As part of her ongoing feud with Ruby Riott, Natalya has seen the legacy of her late father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, insulted multiple times on Monday Night Raw. But even with the emotional nature of this storyline in mind, Natalya admitted in a recent interview that the references to “The Anvil” are somehow allowing him to have “one last run” in the business where he became a household name.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports‘ Anthony Sulla-Heffinger, Natalya said that she has been asked by co-workers and family alike about her current storyline and whether she’s okay with the disrespect shown toward her father on Monday Night Raw. She explained that the storyline is her way of addressing the “elephant in the room” and coping with her father’s death, while also helping give him a well-deserved sendoff as a WWE legend.
“I feel like in some crazy way this is like my dad is having one last run,” Natalya said.
“I feel like if I asked my dad right now, ‘Daddy, how do you feel about me doing this storyline?’ My dad would say go for it. He understood pro wrestling, he understood how, for fans to become emotionally invested in stories, there has to be emotionally charged content.”
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was 63-years-old when he passed away on August 13 after apparently suffering a seizure at his home in Florida, as noted by Wrestling Inc. Together with brother-in-law Bret Hart, he had wrestled as one-half of the Hart Foundation in the 1980s, as the duo stood out as one of the then-WWF’s top tag teams of the decade. In the years preceding his death, Neidhart was a frequent guest star on Total Divas, where his relationship with Natalya was frequently explored in the long-running E! reality series.
Although publications such as PWTorch felt that WWE was taking things too far on this week’s Monday Night Raw by having Ruby Riott unveil a table with Jim Neidhart’s image on it, the company is no stranger to referencing recently deceased performers in its storylines.
As recalled by Bleacher Report, one of these instances took place early in 2006, shortly after Eddie Guerrero’s death in November 2005, as Randy Orton cut a promo on Guerrero’s real-life friend, Rey Mysterio, and taunted him by saying Eddie was “in hell.” Eight years later, CM Punk pushed his pre-WrestleMania XXIX feud with The Undertaker forward by mocking the recent death of his longtime manager, Paul Bearer, in a series of stunts that culminated with Punk stealing the urn that was supposed to contain Bearer’s ashes and dumping the contents on his rival.
Natalya is scheduled to face Ruby Riott in a Tables Match at WWE’s TLC pay-per-view, which will be held Sunday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, and aired live on the WWE Network.