Natalya Details Her Friendship With Ronda Rousey and How That Changed After Rousey’s Royal Rumble Return

Posted By James Walsh on 07/01/22


WWE star Natalya Neidhard was the latest guest on the After The Bell podcast to hype her showdown with Ronda Rousey at tomorrow’s Money In The Bank pay-per-view from Las Vegas, where the Queen of Harts will challenge for Rousey’s SmackDown women’s title. Highlights from the interview can be found below.

How she and Rousey used to be very close:

“Ronda and I, we were really close friends. I actually trained with Ronda and helped her before she ever signed a WWE contract. I remember getting off an overseas tour and flying straight from the tour and meeting with her at Santino’s [Santino Bros] in California. That was the start of our private training sessions. In those sessions, I realized something really special about her. Yes, she’s an Olympic athlete, she’s a pioneer for women’s MMA, she literally put women’s MMA on the map, there might not be women in MMA without Ronda Rousey. She did that. I realized, in training with her, that she is so naturally gifted. I could show her something once, and she would pick it up. I knew she had a knack for it. Everything came very easy for Ronda, and in my experience, it was the complete opposite. Things take a long time for me to understand and grasp and I’ve been doing this since I was 18. For Ronda, because she picked it up so fast and was naturally good at it, there was an arrogance about her. She and I were great, we were great when she got signed, I took her under my wing in WWE and made sure everyone in the locker room felt comfortable and I think the girls felt more comfortable with Ronda when they saw that I endorsed Ronda. When Nattie endorses someone, I’ve been tried and true in WWE and I’m proud of that, I’ve been here 15 years, have experience, and girls trust me. When they see that I trust Ronda, I like Ronda, I let Ronda in our world, it kind of softened them up into liking Ronda. We were very close friends.”

Says Rousey has changed drastically since her return at the Royal Rumble:

“Some of that changed when she came back because, without being a jerk, I think she’s really arrogant. She just dismissed me and said, ‘You didn’t want to have kids and put wrestling first.’ Well, maybe I don’t want to have kids. Maybe that’s that not what I want in my life. I don’t think I should be shamed for that. I’ve never wanted to be a mom, it’s never been in my heart. Don’t dismiss every single thing I’ve done in this industry. I’m sorry that my love and my passion is way greater than yours will ever be. You’re naturally good at something, that makes you arrogant, but don’t dismiss me for the love that you don’t have.”