. There aren't enough girls doing it or atleast getting the exposure they need to make it more marketable and mainstream. In Japan, there are many promotions and the women wrestlers are adored and celebrated and honoured. They work their tails off and they put their heart into their work as it is their passion. It is breathtaking to watch them perform.

SG> Have you sustained any serious injuries in your career?
NN> Not really. Maybe some bumps and bruises and sore muscles, but not enough to really take time off or cause nagging repercussions.

SG> What might be something that would surprise people to learn about you?
NN> I am a homebody. I love to spend time at home or with my family as they are my best friends. I don't drink or smoke and I hate night clubs. I am such a prude in the way that I don't like to be in crowded or noisy places with people I don't know. I also enjoy learning about current events and world history as it is so fascinating to see the way the world has changed so much and where we are now.

SG> Where do you see yourself in five years?
NN> Wrestling with the new generation Hart Foundation. We will show the world that the Hart Family still lives on in the wrestling business.

SG> Do you think your uncle Bret will ever return to WWE?
NN> I don't know. He was seriously injured and it affected him greatly in the sense that it will never be safe for him to wrestle again. It is too bad as he was one of the greatest wrestlers of our time and is absolutely irreplaceable to this business. I think that he and WWE have a mutual respect for eachother as his contributions to this sport can never be denied by anyone.

SG> What has been the biggest crowd you have wrestled for?
NN> I think around 2,000 people in Buffalo New York for Base Ball Brawl 3.

SG> Do you have a message for all of your fans?
NN> Thanks for your support. The Hart Family will shine once again, and even though we have had our share of tragedies, just know that very soon, we will shine again as Stu would want us to.

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