Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Natalya.
Craig: I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Natalya. She isn’t in that blonde hair and a bikini style diva where the focus is on how she looks rather than how she wrestles. Instead we have a woman that is certainly solid in the ring and could play a big part in a divas division where the focus was on wrestling.
However, despite the supposed “divas revolution”, the daughter of Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart has become lost in the shuffle. Now relegated to the position of occasional appearance, the Dungeon trained Natalya appears directionless. Despite being saddled previously with awful gimmicks including one where she repeatedly broke wind, I still think she has something to give but is it only me that thinks that?
Brian: Pound for pound…Natalya is perhaps the most technically gifted wrestler in the Divas division. The WWE has simply given her stupid gimmicks and angles most of her career with the company. If it wasn’t the aforementioned farting gimmick (Which I still scratch my head about) making her a love interest to the Great Khali or simply a valet to her husband Tyson Kidd she has truly been wasted.
I understand that she is on the road less because of the serious injury to her husband Tyson Kidd…but even when she was wrestling…she was jobbing more than she was actually winning. This might sound a bit crazy, but is it possible that Natalya is just too good a wrestler to be utilized properly in the WWE?
Jamie: Exactly. Simply put, Natalya just doesn’t fit in. She should and it’s ridiculous that she is not featured more heavily, but that’s WWE for you. They seem to prefer girls with similar builds and wrestling styles, rather than women who can each offer something different. Remember the mid 00’s when almost the entire men’s roster looked and dressed like Randy Orton? The current Divas division reminds me of that ‘cookie cutter’ era. Natalya is a technically sound, powerfully built female wrestler who can cut a decent promo. I would love to hear someone from WWE try to justify why she is not featured while someone like Brie Bella is. On the likelihood that WWE are just as shallow as I’m suggesting, I’d cook Natalya, for her own good.
Brian: I couldn’t imagine letting such a valuable asset go without at least putting her against other talents that can give great matches ie Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley etc. She is too good and I feel too important to the division. Therefore, in my humble opinion…I say book her and book her against opponents that mesh well with her style. She has the ability to make any diva look like a 5 star calibre wrestler.
Craig: That’s it exactly. If the WWE wanted to use her they could make a star of her and even if they weren’t interested in pushing her, they could use her to make others look like a star. It’s completely baffling that there is nothing there for her.
Are we largely agreed that it’s a cook but for her own sake rather than wanting her to go?
Brian: Not me, I say book her or at the very least…make her a trainer down at the Performance Center.
Despite being just 33 years old, there is a consensus that the likelihood of any future WWE in-ring success is unlikely. A genuine shame. Unless, that is, her win over Brie Bella on last night’s Raw leads to some sort of a comeback for Natalya.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.