Much has been made of the negative reaction several women in WWE had to the arrival of Ronda Rousey at the end of Royal Rumble on Sunday, Jan. 28. But there was at least one participant in that historic main event battle royal who was happy to see the newest “full-time” member of the roster in Philadelphia.
Being a veteran performer from a long-line of wrestlers likely gives Natalya a different perspective on something like the arrival of big-name outsider like Rousey. Knowing Ronda personally and training with the former UFC bantamweight champion certainly does.
So it’s not very surprising the former Divas and SmackDown Women’s titleholder had positive and diplomatic things to say to TV Insider about Rousey being at The Rumble and the public tension that’s followed. But in supporting her friend and describing what sounds like an opinionated male and female locker room, she makes an interesting point about what exactly people are upset about:
“Every single person has an opinion. That’s such a fun part of our job.
My husband, Tyson [Kidd, real name TJ Wilson], is a producer at WWE, and we always have friendly exchanges of our opinions driving in our car from town to town. Was it the right way to debut her? Should she have debuted the next night on Raw or at WrestleMania? It’s hard to know what the answer is. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ronda as an athlete.
To me, just seeing her backstage as a friend, I picked her up off the ground when I saw her. It’s not my place to say if it was right or wrong. The other girls and I, we all have our own opinions. We can speak our minds. It’s a free country. For me, more than anything, I was just happy to see my friend…
It’s all very new. It’s a new situation for everyone. There is definitely going to be an adjustment phase. I’ve always embraced new talent with open arms. We take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
I think [Ronda] is going to be an excellent fit in WWE. She has a great attitude. She wants to be part of this company. She wants to get to know the girls. She has a tremendous respect for the history of our company. I think she definitely brings attention to the company in a lot of ways.
I’ll tell you one thing, because I am in the women’s locker room. There is nothing but respect towards Ronda, no matter how anyone felt [about] how they debuted her. I think we are all excited about having her there, because there are so many possibilities of what we can do with her. We are all wondering if she is going to be on Raw or SmackDown. I really want to work with her, because I know we would tear it up.”
Based on her personality and her background, Natty has a reputation of being a leader. Will her reasoned answer calm the stormy seas backstage?
Read the full TV Insider interview, conducted to promote the 100th episode of Total Divas, here.