Home ARTICLES Natalya on Matrats, Learning her First Wrestling Move

Natalya on Matrats, Learning her First Wrestling Move

by Spencer Love

Mat Rats, the fledgling promotion run by Teddy Hart, is one of the great ‘what-if’ stories in professional wrestling. In spite of its short run, Mat Rats consisted of some of the most talented young wrestlers in the country, including TJ Wilson, Harry Smith, Jack Evans, and more. Not only was the promotion set to be produced by former WCW booker Eric Bischoff, but was set to run on MTV. Though the promotion never got off the ground, its impact on the Canadian, and worldwide, wrestling scene is immense.

One individual who got their start in Mat Rats was none other than Natalya Neidhart. Beginning with the promotion as a ring announcer, Natalya was surrounded from the start of her career by a veritable who’s-who of the Canadian wrestling scene.

β€œMat Rats was so crazy because it was something that was just thrown at us,” Natalya stated. “It was like ‘Eric Bischoff’s producing the show with Jason Hervey and they want to make this for MTV. It’s gonna be like wrestling and rock concert joined together.’ That’s actually where my cousin – I worked with TJ [Wilson], Harry [Smith], and my cousin Ted [Hart] and Jack Evans. Rene Dupree was in it. Mauro Ranallo was in it. I’m just trying to think who else was in it. We had a whole bunch of different people in it.”

Natalya continued, stating that not only was that where she learned the inner workings of professional wrestling but her first move, too.

“They were like ‘Natty should do a move,'” she began. “The very first wrestling move that I ever learned was a dragonrana, which is like a front flip onto somebody’s shoulders into a hurricanrana. I never even knew how to do a headlock! That was the first move I learned. It was so much fun doing Mat Rats.”

In spite of the presence of future industry legends, Mat Rats unfortunately never earned its place on MTV, and now is simply looked back on fondly by all involved.

“Of course, it never really got off the ground,” Natalya lamented. “But, it was just a really cool chance for us as kids. My husband and I were on that together. It was a good chance for us as kids to see what it was like to work for a big set. It wasn’t just like a small independent show. There was cameras and there was TV angles, and there was monitors, and people backstage, and producers, and directors, and it was just like it was cool. I felt like I was on a movie.”

Tune in to the full video interview below, and please give a h/t to Spencer Love for the transcription.

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