Natalya Neidhart: Women’s wrestling celebrated at ‘Evolution’

This week on Twitter, @kalanteneidhart asked me my thoughts on last week’s Evolution. WWE’s first all-women’s pay-per-view was everything I had hoped for and more. I felt like I had waited my entire career for WWE to have an event like Evolution. The past, present and future of women united to celebrate one another and women being at the forefront in WWE.

Every single match on the show was fantastic and unique. It kicked off with Trish Stratus and Lita against Alicia Fox and Mickie James, who were serenaded by the fans with “you still got it” chants. Then there was the women’s battle royal, which featured the return of Alundra Blayze, who competed in a WWE ring at 55 years old along with Ivory, who is 56. This was especially inspiring to me because both women are WWE Hall Of Famers and proved to the world that no matter what your age, you are still relevant, valued and important to the game.

Nattie Neidhart with Ivory and Sasha Banks before the start of Evolution. (Supplied Photo)

Nassau Coliseum on Long Island was sold out for the event, proving that an all-women’s show was more than a success, but a huge turning point to show that women can achieve the same success as men.

Ten years ago at that very same arena, I faced Michelle McCool for the first-ever Divas Championship. For one reason or another, our match was only a few minutes long and both Michelle and I wanted more. It took many years, but we finally got more than we could have ever hoped for. At Evolution, Michelle and I would cross paths again and I felt we had come full circle. I was in a 20-minute long tag team match with some of the very best female WWE Superstars in the world: Sasha Banks, Bayley and the Riott Squad. I applied the sharpshooter to two girls at the same time, thinking to myself “I’m glad I kept fighting for moments like this.” The crowd roared at the move and I thought of my family who had paved the way for me to get to that moment.

I watched as my former archrival Charlotte Flair took on her former best friend, Becky Lynch, in one of the longest women matches in WWE history: a spectacular Last Woman Standing Match. Every stop was pulled, as there were tables, ladders, chairs, bodies being thrown through announce tables, fighting in the crowd and raw emotions during the match. Charlotte had tears streaming down her face as Becky powerbombed her through a table to win the match. I knew why Charlotte was crying. Many thought she was sad about defeat, but I knew she was crying tears of joy because glass ceilings were being shattered. We were finally doing it. The bar was being set high and we women had created a new standard of greatness in WWE.

Nattie Neidhart faces off against one of her opponents at Evolution, Liv Morgan. (WWE Photo)

The main event saw the “Baddest Woman on the Planet,” “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, take on the longest reigning Divas champion in WWE history, Nikki Bella. Their rivalry was heated and very personal. It was also especially hard for me to pick sides because, in reality, I respect both women greatly. Ronda has become a close friend to me and someone I see as having earned her place in our special world of women’s wrestling. I started my career with Nikki and her sister, Brie, more than a decade ago when we were hired by WWE in the very same week. We are like sisters in many ways, going through everything we could possibly go through together. Our bond is unbreakable.

Now that the once unthinkable has been done, it begs one question: what does the future hold for women in WWE?  Well, that answer is simple: Whatever we want.

Tweet your questions to @natbynature.

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