This past Monday night, Rhea Ripley put her newly minted WWE Women’s World Championship on the line against one of the longest-tenured wrestlers on the roster, Natalya. The legacy member of the notorious Hart family put up a valiant, hard-fought effort against The Judgment Day member but, ultimately, fell victim, like many others before her to Mami.
Despite the loss, many fans and pundits took to social media to issue praise for both women’s performance, which drew the show’s highest average quarterly viewership with 1,950,000 fans tuning in, 50,000 more viewers than any other quarter-hour, according to Wrestlenomics.
“Sometimes people forget until I get the chance to remind them,” Natalya wrote on social media. “I was made in The Dungeon. I can take anyone to their limit on any night because that’s what top-level competitors do. Now line up the rest and let me loose on them too.”
Fightful reports that the gritty match was well-received backstage by talent and officials alike. It was also noted that while both women were beaten up from the action, including a busted mouth to Ripley, the two were in great spirits and were talking about how much fun they had.
Many have begun to wonder what is next for Natalya, who signed with WWE in 2007. Despite her six Guinness Book of World Records titles, the loss to Ripley seemingly takes her out of the main event picture of Raw for the time being, and not many are clamoring for her to be repacked in yet another female tag team. On today’s Haus of Wrestling episode, WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long gave his thoughts on what could be ahead for the daughter of Jim Neidhart.
“There’s a lot that she can do in NXT,” he said. “There’s a lot that she can do in NXT and help those kids down there. I think Natalya would be just happy with that because she loves people, and she loves doing what she’s doing. So, I mean, I don’t know what their plans are for her, but I would think for her to go down to NXT and help that young roster, I think that would be something that she would like to do.”
Long later said he thought it would be “absolutely outstanding” if new WWE NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton got to work with Natalya, and, oddly enough, it would seem that Natalya agrees with the former WWE Smackdown General Manager. During a Busted Open Radio appearance, she said she would love to go down to NXT and work with Stratton, who she says has been great about growing as a performer and knowing her strengths.
Today’s Haus of Wrestling episode with WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long and WWE Superstar Santos Escobar is now available on Premier Streaming Network and the Haus of Wrestling podcast feed on all major podcast platforms.
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