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Thread: Natalya

  1. #1
    The Brain
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    Natalya

    Starting this in it's own thread, so it can be split off from the Ronda stuff.

    I guess there's a lot of disagreement on Natalya right now. Some people think she's one of the best in the company, others don't think she's very good at all. I thought she stood out as noticeably better than most of her contemporaries in the Diva era, but I haven't really watched her in years so I'm not sure how she stacks up now.

  2. #2
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    I'm in the camp that she's not very good and others have passed her by. I have no issue with people thinking she's great, or one of the best wrestlers WWE has... My issue is that thinking Natalya is bad is something that is so outlandish, people want to leave the board over it lol... or anything close to that degree.

  3. #3
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    I agree. The idea that Natalya is "actively bad" surprises me. I don't think she's a top tier worker and I don't think she's ever had a really great character, but I think that Total Divas shed some serious light on the value she brings to the lockerroom. As someone who grew up around the business and received lots of training and had the trust of management, she was already somewhat of "player-coach" as early as 2009, doing the heavy lifting in matches against the Bellas, Eve Torres, Layla, Maria, etc. I think its also worth noting that after Stratus and Lita retired in 06', the WWE's Divas division was a mix of young and old, experienced and relative greenhorns. By the time Total Divas started filiming, Natalya seemed to have taken the role as one of the locker room leaders and I don't think that was staged. On the show, she comes off as very diplomatic and friendly with everyone, both talent and management, and that's a valuable person to have when it comes to keeping the machine going.

  4. #4
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    As I have said repeatedly, Nattie's problem is on screen character. She lacks the charisma and character to get and stay over. In my honest opinion, the people who think that Nattie is overrated, or not that good in the ring are confusing her lack of character and her in ring ability. Nattie will always put on a good match, and she was not able to show that off for years because of the lack of capable talent that was around her for the bulk of her career. Now that the WWE has embraced the Women's Revolution and and Women's wrestling, we have women wrestlers on the roster that can actually go, who are fresher/younger with charasma and who can connect with the audience, Nattie is looked upon as old hat, or past her prime.

    Why is the WWE constantly reminding us that she is Rousey's training partner? Why would that be a main focus of their relationship? Because she is that good and can be the one person on the roster who can actually train Rousey "on the job".

    Separate the wrestler from the character and you get a great worker with little on screen personality.
    Last edited by Powder; 07-06-2018 at 06:32 AM.

  5. #5
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    I don't know how to quote from the Ronda Rousey thread so I'll just respond this way:

    - Someone made the comparison between Nattie and Bayley, that they're both solid workers who "can't connect with the audience." I'm not a Nattie hater, but if you don't think Bayley can connect with an audience, you need to check out her NXT run, especially around the first Takeover:Brooklyn show. They dropped the ball with her on the main roster, but Bayley was mega over with every single one of the 15,000+ people in attendance that night. Nattie has never had a single moment in her career where she got that response.

    - comfortablynumb then compared Nattie to Reigns, stating that Nattie has been in the company for 11 years but has yet to have a single great match. I think that point has some merit (though I do think she had some good ones with Charlotte). What I didn't agree with is that if you say a great wrestler is someone who has great matches, how can you not consider Reigns any good? The matches against Styles, the match against Bryan, the first match against Lesnar, the entertaining bouts against Strowman, the multiple TV bouts against Samoa Joe that were fun (and I"m not going to mention the Shield matches)...The narrative that Reigns sucks as a worker if you use "great matches" as a metric doesn't hold water. Is he inconsistent? Yeah. But so was Triple H. So was Taker. My real point is, just looking at having "great matches" can be tricky because there's a number of guys who were really good in the ring, especially in the 80s and 90s, that weren't necessarily positioned to have all that many great matches.

    I think, with Nattie, one also has to look at her style. She's never been particularly flashy and, in 2018, flashiness and high spots in women's wrestling are a huge part of what many people consider a "great worker." Charlotte has the size and strength that should mean she never has to go to the top rope, but she does a friggin' moonsault to the floor in her big matches. Sasha Banks takes crazy bumps. Ember Moon does a stunner off the top and takes to the air all the time. Asuka's strikes will dislocate your jaw. Naomi infuses her offense with crazy splits and step dancing. What does Nattie do? What sets her apart?

    Nattie reminds me of Chavo Guerrero in WCW in some ways (now I'm the one making the not-so-great comparison). Chavo, in-ring, could really do it all and had some solid matches against a number of the luchadores in the company, but what was Chavo's big move? The tornado DDT? It wasn't really all that special compared to what Rey and Juvi and Eddie and Psicosis and even La Parka were busting out. Chavo often played the "base" for the more overtly flashy wrestlers and, in that role, he was dependable. Nattie has often served that same role. Even character-wise, she's often been cast as a rather vanilla character compared to Trish Stratus (the bombshell), Mickie James (unpredictable/pseudo-stalker at one point whose overness faded as she lost her character), and, most recently, Alexa Bliss (super arrogant, self-possessed brat). Like Chavo, I'm not sure Nattie has ever had the natural charisma it would take to really work as the focal point of a division or storyline, regardless of how much she might've have been able to work circles around LayCool, for example.

    So, as I wrote in my first post, what you have is a really dependable, really solid "B" player. To say she's trash is going too far and underestimating what she brings to the table, but I also don't think she necessarily "deserves better" because, and its not a huge knock against her, she lacks the "it" factor that a Beth Pheonix or AJ Lee brought to the table.

  6. #6
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    I don't know how to quote from the Ronda Rousey thread so I'll just respond this way:

    - Someone made the comparison between Nattie and Bayley, that they're both solid workers who "can't connect with the audience." I'm not a Nattie hater, but if you don't think Bayley can connect with an audience, you need to check out her NXT run, especially around the first Takeover:Brooklyn show. They dropped the ball with her on the main roster, but Bayley was mega over with every single one of the 15,000+ people in attendance that night. Nattie has never had a single moment in her career where she got that response.
    I made the Bayley comparison and my point was on the main roster. Bayley was connected to the audience upon her debut and then it was a two fold dropping of the ball. The booking and writing caused her to fade, as well as her lack of charisma.

  7. #7
    The Brain
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    That's a hell of a great post from Josh. Comparing Nattie to WCW Chavo has a strong ring of truth about it, and that's coming from a Chavo fan.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powder View Post
    I made the Bayley comparison and my point was on the main roster. Bayley was connected to the audience upon her debut and then it was a two fold dropping of the ball. The booking and writing caused her to fade, as well as her lack of charisma.
    Totally fair. I could write at length about what they did wrong with Bayley, but I would be lying if I said there wasn't some "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" to my opinion. In a nutshell, I think the decision was made upon the call-up to not repeat everything they did with Bayley in NXT, which made some sense at the time because she came in with considerable fanfare and buzz. Unfortunately, that fanfare/buzz died down within a few months and the audience that hadn't seen Bayley's full story didn't warm up to her enough in that time. They had a choice upon her main roster debut: rebuild her from scratch as the plucky underdog "bottom of the ladder" character and invest 9-12 months in retelling the same story they ran in NXT (knowing that this still may or may not work) or debut her right into the midcard/upper-midcard and have her hang with Sasha and Charlotte from the get-go. They went with the latter, which paid respect to her NXT growth and the idea that being a NXT Womens Champion meant you were ready for the main roster. I'm not sure that was the right call for the Bayley character, whereas it was exactly the right call for someone like Asuka. Just goes to show there is no "one size fits all" for how to handle a call-up. I don't think Bayley would be in too different a position if they had had her debut and bulldoze people either - it wouldn't have fit. Hindsight is 20-20.

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