When you’ve been around as long as a wrestler like Natalya has, there are only so many stories left to tell. In her case, after not getting used nearly as much on television as days gone by, Nattie found herself with a SmackDown women’s championship match at Night of Champions against Rhea Ripley.
And she was squashed in that match.
The natural progression of such a loss, combined with the lack of time prior, would be a crisis of confidence. Sure enough, that’s the route Natalya’s character has taken. A rematch booked for Monday Night Raw last week never even got off the ground, as Ripley again just beat Nattie up before the bell could even ring.
It sounds like we’ll find out if the third time is the charm, as Nattie challenged Ripley to a match next week during this week’s episode of Raw:
“I signed up for this life and Rhea Ripley is a part of that because she is at the top of the mountain right now. But the biggest battle I’ve been facing is not out there, it is up here. The fear of me losing is not as great as the fear of me giving up, which is the battle of my lifetime. I have been broken, I have been down, I have been shaken, but I am still standing. I am still here. I would like Rhea Ripley to bring her championship next week and face me woman-to-woman because there is not a single person here that can erase or defeat what I have achieved in this company.”
Of course, Ripley was busy on this same show setting up future title matches with the likes of Becky Lynch. But even that plays into the idea that this is less about Natalya winning the title and more about her not giving up, despite the way her career has been going.
I guess we’ll see next week.